Peter Templeman on set with Stephen Peacocke.
Director Peter Templeman rates Michael Lucas and Christine Bartlett as Australia’s pre-eminent creators of TV comedy-dramas.
So he jumped at the chance to serve as the set-up director of the duo’s Five Bedrooms, Hoodlum Entertainment’s 8-part series which premieres on 10 at 8.40 pm on May 15.
He could not be happier with the performances of the ensemble cast led by Kat Stewart, Stephen Peacocke, Doris Younane, Katie Robertson, Roy Joseph, Kate Jenkinson and Hugh Sheridan.
“Michael and Chris created totally real characters, each with a rich inner life and a back story,” Templeman tells IF. “Working on the show was a great experience. We were spoiled for talent.”
Scripted by Lucas, Bartlett and Mithila Gupta, the plot revolves around five strangers, all misfits, who find themselves at a singles table at a wedding. After an excess of alcohol they decide the solution to all their problems is buying a big five bedroom house together.
Stewart is Liz, a once high-flying lawyer who has fallen from grace. Peacocke is Ben, a tradie who lives in a caravan. Younane is Heather, a middle-aged woman who is at the crossroads of her life and landlord to Ainsley (Robertson).
Ainsley is secretly in love with Lachlan (Sheridan), who has a toxic marriage with Melanie (Jenkinson). Joseph is Harry, an Indian surgeon who cannot bring himself to tell his mother that he’s gay.
Stewart is “at the height of her powers,” Peacocke gets the chance to show his comedic chops after roles in Wanted and Home and Away and Younane’s Heather is the dark heart of the show, according to Templeman.
Katie Robertson on set with Templeman.
He’s similarly pleased with the supporting cast including Alan Dukes as Heather’s husband, Roz Hammond and Adam Fiorentino. He directed four episodes and Corrie Chen and Fiona Banks each did two.
The director met Lucas when they were studying at AFTRS and they then spent several years developing projects, mostly features, which Templeman now acknowledges were not good enough to pitch to producers or funding agencies.
He is grateful for Goalpost Pictures’ Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne for giving him his first break: directing the kids series Lockie Leonard.
Lucas wrote the screenplay of Templeman’s 2012 movie Not Suitable for Children, which starred Ryan Kwanten, Ryan Corr and Sarah Snook in her first lead role.
He doubts a film like that could be made today, given the tough climate for financing and distributing indie films, but says he’s keen to direct another feature “if I knew it would find a home.”
His next gig will be directing two episodes of the Every Cloud Productions and ITV Studios Australia’s SeaChange reboot for the Nine Network, joining Wayne Blair – an old mate, going back to Lockie Leonard – Chen and Kevin Carlin.
With Roadshow Rough Diamond’s John Edwards and Dan Edwards he is developing En Masse, a six-part series which he describes as a psychological thriller about tribalism and pack mentality.
Five Bedrooms series producer Pino Amenta has said he can see the show lasting for five seasons. Templeman would be happy to go again.
Check back tomorrow for an interview with Michael Lucas and Christine Bartlett.