RAW: Meet Lucas Pittaway Pt 2

He arrives 10 minutes late, but he has politely texted ahead. He steps in wearing a white t-shirt and grey jeans ripped open on one knee. That long straggly hair from the movie stills adorns his head but he is more diminutive than his film persona would suggest. But far from the morose, sullen, introspective character that he plays in Snowtown, Lucas Pittaway only knows how to light up a room. Smart, confident and assured, his deep brown eyes engage but the impish grin he features is the type Da Vinci has received 500 years of acclaim for. When he smiles, a fiesta of happiness radiates forth.

This time last year, Lucas, then 17, was considering a future as a mechanic in the army, as he roamed an Elizabeth shopping centre with his older brother Paul one Saturday afternoon. He had quit school just two months out from graduating because as he said ‘I had my licence and a job.’ That was as a pizza delivery boy – a real life Dougie if ever there was one.

As luck had it, it was Paul who first captured the attention of some casting agents on their last day out looking for suitable candidates for their film. A film about the horrors that went on just a few miles south on Main North Road in Salisbury but which will be forever remembered for the barrels full of decomposed body parts found in a disused bank vault at Snowtown in South Australia’s mid north.

Lucas was not there when they approached Paul; he was lurking elsewhere in a store when that happened but when he did appear it he also caught their eye and soon it was just him who was being groomed for a part. After three days of intense training and screen tests word came through, the investors liked what they had seen too and he had the role of Jamie Vlassakis – the lead role in a full length film – and this without a moment of prior actor’s training or experience. As Lucas recalled, his only previous theatrical performance was in a school play that never came to be.

Indeed it was not just Paul as a close associate who missed out to Lucas’ great fortune. His best mate, Ben, was down to the last two for one of the minor parts but his close connection with Pittaway was considered a potential issue when filming. So he too has only got to watch their mate on the screen and not play alongside him.

Given the notoriety of the crimes involved, playing the somewhat public Vlassakis figure threw up its challenges to both Pittaway and director Justin Kurzel. But Lucas is adamant this is no attempt to portray the real Vlassakis.

“What you see in Snowtown is not Lucas playing Lucas or Lucas Pittaway playing James Vlassakis but rather my depiction of Vlassakis”. With suppression orders, changes of identity and undisclosed locations, access to the real Vlassakis was not available, not that either Pittaway or director, Justin Kurzel, desired it.

The first time someone compared his looks to famous actors was when Lucas was working at Hungry Jacks. “I was serving this old lady and she said to me that I looked like Heath Ledger. I didn’t take much notice of it until I asked the other guys after and half of them immediately agreed. It had never occurred to me before.”

With different hair dos, Pittaway has also been compared to 127 Hours’ James Franco. “But I want to be clear, I am not doing this to imitate Ledger or anybody else, I am not looking to ride on the coattails of their looks. This is me out there.”

This is the only moment in our two hour chat and photo shoot that he gets at all defensive. Otherwise, the self proclaimed ‘modern man’, presents as one who is a natural in this sphere. His lateness came due to a visit to his girlfriend’s for some make-up.  Lucas possesses an instinctive feel for what a cameraman seeks; he fiddles with his shirt, his hair, his shoes as he prattles away for the ‘natural’ images.

But there is neither bemusement with his big break and his grasping of it nor conceit. He’s a kid enjoying the moment and being himself. For Tropfes, he tested the patience of distributors, Madman, by sleeping in after a big night which caused him to miss his plane. At the Adelaide Film Festival premiere, Kurzel had to upbraid him to wear some decent clothes but the moment he best remembers about that time in February was when the film ended. “It ended and all of a sudden you could hear a pin drop and there seemed to be this long silence. I thought, oh fuck they hate it. But then the applause rang out – we had made it,” Pittaway recalls.

It is just his world is different now or may be different now. Snowtown earned him enough to pay off some debts, buy some new clothes, pay for three months car rego (one of which was blown when he had his licence taken away for doing burnouts) and a few weeks off work.

Now he is off to Sydney for the premieres and then to Cannes for critics week. It is a long way from delivering pizzas in Elisabeth to the ideal of southern France.

In the dog eat dog world of the movies, how things pan out after Snowtown’s screen run is anybody’s guess and Lucas’. He has signed with RGM in Sydney, one of Australia’s foremost agencies and has already secured a role in a short film. But one thing does appears certain, Defence will not be seeing this young man fixing up their jeeps and tanks any time soon.

See our video interview with Lucas at: Lucas Pittaway Speaks With Kryztoff

See more images of Lucas and our interview with Snowtown director, Justin Kurzel in this month’s Kryztoff at: Kryztoff\’s On-line Magazine

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  1. Well, it’s great to have this excellent post for Lucas Pittaway….. I’m really afraid to learn that he is really a star act….. All his photos are fantastic to enjoy. Thanks for posting these images 🙂

  1. […] See our interviews and profile of Lucas Pittaway at:  Meet Lucas Pittaway […]

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