:— How the West

was fun

Paul Hogan tells Ann Donald about comedy western Lightning Jack.

The soft-spoken Australian comfortably ensconced in the environs of an upmarket Glasgow hotel looks thoroughly at odds with the rough-shod character he portrays in his latest film. At 53. Paul Hogan has jumped onto Hollywood's summer Western bandwagon with his lightweight comedy Lightning Jack.

‘There’s not one guy who runs a studio who has ever made a movie or even a cartoon or an advert.’

Scripted and co-produced by Hogan. the film doesn‘t deviate in targeting his loyal family fun audience. it‘s a vaguely chuckle-filled romp through Big Marlboro Country. faithful to a formula of goodies versus baddies, shootin’. n'din'. and a love interest thrown in for good measure. Very much Hogan‘s star vehicle. his oddball bank- robber Lightning Jack Kane undertakes the task of initiating mute sidekick Ben

(Cuba Gooding Jnr) into the hazardous

life of a lawbreaker.

Today. the only concession Hogan makes to the wild west is an ironed plaid shirt and the polished cowboy boots that he’s sporting. As a man who professes to spend more time in recreation than working he flits between his two homes in Colorado and Bryson Bay. Australia Hogan understandably exudes an air of calmness. This may be attributable to two things. Firstly, the fact that Lightning Jack has raked in $17 million since its release in the US eleven weeks ago. thus easing the financial pressure. ()r secondly, it may be Hogan‘s confirmed allegiance to life's slow-lane after his near-death experience of a

lightning Jack: ‘a vaguely chuckle-tilled romp' cerebral haemorrhage in l‘)8(i. lie pooh-poohs the incident. equating it to ‘a giant hand coming down to slap you on the wrist as a reminder not to get too carried away with yourself’. With usual understatement. he concedes that ‘it slows you down fora second but I‘ve got my life in control.‘

The only visible pressure on Hogan today is that exerted by the intense promotional tour. though he views this as part of the commitment to the investors'. For Lightning Jitt'k is the first tilm ever to have its $25 million budget raised through the Australian Stock Exchange. trading under the name ofthe Lightning Jack Film Foundation. Though distinctly dubious

about any future collaborations between the worlds of showbusiness and the stock market, Hogan does feel an obligation to his private investors rather than the Hollywood conglomerates. ‘lf you lose a few million for the Sony Corporation or Paramount well. who cares?’ he laughs. ‘But when you know the punters, then it‘s different.‘

in fact. Hogan harbours a genuine dislike ofall things that smack ofthe glitzy Hollywood movie-machine. ‘lt's an industry run by businessmen and marketing men. not filmmakers or entertainers.’ he says with disdain. ‘There‘s not one guy who runs a studio who has ever made a movie or even a cartoon or an advert.’ Warming to the subject. he continues: ‘l wouldn’t mind if] sat down in a room with Robin Williams and Billy Crystal and they said. “Listen. this isn't funny". But I don‘t want to sit in a boardroom with some marketing man telling me the same thing.‘

Though riled by the pony-tailed financial whizz-kids of Tinseltown, Hogan appears to be a glowing tribute to the Antipodean pursuit ofthe laidback ideal. Financially. he never has to work again and professes to have no burning desire to do anything more challenging than the odd comedy every two or three years. Like his immortal creation Mick Dundee, Hogan puts his loyal Australian following down to a simple fact. ‘People know that I don't give a shit. Our national psyche is don‘t take yourself too seriously, or anyone else for that matter.’

Lightning Jack opens on Friday I.

Is that a I‘i'i/ig'e Programme in

his pocket or is

he just Iti ‘ilh‘t‘ti

to see volt?

The 1994 FRINGE PROGRAMME is now available From hundreds of outlets all over the UK. To be sure of your copy, send us 70p in

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The biggeSt

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The List l—l4 July 1994 25