Category Archives: Mary Bryant

#AlexOLoughlin …… I Love History

That mini series was an important step in my career and earned me an AFI nomination back home. I love history.

– Alex O’Loughlin talking about Mary Bryant

CBS Live Chat

1 October 2009

My thoughts

  • Would love to see him in a historical drama again!
  • Would love to see him nominated for acting again – and winning an award for it would be even better!


Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, From his lips, Mary Bryant

#AlexOLoughlin – The Velvety Voice.

A little something different for today ….


The True Story of Mary Bryant

In 1787, King George III of England sent the first fleet to colonise Australia. And experiment of global proportions. But this would be no Utopian society. The King’s plan was to create a prison at the end of the earth to rid England of its rubbish, its criminals and vagrants. A prison surrounded by land and sea, whose wall were 14 000 miles thick.

They set sail in March 1787. Eleven ships, filled with 780 convicts, and 200 crew. They were bound for a land they had never seen, on an epic  voyage that would take 10 months.

Mary was a convict on this first voyage. A teenage girl, in a world where women were outnumbered 4 to 1. Where starvation claimed over half her fellow prisoners. That she escaped is unthinkable. That she survived is a miracle. If her story wasn’t true you would never believe it.

Click to listen to the his voice …..


Link to the video clip:


Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, Mary Bryant, Transcript

#AlexOLoughlin : Mary Bryant was a wonderful learning experience

“That was a wonderful learning experience. It was a tough shoot, mate: four months on the water, with children, in the Australian sun, in convict boats, and wearing convict clothes. We pulled out all the stops. It was wonderful being part of something that actually happened.

I tried to do a huge amount of research on my character, Will Bryant, but I hardly got anywhere with it, because there’s very little information about him out there.

My main concern was that I was representing someone who was a real person, and I wanted to bring a voice and a heart and a brain to him. Not too many people in America have seen that show.”

– Alex O’Loughlin

(Talking about his award nominated role in Mary Bryant)


March 2008



Alex, once again showing his dedication to the character he portrayed here ……..


Filed under Mary Bryant

Escaping into history – 2005

It gave us some genuine respect for the great determination these people had. – Greg Haddrick

written by Scott Ellis

Sydney Morning Herald
30 October 2005

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Australians have a tendency to elevate unlikely characters to hero status. For example, Ned Kelly, essentially a thief and murderer, has been paralleled with Robin Hood; “Breaker” Morant, executed as a war criminal, is seen by Australians as a victim of British military bastardry; and Mary Bryant, a convict who stole a boat and made an epic voyage to escape, is hailed as the sort of person who helped shape our nation.

And while Bryant might not be immediately recognisable, there’s little doubt her story is every bit as exciting as that of Kelly or Morant.

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Transported to Australia for robbery, Bryant convinced a group of her fellow convicts to steal a small boat attached to Governor Arthur Phillip’s ship Sirius and set off to find freedom.

It was an escape which should have quickly ended in disaster, but Bryant and her makeshift crew, which included her two young children, managed to stay afloat and alive for more than two months, crossing open seas to get as far as Timor before eventually being caught.

In a time when Captain Bligh’s 6000-kilometre forced journey in a similar boat after the mutiny on the Bounty was hailed as a masterful feat of sailing, Bryant’s was an incredible achievement.

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That and what happened after she was caught and transported back to England, said producer Greg Haddrick, were enough to convince him this was one Australian story which definitely needed to be told again.

“I think the fact that this is a true story is why we all found it so extraordinary,” Haddrick said. “I mean just think about the journey they made . . . it would be hard enough to do that now with full satellite navigation, let alone one sail, a few oars and convicts in completely uncharted waters. I’m not sure how I’d go trying to navigate a boat to Timor. It gave us some genuine respect for the determination these people had and it’s that aspirational nature that made us think this was a story that really needed be told. It was just incredible.”

So too, he said, was the task of bringing the story to screen. Given the fact this was a real event and already the subject of numerous books, the production team walked a fine line between historical accuracy and entertainment. “It was long and it was very difficult,” Haddrick said.

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“The benefit of it being an Australian/British co-production was that we had the time to shoot all that we needed because we wanted it to be as authentic as possible. I’m not sure we’re ‘documentary’ accurate, but it’s a pretty authentic piece. The boat that we used to film on for example, is almost identical to the cutter that Mary and her fellow escapees stole because it comes from the Bounty replica and the Bounty was the Sirius’s sister ship.”

Even with the inevitable nitpicking from historians, the result is a great adventure story and one Haddrick said Australians deserve to know.

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“In the two or three years we spent researching this production, we found that people had heard of [Mary] and they knew she was someone from a long time ago, but they didn’t quite know what had she had done,” Haddrick said.

“Mary is a figure who has faded in and out of favour in the history books, a lot has been written about her – she scored a page or two in Robert Hughes’s The Fatal Shore – and we felt it was important to revisit her once again. A lot of what happened with the first fleet and in those early days of the colony has generally been ignored and it was important for us to do something on this time in our history.”

Sail of the Century: Alex O'Loughlin and Romola Garai

Sail of the Century: Alex O’Loughlin and Romola Garai

“And regardless of whether it’s a period piece or history, it’s about young, adventurous, energetic people and I think viewers will be hooked by their story, their character and their determination. I think it’s a pretty fair reflection of the sort of convicts who came out here and these are the first people who helped build Australia.”

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The Sun Herald TV Mag, 30 October  2005


Filed under Interviews, Mary Bryant

Behind the scenes trivia of Mary Bryant – #alexoloughlin and his characters

We continue our series of trivia around Alex’s previous roles…..

This time we look at ‘The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant’, with Alex in the role of Will Bryant, Mary’s husband.

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• The mini-series was filmed in Australia during the spring of 2004, on a $15 million budget, making it Australia’s biggest mini-series ever. (I would guess it was up untill that time – I wonder if anything bigger has been done since then?) (And remember that spring in Australia (the Southern hemisphere) is from September to November )
• Filming took 12 weeks to complete.
• The ship used throughout the production is The Bounty, that was also used in the Mel Gibson movie of the same name. It is the only ship actually used in Mary Bryant, all other ships were either digitally reproduced or came from shots purchased from ‘The Bounty’ or the UK ‘Hornblower’ TV series.
• It mostly rained during the shoot on the ship, which gave the movie the right look but made the cast and crew miserable.

• The Aborigines in the film were brought in from Alice Springs.
Iva Davies (the former lead singer of Icehouse) is responsible for the score.
• Director Peter Andrikidis on Alex O’Loughlin: “That’s a thinking actor, that’s Alex. Every moment he’s making sure that he’s giving two hundred percent, which makes my job a lot easier.” He also calls Alex “a fantastic actor” and “a NIDA boy who’s learned a lot”.
Anousha Zarkesh, who took care of the Australian casting, is actor David Field’s wife.
Alex O’Loughlin was one of the last leads to be cast.
• It took the makeup department three hours to cover Alex’s tattoos for the shirtless scene in the ship’s hold.

• The cast were given two weeks to improve their rowing skills and learn how to fire muskets.
• It was decided that the convict cast should have a Northern English accent instead of a Cornish accent, to make it easier for Australian audiences to understand.
• The water sequences of the escapees in the cutter were filmed in the Whitsunday Islands, in the same area where Dead Calm with Nicole Kidman was filmed.
• The beach scenes were filmed at Garie Beach in Royal National Park, south of Sydney.

• It would have required a crane to move the beached cutter. What you see is the camera panning away as the actors pretend to move the boat.
• The idea of Charlotte wearing Will’s shoes while she is sleeping with her feet resting against him came from Alex.
Stephen Curry wore a Stinger Suit underneath his clothes in the scene where William Allen’s dead body was committed to the sea.
Romola Garai chipped a bone in her left arm when she put her hands up in the air and got hit by a ceiling fan. Production had to be shut down for a day when she was flown to Sydney from the Whitsundays to consult a specialist. In the scene on Timor when Mary and Will walk towards each other on the beach, she has both lower arms covered to hide her cast. It shows when he picks her up and swings her around.

• During a rehearsal, Alex picked Romola up the wrong way and unintentionally hurt her badly enough to make her scream.
Alex O’Loughlin drew out Will’s death scene longer than Peter Andrikidis initially intended, but the director ended up loving Alex’s version.
• The tropical Timor set was built at Concord Repatriation General Hospital, beside the Parramatta River in Sydney.
Peter Andrikidis and Alex O’Loughlin had worked with each other before in BlackJack: Sweet Science.
Mary Bryant marks the fourth production in which Alex O’Loughlin has worked with David Field. Other productions are Oyster Farmer, BlackJack: Sweet Science and Feed.

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• In 2005, Alex O’Loughlin and Romola Garai received Australian Film Institute nominations for Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress in Television. Although they did not win, the production did win an AFI Award for Best Telefeature or Mini Series.
• In 2006, Mary Bryant also won a Logie for Most Outstanding Miniseries/Telemovie. Alex O’Loughlin and Romola Garai were both nominated for a Silver Logie in the categories Most Outstanding Actor and Most Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.
• The mini-series has also won awards at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2006 (Best Mini-Series and Special Achievement: Direction for Peter Andrikidis)
• and the New York Festivals in 2007 (Best Mini-Series, Drama Mini-Series).



Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, Mary Bryant