REX - Regional Express

OUTThere Magazine l June 2013

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drivetime Image: Getty Images he beams. "Thirty years ago, when I first saw the films, I never would've imagined that one day I'd be living in Silverton, have a museum, and be friends with the cast and crew – it's a dream come true!" One of Adrian's friends is character actor Bruce Spence, who memorably played The Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2. "I recall my days in Broken Hill very fondly," says the actor. "We were a motley group and I think the locals weren't sure who or what we were. But we were treated very well by them." Bruce also recalls acting opposite a young Mel Gibson. "I found him good to work with and I think Mel's natural aloofness and the character's aloofness worked well for me to play off against," he says. "It was a pretty basic shoot, without the luxuries you'd have on a shoot these days," Bruce reflects. "George encouraged spontaneity and that off-thewall way of looking at the world." Improvisation certainly came in handy when establishing the competitive but comical interplay between The Gyro Captain and Max's cherished blue heeler. "I used to play games with the dog to get him to attack!" Bruce reveals. "I had a scarf, and he would chase and leap for it, and that's how we created that relationship." Bruce was pleasantly surprised to be offered a role in the big-budget follow-up, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. "I wasn't expecting it, as they'd been shooting for a while and I assumed it was a completely different story," he recalls. "But they were having trouble casting this character who was similar to The Gyro Captain, so they thought, 'Why not Bruce?' " The actor played Jedediah the Pilot, part of a father/son piloting team that featured prominently at the climax. "The thing I loved about the character was the relationship he had with his son, who was an eccentric as well," Bruce says. "They wanted that bit of humour, and I tend to get offered those sorts of parts." Filming took place in locations around NSW, including Glebe (Sydney) and the Blue Mountains, and in South Australia, where a notable location was Crocodile Harry's Underground Nest in Coober 26 Fast Fact The first Mad Max movie, which was filmed in and around Melbourne in 1977, was made for just $350,000. The film went on to earn a cool $100 million at the box office worldwide. Pedy, which doubled as the character's unconventional home in the movie. Crocodile Harry, who died in 2006, was an eccentric fellow, too, who claimed to have been a Latvian baron in a previous life and lived in this labyrinthine dugout adorned with many quirky artefacts. Today, the dugout remains a popular tourist attraction in the famous opalmining settlement. Although the latest Mad Max film, Fury Road, recently completed filming in Namibia, southern Africa, pre-production brought the crew back to Broken Hill in 2010, which is when Adrian received a surprise visit to his museum. "George Miller's wife and two sons called in and they were wonderful," he remembers. "His sons were so polite, and when they left the museum, one of them said, 'Thanks for keeping our father's dream alive!'. It was so nice to receive that seal of approval from the Miller family." Clockwise from top left: Adrian Bennett with Mad Max 2 actor Bruce Spence; Adrian with actor Vernon Wells; Mel Gibson on the set of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

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