Fans of the ‘Underbelly’ series will be glad to know their favourite portal into Australia’s criminal underworld is back with a vengeance, complete with its trademark mix of violence, profanity and nudity.
Fat Tony & Co follows on from the hit 2008 show and charts Tony Mokbel’s rise from pizza maker and small time crook to vicious drug lord.
Jake Ryan portrays Mark Moran in the show, a central figure in the Melbourne gangland killings and a key member of the infamous Moran family
“The Morans were a very influential crime family in the 1990s but there is not much known about Mark,” Jake says, while in Brisbane for a preview screening of Fat Tony & Co.
“He sat back from attention but he was still a very dangerous man, in my personal opinion. In Melbourne everybody knows that family and everybody has their own story to tell about them.
“During my research for the role I read a lot about the family, Judy Moran’s book My Story is excellent, which tells us more about the world they grew up in and really established who they were as people.
“I had just come from filming the show Wentworth when I starting filming Fat Tony and I’d put on a lot of weight for that first role.
“So I had to quickly get in shape for Fat Tony because one thing that was widely known about Mark was that he was very fit, he was obsessed with it and the way he looked.”
While in Brisbane the Fat Tony & Co cast joked they’d stayed on the actor’s good side while filming the series due to his black belt in Taekwondo, but for his part Jake said he was focused on telling a true story.
“Everybody knows about the events that lead to this story, it’s all been so well covered and it’s part of our history,” he says. “We were conscious while filming that these cases are ongoing and we were portraying real people. People who had families and loved ones who would be watching it.
“But Australians are drawn to criminals. They are just so drawn to these people and love their stories, but because some of these cases have yet to be solved and people are still in jail there are still a lot of unresolved issues to be dealt with.
“Right now we just hope people are enjoying the show.”