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17 February 2011

Underbelly: TV Movies And Real Life Report, by Greg Tingle - 17th February 2011

G'day punters, journos, entertainment news junkies, high rollers - casino whales, gambling millionaires and billionaires, media tycoons, politicians, insiders, outsiders, law enforcement agencies, legal eagles ... one and all. You know who you are. This is the TV Mini Movie Underbelly and Real Life Underbelly special!... Media Man and Gambling911 go beneath the underbelly of Australia's underworld, real and fake...

Underbelly 'Infiltration' A Hit...

The Underbelly telemovie 'Infiltration' has been well received by Australian audiences, but may insiders were expecting it to be a "piece of crap". The producers' task was huge...to create and shoot, interesting and suspense-filled drama based on the autobiographical book by former policeman Colin McLaren, who waged a covert campaign to bring down the Griffith-based mafia. Infiltration worked, and that casting of Sullivan Stapleton as McLaren was key. It was a tight, 3-week production. Stapleton was in nearly every one of the 200 plus scenes with little preparation. His rendering of the McLaren character solid to great. It was a portrayal of McLaren as gutsy, intuitive and fun - a bloke trying his best in the force, despite often internal problems in the department. Stapleton nailed it posing as an art dealer to infiltrate Calabrian gangsters tied to the death of anti-drug campaigner Donald Mackay. In addition, the casting of Jessica Napier as McLaren's colleague Jude backed it up. Jude's lingerie added spark and sexiness. Infiltration was very good to great, but how long can the Underbelly franchise keep going before it gets old? Mind you, James Bond has being going since the 60's, so maybe people will still be expecting the show's death in a few decades time.

Underbelly: Blood Brothers...

Our friends at Network Nine have commenced production on crime-based telemovie Blood Brothers. The 98 minute self-contained movie is based on Robin Bowles' book of the same name. The screenplay will be written by the amazing talent, Victoria Madden. Described as "a chilling portrait of crime and punishment, a compelling insight into human nature, and a relentless fight for justice", it will portray the horrific 1993 Gilham family murders. Lisa McCune (Blue Heelers, Sea Patrol), Tony Martin (False Witness, Wildside) and Michael Dorman (Daybreakers, Suburban Mayhem, The Secret Life of Us) will lead a cast which also includes Jonny Pasvolsky (Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities), Jodi Gordon (Home and Away) and Frank Holden (Police Rescue, Underbelly, The Strip). Dorman plays Jeffrey Gilham, who was convicted of manslaughter of his younger brother Christopher. He claimed to have killed Christopher in a fit of rage after his sibling murdered their parents. However, Gilham was in fact suspected of murdering them, despite no charges being handed down on him. The story is told beautifully from the perspective of both Tony Gilham, the boys' uncle played by Martin, who campaigned for 14 to clear Christopher’s name. And Margaret Cunneen, played by McCune, the Crown Prosecutor who found herself arguing a seemingly unwinnable case to eventually convict Gilham of the murders. "Blood Brothers is the compelling drama of a shocking family tragedy," stated Jo Horsburgh, Network Nine's head of drama. "I have no doubt that 17 years after these awful murders, the audience will still be divided in their opinions about the truth of what happened. "The Blood Brothers telemovie is another creatively satisfying collaboration with Playmaker."
Nine will partner with production company Playmaker Media, who also produced Wicked Love: The Maria Korp Story for the network last year. "We are grateful for the support of the Nine Network, Screen Australia and Screen New South Wales," said David Taylor, Playmaker's principal alongside David Maher. "A great script has helped us attract an outstanding cast and one of Australia's leading directors, Peter Andrikidis (Underbelly, East West 101)." Production is set for just a few weeks away and insiders reckon it will air later this year on Network Nine of course, as the 9 dotter station attempts to be once again known by the masses as 'The One'.

Underbelly 'Tell Them Lucifer was Here' Ratings...

The first of the Nine Network's Underbelly telemovies, Tell Them Lucifer was Here, produced solid ratings for the broadcaster last week, but was nabbed in the final round by Channel Seven, says OzTAM numbers. Nine won the evening in primary channels, while in combined network shares, Seven took out total people and Nine won 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54. Underbelly averaged 1.377 million viewers, coming first in its timeslot and for the evening in total people, 18-49 and 25-54. It was second in 16-39. Bones proved to be a smart choice to go against the local crime franchise, holding up strong with 1.208m for Seven, while Brothers and Sisters tanked to 832.000. Ten struggled against the strong competition as Undercover Boss slumped to 608,000 and Good News Week returned to 461,000. Both programmes were 4th in their timeslot. In any event, viewers are getting treated to a great mix of crime drama and solid entertainment.

Underbelly's Babe Kassandra Clementi Could Be A Casino Babe If She Desires; Options Open For Hot Stuff Actress - Underbelly Files: Infiltration...

Underbelly's Kassandra Clementi plays one of the more goddess type characters in the TV series famous for being raunchy, but she has her own super sassy side (plus mind and body). Clementi, 20, plays Chelsea, the daughter of Colin McLaren, a Victorian detective who risked his life by going deep undercover within a local arm of the Calabrian mafia, in Underbelly Files: Infiltration. It's one of the more innocent roles in the racy crime franchise, known for its nudity and steamy scenes. "It's all pretty PG (for me)," she said. But Clementi shed the good girl image and amped up the sultriness in a fashion shoot of this season's animal prints, leather, feathers, and daring thigh-high boots. Clementi and her fellow actors met McLaren before filming the telemovie airing on Nine. "We all got to pump him full of questions. I wanted to get an understanding of Chelsea's home life, and the most important thing in her life, which was her father." Now the star of one of Australia's biggest shows, Clementi has her sights squarely set on the United States, with a hot and standout role in an American program in the works. The project is confidential you could say, but if all goes to the way she's mapped out, the Adelaide born-actress-babe, now based in Melbourne, will be causing waves this year, so blokes and babes, be prepared to be tantalised and titillated.

'No Ibrahim Link' To Sin City Sydney Gunfire...

Sydney coppers have now ruled out any link between a shooting in Sydney's south-west, and an attack on two members of the Ibrahim family just a night earlier. Police say 3 men were in a van at Leppington when shots were fired from a white Subaru car about 1:15am. A 39-year-old man sitting in the back of the van was shot in the stomach. The two men in the front were not injured, and they drove to a nearby house and called police. The injured man was taken to Liverpool Hospital where he is in a serious but stable condition. Police say there is no link to the previous night's attack on a nephew of nightclub owner John Ibrahim, Sam Sayour, and his cousin Gehad Hamid. The men were attacked on a suburban street at Old Guildford, and a third man was also shot. New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has complained that his officers are facing a wall of silence over the recent spate of shootings. He says even the smallest piece of information can help take guns off the street. "These crimes are not random attacks. Generally they're targeted and so they will always stay silent," Commissioner Scipione said. "What we need is people that are on the periphery, those that know just that little bit to come forward and talk to us. We will guarantee your anonymity and we will certainly investigate it."

Ibrahim Family: Real Life Underbelly?...

On 13th January this year, Kings Cross nightclub king John Ibrahim's mother Wahiba was on the front porch of her Merrylands home in Sydney's western suburbs. Also in the front yard were her bikie son Sam and the family's ever-present bodyguard, "Tongan Sam" Ngata. Before you know it a number of shots were heard and Ibrahim fell to the ground, a bullet wound in each thigh. The Ibrahims are a family under fire. Over the last couple of years 7 separate shootings have targeted both male and female members of the well know family and their associates. Two Ibrahim brothers were shot, one almost fatally. Even John Ibrahim's sisters are fair game, as are some relatives.
Research points to either some alleged bikie and / or drug links, and domestic - personal relationship matters also come up in the mix. Coppers believe the violence will go on for quite some time. "These things never end well . . . it's coming to a head somehow," a boy in blue shared. The first family member to be targeted in the most recent spray of violence was Fadi Ibrahim, shot at 5 times outside his Castle Cove home in 2009. Police have identified the man they think is behind the shooting, however he hasn't been charged as yet. The 2nd shooting occurred last November at the Ryde home of Armani Haddad, John Ibrahim's sister. Her house was sprayed with 25 bullets while she was at home with the kids. A police theory is that the drive by is linked to another...at the home of her husband's brother and that both happenings may be domestic-related. Sam Ibrahim came to comfort the situation. Now its Sam who has been attacked, just last month. He's a seasoned bikie and alleged attempts to reform the Nomads Parramatta chapter by recruiting members of the Notorious gang is one theory being talked about as a reason behind his shooting. Some think the reason may be more personal. Ibrahim's people notified police a jealous boyfriend of a woman who fell for Sam decided to take action with gunshot. Even young members of the Ibrahim family have also been targets recently. Hassan "Sam" Sayour (19-year-old Ibrahim nephew) and Jihad Hamid (23) shot on the street in Old Guildford just last Sunday. Two other shootings have targeted an Ibrahim family associate, Notorious Sergeant at Arms Saber Murad. In the first incident, last November, Murad was whacked by 2 bullets at his Doonside home. Police have charged two men, one a Comanchero, over that incident. Coppers talk a a "wall of silence" surrounding the attacks. Fadi and Sam Ibrahim and Armani Haddad have all politely declined to give statements to police about the crimes committed against them. Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell made a statement saying police deserve co-operation and respect. "Given the recent escalation in gang-related crime, it's vital everyone, victims and witnesses alike, do everything possible to put the perpetrators behind bars," he said. John Ibrahim has had his dash of trouble with some of the Comancheros. Some members had left a calling card and message by trashing one of Ibrahim's Kings Cross nightclubs 3 years back and there has been an ongoing turf war in the region between factions of the Comanchero and Notorious, particularly over the security industry at Kings Cross. When police quizzed a Comanchero member why John Ibrahim had been targeted, he replied: "It's time." Ibrahim has a past linked with associations with bikies and underworld figures, including former 'King of the Cross' Louis Bayeh. He has been charged with murder and threatening witnesses in cases against two of his brothers but all charges were dismissed. A law enforcement source said: "There have been attempts on John's life. Some of the Comanchero are behind it." For Ibrahim, life goes on...having refused offers of police protection. He goes just about everywhere with Tongan Sam, or a similar bodyguard type. Coppers don't believe that all the shootings are an attempt to get to Ibrahim, who recently told friends he was planning to get out of "nightclub promoting" and focus on property development. Any rumours of a venture into pokies or casinos are just small talk, but never say never. Property development sounds like a safer bet at this stage of the game.

Underbelly - what's real, what's media beat up, what's made for TV movies? You be the judge, jury and executioner. Bang Bang.

Don't change your dial punters. We will be back soon with more Real Life Underbelly and AussieWood Underbelly.

Online Casinos, Online Poker and Sports Betting...

Ok readers, we hear you... you also want to know some of the best places to play online (that accept Aussies) if your in or around the Asia Pacific - Australia (including Tassie) and New Zealand, so here it is...

PartyCasino.com

Captain Cooks Casino

Betfair (sports betting only)

PKR.com (poker, slots including Marvel slot games and sports betting)

PartyPoker.com (online poker at one of the world's most respected poker rooms and gaming brands)

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*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

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