When I first saw the “sneak peek” for Channel Seven’s mini-series The Paul Hogan Story, showing in 2017, I laughed out loud.
‘How funny, a parody!’ I thought.
Josh Lawson, who plays Hoges, reminded me of Barbie’s Ken and his blonde wig was hilarious.
But, as I kept watching, I realised this was for real. A proper biopic based on the story of one of Australia’s great larrikins, the inimitable Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan.
Supporting Lawson are Justine Clarke as Noelene Hogan, Ryan Corr (Packed to the Rafters, Love Child, Holding the Man) as John Cornell, Nikki Osborne as Delvene Delaney and Laura Gordon as Linda Kozlowski.
Watch the trailer for The Paul Hogan Story:
Of course, a trailer isn’t always the best way to ascertain the quality of a performance but I saw enough to decide Lawson hasn’t nailed Hoges at all. Not a bit.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so, based on the various expressions of disbelief and disapproval on Twitter.
Oh dear. The bloke who is playing Hoges in the upcoming mini series appears to have all the charisma of a well-used tea bag.
— Winsor Dobbin (@winsordobbin) November 27, 2016
Could they make the dude in the Paul Hogan mini series look any less like him. They just chucked a blonde wig on him. #Hoges
— JJ Jones (@WaitWhatFMD) November 23, 2016
Ooooof, Josh Lawson looks terrible as Paul Hogan and Hogan looks like an empty old school medicine ball #Hoges
— Liam (@lcrowth15) November 23, 2016
Josh Lawson playing Paul Hogan looks like it's straight out of a 1990s Full Frontal comedy sketch.
— Mark (@oudy80) November 22, 2016
I don’t care that, even with the awful blonde wig, Lawson doesn’t look like Hoges.
Mandy McElhinney didn’t look like Gina Rinehart either but she was incredibly convincing in her portrayal in Channel Nine’s House of Hancock.
Likewise with Joel Jackson as Peter Allen in Seven’s own biopic hit, The Boy Next Door, for which he won a Logie.
Nuanced mannerisms, facial expressions, posture and voice can all add to the illusion you are watching the real thing, regardless of appearance.
Unfortunately, this take on Hoges feels forced and unnatural – everything Paul Hogan wasn’t.
Lawson, sadly, looks like he’s merely reprising his role as stereotypical ocker newsman Kench Allenby, from the American comedy flick Anchorman 2.
I admit I’m no casting agent but frankly, Seven could have done a lot worse than revisiting Joel Jackson, who has already proven his acting chops.
Or perhaps they could have given a career break to one of their best actors on Home and Away or gone completely left of field with someone like Socratis Otto, renowned for his ability to take on any role – including the wonderful transsexual Maxine in Foxtel’s Wentworth.
Maybe they went for Lawson because of his success in the US, which is not dissimilar to Hoges’ own success stateside?
There was some controversy when the series was announced over whether Paul Hogan’s story was worth dramatising. After all, it is one we’ve heard many, many times before.
But, nevertheless I had expected it to do well – on the basis of previous well-crafted biopics, which have been the television flavour of the month in the last year or two.
While the trailer is doing it no favours, I will watch The Paul Hogan Story when it premieres in the new year because that’s my job. Not sure I would be bothering otherwise.