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Aussie Matt Passmore to Star in A&E's 'Sugarloaf' -- Is He the Next Simon Baker?

by Anna Dimond, posted Nov 6th 2009 5:24PM
A&E is warming up for summer drama. The network has greenlit an hourlong pilot for 'Sugarloaf' and nabbed Aussie hunk Matt Passmore to star, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

'Sugarloaf' features Passmore as Jim Longworth, a beleaguered ex-cop from Chicago who's kicked off the force after his partner shoots him and wrongfully accuses him of having an affair with his wife. With payout in hand, Longworth heads for the sunnier climes of a small town in Florida, where he joins the state police.

Clifton Campbell wrote the pilot, and is executive producing it with Gary Randall, while Peter O'Fallon is directing. A&E had been interested in the project for some time, but reportedly stayed mum until it had its star.A&E is warming up for summer drama. The network has greenlit an hourlong pilot for 'Sugarloaf' and nabbed Aussie hunk Matt Passmore to star, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

'Sugarloaf' features Passmore as Jim Longworth, a beleaguered ex-cop from Chicago who's kicked off the force after his partner shoots him and wrongfully accuses him of having an affair with his wife. With payout in hand, Longworth heads for the sunnier climes of a small town in Florida, where he joins the state police.

Clifton Campbell wrote the pilot, and is executive producing it with Gary Randall, while Peter O'Fallon is directing. A&E had been interested in the project for some time, but reportedly stayed mum until it had its star.

"It was such a great script with such a unique character who is very good at what he does but also has a sense of humor," said Tana Nugent Jamieson, A&E's senior VP for drama programming. "When Matt walked into the room, we knew we had the right guy -- he is so charismatic and so likable."

Passmore had previously been attached to 20th Century Fox TV's pilot for 'Masterwork,' in which he also starred. This week, he was released from the project, allowing for a fast deal to join 'Sugarloaf.'

The actor, while fairly new to American audiences, is a familiar face to Australians, with credits including the miniseries 'Underbelly' and the film drama 'Noir Drive.' While Passmore appeared in 2005's 'Son of the Mask,' 'Sugarloaf' could be his launching pad in the Northern Hemisphere if it goes to series.

With his rugged good looks and (if A&E has it right) wry charm, Passmore appears to be poised for the kind of American love-fest that his fellow Aussie Simon Baker has enjoyed since arriving in the spotlight as 'The Mentalist''s Patrick Jane. Once pilot decisions shake out for A&E's summer season, time will tell if Baker will have to make a little room in limelight.

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