Entertainment

Actors deliver words of strength about Australia's history

The group of Aussie actors who star in the History Channel special The People Speak.
The group of Aussie actors who star in the History Channel special The People Speak. Nick Wilson - Foxtel

AN ESTEEMED group of film, television and stage actors have united for The History Channel's special TV event.

Hosted by author Thomas Keneally, The People Speak features 25 actors and musicians delivering the letters, songs and speeches of rebels, visionaries and protesters from Australia's rich democratic past.

Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Ryan Kwanten, Rebecca Gibney and Jack Thompson are just some of the big names who take part in impassioned performances.

The People Speak - The History Channel - Sunday at 6.30pm Qld, 7.30pm NSW.

The two-hour special is inspired by the American format created by actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in 2009, when A-listers including Morgan Freeman, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder and Josh Brolin performed crucial moments in America's history.

Chandon Pictures and Paper Giants star Rob Carlton said he didn't have to think twice about participating in the readings, performed in front of a studio audience at Sydney's historic Carriageworks.

"I'm interested in history and the way it shapes our sense of self and obviously being story tellers, we're always leaning on the days that come before us," he said.

"Then there was the way they were going to stage it at the Carriageworks at Redfern as a one-night event. It just felt really special. When I found out the other people who had agreed to do it, then that turned the filming evening into something special."

Carlton said there was a "nervous energy" backstage among the actors.

"Everyone was anxiously pacing before their speeches," he said.

"It's a different performance style. We hadn't memorised the speeches, we were reading the speeches.

"It was like a performed reading, and so when you take actors out of their comfort zones there's a nervous energy."

In the introduction to the special, Carlton describes democracy as "self-correcting", which is something he says stems from the fundamental principle of transparency in democracy.

"Humans will always err and break the rules. People will act in self-interest and not the interests of everybody," he said.

"That's where democracy can step in and correct these things when they get out of hand.

"It reinvents itself every few years. We get to go to the ballot box and say 'we've had a bit of that, some of it was good and some of it was bad'.

"With the democratic process comes freedom of speech, and through that we can tap at the edges of the institutions that guide us."

Both of Carlton's readings are from the 1800s.

The first is colonial leader William Charles Wentworth making the case for the Emancipist Party.

"Wentworth was a libertarian. He was ahead of his time in terms of his thinking," he said.

"He was a man for all seasons; he was quite incredible."

His second reading could not be more different. It's an excerpt taken from Governor Gawler's 1838 speech about how Aboriginal people should imitate white men to assimilate into society.

"While I have every reason to believe his intentions were good, he perhaps wasn't quite as aware of the ramifications," Carlton said.

"The words are slightly villain-esque in a modern reading. No one wakes up and says 'I'm going to be a villain'.

"I believe he was trying to be as helpful as he possibly could, and I play it like that."

Topics:  actors australia history history channel tv show



Shorten's national caucus for Australia's first people

QUICK VISIT: Federal member for Oxley Milton Dick hosted Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at Hymba Yumba Community Hub in Springfield where they met with indigenous students and announced plans to form a national caucus aimed at increasing representation, voter enrolment and party representation among Australia's first people.

Opposition leader visits students at Hymba Yumba

NAME AND SHAME: Intoxicated driver cops $1100 fine

IN COURT: A man was fined more than $1000 for driving under the influence at Redbank.

Every Monday the QT publishes the names of drink and drug drivers

'Let's stop apologising for Ipswich'

Ipswich Mall, 2016.

The sooner we stop indulging stereotypes, the sooner they'll stop

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: Matt Damon's The Great Wall gets lost

The Great Wall feels about as artisanal as a fortune cookie. Its underlying message is just as trite.

Paul Murray listens to regions

Paul Murray is taking his Sky News show on the road to shine a spotlight on regional Australia.

Radio broadcaster wants viewers to 'turn up and fire up'

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

Jolie may have the kids, but Pitt has custody of Hollywood

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Carson Kressley brings 'camp' to I'm a Celebrity jungle

"I am not all Park Avenue and daffodils” ... Carson Kressley.

Meet the "campest” campmate to star on I'm a Celebrity.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mystery already solved

FILE- This undated file photo provided by Disney shows Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the film, \"Star Wars: The Force Awakens.\" Hasbro said it is changing its Star Wars Monopoly set after an 8-year-old girl became upset that Rey, the movie's female heroine, was not included as a figure along with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. (Disney/Lucasfilm via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

A key mystery surrounding the title of episode eight has been solved

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

This new property trend is emerging in Ipswich

Darren Boettcher.

Property owners seizing new opportunity

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!