The Cut: articles

Matt Passmore

Gritty drama ... after starring in Underbelly: A Tale of two Cities, Matt Passmore has taken on a role in the ABC's The Cut.

Matt Passmore makes the cut in the world of bad guys

AFTER slogging it out for three years in the army, actor Matt Passmore knows exactly what he wants.

Complete with a buzz cut to keep within the strict regimen, being under constant surveillance and dealing with prickly senior officers matured him quickly.

But he doesn't regret it?

The NIDA graduate has now acquired unique traits that put him in good stead in the fickle world of the entertainment industry.

His past has aided him in crafting many roles, including that of "good cop" Warwick Mobbs in Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities and new ABC drama The Cut alongside Gold Logie winner John Wood.

So, while Passmore is busy playing cops and robbers on the screen, the performer draws on his life in the army as much as possible - a professional venture most of his peers could only dream of ever being versed in.

"I certainly don't regret it," the Brisbane-born and raised star says of his time in the military.

"It made a man out of me. That was one thing my parents said when I came home: 'Wow, you're a man now'.

"I learned some amazing skills. I guess with NIDA I went in there a bit older than most and because I had been in the army and it's institutionalised, I was almost mercenary - I knew exactly what I wanted out of it and went out and got it."

As Underbelly fans watch Passmore showcase his skills as "a detective with heart" and on the flipside Wood as a corrupt magistrate in the prequel on Mondays at 8.30pm, an hour later viewers can flick the switch and see the former McLeod's Daughters star in The Cut.

"It's only happened with Play School before," Passmore, 33, laughs of having two programs on the box at the same time.

"Play School was the first audition I did out of NIDA and I've done it ever since.

"But, when I did Last Man Standing a few years ago, that would be on at 9.30pm and they would see me getting my kit off and the next morning I would be flip, flop, wigwag in front of the mums that had watched me the night before."

Set in the murky world of sports management, Passmore portrays Andrew, the hapless son of rogue agent Bill "Wild" Telford (Wood) in The Cut.

The program, filmed in Sydney and around NSW, begins with scenes of Bill escaping the pressure of work and clients by holidaying alone in Thailand.

But, just as he sits back to enjoy a cocktail he is recognised by some Australian tourists.

He is annoyed, but his annoyance turns to fear when the bar is bombed by terrorists.

Next we see Bill in hospital, waking to see his wife Roz (Julieanne Newbould) and his estranged son Andrew by his bedside. Bill is livid.

He wants nothing to do with Andrew and wishes his son back to his base in London.

The only thing keeping Andrew in Sydney is his mother, who is pleading with him to help run their sports management business while Bill recovers.

As Andrew delves deeper and deeper into the world of sports management he begins to uncover gambling scams between his father's clients and some big-wig sporting executives.

Attempting to right the wrongs of his father's past, Andrew knows he's getting in way over his head when he receives death threats.

For Passmore, playing Andrew is a stark contrast to roles he's had in the past.

"Most of the characters I've played have been cocky, the cheating-on-women type of guys," Passmore says.

"It was nice to get a guy who was this standard, moralistic, hide-behind-his-ownvalues guy, who was actually a little bit uncomfortable with all the other side."

A keen Brisbane Broncos supporter, Passmore, who is dating Australian actress Rachel Carpani, another past McLeod's Daughters star, has had his fair share of disappointments in showbiz.

While he hit the big time by scoring the role of Marcus Turner in the nowcancelled rural drama McLeod's Daughters in 2007, prior to that most of the programs he featured in - including Last Man Standing, The Cooks and The Alice - bit the dust early into their first seasons.

So to finally be basking in regular TV success by playing characters in Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities and a lead role in The Cut is a welcome change.

"Growing up in suburban Brisbane, you don't always see that (acting) as a valid (profession), you get a trade behind you, not an acting career," Passmore says.

"I've been extremely lucky and have had some amazing people believe in me and the roles just keep on coming.

"I just try and make it as varied as possible and I've always been really lucky that way."

In the second Underbelly, Wood plays chief magistrate Murray Farquhar, jailed in the 1980s for perverting the course of justice.

Far from police boss Tom Croydon in long-running crime drama Blue Heelers, Wood has shifted to a far more sinister character.

Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities plays out in the decade from 1976, when organised crime and the heroin trade were on the rise, spearheaded by crooks Robert Trimbole and Terry Clark.

One man who got caught up in their murderous spree was Griffith resident, anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay.

"He's dodgy in both of them," Passmore says of Wood.

"The feel of Underbelly is just fantastic. We've all got the bad hair.

"I look like a'70s version of Michael J. Fox, but it's a great gig.

"My character is based on two separate guys and they were pretty unavailable, so mine's a bit more a basic story.

"Warwick makes a heartfelt promise to Donald Mackay's wife that he will do whatever he can to find out who did it (killed Mackay).

"He's more of an idealist and brings that heart to it."

Passmore says it's been great working opposite Wood, a seasoned veteran of the entertainment industry.

"This role is probably more like him than any of the others," Passmore says.

"John has a wicked sense of humour, he's a real larrikin.

"He milked every moment for what he could get in this show and it was great to watch.

"Seeing him and Julieanne twist Andrew around their little fingers and drag him back into the dodgy world of sports management was interesting."

Having spent only a few months in the past navigating his way through Hollywood, Passmore says there is so much work on offer in Australia at the moment that he's happy here.

And unlike most actors in Underbelly, he's been able to do it without revealing too much flesh. Well almost.

"I keep my kit on in Underbelly, but I was in the budgies (Speedos) quite a bit (in The Cut)," he laughs.

"I had to play out the scene where I lost my trunks, so I had this tiny, skin coloured G-string on.

"That was a, 'How's your father day?' for the crew working with my little friend."

By Erin McWhirter
February 19, 2009
The Daily Telegraph