Veteran actors John Jarratt and Roger Ward speak about their scene stealing roles in Joseph Sims’ smartly scripted neo-noir crime thriller debut Bad Behaviour



“The weekend is about to kick off. With the ocean calm, the weather warm and the sun setting over the hills, two psychopathic siblings – Emma and Peterson, pit stop on their road trip of bloodshed at the sleepy beach-side town of Cecil Bay.”


An inventively stylish thriller headlining two recognisable movie veterans filmed on a shoestring budget is an absolute rarity these days. However first time writer-director Joseph Sims has achieved the seemingly impossible with his twisty, highly commendable psychopathic killer thriller debut Bad Behaviour. By masterfully interlinking out-of-sequence storylines involving murderers, coppers, teachers and teenagers Sims has provided a fresh take on the neo-noir crime film made popular by Quentin Tarantino 20 years ago – forcing audiences to question their character judgements right up until the unsettling and truly unforgettable climax.


In one of the stories John Jarratt plays a mild-mannered but disgruntled cop confronting the people who murdered his son – a character a world away from his gruesome Mick Taylor incarnation in the Wolf Creekhorror films. Was this role an attempt to prove his range I wonder? “I never think in those terms I always go for a descent script and am attracted to worthwhile projects,” says Jarratt speaking from the Adelaide set ofWolf Creek 2. So what elements in the story was he particularly attracted to? “It was just so unique. How it centred on teenage kids and the whole abomination of it – being a Dad, losing a kid – the horrendousness of this.”


Jarratt was also instrumental in alerting veteran character actor Roger Ward to producers for the instrumental role of a maniac debt collector. “Roger and I go way back,” admits Jarratt who starred in TV shows Matlock Police, The Outsiders and A Country Practice with Ward. “He has had a long and chequered career and often these Aussie actors get forgotten about.”

Apart from appearing in the remake of exploitation classic The Long Weekend, it’s been over a decade since Roger Ward featured in a movie. So what lured him back to the big screen for Bad Behaviour? “Initially the fact that Johnny Jarratt recommended me to producers and the writer/director was the only criteria I needed,” confirms the Mad Max and Turkey Shoot star. “John is not a person to mince words and he would not suggest I do something he didn’t feel worthwhile. Apparently the producers were having trouble casting my character and Johnny said. ‘What about Roger Ward’, so they grabbed me!”

Not that it was completely plain sailing for the 72 year old pro. “I did find my dialogue rather flowery and hard to remember but after discussing {my character’s} motives with the writer/director I was determined to do it as written,” he muses honestly. “It took me some time to come to grips with the lines and their meaning but I did master it.”

Indeed the character of Voyte Parker forms the dark foreboding heart of Bad Behaviour and Ward’s frenetic appearance, however brief, is a characteristically colourful one that etches itself onto the mind indelibly. But Ward has spent an entire career specialising in these gruff dangerous types. “I do love doing them,” he admits. “Most of my early work in films and television was in the tough guy realm so people remember me from that but I had a long stage career before and during that I covered the gamut of characterisation…but yes I usually end up as the asshole killer, which I don’t mind – it keeps me off the streets!”

Bad Behaviour is available to rent online or buy on DVD now at JB HIFI.

Interview Report with thanks to Oliver Pfeiffer
Freelance writer, Critic & Film Journalist

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