Underbelly: articles

TV shoots gangland war

SHOOTING is to start on an all-star TV mini-series on Melbourne's gangland wars.

Underbelly, a 13-part series being made by Channel 9, goes into production next month with some of TV's best-known faces playing some of the underworld's most notorious.

It is believed Vince Colosimo will play slain standover man Alphonse Gangitano, Ben Mendelsohn will play murdered thug Jason Moran, Callan Mulvey his brother Mark Moran, also killed, while Kevin Harrington will portray murdered crime patriarch Lewis Moran.

Gyton Grantley will play convicted killer Carl Williams.

Other names believed to have key roles include Kat Stewart (Roberta Williams) and former Neighbours star Madeleine West (Tony Mokbel's partner Danielle McGuire).

Colosimo's credits include the critically acclaimed Lantana and Chopper, while Harrington is best known for work in SeaChange and Neighbours.

Scoring a role is a big break for former Heartbreak High and Home and Away regular Mulvey, who four years ago almost lost his life in a car crash.

Underbelly is being produced for Nine by Screentime, which produced The Society Murders telemovie, which explored the killing of Margaret Wales-King and Paul King by her son Matthew.

The four-month shoot will take place in locations made infamous by real-life events.

Crime figure Carl Williams told the Supreme Court in April that a brutal attack in 1999, when he was shot in the stomach by drug rival Jason Moran, sent two underworld factions spinning into a series of bloody paybacks that eventually cost at least 27 lives.

Williams confessed to arranging the murder of Jason Moran, who was killed with his bodyguard, Pat Barbaro, at a children's football clinic in June 2003.

He also admitted ordering the murder of Lewis Moran as part of his revenge on the Moran family.

Lewis Moran was shot dead in 2004 as he drank at the Brunswick Club.

A third murder charge against Williams, the shooting of Mark Moran in 2000, was dropped.

Underbelly is one of several new shows signifying a resurgence in local TV drama production.

Spending on Australian drama is expected to rise 50 per cent this financial year, with each of the television networks investing in new shows.

Since mid last year, about $160 million has been paid for new drama productions, including the big-budget Nine series Sea Patrol, starring Lisa McCune.

By Darren Devlyn and Kylie Miller
June 23, 2007
Herald Sun