Wenham Wonderland
Acting Career: Films

Cosi (1996)

* Synopsis & Cast * David's Role * Trivia * Gallery * Press * Play vs Movie * Video * Filming Locations * Links *

Synopsis and Cast:

Aspiring theatre director Lewis is offered a job to direct a play... in a mental institution. When one of the patients insist on putting on the opera Cosi Fan Tutte, Lewis tries to talk him out of it, but is soon caught up with the excitement of putting on this daunting production.

Cast List:
Ben Mendelsohn - Lewis
Barry Otto - Roy
Toni Collette - Julie
Rachel Griffiths - Lucy
Aden Young - Nick
Colin Friels - Errol
Jacki Weaver - Cherry
Pamela Rabe - Ruth
Paul Chubb - Henry
Colin Hay - Zac
David Wenham - Doug
Tony Llewellyn-Jones - Kirner
Kerry Walker - Sandra
Robin Ramsay - Minister for Health
Henry Maas - Bernard Goldman
Jack Walsh - Air Wrestler (as Raymond Walsh)
Lawrence Woodward - Electrician
Brian Ellison - Rigger
Tamara Kuldin - Seamstress
Dennis Allard - Carpenter
Toni Moran - Painter
David Anthony - Knucklehead
Skye Wansey - Ms Spock
Nick Penn - Ballroom Man
Dan Wyllie - Closed Ward Nurse
Damian Monk - Closed Ward Nurse
Rachel Maza - Nurse at Concert
Robert Noble - Mens Ward Nurse
Samantha McDeed - Pink Lady
Michael Robertson - Cussing Patient
Samantha Rebillet - Student Actor
Anita Hegh - Waitress
Paul Mercurio - Mental Patient (uncredited)
Greta Scacchi - Mental Patient (uncredited)

David's Role:

David played Doug a pyromaniac who hated cats.


The film is based on the stage play. David, Ben Mendelsohn and Barry Otto were in the original cast of the play.

The cast list in the screenplay described Doug as a "wiry, intense pyromaniac."

According to screenwriter Louis Nowra, Miramax (the production company) wanted to change one of Doug's lines to "Of course I'm going to tell on you, because you stole my part."

According to Nowra "Doug gave the Americans all sorts of trouble. They were very reluctant to have us film the sequence in which Doug visits Lucy in her house. Is there a cultural gap here?....Mark and I spent months trying to persuade them that he was a funny psychopath. They couldn't see that Doug was a humorous figure."

He described the actor and the character as, "...scary David Wenham as the seriously unstable Doug."

The original screenplay had Doug being transferred to another mental institution at the end of the film.

The rap song was written by Louis Nowra, but David collaborated with Ben Mendelsohn on some lyric changes.

Clean version of rap song for commercial TV:

My doc and your doc were dissing in Yonkers
They's were saying me and my mates were bonkers
I said, Yo, mother, I resent that description
Yo! They said, 'Chill out, Doug! Here's your prescription.'

Shang-a-do-dee, we're called the psycho-nation
Shang-a-do-dee, we all live in a medical station
Shang-a-do-dee, we're on permanant vacation
Shang-a-do-dee, we're all living on medication.

When the film premiered in Sydney, David was escorted on the red carpet by two uniformed firemen.

David joked in an interview that he thought most people have a pyromaniac streak. "Just look at the way people stare into flames."

Paul Mercurio (Strictly Ballrom) and Greta Scacchi make cameos as mental patients.

Ben Mendelsohn (Lewis) also appeared in Idiot Box as Kev and Australia as Captain Dutton.

Barry Otto (Roy) was also in the play The Tempest, the film Australia, and the animated films Legend of the Guardians, A Cautionary Tale and Blinky Bill.

Toni Collette (Julie) played Michele in The Boys and provides the voice in the film Blinky Bill.

Rachel Griffiths (Lucy) starred in After the Deluge as Annie.

Aden Young has been in several of David's films and TV projects including Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, and After the Deluge. He also makes an appearance in the Paul Cox documentary On Borrowed Time.

Colin Friels (Errol) has been in Dark City and Killing Time.

Colin Hay (Zac) is best known as the frontman for the Australian band Men at Work.

Tony Llewellyn-Jones (Kirner) played Duncan Banks in Seeing Red and appears in the Paul Cox documentary On Borrowed Time.

Kerry Walker (Sandra) was in Poor Man's Orange, played Eugenie Mason in A Little Bit of Soul, Marie in Moulin Rouge!, Myrtle Allsop in Australia, and Sheila Fraser in Killing Time.

Lawrence Woodward (Electrician) portayed a jailer and was a stunt coordinator in The Boys. He also was a stunt coordinator in Moulin Rouge and Australia.

Brian Ellison (Rigger) was a stunt double for actor Bob Maza in Heartland. He also did stunts for No Escape.

Skye Wansey (Ms Spock) was in Tran the Man as Deb, and Roses are Red as a business woman.

Rachel Maza (Nurse at Concert) also appeared in Heartland as Leila Sutton.

Anita Hegh (Waitress) played Samantha in Return to Jupiter and was in the play The Seagull.

Jackie Weaver was also in Goldstone.



'Let's get this show on the road'
'Women are never true'


Crazy over Aussie Cosi -
Sun Herald, April 13, 1995
"Wenham is looking way too comfortable in his ridiculous
purple track suit and sunglasses."

Toni's Cosi New Hit -
The Daily Telegraph, March 20, 1996
"Firefighters in full uniform were present to escort David Wenham,
who plays a pyromaniac in the movie, into the cinema."

Fire! -
Juice, April 1996
"Louis Nowra wrote the lyrics and then I changed them a bit.
I went with Ben down to the park near where I live, and we
improvised it with all these people walking by, staring at us."


School of Media Communication and Culture

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