Daniel Lapaine as Lord “Lofty” Lofthouse.
When UK-based actor Daniel Lapaine was asked by his mate Tim Minchin to play his aggrieved brother in Lingo Pictures/Foxtel’s Upright, he was both surprised and delighted.
Surprised because it was his first role in an Australian production since he moved to the UK 20 years ago.
While he was filming Upright, director Tony Tilse and producer Fiona Eagger offered him the part of Lord “Lofty” Lofthouse in Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, which opens on Thursday.
This week he began filming the second season of Hoodlum Entertainment/Network 10’s Five Bedrooms, directed by Peter Templeman, Fadia Abboud and Shirley Barrett.
“It was the longest comeback in Australian screen history,” Lapaine tells IF. “I had been working mostly in theatre in London but also had the chance to appear in series like Catastrophe with Sharon Horgan and The Durrells. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be back.”
In the Miss Fisher movie he relished the chance to collaborate again with his former NIDA classmate Essie Davis and with Jacqueline McKenzie (another NIDA alumn) as his wife Lady Lofthouse. Rupert Penry-Jones plays his brother Jonathan.
“It felt like a well-oiled machine coming into the film,” he says. “It was a mixture of Agatha Christie, Indiana Jones and Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, a heightened world of well-drawn characters.”
Daniel Lapaine and Tim Minchin in ‘Upright’ (Photo: Matt Nettheim).
Playing Toby, the brother of Minchin’s Lucky, in Upright was an absolute joy, he says, observing: “When the scripts are so strong you know you are onto a winner, with the emotional heart that Tim always brings to his work.”
He’s not allowed to say much about Five Bedrooms, in which he plays Joseph, a successful international businessman and brother of Stephen Peacocke’s Ben. Joseph’s return after many years away will have a disruptive influence on the housemates, he hints.
He rates the first season as among the most charming he’d seen in years and really liked the light tone, compared with the downbeat mood of numerous series.
Among his recent credits he was a regular in British broadcaster ITV’s remake of the detective drama Van Der Valk, which stars Marc Warren and Maimie McCoy.
In the Amsterdam-shot series he plays a charismatic Dutch politician whom he likens to France’s Emmanuel Macron, except that his character hides dark secrets.
After Five Bedrooms wraps he may return to London for a play, yet to be confirmed, but he is keen to maintain the momentum here.
In London he is developing three scripts for TV series – two comedies and a drama – and wants to to direct at least one.
He made his feature writing and directing debut on the Australian comedy-drama 48 Shades and rues the fact it opened on the same weekend as Clayton Jacobson’s Kenny in 2006.