The Australian-New Zealand Logie winner actor ditched his classic good looks to undergo a complete transformation to take on the highly coveted role.
Jeffery, 46, packed on the pounds, including a substantial belly, complete with painted-on tattoos, for the upcoming Nine mini-series Underbelly Files: Chopper.
Previously seen in Wentworth and McLeod’s Daughters, usually playing one of the romantic leads, Jeffery appears to have taken his turn as the underworld enforcer seriously.
The role was previously immortalised on the big screen by Eric Bana in the acclaimed 2000 film Chopper.
But Channel Nine’s heads of drama released a statement about Jeffery’s turn as Chopper with a promise that Jeffery would inject a new side to the infamous criminal. “This is Chopper as you’ve never seen him before. And who better to portray this larger-than-life criminal than multiple Logie and AACTA-award winner Aaron Jeffrey?” the statement said.
The real Chopper was one of Australia’s most best-known criminals. He was able to use his notoriety to his advantage by writing a series of best-selling books about his often darkly comical exploits, including one called How to Shoot Friends and Influence People. He claimed to have spent just 13 months out of prison – where he learned to read and write – between the ages of 20 and 38, and published his first book in 1991.
He died in 2013 following a long battle with liver cancer. But Chopper’s wife, Margaret Read, told the Daily Telegraph in November that she wasn’t happy about the Underbelly series.
She said that there was no ‘untold’ story left about Read, given his own books, multiple interviews he had given to the media, and the Chopper film, which she said was about “10 per cent true”.
Screentime, which made the program for Channel Nine, said at the time that the Underbelly piece would be as thoroughly researched and authentic as possible.
This article first published on Starts at 60.