Power games: Patrick Brammall playing Murdoch in Nine's Power Games. Photo: Supplied
There are media moguls and then there's Rupert Murdoch. Playing the all-powerful man has been an intriguing challenge for actor Patrick Brammall, who is starring as the entrepreneur in the new Nine mini-series Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story.
Brammall's Murdoch is a long way removed from the 82-year-old now associated with everything from Fox News to British tabloid scandals. His Murdoch is the Rupert of the 1960s - a rising, passionate media boss, with a stark Australian accent and colleagues including a young journalist called Anna Torv (who would go on to become the second Mrs Murdoch and mother to Elisabeth, Lachlan and James) in the newsroom.
''I don't know how many people will recognise this guy,'' Brammall said. ''Now he's this old man and he's wearing a suit of armour now, he's lived a life in the public eye … In the '60s he was a young man, he was certainly ambitious by all accounts and very switched on, of course he was, but he was incredibly charming and charismatic and modest as well.''
Media mogul: Rupert Murdoch in 1968.
The mini-series centres on the relationship between the younger Murdoch and the older media baron Sir Frank Packer (played by Lachy Hulme, who seems to be specialising in Packers, having gained accolades previously for playing Kerry).
Brammall, who has worked as a Shakespearean actor, comedian, stuntman and playwright, first heard about the Murdoch role from Hulme, but he didn't know whether it would happen or not until his name appeared on a shortlist. (He had previously played Kim Beazley in the telemovie Hawke).
The Murdoch role was his fairly quickly. ''I did a chemistry read with Lachy, we did a couple of scenes … and then I got the call,'' Brammall said.
He says he prepared for the role ''by getting my hands on as much stuff as I could - reading all about him, reading about the time, watching as much footage as I could get. And the researchers on the show were excellent at helping me with stuff from the '60s - because he's quite a different guy to the one we know now, really different.''
The actor also has an unlikely personal connection. His father, Bruce Brammall, is a veteran journalist who worked under Murdoch in part of his career. ''I got him to write me a description of how to put together a full version of a newspaper, so I knew every aspect of it,'' Brammall says of his father. ''It's been great for him and I've loved hearing about it.''
The production, which is being made by Southern Star, is filming at present in Sydney. It is scheduled to air on the Nine network later in the year.