Seconds of fame for politicians

Did you know both Mad Max and The Matrix feature cameo appearances from Tasmanian politicians? Neither did ALEX DRUCE.

HE'S only on screen for seven seconds, but Launceston's own deputy mayor can be found in The Matrix.

Alderman Jeremy Ball, a NIDA graduate who had roles in various '90s television projects, makes a fleeting cameo in the iconic sci-fi flick, appearing as a businessman whose mobile phone is stolen by protagonist Neo - played by Keanu Reeves.

It is nearly 15 years to the day since the release of The Matrix, which was filmed in Sydney a decade before Alderman Ball was elected to the Launceston City Council in 2007.

After graduating from NIDA in 1995, Alderman Ball co- starred in 20 episodes of the ABC TV show Fallen Angels (alongside Gary McDonald), while also enjoying bit-part roles in shows such as A Difficult Woman, Water Rats, Police Rescue and Murder Call.

A successful casting call for "some sci-fi movie no-one knew anything about" saw him riding in a van en route to the Surrey Hills set with directors Andy and Lana Wachowski.

"Basically, they dropped us off on the street, and the crew was basically installing the set around us," Alderman Ball said.

"It was crazy how fast they work."

Alderman Ball's scene centres around Neo fleeing from a rampant Agent Smith - played by Hugo Weaving.

Neo, sprinting down the street, grabs a mobile phone out of Alderman Ball's hands while he is mid-conversation.

Alderman Ball's `businessman' is not happy, and waves for help.

"What the s**t? That's my phone! That guy took my phone!"

Alderman Ball said the scene was done in just four takes.

"It was a lot of fun, and Keanu really is the nicest guy," Alderman Ball said.

"I actually forgot that I was in the movie.

"I went to see The Matrix when I was in Edinburgh, saw myself, and started laughing."

This month also marks 35 years since the appearance of another Tasmanian local government identity in a Hollywood blockbuster.

George Miller's 1980 road classic Mad Max features fleeting glimpses of French-born Glamorgan-Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart, who played a thug named Clunk in Toecutter's gang.

Cr Cadart said he was called upon to design the post- apocalyptic motorcycles used by both police and gang members, and was also asked to act as an adviser on all motorcycle scenes in the film.

"I remember getting a call out of the blue from a guy who said: `I am George Miller and I want to shoot a bikie movie, but I don't know anything about motorbikes'," Cr Cadart said.

Cr Cadart also played the father of a violent people smuggler in the 2011 horror movie Bolivian Kiss, which was filmed at Bicheno.

• Watch Jeremy Ball in The Matrix here - about nine seconds in.

And see• stills from Bertrand Cadart in Mad Max here

Email adruce@examiner.com.au, Twitter @AlexDruce1987

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