NEWCASTLE actor Dominic Dates will tackle his first starring role as Australia’s most wanted fugitive Malcolm Naden.
The Carrington-raised Aboriginal actor shaved his head and entered a ‘‘dark place’’ to portray the convicted double killer for the Channel 7 documentary Malcolm Naden: Australia’s Most Hunted.
‘‘Naden was a very horrific character. He was a very bad person, a sexual predator,’’ Dates said.
‘‘It was mind blowing to portray this character. I would spend an hour before shooting preparing myself and observing the bush.’’
The 90-minute television documentary was shot on locations frequented by Naden including Stewarts Brook in the Barrington Tops.
It tells the full story of Strike Force Durkin and the seven-year manhunt that culminated in police surrounding the remote Rawdon Vale cabin, about 30 kilometres west of Gloucester on March 22, 2012.
Angry about the Ned Kelly-style myth that has built up around Naden’s years on the run, Detective Superintendent Michael Willing, who led Strike Force Durkin, has painted a very different picture of Naden.
The former fugitive is now serving a life sentence in Goulburn’s maximum security prison for the murder of Dubbo mother Kristy Scholes and his cousin Lateesha Nolan.
‘‘He wasn’t a master bushman, he just got very lucky. He’s a pathological killer who would kill again,” Detective Superintendent Willing said.
A father of two small children and a student advisor at Newcastle University, Dates described Naden as a role ‘‘that doesn’t come along everyday’’.
Dates has had minor roles in the films Superman Returns and Suburban Mayhem, both shot in Newcastle.
Malcolm Naden: Australia’s Most Hunted will screen on Prime 7 at 8.30pm on Wednesday September 11.
It features crime scene pictures, the untold story behind the manhunt and Naden’s chilling confessions.