Austinmer actor back in jail for latest film

CONVICT (MA)

Stars: George Basha, David Field, David Roberts, Millie Rose Heywood

Directors: George Basha and David Field 

Now showing in selected cinemas

Character actor David Field may be known for playing psychos, sadists and standover men, but it wasn't supposed to be that way.

"All I wanted to do when I started was comedy, but I did Ghosts of the Civil Dead in '85-86 and that was the end of it," Field says.

The lead role in Ghosts of the Civil Dead was also Field's movie debut.

He's back in jail for his latest film, Convict - though he plays the warden rather than an inmate.

He also co-directs the film with its star and writer George Basha. The pair last worked on Basha's debut, 2009's The Combination.

In Convict, Basha plays Ray Francis, a soldier who returns from the Middle East and ends up in jail for manslaughter after killing a young man while defending his fiancee. Field's warden is a sadistic soul who ensures Francis is brutalised on behalf of the young man's father.

Despite the pair's connection on The Combination, Field - who lives in Austinmer - wasn't too sure about this latest role.

"With this one, he rang me and said: 'I've got the script and I think I've got the money'," Field says.

"I read the script and I went, 'ahh, I don't know, I've done so much jail stuff'. I've done more time in prison than half the crims in there.

"I said 'no' a couple of times and he talked me into it. 'Come on, help me. Come and direct it so we can get this thing going'.

"I thought, OK, let's make it. Then once you're committed to it, you give it your all."

The path to production for Convict was far easier than The Combination, which took Basha and Field 10 years to see it on the screen. But Field says Basha still had to work to find the money to make the film, with the government and the industry not all that interested in the worlds he portrays in his films.

"I think that's a bit of a shame that there hasn't been an interest in what he's doing because it's the western suburbs of Sydney, just as I think the southern and western suburbs of Wollongong are places where I think the future of a lot of film and television stories are going to come from.

"That's where the population of Sydney really lives.

"The film industry, I don't think it invests enough in the western suburbs' world. George has done that very much by pushing his own cart.

"He's a pioneer in that he's giving the Arabic speaking community a voice in film.

"If you go out west, you find he's revered by a lot of people."

Field reckons Convict will be the last time you'll see him in prison - on either side of the bars. Instead, he's interested in trying something different, like the "love story about musicians" that he's writing and planning to film in the Illawarra.

"A lot of this next one will be shot around here.

"There are at least 12 or 14 scenes that will be shot around here," he says.

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