George MacKay took inspiration from The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard to play Ned Kelly

MacKay plays the notorious Aussie outlaw in ‘True History Of The Kelly Gang’

George MacKay has revealed that he was inspired by Perth musician Gareth Liddiard when playing Ned Kelly in the movie True History Of The Kelly Gang, going as far to say The Drones and Tropical Fuck Storm member was “the biggest reference in terms of voice and look” for the character.

Speaking to the Short List, in a story published on February 28, MacKay listed some of the inspirations behind his take on the notorious Aussie outlaw in Justin Kurzel’s latest film.

According to the British actor, Liddiard was a “big reference for Ned”. “Justin wanted this version of Ned to sort of be a writer – it’s about him writing his own history – and Gareth is a storyteller in his songs,” MacKay explained.


MacKay continued, “He did this one solo album called ‘Strange Tourist’ which is him and an acoustic guitar and there’s these kinds of noodling poems of songs. His way of talking is very easy, very cool, but he sits back. That’s what we wanted with this version of Ned. He has quite a bit of power in being unreadable, it’s a kind of defence mechanism, that thing of, ‘You’re not gonna know what I’m thinking’ and that should make you feel funny.”

Stream Liddiard’s 2010 album ‘Strange Tourist’ below:

MacKay added that Liddiard had “this sort of intellectual swagger” which helped inspire the voice and appearance of his interpretation of Ned Kelly. He also said that Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor was another reference for his character, in terms of attitude and physicality.

True History Of The Kelly Gang is a film adaptation of Peter Carey’s historical novel of the same name, which won the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Booker Prize. The movie stars MacKay opposite Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis and Charlie Hunnam.