Tangle: articles

Kick Gurry

A tangled web

Kick Gurry revels in his role in Foxtel's complex drama, writes Debi Enker.

THE rambling house across the road from Black Rock beach is not so much shabby chic as just shabby. The paint is peeling, the wallpaper is curling and the floors upstairs creak alarmingly. But the light streaming in through the windows facing the water is magnificent.

This sense of a lived-in home and the beautiful natural light are what make it the perfect primary setting for season three of the pay-TV drama Tangle. It's where widowed Ally Kovac (Justine Clarke) has settled following the death of her husband, Vince (Ben Mendelsohn). She's moved with her teenage children, Romeo (Lincoln Younes) and Gigi (Eva Lazzaro), and her firecracker of a sister, Nat (Kat Stewart).

Also in residence is Vince's estranged younger brother, Joe (Kick Gurry), who arrived unexpectedly for the funeral and hasn't left. A quiet and watchful presence, he's clearly drawn to the family - and to his sister-in-law - but is also apart from it.

The adulterous, volatile Vince died at the end of the first season and the second season dealt with the immediate effect that had on his family and friends. Season three, Gurry says, "focuses on the grief aspect: how do we deal with it and what are the consequences of leaving two kids and a wife behind? It's about the fallout from our actions and misadventures in life."

Gurry joined the cast of Tangle soon after returning from overseas, where he'd worked for several years. He says he accepted the role of Joe without reading the scripts after he was assured he would have scenes with Clarke. "There's a real sense of wonder with Justine and a bit of magic," he explains. "I find her really compelling."

Unlike his taciturn character, whom he describes as "very passive, very reactive," Gurry positively beams as he talks about the show, describing it as "one of the great experiences of my life." This from an actor who's worked on films with Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line), David Mamet (Spartan), the Wachowski brothers (Speed Racer) and Quentin Tarantino (Daltry Calhoun).

Tangle, he says, "is a rare opportunity because these are really rich scripts and I don't think we've ever seen a show, or a movie, with three performances as riveting as Juzzy, Kat and Catherine [McClements, who plays Christine]. It's a real privilege to be on set watching them work and to be a part of it."

Gurry believes that "all the guys in Tangle are supporting the women's stories. Romeo is probably the lead male. It's a show about women, which I think is spot on because if you're going to tell a story about suburban family dynamics, it's the women that drive things. The men might sit in the driver's seat but they're not really in the drivers' seat. The dads are just taggin' along; the mothers are deciding where that car is going."

It's a situation he says he's very comfortable with. ''I started out playing a supporting role to a very dynamic female in Looking for Alibrandi, so it's how I first got exposed to filmmaking and storytelling. I also have a very strong mother, I had a really dynamic grandmother, who was the matriarch of this big Catholic family, and my sister's a very bold woman. I've been surrounded by dynamic women my whole life, so playing Joe among these go-getting women has been quite easy."

Gurry's real first name is Christopher but he's always been known as Kick. When he was a baby, his toddler brother couldn't pronounce his name and his attempt - "Kickarer" - morphed into a variation that stuck.

Kick was the kind of kid who got into trouble at school because his goal was to make people laugh. On screen, though, he says everything he does is serious. ''I rarely get to make people laugh, performance-wise. I get the sort of brooding, quiet, kissing-the-girl characters. But I'd really like to play the goofball."

Maybe that lies ahead but in Tangle, with its richly textured, wistful and intelligently measured tale of parents and children struggling to find their feet amid the messiness of modern life, the space for clowning is limited.

By Debi Enker
March 18, 2012
Sydney Morning Herald