Underbelly: articles

Tough roles ... Dieter Brummer (L), Wil Traval and Diarmid Heidenreich during filming for Channel Nine TV mini-series 'Underbelly 3: The Golden Mile' in Sydney.

Diarmid channels the seedy Underbelly

DIARMID Heidenreich, his back to camera, stands in the shadows of a dank, city car park.

His shoulders are hunched, his hands hang loosely by his side. Nothing threatening about that 7 until you realise he has a baton resting in his right hand.

Heidenreich tightens his grip on the baton, preparing to dispense some "justice".

An extraordinary transformation takes place as Heidenreich dissolves into character to tackle a disturbingly violent scene as Underbelly's Det Sen- Const Eddie "Parrot" Gould.

Gould bashes and kicks a man who earlier insulted him.

If only the man had realised Gould is not just a cop, but a corrupt one who is like an undetonated explosive - a tightly coiled individual who can, without warning, fly into a rage.

For Heidenreich, the role is an enormous challenge. His desire to bring brutal authenticity to Gould means portraying violence as realistically as possible.

"He (Gould) was a rugby league player and aspired to play first-grade and when he didn't make the cut he focused on his career as a police officer," Heidenreich says. "I think his frustration comes from his past, not achieving his dream. The underlying darkness is a result. The series opens in Sydney's Kings Cross in 1989 and many of the characters we came to know in last year's Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities are back 7 including "racing identity" George Freeman (Peter O'Brien), and crooked cop Det-Sgt Trevor Haken (Dieter Brummer).

Firass Dirani, who made his mark in East West 101, makes an instant impact with his portrayal of the cocky "Cross" nightclub identity John Ibrahim.

Heidenreich says he had no trouble preparing himself for the role of a cop.

"I've had plenty of experience with the police, both good and bad, so I was able to draw from that," he explains.

"Also, I've got some friends who are police and I played a cop in Water Rats for two years. That's as much (research) as I needed." Heidenreich's reference to bad experiences with the law relate to a miserable time in his life in 1996.

Heidenreich had shot to fame in TV ads as Dougie the Pizza Boy, but ended up losing the gig and serving 77 weekends of periodic detention in Parramatta Jail for a drug and alcohol-fuelled car smash that left a girlfriend in hospital.

"In the immediate aftermath of it I didn't get any work . I only had myself to thank," he says.

Heidenreich is a very different individual now.

Apart from establishing himself as an actor of poise and versatility, he's a happily married father of two.

Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Channel 9, Sunday, 8.30pm

April 07, 2010
The Daily Telegraph