Underbelly: articles

ROBERTA Williams

Gigi Edgley and her famous father Michael embrace the limelight.

Roberta Williams on her character in Underbelly

ROBERTA Williams wanted to knock Kat Stewart's lights out when she first saw her portrayal on Underbelly, but now just feels sorry for her.

And she said the underworld drama — banned in Victoria but a ratings hit in WA and other states — should have found a better-looking baby to portray her beautiful daughter.

Ms Williams, whose former husband, Carl, is in Victoria's Barwon Prison until 2042 for three killings, said she initially saw red about the over-the-top shrill portrayal of her.

But now, she said: "My sympathies go out to you, Kat, because you've made a fool of yourself."

In pictures: see the faces behind Underbelly

She also said her daughter, Dhakota, "is a glamour… the next Megan Gale", and "they could have picked a nicer looking child" to portray her in the series.

Ms Williams has lost her house, buried her sister and fought serious illness since Carl Williams was jailed. She said she now gets stopped in the street by supporters. Stewart said she regarded her role as a huge responsibility.

"Starting any job is always daunting, but this was particularly so," she said. "We like to think the real people, if they are still around, will understand that this is not a documentary, it is a dramatisation and we are just actors."

Kestie Morassi, who plays Zarah Garde Wilson, foxy lawyer to the underworld, said she regarded her character as an enigma.

"You didn't really know much about her and a lot of it was speculation," Morassi said.

"She is a lawyer, so you want to tread really carefully. What I had to work with was the fact that she was a woman desperately in love with the wrong guy."

Morassi said she found the role difficult "for lots of different reasons, most of which I can't say".

But she said: "I am not scared that she is going to come and knock down my door."

Reports from the set suggest she was uncomfortable with the show's heavy nudity and sex scenes.

|Ms Garde Wilson, who is still fighting to keep her practising certificate, did not comment.

Meanwhile, gangland matriarch Judy Moran has delivered her verdict on the television drama series Underbelly: It's rot.

But she applauded the depiction of notorious killer Carl Williams as a dimwitted "fat boy" driver.

"They got that right — he seems the village idiot and that is what he is," Ms Moran said.

Violent scenes depicting her family in brutal bar brawls and her son Jason's cold-blooded shooting murder of family friend Alphonse Gangitano were "disgusting lies", she said.

Ms Moran's husband, Lewis, and two sons, Mark and Jason, were among 27 people killed during Melbourne's bloody underworld slayings.

She said the series painted an inaccurate picture of what was once a "loving, caring family".

"To me, it's just all too fictitious and stupid," Ms Moran said. "As a mother I feel sick. I'm deeply offended. I'm worried for Jason's children. How are they going to think of their father … as a murderer?"

Actor Caroline Gillmer, who plays Ms Moran in the series, admitted she was nervous about the underworld matriarch watching.

"I don't know how accurate the script is to the nuances of the real person, so it does make you nervous that they will be watching," she said.

By Liam Houlihan
March 08, 2008
The Sunday Times