Despite recent gloom and doom in ABC (Australia) corridors due to some shows being axed there is cause for some celebration, especially for crime fiction fans. The network has commissioned two tele-movies to be adapted from the first two of Peter Temple’s four Jack Irish books: Bad Debts and Black Tide.
I’ll admit that the casting of Australian actor Guy Pearce in the pivotal role of Jack Irish was a bit of a shock on first hearing (surely he’s far too skinny and doesn’t look nearly smashed-up enough) but I’m prepared to be wowed. Pearce is a fine actor and has played a broad cross section of roles in his 20+ years on the job and I’ve rarely been disappointed by any of his performances. I’m cautiously optimistic anyway, especially as the production team includes some first rate people such as screenwriter Andrew Knight and producer Ian Collie. I’m sure, given how difficult it is to get funding to produce television drama in this country, that Pearce’s status as an internationally recognised actor was a factor in getting this project off the ground as it will make it easier to sell the finished product to overseas markets.
Bad Debts was published in 1996 and won Peter Temple the 1997 Ned Kelly Award for best debut crime fiction novel. It introduced the complicated character of Jack Irish, a Melbourne based criminal lawyer and reluctant private investigator who spiralled into alcoholism upon the death of his wife. In his first outing a former client, Danny McKillop, leaves a series of increasingly desperate messages on his answering machine but before Jack can meet up with him, Danny is murdered. Just when Jack is about to let the whole thing go he receives a warning that, perversely, sparks his curiosity and he tries to find out if Danny was really responsible for the hit and run accident he had been gaoled for some time ago. It’s a fine piece of source material for what will hopefully be some great Australian TV drama.
More details about this project are available at the ABC-TV Blog
Earlier this year we covered the news that Peter Temple’s latest novel, Truth, would be filmed for the big screen.