Surfing legend in French TV role
SURFING legend Gary Elkerton played against his naturally ‘good’ character for a French television series being shot at Brunswick Heads yesterday.
The three-times World Masters surfing winner, swim coach and environmentalist got to be the bad guy for the teen adventure filming in and around the village this week.
‘Kong’, as he is still known, is cast as the evil Trawler Boss, who owns all the town’s fishing boats and has done a deal to supply the Japanese with whale meat.
“He’s the guy hated by all the environmentalists, including the young French backpacker heroes in the series,” Mr Elkerton said.
Mr Elkerton lived in France for 25 years and says he got the role partly because he speaks fluent French.
He was born in Ballina and grew up in Shirley Street in Byron.
The scene of yesterday’s filming outside the Brunswick Heads Fisherman’s Co-op brought back memories.
“Dad was a prawn fisherman,” he said.
When Mr Elkerton finished competing he wanted to come home, and returned to set up the Kong for Kids Swim School in Billinudgel.
Another local actor with a French connection and a big role in the show is Dhinawan, who plays the part of Alkira, an indigenous healer.
He befriends Alex, the series’ central figure, who has had an aircraft accident and lost his memory.
Dhinawan’s partner and Ocean Shores resident is French-born Coco Hamel, who is an assistant director for the Australian shoot.
The two Australian actors are among 11 from the Northern Rivers employed on the series, which is shooting four episodes in Australia.
Another 50 locals are working as extras; the 16 technical crew include Trevor Avedissian of Mullumbimby, who is handling ‘data wrangling’ and assistant camera work.
The show, named Foudre (or Lightning) is now in its fourth season. It will air in France in August.