Adam Zwar has had fun promoting his new ABC comedy, Lowdown, to journalists.
After all they are the subject of it. Specifically, entertainment journalists, their lifestyle and ethics.
“They seemed to be really happy that someone’s writing about something that relates to them,” says Zwar. “Someone’s made a show about them.
“Our goal has always been to make this show very sympathetic towards journalists, instead of a cliche. We’re on their side.”
As Zwar tells TV Tonight, his character, Sunday Sun reporter ‘Alex,’ will go to great lengths to land a scoop.
“Alex will always go in as hard on any story as he can, but we’re sympathetic towards him. It’s told from his point of view.
“It’s been good to speak to a lot of journos who have seen the show and they seemed relieved by the newsroom authenticity and the trials that they go through everyday.”
Zwar (Wilfred) is both star and co-writer of the ABC series, developed with director Amanda Brotchie. It is loosely based on his own experiences as a showbiz reporter for a tabloid newspaper.
“I always told stories of what went on in the rough and tumble of showbiz tabloid and Amanda thought it would make good drama and comedy. We kind of set out to make a feature film first and that morphed its way into an 8 part TV series.
“Anything getting up in this country is a bit of a miracle,. Whether it’s a feature film or TV show a lot of planets have to be aligned. You have to have some good people in your corner and we were fortunate enough to have that, and hopefully a good product.”
Joining him in the series are Paul Denny, Beth Buchanan, Dailan Evans, Kim Gyngell, Julia Zemiro and Ashley Zukerman. Narrated by Geoffrey Rush, it will also feature guest appearances by Craig McLachlan, Sullivan Stapleton, Rob Sitch, Judith Lucy, Emily Barclay, Caroline O’Connor, Steve Bisley and Martin Sacks. The theme song is performed by Nick Cave.
But Zwar veered away from the temptation of having stars play themselves dubious about featuring celebrities who couldn’t really act.
“We don’t just want to do actors, or singers who can act. We want to portray sportsmen, politicians and hopefully in a future series, chefs. But we’ve got too much respect for the acting profession for those kind of people to be playing themselves. We want to write good drama and comedy and that requires good comic actors.
“It’s not Frontline, it’s not Extras. We always try to get someone high profile to play the ‘stars’ in the show. But if you ask them to play themselves maybe they will be a little bit self-conscious about it.”
In the first episode Alex scores an interview with a Tantra-loving, Buddhist rock god, played by Anthony Ahern, while coping with an alarming diagnosis from his doctor and dealing with a frought Editor of an ailing newspaper.
Zwar admits he is also trying to look on the bright side of the series premiering against some impossible heavyweight competition tonight.
“I see Hey Hey as the John Howard of Australian comedy. Lowdown is Keating, doing the top button up on the Zegna and pouring a bucketload over Hewson. It’s got a little bit of style, it’s smarter and hopefully funnier,” he says.
“It’s madness but it’s good for Australian television. I’d rather be in that crowd than put on some quiet night. I think it’s pretty exciting.”
The series premieres tonight at 9pm on ABC1.
“All I can do is appeal to the rebelliousness of the Australian public to switch on and have a look!”