"I guess you could basically say we're Underbelly with gags," says actor Steve Le Marquand of his new black comedy Small Time Gangster, which premieres on Movie Extra on April 19.
Le Marquand plays Tony Piccolo, a man living a double life: while his loving wife Cathy (Sacha Horler) thinks he's a humble carpet cleaner, he's actually a standover man working for underworld boss Barry (Gary Sweet). Tony's worlds start to collide after he accidentally brings about the death of a mate, causing the barrier between "loving dad" and "violent gangster" to break down.
"He's very complex," Le Marquand tells TVFIX. "At my audition they all kind of knew I could play the standover man, because I've played lots of those kinds of characters [such as in the TV series Rake and the film Two Hands]. But they hadn't seen me [play the loving father and husband] before, so they had to be convinced it was in me. Because that's an equally important part of the character."
Luckily Le Marquand is perfectly suited to playing Tony: he confesses that he spent much of his life "up to lots of no good" and only settled down when he met his wife and started a family of his own.
In addition to Horler (who's appeared in Offspring and Love My Way, among other things) and Sweet (and if you can't think of anything Gary Sweet's been in, you must be new here), Small Time Gangster stars Gia Carides, Geoff Morell, Samuel Johnson and relative newcomer Jared Daperis, who Le Marquand calls "a young Heath Ledger".
"He's the most quietly spoken, diligent, respectful, keen to learn actor I've come across in a long time," Le Marquand says of Daperis, who plays Charlie, a brash, vaguely psychotic wannabe gangster Tony's forced to take on as his apprentice. "Jared is nowhere near as obnoxious as Charlie, luckily."