Rob Carlton – who last year won widespread acclaim for his portrayal of the media mogul in ABC mini-series Paper Giants: The Birth Of Cleo – will not reprise the role in Channel 9′s Packer story in Howzat!
Scheduled to debut later this year, the mini-series will instead feature Lachy Hulme (Offspring) as the former owner of the Nine network.
According to a source, the decision to replace Carlton was made after Hulme’s audition tape impressed program producer, Southern Star’s John Edwards, and Nine Entertainment CEO David Gyngell.
The source said Gyngell, who thought Carlton was outstanding in Paper Giants, was “blown away” by Hulme’s portrayal of Packer – with whom Gyngell was extremely close.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Carlton confirmed he was recently told his services were no longer needed.
“I had a fantastic time on Paper Giants and was proud of the work I did,” Carlton said. “Obviously I was really looking forward to doing Kerry Packer with Channel 9 and I thought that’s what we were all moving towards.
“My understanding was we were in the middle of negotiations with John Edwards … and then he told my agent he had decided to move in a different direction with the lead character and that’s as much as I know.”
Ironically, Carlton is nominated to win an AACTA Award this week for his performance in Paper Giants. Carlton will also act as a presenter at Tuesday’s lavish industry event.
“I’m looking forward to getting together with my colleagues from the industry and having a fun night,” Carlton said of the rebranded awards.
Howzat! – set to explore Packer’s creation of World Series Cricket in the ’70s – will be the second Nine series helmed by Hulme this year, with his portrayal of trapped miner Todd Russell in Beaconsfield to soon debut.
Carlton, meanwhile, will soon be seen in feature films, Questions For Ben, and Mental, with appearances in ABC’s Mabo and the new Andrew Denton game show, Randling. He is currently starring in local Foxtel series Conspiracy 365 that airs on FMC.
Source – The Daily Telegraph