‘If you’re from Brisbane, you’d know’


MATT Okine wants to turn his debut novel into a movie and shoot it in Brisbane.

The comedian, actor and presenter, who grew up in Toowong, said he wrote Being Black 'N Chicken, & Chips, about a twelve-year-old boy who is trying to start high school while his mum is dying of cancer, with a film already in mind.

Brisbane comedian and writer Matt Okine. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Brisbane comedian and writer Matt Okine. Picture: Liam Kidston.

While it is fiction, it reflects Okine's childhood in Brisbane and losing his mother to cancer.

"The name of the town is Brindlewood but it is Brisbane in its essence, and I would do absolutely anything to be able to film it (the movie) where it was born," Okine said, adding the only reason he changed the city's name was because of a single plot point.

"If you're from Brisbane you know (it) would be impossible and I didn't want to piss people off, so I just changed it a little bit. But the essence is still there. The hospital is still across from the showgrounds."

Okine also wants to relocate to Brisbane with partner Belinda Rabe and baby girl Sofia, born in March.

He said when he graduated acting at QUT there was no choice but to leave Brisbane, but that was no longer the case.

"I want to be part of that shift," he said.

Okine wrote the novel while filming the second season of his series The Other Guy, which he also stars in, and dealing with a newborn.

"It was hectic. It'll be the most memorable time in my life," he said. "But obviously having a daughter has been the best thing that's ever happened in my life. Suddenly I was passing on stories to someone else who I might not be around to tell them to one day."

"It's a fictional book, but there's an essence in there that I want my daughter to use as a pad to sketch her own ideas or understanding of what her grandmother and our family was like."

It's been a big few years for Okine since leaving Triple J's breakfast show, a move he said came from a decision to stop listening to that "voice of doubt".

"Often it's just fear. It's that fear of failure," he said. "The difference between me and people who want to make TV shows and books is just that I put myself out there. I just do it. And I'm willing to fail."

Okine said when Rabe, who was the first to read his book, finished the final page she was in tears and said,"You wrote a book … you actually did it".

"Those sort of things inspired me," he said.