Swampy to hit the big screen

Allan Marsh meets his Hollywood self in actor Shane Jacobson

THE tale of chook farmer Allan ‘Swampy’ Marsh and his Maremma dogs has all the good ingredients for a great film, according to actor Shane Jacobson.

Jacobson will star as Mr Marsh in the feature film. Together with director Clayton Jacobson and other film crew members, he met the Mortlake chook farmer yesterday and had a walk around Warrnambool’s Middle Island.

The film, titled Oddball, will be shot next year on the island and other locations integral to the story of how Maremmas helped save the local penguin colony from extinction.

Jacobson told The Standard Mr Marsh was a larger than life character who was the real deal.

He said unlike the comedy Kenny, which Jacobson starred in and the same team produced, Mr Marsh’s was not a fictional story.

“Unlike Kenny, we didn’t sit down and imagine him,” he said. “That’s what makes it all the more exciting.

“It’s a true story with a great outcome and they’re the best ingredients for a film.

“All people want a story that ends well. Swampy is a loveable character.

“With Kenny we invented a loveable character.”

Jacobson said he knew Warrnambool well after filming part of Charlie and Boots in the city and also working as a pyrotechnician at the speedway.

He said he expected to spend some time with Mr Marsh along the way and was looking forward to catching up with friends in Warrnambool.

“Don’t be surprised if you see two big guys sitting in a bar in Warrnambool having a few drinks,” he said.

The filming is expected to be finished in Warrnambool by the end of June and the Australian premiere is expected in 2015.

The feature film production gained the backing of Screen Australia last week and is eventually expected to be released globally.

The first Maremma from Mr Marsh’s chook farm to be taken on to the island was Oddball which stayed there about three weeks before Missy was given a stint. Oddball is now 13 years old and approaching retirement and Missy is about 14.

They won’t be in the film. Instead several younger Maremmas will be used.

Mr Marsh said the film would be the fruition of almost 10 years’ work.

“I didn’t expect there would be so much public interest,” he said.

“The initial thing was to stop the penguins being killed.”

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