Actor turned lawyer keen on cameo

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Kelly Johnson (left), now a Whangarei lawyer, and Tony Barry in the 1979 Kiwi movie classic Good Bye Pork Pie.
Kelly Johnson (left), now a Whangarei lawyer, and Tony Barry in the 1979 Kiwi movie classic Good Bye Pork Pie.

The Whangarei lawyer who was the star of Kiwi movie classic Good Bye Pork Pie would love a cameo in the remake of the iconic film.

Kelly Johnson, who played the film's foul-mouthed star, Gerry Austin - AKA Blondini - in the 1979 movie said sometimes life imitated art for the cast and crew of Goodbye Pork Pie. The film followed a trio of renegade outcasts as they blasted their way down the country in a yellow Mini.

In reality, on their journey from Kaitaia to Invercargill during filming, the crew was pursued by police and met some Kiwi characters along the way.

"Pork Pie was cheap, slightly sexist and of its era," Johnson, who as a 23-year-old played Blondini, said. "I guess it's the first remake of a New Zealand film in history. It has a place in history and I wish the new filmmakers well."

Now 60, he wouldn't say no to swapping his suit for a cameo in the remake, the brainchild of Matt Murphy, son of original director Geoff.

Casting for the reboot is in its final stages.

From his home in New South Wales, actor Tony Barry, 74, who played John the Australian, recalled the hospitality they were greeted by while filming.

"Locals, wherever we went, seemed to embrace the film. Someone would know someone and before long we were enjoying their hospitality."

He recalled the Mini being chased by a young traffic officer.

"We were standing around in a carpark and the Mini came racing in, hotly pursued."

The car's doors had been modified so they fell off when opened and a hole was cut in the roof.

"The young cop got out of his car and was standing there talking down to [the driver] through the hole saying, 'Open the window'," which he couldn't do, because it was stuck. "So he said, 'Open the door' and he grabbed the door and pulled the handle and the door came off in his hand. The officer didn't know what to do, so he leant it against the yellow Mini, went back to his patrol car and left without saying a word." NZME

- Northern Advocate

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