New contemporary cop drama has some bite
THE last time Dominic Monaghan spent so much time down under he was entrenched in New Zealand filming a little trilogy of films titled Lord of the Rings, playing the role of a hobbit.
Much has happened in his career since then, including movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, plus TV shows including Lost, The Unknown and his documentary series for National Geographic, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.
Now, Monaghan is excited to star in the new Australian police drama Bite Club.
It follows two police officers who, after surviving a shark attack, join forces to hunt the ultimate predator. What they don't know is that the serial killer they're after is also hunting them.
Along with Monaghan, the cast includes Todd Lasance, Ash Ricardo, Damian Walshe-Howling, and veteran of some of the nation's best dramas, Deborah Mailman.
A keen surfer, Monaghan didn't need much convincing to take the role as it represented everything he loved about working in TV.
"I was sent the first four episodes and my agent read the script, then he rang me and said I should take a look," he says.
"I always like to do something different from the time before and this was episodic TV, which I've never done before in a good part of the world.
"It's been great to come over to Australia. Everyone knows what they are doing, the directors are fantastic, and the actors are on top of their game. If you're on set in America then they're constantly feeding you because they work so fast. I've really enjoyed my time filming here; it's a fantastic country."
Monaghan plays the role of Stephen Langley, a member of the NSW Dog Squad, and his years of working with wild animals on Wild Things meant working with dogs was a nice change.
"I play a Pom, from somewhere in the north, and they let me keep my accent as is. I didn't want to play an Aussie in front of an Australian audience, that would be very intimidating. I think it's because when you do an Aussie accent you sound like either The Crocodile Hunter or Crocodile Dundee, it just comes out like a caricature," he says.
"We had a few police on set as consultants who I chatted to quite a bit, as I'm good with dogs and animals in general. My character is a guy with the dog squad who wants to be taken seriously and move up the career ladder.
"Without revealing too much about the show, it looks at cops from a different angle. There are crimes to investigate, but a lot of the episodes are about the characters and Bite Club has many of them. Police officers can be complex people, as what it takes to be a good cop requires a special person."
Monaghan loves working in TV at a time when viewing habits are changing, and the production standards on shows continue to rise.
"People are watching TV in a different way now. I used to stay in on a Friday night to watch Top of the Pops, but there's so much freedom now, people can watch anywhere, any time," he says.
"I was lucky to be involved with Lost, as that was one of the first massive shows that proved on normal TV you can have high production levels. Now you look at police dramas like The Fall or Broadchurch that are made at such a high level it's like a movie."
Bite Club premieres tonight at 8.40pm on Channel 9.