Stan Original Series C*A*U*G*H*T may be about to explode with some epic Hollywood (and local) talent, but it originally began as a “passion project” between four mates who simply just loved being around each other.
Speaking on Mediaweek and Chattr’s The Entertainment Hotline Podcast, Alexander England revealed that he and his three main co-stars dreamed up the concept while living together in LA. In fact, the foursome even filmed a pilot scene in very “compromising positions”, which was reshot for the final version of the show!
“So Linc [Lincoln Younes] and Benny [Ben O’Toole] and myself all lived with Kick in LA,” he said. “And we’d just go on adventures around LA and have a have a great time together.
“And it was sort of from some silly conversations in that house. We joked about how ridiculous it would be and during COVID, Kick really sat down by himself and wrote it all down and structured these silly ideas into a much broader narrative. And from there, that was where the spirit of the show was born.”
The spirit of the show, England is referring to, is, of course, the absurd — yet absolutely brilliant — comedy which premieres on September 28 on Stan and was “driven by what makes what makes us laugh”. But it was even more important than that, it marked Gurry’s directorial debut.
“When this all started to actually happen, it was a really beautiful experience because part of this show was watching a friend’s dreams come true. Kick, wanting to be a writer and a director,” he admitted. “We were watching it happen in real time and it was such a special and amazing gift to be able to actually do this crazy thing.”
How C*A*U*G*H*T attracted some serious Hollywood heavyweights
C*A*U*G*H*T follows the Australian Minister of Defence (Erik Thomson) who texts a ‘secret file’ to the Princess of Behati-Prinsloo (no joke!), a small island nation, and sends four Australian soldiers (Gurry, O’Toole, England and Younes) into the war-torn country on a secret mission to retrieve the file.
Mistaken for Americans, they are captured by freedom fighters (Fayssal Bazzi, Mel Jarnson and Dorian Nkono) and produce a hostage video that goes viral. When the soldiers reach celebrity status on social media, they realise that being caught might just be the best thing that could’ve happened to them. They’re about to make search history.
Starring alongside Gurry, Thomson, O’Toole, Younes, England, Jarnson and Bazzi are Susan Sarandon (Blue Beetle), Travis Fimmel (Vikings) and Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey) as well as Sean Penn (Gaslit), Matthew Fox (Lost), Nicholas Hammond (The Sound of Music), Bryan Brown (Palm Beach) and Rebecca Breeds (Clarice).
As for how these heavyweights were convinced to join the series, England revealed it all came down to Gurry.
“It’s crazy,” England said of the wider cohort. “There’s no reason that some of those names should be in this little show…But, I think that’s just a testament to basically to Kick and his passion.”
After his break-out role as Jacob Coote in Looking for Alibrandi (alongside household name Pia Miranda) Gurry moved to LA “to try his luck”.
“It was back in a time when no one was really doing it,” he said. “I think he was over there with Rose Byrne and Heath Ledger… So, Kick’s been over there for a long time and the work he’s done, all these interesting projects and he has this great power to connect with people and amuse them.
“I think that this lineup of people is a testament to his ability to connect with people and get them excited.”
And this included Fox, who is most famous for Lost and Party of Five.
“Matthew Fox is an old friend of his. He was he was lovely on set and so excited about the project.”
England reveals how the world’s biggest stars just become a “cast mate”
For everyday viewers of a TV series or film, watching these amazing actors — both from Australia and overseas — work together, is nothing short of mind-blowing. But for England, these A-Listers just become part of the family.
“The beautiful thing about a set is that everyone’s got a job to do,” he said. “And they’ve got lines to say, and you can all get to work together. It’s a really quick way to get past the fact that this person has all these ideas around them and they’re suddenly just a cast mate.”
“It was just a delight to work with all these incredible people. And to have a two-time Oscar winner — well, I think Susan’s [Sarandon] got one or two Oscars herself — as well Sean [Penn] in the mix, was just surreal.”
The Stan Original Series C*A*U*G*H*T was created, produced and directed by Gurry while Penn executive produces alongside producers John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz (Stan Original Film Gold) from Deeper Water Films and Brendan Donoghue. Executive producers Cailah Scobie and Amanda Duthie were also on board for Stan with the series produced in association with Fremantle.
The Stan Original Series C*A*U*G*H*T premieres September 28, all episodes at once and only on Stan.