Underbelly is back in 2017 with Chopper.
Is it Underbelly though or is it just a bio on Chopper?
The groundbreaking Underbelly phenomenon is back with the untold, uncut story of Mark “Chopper” Read, Australia’s most notorious gangster, who cut a swathe through the criminal underworld in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
Underbelly Files: Chopper will be produced by the makers of Underbelly, Screentime, for Nine.
I was hoping for a remake of the Ten series Chopper Squad.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Underbelly has been really hit and miss over the years. I’d say probably two good seasons (and all of the telemovies were quite well done.
The first two seasons were fantastic but after that the following stuff has been quite meh…
Will be interesting to see how this goes after a decent break between series.
With all the gang shootings going on in Sydney at the moment that is sure to become the topic of a future Underbelly series.
The story is still in development.
Badness was really good (aside from the title…)
Each to their own. ‘Badness’ really didn’t hold my interest, and the following series really were bad (that’s putting it mildly)!
AARON JEFFERY AND MICHAEL CATON TO STAR IN NINE’S CHOPPER
The ground-breaking Underbelly phenomenon returns with the untold, uncut story of Mark “Chopper” Read.
Award-winning actor Aaron Jeffery, winner of two Logies, will play the infamous “Chopper”. Australian film and television legend and two-time Logie Award winner Michael Caton will play Chopper’s father, Keith, the Nine Network announced today.
New Zealand-born Jeffery is best known for roles in hit Australian dramas Wentworth, McLeod’s Daughters and Water Rats as well as Kiwi drama Outrageous Fortune. Jeffery is no stranger to the Underbelly series after portraying Frank ‘Tink’ O’Rourke in Underbelly: Badness and Geoff Leyland in Underbelly Files: The Man Who Got Away.
Caton has starred in some of Australia’s most successful television productions during his 48 year-career. He became a household name in the ‘70s for roles in The Sullivans, Cop Shop and Homicide. Caton’s portrayal of the lovable Darryl Kerrigan in the cult feature film The Castle made him an Australian hero. Other highlights include Packed to the Rafters while major film roles include Strange Bedfellows and the highly- acclaimed Last Cab to Darwin.
“Chopper” Reid was one of Australia’s most notorious gangsters. He cut a swathe through the nation’s criminal underworld in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.
"Underbelly redefined Australian drama when it first exploded onto our screens in 2008,” said Nine Network co-heads of drama Andy Ryan and Jo Rooney.
“Now after a four-year break, it’s back with the riveting untold story of Australia’s most notorious and audacious gangster. This is “Chopper” as you’ve never seen him before, and who better to portray this larger-than-life criminal than multiple Logie and AACTA-award-winner Aaron Jeffery, with the outstanding Michael Caton as his father, Keith.”
Underbelly Files: Chopper will be produced by the makers of Underbelly, Screentime, for Nine and has received production investment funding from Screen Australia.
Production of the mini-series starts in Melbourne in July.
But like everything in Australian television, if something works the life must be squeezed from it as quickly and fiercely as possible.
Rather than peering over at their neighbour’s homework and copying what they have before popping a new title on it (Seven Year Switch and Married at First Sight, MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules and that dreadful crack Nine had a few years ago, The Block and House Rules and Renovation Rumble), wouldn’t we prefer to them to go and grab an old assignment that earned an A+ and rewrite it a little to get the same grade again?
While it would be preferable to come up with new ideas (Love Child, Wanted and Offspring being fine examples from each commercial network on how original ideas can be hugely successful) the less cynical grabs for viewers eyeballs, by offering a bland diet of exactly what everyone else is having, the better.
Sunday Herald Sun reports filming began in Melbourne last week, and Vince Colosimo reprises his role as Alphonse Gangitano in the drama. He portrayed Gangitano in the first Underbelly series in 2008.
EDIT: Herald Sun adds Debra Byrne will reprise her role as crime patriarch Judy Moran, which she last played in Fat Tony & Co in 2014.
Sunday Herald Sun today reveals further cast for the 2 part mini series, which will air next year. It includes Todd Lasance as Syd Collins, Ella Scott Lynch as Mark “Chopper” Read’s second wife Margaret, Zoe Ventoura as Read’s first wife Mary Ann, Kevin Harrington as Lewis Moran, Jane Allsop, Reef Ireland, Alex Tsitsopoulos and Anna Bamford.
UNDERBELLY FILES: CHOPPER
Destined to be one of the most dynamic programs in Australian television history, Underbelly Files: Chopper has commenced filming.
Created by Screentime, producers of the trailblazing Underbelly franchise, this two-part mini-series will, for the first time, explore the dilemma faced by this notorious criminal as he struggled to reconcile his two competing identities – Chopper, the colourful underworld figure, and Mark Brandon Read, the man who craved a quiet life far from the public arena.
Starring award-winning actor Aaron Jeffery (Wentworth, McLeod’s Daughters, Water Rats) as Chopper, an outstanding cast will feature alongside him, including two-time Logie Award winner Michael Caton (The Castle, Packed to the Rafters) as Chopper’s father, Keith, Todd Lasance (The Vampire Diaries) as Chopper’s nemesis, gangster Syd Collins, and Ella Scott Lynch (Love Child) who will portray his second wife, Margaret, with whom he shared a love that defied obstacles and lasted decades.
The impressive cast will also include Zoe Ventoura as Chopper’s first wife, Mary Ann, Jane Allsop, Reef Ireland, Alex Tsitsopoulos and Anna Bamford, with original Underbelly alumni Vince Colosimo and Kevin Harrington returning as Alphonse Gangitano and Lewis Moran, and Debra Byrne reprising her portrayal of Judy Moran.
Underbelly Files: Chopper will be produced by Kerrie Mainwaring and Karl Zwicky, with Screentime’s Chief Executive Officer, Rory Callaghan, and Executive Chairman, Bob Campbell, executive producers alongside the Nine Network’s joint Heads of Drama, Jo Rooney and Andy Ryan. Peter Andrikidis, who helmed several episodes of Fat Tony & Co. as well as the seminal season of Underbelly, will direct the mini-series, which has been written by Justin Monjo. Underbelly aficionados, cinematographer Joe Pickering and production designer Paddy Reardon, will also return.
“With this new take on the Mark ‘Chopper’ Read story Screentime is delighted to be reuniting our ‘A team’ for a mesmerising mini-series which will bring the fourth instalment of Underbelly: Files to Nine for 2018, in classic style,” Bob Campbell said.
Nine’s Andy Ryan and Jo Rooney said: “As a hardened gangster and loving family man, ‘Chopper’ Read was one of Australia’s most complex and compelling crooks. Prepare to be shocked and entertained as Aaron Jeffery brings a whole new dimension to the Chopper legend, supported by many of Australia’s finest actors.”
Underbelly Files: Chopper, a Screentime production in association with Nine Network, will be filmed on location in Melbourne throughout August and go to air on the Nine Network next year. International distribution will be through DRG.
Probably one of the few things on TV next year I’mlooking forward to.
I agree that subsequent series weren’t as good as the first 2 but I still enjoyed them.
As stated there hasn’t been one for four years so it’s the cliche of how can you miss it if it won’t go away.
Channel Nine have just announced Underbelly: Chopper will air Sunday Feb 11 and Monday Feb 12.
I don’t know why but I thought this was a series? Not a movie event? I’m a bit disappointed.
It does have the Underbelly Files branding previously used for three telemovies.
UNDERBELLY FILES: CHOPPER PREMIERES OVER TWO MASSIVE NIGHTS
Sunday 11 February at 8.30pm
Monday 12 February at 9.00pm
The untold story of Mark “Chopper” Read will be revealed when Underbelly Files: Chopper premieres on Nine and 9Now over two massive nights – Sunday, February 11, at 8.30pm and Monday, February 12, at 9.00pm after Married at First Sight.
Starring award-winning actor Aaron Jeffery (Wentworth, McLeod’s Daughters, Water Rats) as Chopper, an outstanding cast will feature alongside him, including two-time Logie Award winner Michael Caton (The Castle, Packed to the Rafters) as Chopper’s father, Keith, Todd Lasance (The Vampire Diaries) as Chopper’s nemesis, the gangster Syd Collins, and Ella Scott Lynch (Love Child) who will portray his second wife, Margaret, with whom he shared a love that defied obstacles and lasted decades.
The impressive cast also includes Zoë Ventoura as Chopper’s first wife, Mary Ann, Jane Allsop, Reef Ireland, Alex Tsitsopoulos and Anna Bamford, with original Underbelly alumni Vince Colosimo and Kevin Harrington returning as Alphonse Gangitano and Lewis Moran, and Debra Byrne reprising her portrayal of Judy Moran.
Mark “Chopper” Read established a reputation of infamy by becoming one of the toughest criminals in Australian history. But in order to secure the affections of the woman he loves, Chopper fights to go straight. Yet the sins of his past, his ego and an ongoing feud with Syd Collins will make his hopes of a straight life a dangerous and near-impossible enterprise. Underbelly Files: Chopper explores the collision of Chopper’s two competing identities – the myth and the man.
Aaron Jeffery said: “As a character in the show that we’re creating, he did some brutal, horrific things to people. But there was also a flipside to his personality that could be gentle, kind, and loving. And that juxtaposition of the human spirit is something that I find fascinating.”
Nine’s co-heads of drama, Andy Ryan and Jo Rooney, said: “As a hardened gangster and loving family man, “Chopper” Read was one of Australia’s most complex and compelling crooks. Prepare to be shocked and entertained as Aaron Jeffery brings a whole new dimension to the Chopper legend, supported by many of Australia’s finest actors.”
Underbelly Files: Chopper is a Screentime production in association with the Nine Network with production investment from Screen Australia and Film Victoria.