Dundee drama: Josh Lawson plays his comedy hero in Hoges
AN ENTIRE nation is waiting to see if Josh Lawson has pulled off the role of a lifetime in Seven's Paul Hogan biopic Hoges.
But the only person's opinion that matters to the Brisbane-raised actor and comedy is that of the man himself.
"We had some big, long chats (on the phone) and he was absolutely supportive and helpful," Lawson told News Regional Media's The Guide shortly after filming wrapped on the series.
"The more I got to know him the more I liked him and, if anything, the more pressure I put on myself then to tell his story so that he would like it and be proud of it.
"I know expectations are really high, but the most important thing for me is that Paul likes it and that I protect his legacy."
That legacy spans more than 40 years, from The Paul Hogan Show to the blockbuster Crocodile Dundee film franchise and, more recently, the Aussie comedy Charlie & Boots.
WATCH: Nikki Osborne talk about playing Delvene Delaney
"I was born in the 1980s, so my first introduction (to Paul) was Crocodile Dundee," Lawson says.
"As I got older and started to move into the world of comedy that's when I went back and retroactively watched The (Paul Hogan) Show as a teenager. I think he's absolutely critical in Australia's comedy history.
"When a lot of people say Aussies have got a very specific sense of humour, I think they're talking about the sense of humour Paul cemented in his act as Hoges - that rough and tumble Aussie larrikin making fun of the fat cats. That working class, blue collar comedy was what Hoges was all about."
Lawson believes Hogan handled his meteoric rise to international fame, and the intense media scrutiny on his divorce from his first wife Noelene Edwards (played by Justine Clarke) and subsequent marriage to his Crocodile Dundee co-star Linda Kozlowski (played by Laura Gordon), as best he could.
"He seems to me to be the same person he's always been - a very humble, generous, sensitive man. But I think it's hard to be completely unaffected by that world of Hollywood and fame.
"I think he handled it as well as anyone could have and retained his personality. He's never been anything other than a really down to earth Aussie bloke."
The mini-series features recreations of iconic scenes from The Paul Hogan Show, featuring Ryan Corr as John 'Strop' Cornell and Nikki Osborne as Delvene Delaney.
"Those who lived it are going to get a real kick out of how authentically we've recreated it, and those born after that time will have a different sort of experience but it will be just as fun," Lawson says.
Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story premieres on Sunday at 8.30pm on Channel 7.