Sleeveless shirt? Check. Stubbies? Check. Shaggy blond wig? Check. All the elements eventually came together for Brisbane-born Josh Lawson, 35, to play Aussie screen icon Paul Hogan in Seven Network’s upcoming two-part biopic Hoges. But it’s a minor miracle Lawson ended up starring in the show at all.
“My initial reaction,” he tells WHO, “was, ‘Sorry, I’m not right for it.’ My gut was filled with fear. I wasn’t even sure we were similar enough.”
Lawson turned down the role more than once, but was later convinced by his brother Ben. As they read through the script aloud, something sparked. “It was weird,” says Lawson. “I started to sound like Paul. I got his rhythms down. I started to better understand the man behind the legend and thought, maybe I could do it.”
And besides, Lawson says he “must have seen Crocodile Dundee 50, 100 times as a kid. It’s hard to deny Paul had an influence on me. I think the dream for every young Australian who wanted to be an actor was to accomplish what he had done.”
Mission accomplished, then.
‘Hoges’ airs Sun., Feb. 12 & 19, 8.30 PM on the Seven Network. For more of WHO’s interview with Josh Lawson, pick up the current issue at newsagents now.