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Paperback Hero (1999)

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Jack Willis is a handsome roadtrain driver with a secret - he has just become a top-selling romance novelist. However, being a 'man's man' in the Australian outlook, to avoid embarrassment,... See full summary »


(as Anthony Bowman)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruby Vale
Jack Willis
Ziggy Keane
Andrew S. Gilbert ...
Bruce Venables ...
Barry Rugless ...
Mad Pete
Barry Lea ...
Steven Colling ...
Cafe Drinker
Randel Ross ...
Bill Watson ...
Mr. Reece
Scott Nugent ...
Bag Pipe Player
Brooke Fairley ...
Dancing Girl
Ross Marsden ...
Country Pub drinker
Charles Little ...
Errol (as Charlie Little)


Jack Willis is a handsome roadtrain driver with a secret - he has just become a top-selling romance novelist. However, being a 'man's man' in the Australian outlook, to avoid embarrassment, he needs a name, a woman's name - and he chooses that of his best friend, Ruby Vale. He must do some fancy footwork to continue the charade when the glamorous city publisher, Ziggy, arrives in dusty outback Lucktown to sign 'Ruby Vale' to a major book deal. Ruby agrees to help Jack though it's for her own gain as well - the publisher will pay for her coming wedding (with Hamish, Jack's buddy). Accompanied by Jack, Ruby goes to Sydney to meet the media, appear on TV and cocktail parties, etc. Gradually, Jack realizes that he has fallen in love with Ruby, while Ruby is also touched by Jack's novel. However, Hamish arrives in Sydney a few days later and asks both of them to stop all these foolish things... Written by L.H. Wong <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's hard, tough ... and doesn't give a XXXX for anything ... except romantic novels


Comedy | Romance


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 March 1999 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Paperisankari  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Ontario)


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Did You Know?


Writer-director Antony J. Bowman got the idea for the film when he read about a Texan truck driver who also wrote romantic novels. See more »


During the opening credits, the road train is filmed from the air. A helicopter's shadow (presumably the helicopter doing the filming) can be seen briefly on the ground below. See more »


Mairi's Wedding
Traditional bagpipe march
Arranged & Performed by Scott Nugent
See more »

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User Reviews

Sunny Kiss
28 March 1999 | by (Cairns Australia) – See all my reviews

The acronym K.I.S.S., meaning Keep It Simple Stupid came to my challenged mind while I watched Paperback Hero, the latest Aussie film on show.

And this isn't a criticism of the film. Paperback Hero is simple. It's a pleasurable comedy romance which stars Aussie would be pin up Hugh Jackman and the always loveable Claudia Karvan. It is kept simple, especially the style of acting, and that's its charm.

The plot isn't complicated by anything much more complicated than a smiling dog. Paperback Hero is sweet and unaffected just as films should be, every now and then.

Jack in Paperback Hero has written a women's novel but being a tough truckie doesn't want to put his name to the book. He uses his old mate Ruby Vales name (Claudia Karvan) but doesn't tell her.

Australian bush comedies often end up being somewhat embarrassing lampoonings of our precious heritage. Paperback Hero has stock bush pub characters but somehow manages to avoid making them seem ridiculous even if the film is a comedy.

A lightness of touch from new director Antony Bowman allows Paperback Hero to exhibit our more strident rural identities without causing a cringe. He should have a good handle on the plot though. He apparently wrote the novel upon which the film is based.

The language is often colourful but is uttered in the natural way we know is correct. The plot does get a bit fuzzy, especially with regards to Ziggy, but that's more than compensated for by big natural smiles from two very appealing lead actors.

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