Trailer: Wolf Creek 2
The outback once more becomes a place of horror as another unwitting tourist becomes the prey for crazed, serial-killing pig-shooter Mick Taylor.PT2M11S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32i0g 620 349 February 12, 2014
Underbelly actor Simon Westaway has blasted the Wolf Creek movies for being unrealistic and gratuitously violent, charges that in the past have been laid at the very franchise in which he appears.
Speaking on radio station 2UE on Monday morning, Westaway told breakfast show hosts John Stanley and Garry Linnell that despite playing the role of Melbourne gangland figure Mick Gatto in the original 2009 television series and in the latest instalment, Fat Tony and Co, he generally eschews violent roles.
Pacifist: Simon Westaway, who is reprising his role as Mick Gatto in the latest instalment of Underbelly.
"I am not a trigger-puller any more," Westaway said. "I will be part of, usually, the pacifist role."
Westaway then contrasted the sort of content he favours with the highest-grossing horror film ever made in Australia, 2005's Wolf Creek, whose sequel has just been released, topping the local box office with a $1.7 million opening weekend.
"I just think it's rubbish. I think Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2, as much as I think Johnny Jarratt's a good bloke, I'm going to say it and I'll put it on the record right now: rubbish."
Asked why he felt so strongly about the subject, Westaway said: "If you put young people and expose them to serial killing and anything that creates the enjoyment of degrading human life and provide that as a form of entertainment, I just don't want to have anything to do with it."
People who made money from such things, he added, "are as bad as drug dealers".
The first Underbelly series, in which Westaway appeared, focused on Melbourne's long-running gangland wars, in which 36 people were killed in bitter disputes between rival drug gangs.
The latest series revisits those events, and details the involvement of Tony Mokbel, whose story could not be told during the original series because of ongoing legal proceedings.
Though Underbelly is based on fact, the producers have readily admitted they invent, combine and compress details for dramatic effect.
Mick Gatto himself has claimed that the portrayal of him in the first season bore little resemblance to reality, and even cited Westaway in defence of that view.
"Eighty per cent of the Underbelly stuff isn't accurate," Gatto said last year. "I remember when they shot it, I was told by Simon Westaway, 'You'll be sitting on your couch thinking, that's not true, that's not correct, but gee, it's great viewing'."
Despite that, and the fact that Wolf Creek director Greg McLean has made much of the claim that his movies are "based on actual events", Westaway lashed out at Wolf Creek for being untrue while insisting Underbelly is anchored in fact.
"Underbelly tells a story, and it was a story about what went on at a time," he told 2UE.
"Wolf Creek is not about what went on, it's just about making a story that's not real, it's just rubbish.
"In my opinion it's violence and that level of violence, and people being exposed to that level of violence, I don't think it's entertainment."
McLean is in Los Angeles, so had not heard Westaway's comments, but when informed of them he responded with the rhetorical question, "How delusional is Simon Westaway?
"An actor from the (hugely successful, and rightly so as it's really well done) Underbelly series, which features season after season of drugs, violence, guns and sex, outraged by Wolf Creek 2? Pretty hilarious stuff."