“I consider myself retired. Well, I’ve been trying to be retired for 20 years,” laughed legendary comedian, actor, producer and writer, Paul Hogan.
“My friend, Dean Murphy, keeps dragging me out of retirement to stick me in something. I love his sense of humor. It’s a nice laid-back style.”
Murphy directed, produced, co-wrote Hogan’s latest movie, The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee. It sees Hogan, about to be knighted, thrust back into the spotlight and trying to save his tarnished reputation.
“I think Dean is a very talented writer and director. He came up with the idea. I trusted him to do it. That was important and, of course, the fact that it was about me, so I had to be in it. I mean, I’m a wreck nowadays, but that didn’t matter. When he comes to me with something, I’m glad, but I’m not looking for anything. I’m quite lazy.”
Hogan, the legendary Australian comedian who achieved international superstardom as Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee in the mid-80s smash hit movie, Crocodile Dundee, hasn’t been short of offers.
“I was approached a lot after I did the Superbowl ads for Australian tourism in 2018. Millions of people saw them,” he recalled. “Mick Dundee, according to an Australian tourism survey, is one of the best known Australians of all time, but no-one had ever heard of me. People remembered the character but not me. That’s why they had to put Dundee in the title of this new movie.”MORE FOR YOU‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Nielsen Winning Streak Continues; What It Means For Streaming And ConsumersIvanka’s Trademark Requests Were Fast-Tracked In China After Trump Was ElectedBuffalo Bills’ GM Brandon Beane Awarded Multi-Year Contract Extension
While the comedy is a work of fiction, The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee had real experiences worked into its fabric.
“I have been approached with some good ideas and but a lot of absolutely dingbat ideas about doing another Crocodile Dundee. I decide to make fun of that and other things in this movie.”
“There are a couple of scenes in The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee with a Mick Dundee impersonator on Hollywood Boulevard. That part is based on fact. For quite a few years, there was one of them there. There were two waxworks of me as Mick Dundee. One was at Madame Tussauds, which was pretty good. The other was totally unrecognizable.”
“We also play on the terrible ideas that were suggested. We did have some complaints about the joke in the movie where I rejected the idea of Will Smith playing my son in a new Dundee movie. People said that Will is a bigger star than I am and asked why I would have a problem with him playing my son. In the movie, my wife would be around 60, and I didn’t think it would be likely for her to give birth to a 52-year-old African American. No-one’s going to buy that.”
Something audiences didn’t buy was the third and final film in the Crocodile Dundee series, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. It grossed just $39.4 million when it hit theaters in 2001.
“I got talked into doing it. Just like many others, the third one is not my favorite. It sent me the signal that the franchise is over. It had run its race,” Hogan lamented. “A couple of other guys wrote it, then I fiddled with it and rewrote it a bit. I was bored, so I made it, and as a consequence, no-one turned up.”
2021 will see the original film, the Oscar-nominated Crocodile Dundee, turn 35. It grossed $328 million worldwide, breaking box office records.
“I didn’t see it coming. It was a little movie that made for $6.5 million,” Hogan enthused. “I thought it had a good chance of being a bit of a hit in Australia and maybe in the UK because I was a little bit known there, but nowhere else would probably want to take a look at it. I didn’t know it would end being the number one movie in places like Lebanon, Israel, Sweden, Norway, Ethiopia, all around the world.”
Have the popularity of the tourism ads and The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee inspired him to return to Mick Dundee one last time?
“Oh, no,” he said. “No, it’s over. It happened. It was a huge success, and I’m thrilled and proud of it. I was actually quite prepared to retire after doing the last one, to be honest. What am I going to do now? Get around the place with a walker in a retirement village? It’s done.”