The West

LaPaglia heading back to Oz
Anthony LaPaglia stars in Underground, the story of Julian Assange's early years.. Picture: Ten.

He may call America home but Anthony LaPaglia could never be accused of being un-Australian. The 53-year-old actor, who is on the Gold Coast promoting his new movie, Mental, pulled out of Quentin Tarantino's latest feature because of a scheduling conflict with the new Australian telemovie about Julian Assange.

LaPaglia was cast in a small part in Tarantino's Django Unchained. However, a delay in filming meant his scene in the star-studded feature was rescheduled for the same time he was due to shoot Underground, director Robert Connolly's biopic about the WikiLeaks founder's teenage years.

"Everything was working (with the Tarantino film) and then they were supposed to film in the snow," LaPaglia told AAA.

"They picked a place where for the last 30 years it had snowed but on this particular year it didn't, so they had to push the shoot back and it clashed with Underground. It was a really tough decision but I knew Rob's film had only gotten up because of mine and Rachel Griffiths' involvement and for me to pull out at the 11th hour would have hurt the production.

"The truth is the Tarantino film would survive without me and the Australian film would have suffered if I had pulled out."

LaPaglia has worked with Connolly on two previous features - The Bank and Balibo - and said that while he had rehearsed for Django Unchained, he felt a sense of loyalty to the Australian director and a connection to the film.

Underground will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month before screening on Ten later in the year.

Mental, helmed by Muriel's Wedding director P.J. Hogan, opens in Australia on October 4.

The West Australian

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