Unlikely 'Bromance': Veteran Actor David Field And Tradie Turned Film Writer George Basha
The actor-director duo behind the Australian film series 'The Combination' has formed an unlikely and long-lasting partnership.
When David Field jokingly calls his film partner George Basha a "jahash" (Arabic for "donkey"), you begin to get an idea of how close the two are.
Ten years since the release of their film The Combination (written and starring Basha and directed by Field), the pair has reunited for the film's sequel.
The film promises to maintain its gritty and raw exploration of crime, racial tensions and family loyalty in Sydney's often-maligned western suburbs.
In the decade linking part one and two, the duo became "like brothers", despite the 25 year age gap and big cultural differences.
The pair -- who initially met after having minor roles in the 1997 drama thriller Blackrock -- didn't reconnect until years later.
Basha's real-life experiences with family feuds, gun crime and love in the cultural melting pot of West Sydney inspired the story for The Combination.
Field grew up in country NSW, studied at The Ensemble Theatre and featured in dozens of film and TV roles like Chopper, Two Hands and Gettin' Square.
When they reunited, Basha was a novice actor with a day job as a tradie. Yet they discovered a common interest -- the desire to be given a chance.
"Being an ethnic actor was very hard back then," Basha told 10 daily, referring to their first encounter in the early 2000s.
"I'd just finished writing the script for The Combination and I asked Dave if he knew any directors that would be interested.
"He said he was looking at getting into directing and would love to have a read. I gave him the script, he loved it and our relationship grew from there."
"It’s been 17-plus years now we've known one another," Field said.
"He's my dear friend without question and for life, even if we never made another film."
The sequel is as authentic as its predecessor, tackling issues such as gun violence, inter-religious relationships and the rise of white extremism.
"When I wrote the original film, no one wanted to talk about racism in Australia. People would sweep it under the carpet -- until the Cronulla riots [in 2005]. From then till now, the world has changed," Basha said.
This is the third time Basha and Field have teamed up, after part one and 2014's Convict, on the internal politics and turf wars of the prison system.
A fourth film, The Sentence, is in the works. Basha described it as "very different to anything I've done -- a real soft, caring story".
Basha (left) and Field (right) Image: George Basha.
"We're like brothers. Even if we weren't to make any more films together, we've got this bond we've built over the years. I can trust Dave with my life," Basha said.
Through his work with Basha and their multicultural cast of rising stars (including Firass Dirani), Field has become an advocate for diversity in film.
"When you appropriate the stories of other cultures, you are just dipping your toe, retaining control," he said.
"But when you guide and allow the voice and the power of the storyteller to be set free, you have a better chance to hear and see the truer cultural resonance."
Doing things this way will achieve genuine diversity in the industry rather than token gestures, Field said.
"This stuff is human and where it can take you is 15 years or more of genuine, creative and loyal friendship.
"The ones who will come next after George will do so because he has opened a door for them."
The Combination Redemption is in Australian cinemas from February 7.
Contact the author: email@example.com.