Principal photography has just concluded on a project that I believe will herald in the resurgence of the Australian film industry and reshape world-wide thinking as to the quality of all aspects of our local product.
It’s called The PM’s Speech and some of the rushes I’ve been privileged to have watched left me both gobsmacked and proud to be Australian! Ah, the quality of the writing! The performances! The cinematography! The Score!
I’m not giving anything away – I believe the film’s promotional poster (below) has exploded onto social media platforms – to say this project is an iteration of the 2010 classic The King’s Speech, and Geoffrey Rush indeed reprises his role as speech therapist Lionel Logue.
But this is set in modern times as Logue helps a fictional Australian Prime Minister overcome quite dreadful speech impediments – namely he can’t get through any media conference of any length without botching any number of words or more than two syllables or more.
Oh, who are we kidding. The character played by Shaun Micallef is clearly well known to us all.
As Micallef explained to me overnight after he had completing a couple of final establishing shots around Parliament House in Canberra: “My character is a master of marketing in so many ways but his main drawback is that he’s as dumb as batshit. What do we say? He’s a sandwich short of a picnic basket? The lift doesn’t go right up to the top floor?
“He looks the part but the trouble is he can’t pronounce words at all well. For example, when he’s trying to get across the message that only his side of politics are sound economic managers, the ‘managers’ come out as ‘mangers’.
“I mean this guy is either dumb or perpetually pissed or both. That’s my best guess.
“So yes, of course it’s Scott Morrison. I mean really, watch Magda Szubanski’s wonderful turn at the PM’s wife and it’s gotten Jenny Morrison written all over it.
“Logue quickly ascertains that the PM only stumbles over words when he’s lying so he’s aware of the enormous task ahead of him.”
While I don’t want to give too much away about this movie that would have had 2020 Oscar glory stamped all over it if it could have premiered last year, the basic story line is that PM Morrison … sorry, Matthews… has to give a speech explaining why he’s calling a general election a year early.
With his polling numbers starting to fall and the mainstream media almost in one voice clamouring for him to take the drive out to Yarralumla while he can still win, Morrison … sorry, Mathews … realises that his speech to launch the campaign has to match the image he has created for himself.
He knows that to say “guvment” instead of “government”, “stabity” instead of “stability”, “recovy” instead of “recovery” and other mistakes like that could be fatal for his election chances.
He can’t afford to come across as someone even dumber than Pauline Hanson even if he is.