With the impending release of Fat Pizza vs Housos, OutInCanberra’s brave film critic, Sam Tremayne, sat with Paul Fenech, Tahir Bilgic (Habib) and ‘Shazza’ to talk about film-making, bringing two shows together and their thoughts on politics. Read on… if you dare!
I was hoping Paul you could talk a bit about how you first started out trying to crack the industry as a short filmmaker?
Paul: Well I actually started in TV sweeping floors of the ABC and making my way to being a kind of junior director/producer (as they used to call it) and I started making short films after making a lot of stuff at the ABC.
What is the story behind your short film, Intolerance? Who is Laura Feinstein?
Paul: In 1991 we made this ostentatious thing called Intolerance. We thought it was pretty funny and because I already had another film in Tropfest for the next year – not for competition but to be shown – I thought “Oh well, this one will have no chance if I put it in under my own name,” because I already had one in. I figured it’d be cheeky to put in an entry in the competition as well.
The editor and I had a laugh and decided to enter it under another name – a name the judges would want to have win it – so we sort of went for a film school student-style name. I don’t know who came up with it but Laura Feinstein popped up as a name that could win Tropfest… and she did!
Most people would recognise you as the face of your shows and films, but you write, direct and produce as well. Is there a particular role you lean towards the most or are most passionate about?
Paul: I tackle them all kinda equally, they’re all good in different doses and do drain as time goes on. Directing is probably the hardest because you actually have to make the whole thing work.
Since Pizza debuted you’ve had two other shows – Swift and Shift Couriers and Housos. Which of these children do you love the most?
Shazza (in character): Housos – because its the only one with just Aussies in it, mate. It’s the only one I’ve seen too to be honest with ya. Nah, that Swift and Shift one is alright as well…. Fat Pizza I’ve never seen.
Tahir: My favourite would be in Pizza when we went overseas, toured around the world and basically found gold everywhere. It was called World Record Pizza. We worked on the run everywhere. What we had to go through in trying to get permission… police trying to take tapes off us, paying off people here and there… it was incredible.
Paul: I don’t have a favourite. Three films and 100 half hour episodes it’s too hard. I also drink a lot of tequila so that doesn’t help.
Habib (in character): I want this put out too that Habib now makes organic drugs. Alright? None of the other interviewers wanted to put it in but I want the word out that Habib now makes organic drugs. It’s good for you and its gour-met.
You are about to release Fat Pizza vs. Housos. I was hoping you could give a bit of a rundown of the movie and how you are going to combine these two worlds?
Paul: Well in short summary it’s about Bobo who has just been released from prison 15 years after attacking someone with a chainsaw. He needs a place to stay and ends up at Sunnyvale Housing Commission. Immediately there is a clash of cultures and of our shows. I guess, to use a cliché, chaos ensues.
Apart from Habib and Shazza, is there a returning cast? Cameos?
Paul: Almost everyone is back. We got Rocky, Sleek the Elite, Bobo (of course) and basically everyone we worked with. We’re quite lucky, the only person we couldn’t get was Rebel Wilson – she’s too big in Hollywood now to come over.
Tahir: And she’s also too big to fit on a plane to come back now so we couldn’t afford to get her here on our budget.
Paul: The cameos are Nick Giannopolous, Kyle Sandilands, Jonesy and Angry Anderson. It’s really great to have people from all corners of Aussie life come to be in this.
Thank you so much for your time. It’s been great to chat with a staple of the Aussie comedy scene it’s a real privilege, so thanks again.
Paul: I just wanted to let all the Canberrans out there know that there is a scene where I chuck a brown eye at Parliament House and I think that sums up most ACT people’s view of the Government.
Shazza: He also does a bit of artwork on the walls
Paul: I may have tagged the walls at some point and was lucky to get away with it in the current political climate we are in. I think Joe Hockey was perving from the windows.
Tahir: Canberra is represented!
Fat Pizza vs Housos opens on Thursday 27 November at Hoyts Belconnen and Limelight Cinemas Tuggeranong. We have 10 double pass to giveaway! To enter, fill in the competition form and tell us ‘Are you #TeamFatPizza or #TeamHousos?’.