CRICKET fanatics are usually clamouring at the WACA to get a snap of their sporting hero, but last night they filled a cinema foyer.
Former fast bowler Brett Lee trod the red carpet at the Perth premiere of his film debut UnIndian at Reading Cinemas in Belmont with a horde of fans trying to catch a glimpse of the sporting legend.
Lee stars as Will, a charming university teacher who falls in love with fiercely independent single mother and career woman Meera, who has Indian origins, and the two navigate their cultural complexities.
Speaking to Community Newspaper Group, Lee admitted it was never his intention to star in a film.
“If someone told me a year and a half ago that I would star in a film I would not have believed them,” he said.
“It’s one of those things where it was never my ambition to be in a film.”
Lee said the shoot was sometimes tough, but he always had the support of his cast and crew.
“It was long and tiring, but I knew what was going to happen,” he said.
“Coming from a cricket background it didn’t worry me; I am used to being away for a long period of time. We had an absolute fantastic cast and crew so it was great.”
He revealed his soft spot for both romantic and goofy comedies.
“You might laugh at my taste but I love the rom-coms and slapstick, Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, that type of stuff,” he said.
Lee’s co-star Tannishtha Chatterjee admitted she was not aware of his cricket career before they started filming.
“Initially I asked (director) Anapum ‘Is he an Australian actor’? and Anapum said ‘No I’m talking about the fast bowler, ex cricketer Brett Lee’ and I said ‘Really?’,” she said.
“I had seen him in a tonne of ads which used to come in India so I always knew he was pretty comfortable in front of the camera and I heard some of his interviews, he has a very natural humour and comic timing so I knew it would be good fun.”
Director Anupam Sharma said he only ever knew Lee as a performer, not a sports star.
“Brett and I have worked together for the last 10 or 12 years, funnily as someone who doesn’t follow cricket like me, I have known Brett more as a performer,” he said.
“He had done commercials with me, television and a feature film, and when me and my writer worked on the character we said ‘Should we go for someone from Hollywood or should we go for someone new?’ and both of us literally together said ‘Brett Lee’.”
Sharma said he always wanted to make a movie like UnIndian, which “enriches the colour of our Australian industry.”
“This opportunity came to make a film with diversity in it, a cross-cultural romantic comedy, out and out Australian with a bit of spice and I just jumped at it,” he said.
“It represents what we see on our street, different people and different accents.”