When actor Robert Mammone was spotted by an Underbelly fan in Athens, he knew he was doing justice to his role as convicted drug runner Tony Mokbel.
Mammone was on location in the Greek capital to play Mokbel for the Nine Network’s nine-part drama series Fat Tony & Co which airs on Sunday at 8.40pm.
The nine-part series covers the dismantling of Mokbel’s drug empire, the police hunt for him and his eventual capture in Greece in 2007.
Mokbel was sentenced in 2012 to 30 years jail, with a non-parole period of 22 years, after pleading guilty to three charges relating to a sophisticated drug cartel known as The Company.
Although the series is a sequel to the 2008 Underbelly series, in which Mammone also played Mokbel, contractual reasons prevented this production being filmed under the same title.
Mammone is one of several stars from Underbelly who reprise their roles for Fat Tony & Co.
Gyton Grantley returns (as Carl Williams), Les Hill (Jason Moran), Vince Colosimo (Alphonse Gangitano), Simon Westaway (Mick Gatto), Gerard Kennedy (Graham Kinniburgh) and Kevin Harrington (Lewis Moran).
Hollie Andrew takes on the role of William’s wife Roberta, who was previously played by Kat Stewart, Madeleine West is Mokbel’s girlfriend Danielle McGuire and Debra Byrne plays Judy Moran.
Mokbel said it’s not uncommon for fans of Underbelly to approach him for a photo and while it may interrupt what he’s doing, like checking into a flight, he treats the requests with respect.
“It’s a compliment that people recognise you and it means you have done your job right,” Mammone told AAP.
“I’ve been asked for photos at the footy (the MCG) and I appreciate people saying hi – it means that you’ve obviously made an impression.
“Even at the airport in Greece people recognised me from the first one (Underbelly).”
In the months before the filming, Mammone added 15 kilograms to his frame which made his own wardrobe very tight or redundant.
“I ate more than I usually do and I consumed beer more than I usually do,” Mammone said.
Mammone’s trip to Athens was his first and it’s unlikely to be his last.
A hectic shooting schedule left him with little time to take in the sights of the ancient city.
“We worked every day so there was no real time for sightseeing unless we were travelling to location,” he said.
“It’s the birth place of democracy…and I didn’t think much about going to Athens until I saw the first column standing.
“It was a cool moment for me.”
* Fat Tony & Co starts on Sunday, February 23 at 8.40pm on the Nine Network.