How Hawke lives on in The Crown
Australian actor Richard Roxburgh says he felt the pressure of playing Bob Hawke in Season 4 of The Crown even more acutely after the beloved former Australian prime minister had died just a few months earlier.
Roxburgh, whose new Australian family film Go! hits cinemas next week, won an AACTA Award in 2010 for the title role in the acclaimed telemovie Hawke, but says the mannerisms and voice didn't come back easily when he was approached to revive the role for the award-winning Netflix hit drama.
"It was actually a huge amount of work - I did SO much work towards recreating that," Roxburgh said.
"I guess you always just want to do due diligence with somebody who is so beloved and so deeply recognised by the Australian people. But also, you have to claim it and make it your own, which is of course what Olivia Colman has done so beautifully in her work as the Queen."
Roxburgh was tight-lipped about what his role will involve for the episodes expected to screen later this year but it's believed his scenes centre around Prince Charles and his wife Diana's 1983 visit to Australia.
He shot the scenes in Spain (standing in for Australia) and London last October, five months after the revered politician had died in Sydney at the age of 89.
"There was that haunting - not haunting in the ghostly sense - but I guess there was the shadow of that over it in the sense of the responsibility of it," he said.
Roxburgh said he was deeply affected by the death of Hawke in May, not just because he had studied his life so closely to play him, but for his contribution to the country and Australian politics.
"I loved him," he said.
"What a stunning individual he was for all of his flaws and all of the things that we know were his darknesses. But what an extraordinary individual and what a great political totem pole he was - and sorely missed.
"Not only for who he was but also for what he represented in Australian politics - a voice that was free and actually said what the f--- he meant and believed in stuff and held fast to it."
Roxburgh also said Hawke's leadership qualities and uncanny way of uniting the country would have been put to good use in the current bushfire crisis engulfing Australia.
"What's happening in these fires right now is obviously so devastating for all the people who are suffering, but it's devastating for Australians in a bigger sense because of what it's bringing to light about the lack of quality of our leadership," he said. "For such a young and dynamic nation to have such dinosaur-like, glacial thinking at the top is such a sad testimony about where we have got ourselves to."