While Stephen and Daniel shed kilos for their roles in The Cup, Jodi changed her look, lightening her hair to look more like Trish Oliver. It took 18 hours over three days to transform Jodi.
Jodi met Trish and says this gave her an insight that helped with her preparation for her first role in a feature film. “It was fantastic. You read about people but when you meet them face to face you understand them a bit better. After meeting Trish I did tweak how I played the character, but we are not making a documentary. My portrayal of Trish is a mixture of the script and meeting her.”
The Cup was a learning curve for Jodi. She says she learnt something every day. “It’s a whole new world. It is a very different pace to working on series television.”.
From four times World Champion Irish Dancer, to playing Frankie Vali on stage in the hit musical Jersey Boys, to the role of Niall in The Cup – it’s been the luck of the Irish for Bobby Fox. This is his first non-musical role and his first film.
During the early days on set Bobby did most of his scenes with Brendan Gleeson. “I was instantly intimidated and that was perfect for my character. Niall was intimidated by him because he was only a surrogate member of the team, brought in by his brother.”
Bobby drew a lot from meeting Niall Phillips (who now lives in Australia and is a trainer at Geelong). Niall gave him some insights in to how Niall felt during the 2002 Melbourne Cup campaign.Embedded in Martin’s memory is the image of Damien coming back to scale after winning the 2002 Melbourne Cup and sending a kiss to the heavens. Even though he’s never been a punter, that race has a special place in his memory.
Once he was cast as Neil, Martin says he drove Neil “a little mad with questions”. “He was very kind giving me a few keys to who he was and his relationship with Damien and Trish.”
When Neil visited the set during one of Martin’s scenes he joked that Martin was a little greyer than him and a little balder…but he’d nailed him.
Harli Ames was introduced to the world of horse training at early morning track work at Flemington talking to some of Australia’s top trainers. To get an insight into Saeed Bin Suroor, Harli talked to those who knew him including jockey Kerrin McEvoy who has ridden for the Godolphin stables many times. He can’t believe how lucky he is to win the role of Saeed and get paid for the privilege of coming to work every day. “I am very fortunate to have such a role.”
Harli was moved by the story. “The 2002 Melbourne Cup is an amazing story. No matter where you were it had an effect on you. It is a fantastic story, an amazing Australian story that everyone can relate to.”
For his first major role in a feature film Shaun had to make a physical change to portray Damien’s mentor and leading trainer Lee Freedman. He didn’t have to shed kilos like Stephen and Daniel but he did have to darken his grey hair, something he admits will hardly win him an acting award. “I wish I had put on weight. You win more awards if you put on weight than if you put mousse in your hair,” jokes Shaun.
Shaun says that the relationship between Lee and Damien is an important role in life and it is an important role in the film. “It is an honour to be asked (to play Lee Freedman) and I feel a duty to serve the relationship well in the film.”
Bill Hunter didn’t think twice about taking up the role of Bart Cummings when offered to him by Simon. They have worked together periodically over the past four decades.
“As long as he told me where to stand and what to say I was happy. Anyone who says there is any more to it than that is full of b#*@. It is a job. It is a craft, but there is no art involved. What you need is commonsense and a reasonable rough head. You put on the makeup and the wardrobe and that is half the performance. That upsets the purists, but never mind. They don’t work as much as I do!”
Bill has been in more films than anyone else in Australia and says he has only ever seen about 10 per cent of them. “I don’t see much point. The damage is done. I don’t go to the premieres, unless I can rely on bumping in to my old mates.”