Gary Sweet and Rachel Griffiths in ‘House Husbands.’
Gary Sweet will play a fictional version of himself in a six-part comedy which is being developed by Rachel Griffiths and writer/actor Maddie Dyer.
In Saving Gary Sweet, the former House Husbands star will play a troubled TV actor who has been married four times and ends up in hospital after a drug and alcohol binge.
Griffiths discussed the project today in conversation with Denise Eriksen in Running Free Skills, a webinar presented by ACMI, Film Victoria and Media Monitors.
She got the idea when she co-starred with Sweet in House Husbands after having a number of dreams in which she “saved” Ben Affleck.
The premise has Sweet as a TV actor whose career is derailed after a video of him bagging his co-star in a procedural cop show while doing cocaine with an underage girl goes viral.
Sweet loved the idea and urged her to write it but, as she acknowledges, she is not a writer so she shelved it.
Maddie Dyer and Rachel Griffiths.
That was until Griffiths spent five months with Dyer on Ride Like a Girl, on which Maddie had a Screen Australia-funded director’s attachment.
Together they came up with a bible and sample scenes. Rachel hopes Ride Like a Girl’s Stevie Payne will play the protagonist’s son, who has Down syndrome, while she will take the role of his PR agent. She’d like Eddie McGuire to play Sweet’s best mate and poker player.
“It’s a very playful study of #MeToo, celebrity culture, public shaming and shock-jock trolling and how in this day and age you can wake up to find your whole life is over,” she told Eriksen.
Griffiths and Dyer have had preliminary talks with the Nine Network’s Andy Ryan and have applied to the Stan/Film Victoria comedy development fund.
Dyer, who will play a PR assistant, tells IF they intend to hire a top comedy director. “Gary is on board and it’s coming together really well,” she says. “It will be potent and punchy.”
Eriksen asked Rachel what advice she would give to her 18-year-old self. She replied: “Own one’s authenticity. Authenticity as an artist is to pursue the things you are profoundly interested in and with an excitement to share them.”