As Fat Pizza Vs Housos arrives in cinemas this week, X-Press catches up with creator, director, writer, star, prod….well, you get it, he’s the guy responsible for the lot – Paul Fenech. We find out how this combination of two of his successful TV series came about, what he thinks of political correctness and what it’s like for him behind the camera.
“So many fans asking for more Fat Pizza, but so many fans of Housos as well, I couldn’t drop one to do the other one. I couldn’t decide, so I just put them both together. I was listening to all the people out there. I wanted something for both of them. It’s a bit like a threesome, there’s three interested parties and we all had to get together,” Fenech jokes. “ Some people accuse us of looking down on the stereotypes we portray. Well, actually, most of the people in our show is pretty close to the characters. I guess we’re with the people of Australia, not looking down on them. We’re with everyone. I don’t think we are mainstream, but we have a lot of people that like it from all walks of life.”
As for that dreaded term politically correct, “I hate it mate. It’s attacking our humour. The best thing Australia has in it’s culture is its sense of humour. It’s the number one best quality as it is how Australians relate to each other. These stooges from above want to make it difficult just to have a joke, just to be yourself, just to be an individual. It’s like all they want us to be is… I dunno… a bunch of really boring people that sit around and watch TV and buy stuff. I fight it, mate, I fight it. I just hate it.”
Over the years, Fenech has invested a great deal of time and energy on his various projects. Both in front of, and behind the camera. “This is my fourth film, I’ve made about 110 hours of TV in the last 12 years and a stage show. It was a good crew…” Fenech pauses, “I don’t know how I’m going to say it… whenever you make a film, it’s always masochistic, it’s never easy. If you can choose lying on a beach drinking pina coladas, or making a film, only the idiots are going to pick making a film, ‘cos it’s hard. It’s always hard. But I’m a masochistic, I always seem to get some pleasure in the pain.”
There is a method to the madness, as Fenech tries to get things on time and on budget. “We don’t get a lot of money to make our stuff. That’s one way we survive, we’re never too expensive. We kind of put in edgy kind of material. Whenever you don’t have money you have to be smart. I remember I was on the set of Babe 2 and they took six hours for one shot. That would be 75 per cent of our whole day, so we couldn’t afford something like that. We give a structure to the characters that comes with the chaos. We certainly leave a lot of room for the actors to ad lib, and go a little wild, that’s where the magic comes out.”
With more Bogan Hunters due out next year and another comedy film in the works, it seems like Fenech will be around for a while.