Inside Sport

The Castle hero Darryl Kerrigan best represents Australians

By Joffa - 6 Oct 2010 6:17 PM

The Castle hero Darryl Kerrigan best represents Australians: survey

From: AAP October 06, 2010

THEY might be "dreaming" but Australians have voted optimistic battler Darryl Kerrigan as the film character that most represents them as a nation.
More than one-third of people (37 per cent) believe The Castle - the 1997 comedy film about a working-class Melbourne family's fight to save their home - best represents the real Australia, according to a nationwide survey.

Darryl Kerrigan, the movie's patriarch played by Michael Caton, was the favourite Aussie film character for 23 per cent of the 1003 people surveyed.

Crocodile Dundee, played by Paul Hogan, won 21 per cent of the vote while Muriel (Toni Collette) from Muriel's Wedding came third with 17 per cent.

Social commentator Bernard Salt said it was quite surprising The Castle beat other films such as Baz Luhrmann's blockbuster Australia.

“Darryl Kerrigan is hardly a heart-throb and ... the suburb The Castle is set in is hardly a glamorous location,” Salt said.

“But it has entered the hearts and the vernacular of the Australian people.

“I think Australians felt a realness to The Castle that is not conveyed in the over-dramatised, slightly photoshopped vision of (the film) Australia.

“The story of a happy-go-lucky battler coming up trumps against the odds - that is the story that appeals to Australians.”

Quotes from The Castle, such as “this is going straight to the pool room” and “tell him he's dreaming” are still widely used by Australians, Salt said.

In the survey, commissioned by the Australia Day Council of NSW, Cate Blanchett was declared Australia's leading lady, garnering 41 per cent of the vote, followed by Nicole Kidman at 23 per cent and Toni Collette at 17 per cent.

Hugh Jackman was Australia's favourite leading man by far.

Jackman won 54 per cent of the vote, outpolling Russell Crowe on 17 per cent and Sam Worthington on 13 per cent.

When asked what Australian values they believed most accurately illustrate the real Australia to the world, 32 per cent of respondents picked Aussie mateship over lifestyle, at 25 per cent, and landscapes, at 20 per cent.

Salt felt this came from Australia's history of battling the elements to survive.

“Australia against the odds, battling fire, flood and drought and the need to band together is a common theme in Australia's history,” he said.

The survey was released by the ADCNSW in the lead-up to two national competitions, Reel Australia and Living Australian, designed to get Australians talking and creatively interpreting what it means to be Australian in 2010.

Reel Australia is a short film competition while Living Australian will give the public a chance to express their vision of Australia through photography.

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