Former NRL star Sam Burgess hasn’t joined the cast of Russell Crowe’s new film Poker Face, despite reports he’s looking to ‘kickstart his career in movies’ by calling in a favour from his old boss at the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Woman’s Day reported on Monday that Sam, 32, had set his sights on a Hollywood career post-retirement and was about to fly to Thailand to film scenes for the upcoming thriller, starring Elsa Pataky and Liam Hemsworth.
But a spokesperson for Russell denied this on Wednesday, telling Daily Mail Australia the rugby league great was involved in the production – but only as an on-set driver.
Sam has a solid friendship with Oscar-winner Russell, who co-owns the Rabbitohs and was instrumental in bringing him over from the UK to play for the club.
Woman’s Day claimed the move was part of an ‘escape plan’ for Sam – who is trying to rehabilitate his public image after a series of scandals and legal dramas – but it looks like he isn’t making a bid for the silver screen just yet.
He is already getting a glowing ‘redemption edit’ on SAS Australia, and last week broke down in tears as he apologised for cheating on his ex-wife Phoebe.
Sam also wept over his father’s death from motor neurone disease when he was just a teenager, during an interrogation with the drill sergeants on Tuesday’s episode.
It follows reports the SAS Australia recruits are furious over Sam’s ‘redemption story’.
Sam has been featured heavily on Seven’s military-style reality show, while the other contestants are completing the same challenges almost unnoticed.
A production source told Daily Mail Australia this week several of the recruits were feeling ‘frustrated’ with their lack of airtime.
The stars are unhappy their efforts have been left on the cutting room floor, with the insider saying SAS Australia’s second season is ‘basically the Sam Burgess show’.
‘The talk right now amongst recruits is [the producers] are doing their best to make Sam Burgess look good… doesn’t take a genius to figure out why,’ the source said.
‘The best way to minimise any potential backlash was to make him likeable and to make everyone else look bad.’
‘It’s blatantly obvious to the recruits the network is terrified given Sam has ongoing legal issues still pending,’ they added.
The insider sensationally claimed producers were instructed by executives at Seven to ‘start conditioning the audience to like Sam’.
‘The order came straight from the top… SAS is trying to pull the wool over audiences’ eyes,’ they alleged.