Sam Worthington in a scene from the mini-series Deadline Gallipoli.
Sam Worthington in a scene from the mini-series Deadline Gallipoli. Matt Nettheim

Sam Worthington's new drama honours men who preserved truth

CHARLES Bean will go down in history as a man who made it his life's work to preserve Australia's war history.

The journalist and Australian War Memorial director is portrayed by NIDA graduate Joel Jackson in his screen debut in Foxtel's Deadline Gallipoli.

The two-part mini-series follows four war correspondents - Bean, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, Phillip Schuler and Keith Murdoch - through the failed Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.

"When I found out (I got the role) I was just relieved all those hours of hard work, and all the stress and anticipation had paid off for something," Jackson tells APN.

But the 23-year-old's work had only just begun. Across two, two-hour instalments, Joel portrays Bean's eye-opening journey from Cairo to Anzac Cove, where he witnessed the Gallipoli campaign in its entirety.

Joel Jackson stars as Charles Bean in a scene from Deadline Gallipoli.
Joel Jackson stars as Charles Bean in a scene from Deadline Gallipoli. Matt Nettheim

"What surprised me about him was the amount of personal recollections he would make in his diaries," he says.

"He wrote a lot, of course, in articles but all of the things he wrote in his journals were candid impressions the people in our story left upon him.

"He wrote beautiful descriptions of all these people. He was truly an observer. He loved humanity and even though he had a different way of interacting with it (the war) he wanted to be a part of it.

"Unlike Bartlett and Murdoch, he couldn't take it upon himself to leave the Cove. Once he realised his articles weren't being published, he took it upon himself to be the historian."

Joel Jackson as Charles Bean in Deadline Gallipoli.
Joel Jackson as Charles Bean in Deadline Gallipoli. Matt Nettheim

Sam Worthington stars as photographer-turned-reporter Phillip Schuler.

He also was an executive producer of the series, which stars Hugh Dancy as Bartlett, Charles Dance as Sir Ian Hamilton, Rachel Griffiths as Lady Hamilton and Bryan Brown as General William Bridges.

"Working with Sam was a real treat," Jackson says. "There was a lot of mentoring going on. I'm very lucky and grateful."

Joel also took inspiration from Matthew McConaughey's performance in True Detective for his own physical transformation as Bean's health deteriorated in the harsh conditions.

"I would go home at night (after filming) and have a hard think about it," he says.

"The war correspondents were men who were on the front line without a weapon.

"They saw terrible things; no wonder these men spent their lives letting every other generation know about it."

Deadline Gallipoli airs tonight and tomorrow at 8.30pm on Foxtel's Showcase channel.


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