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The Sydney Morning Herald


Date: 25/02/1992
Words: 1117
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 20

Over my dead body: Sydney-based film-maker David Caesar is working his way back from mort to vive, after a fashion. Caesar made his name with Bodywork, a documentary on the funeral industry that packed them in in Sydney before delighting television audiences in Britain and Canada. But that sort of thing is behind him now.

Caesar is putting the finishing touches to a feature film, Greenkeeping, set in the world of lawn bowls, for release later in the year. But, even better, he has just been contracted to direct seven episodes of The Flying Doctors and is in negotiation with the producers of GP.

So much for corpses. Soon Caesar will be out there putting such luminaries as Maurie Fields, David Reyne and Sophie Lee through their paces. Greatness at last, in other words.

"I'm looking forward to working with a live cast," the stylishly dishevelled director told us. "Mind you, dead actors have their good points: no tantrums, no dialogue problems, and you can always count on them to be there on time."


Charity is the word: The cast of constructivist epic Grease will be strutting their stuff for a good cause on Sunday. The whole mob, plus performers from previous Grease casts, will be out there at the Footbridge Theatre, singing, dancing and generally making fools of themselves, with all profits going to the AIDS Trust.

Billed as a "spectacular" (spectacular what?), the show will be titled Mega Mixed Up, and will begin at 8 pm, after the usual matinee program.

But the real tease, the real sugar at the heart of all this, involves that veteran showman Donny Sutherland, the video hero who for 14 years hosted the Sounds music television program and who more recently has been holding down the part of Vince the DJ in Grease. Younger readers won't remember this but Donny was once a music star in his own right. He even recorded the hit songs Fairy Land and Dancing Man in 1969 and 1977. Might Sunday be the day when, once again, he gives the pipes a workout? We live in hope.


Rough trade: Every now and then a record company gets lucky. More often they don't. Killing Time was a promising young five-piece band when it was signed last year by the recording conglomerate Red Eye-Polydor.

The band had been formed shortly before by Sydney guitarist Jed Starr who, with a drummer friend, joined a Melbourne-based three-piece. The result was so impressive that, for the first time in their lives, the four musicians and one singer had to fight off the recording companies with a stick. They did eventually sign, with rumours of an advance as high as $250,000 sweeping the industry. So far, so good.

But it didn't take long for things to start going wrong. The bass player, a young woman, had been "going out with" the singer. The relationship failed and the two stopped talking. Then everyone got upset with the drummer and he was asked to leave. Finally, Jed, the man who had put it all together, fell out with the others and quit the band.

Red Eye-Polydor, however, is persevering. "This band has a big future,"said Polydor's Tim Prescott. "We're committed."


It's a hard life: The quintessential smalltown boy, John Cougar Mellencamp, lets all his woes hang out in the March edition of Esquire:

Q: Are you close to your family?

A: I'm kind of, I guess, the oddball. Even though they don't want to, they treat me differently. I know they think they don't but they do. They are constantly bombarded with John Mellencamp s--t. They get sick of it; they kind of resent me. But all in all, everybody's been pretty supportive.

Q: What's it like being you?

A: I'm f-----g bored to death all the time.

Q: What does it feel like when you're singing?

A: It don't feel like nothing good.

Q: Do you like yourself?

A: Sometimes. I'm not quite sure what it is that makes me so unhappy. Maybe it's just being sorry for myself, which most people don't see. It's not like I weep about anything. But I get sick and tired of myself.

Q: What do you feel sorry about?

A: That I'm a self-indulgent pig.

Q: You choose to be that way?

A: Absolutely. I do it because I can. I hate that part.

(Later) If I'm just a footnote to Springsteen - that's OK | I can live with that now. I said it once a long time ago and I caught so much s--t: ideals are for teenagers.

Q: What's for adults?

A: Reality.

Joining the lemming-like rush by rock stars into celluloid, Mellencamp stars in and directs a new feature film, Falling From Grace, about a famous country and western singer who returns to his home town.


Nothing will divide us: The taunting had gone on for years. The allusions. The innuendo. But now the father of Jason Donovan is mad as hell and he isn't going to take it any more. "It makes my blood boil," an angry Terry Donovan, 50, told Woman's Own magazine. "I'm not where I am because of Jason. Quite the opposite. The boy is where he is because of me."

He has a point. Donovan snr has featured in a number of Australian productions over the years, including the films Breaker Morant and The Man From Snowy River. These days, as soap fans will know, he is a dominating presence in the gripping Australian drama Neighbours, where he plays father-of-four Doug Willis.

Debate still continues as to whether Terry landed that particular role on the coat-tails of his incredibly famous son. "That would be unfair," ruled this column's soap consultant, Bob J. Homez. "Terry has long been established as one of Australia's premier B-grade actors. He has put 20 years into building that reputation. Let's not take that away from him."

Back in real life, Terry raised Jason on his own after his wife Sue left when the future pin-up was but a three-year-old. A second marriage also ended in divorce last year. Jason was said to be "heartbroken", especially when his former stepmother sold her story to the tabloid press. As Terry says: "After all the false stories Jason has had to endure, the nonsensical claims that he's gay or involved with drugs, then there was this, and from someone he loved so deeply. That young lad of mine is one hell of an inspiration to all the other kids who dream of that elusive thing called stardom."

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