'The Universe Was On Our Side': How Adam Hills Created The Incredible Sports Doco Take His Legs

“It became obvious that playing rugby league with a prosthetic leg was never going to be a professional career choice,” Adam Hills joked while speaking to 10 play from his home in Melbourne back in April.

The world was just grappling with self-isolating and Adam was quarantined from his wife and kids in his own home after returning from the UK where he hosts The Last Leg.

“To be on the safe side, I’m sleeping in my daughter’s bedroom,” he said at the time, “I’m at the other end of the house and my wife and I aren’t going near each other.

“It’s really quite bizarre,” he added.

During the initial lockdowns that swept across Australia, two industries close to Adam’s heart were greatly affected: comedy and sport.

Thankfully, before all that happened, a chance encounter saw Adam able to live out his childhood dream of playing rugby league on a grand scale, and led to the creation of the documentary Adam Hills: Take His Legs.

Explaining that one day a fan tweeted him about the Sydney Rabbitohs' Physical Disability team, Adam said he immediately called them to learn more about the Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL).

Because he was still based in the UK at the time, the Rabbitohs explained that there was a team forming in a place called Warrington who were attempting to set-up England’s first disability rugby team.

After that first chat Adam made two calls. First to the Warrington Wolves to say he’d do whatever he could to help — even if it meant taking the UK’s first fledgling PDRL team and turning them into world champions.

“The next thing I did was call a documentary maker, a producer friend of mine who loves rugby league. I said, ‘I reckon there might be a story here, how about we just take a camera along, film it and see what we get?’”

Before Adam had even had a chance to meet any of the Warrington team he and his documentary-maker mate grabbed a camera to capture the beginnings of the team.

“I wanted to capture absolutely everything,” Adam said, “The first time in the documentary when I walked up to the stadium was literally the first time I had met any of the guys. We got it all on camera.”

Adam and his mate had an idea that they could film the early days of the Wolves’ PDRL team and their rise from humble beginnings to taking on the best team in the world. But there were a lot of factors that had to fall into place for them to pull it off.

“The universe was definitely on our side,” Adam said. “We lost the first game. The producer took me aside and was like, ‘It’s all well and good to go out to Australia and want to play against the best in the world, but if you’re not going out there as the best in Britain, we don’t have much of a documentary!’

“There’s not much of a story in Britain’s sh*ttest team losing to Australia’s best,” Adam said, laughing.

But Take His Legs isn’t just about the struggles and triumphs on the field, it also introduces us to the incredible men that make up the team.

“When we first started making it I thought it was going to be about me,” Adam admitted, “typical comedian! I thought I was going to be the star of the show. Then we filmed a little trailer and I said to the producers, ‘This doesn’t feel right.’

“My thinking was it doesn’t matter if we come out to Australia and we don’t beat the best in the world. It doesn’t matter because it’s the journey and what sport has given to these people.”

Even for those who might not consider themselves the biggest fans of sport, Take His Legs is a stunning portrait of these men who come together and find a sense of community in a world that so often overlooks those with disabilities.

“Even with all this that’s gone on,” Adam said referring to the coronavirus, “the Warrington rugby league team were calling elderly members asking if they needed anything.

“That’s what a sporting club is for. It’s not just there to watch blokes smash each other, it’s actually there to provide a real sense of community. It was a real eye-opener for me.”

Adam Hills: Take His Legs premieres Monday, 13 July At 9.30pm on 10 and WIN Network

Can't wait until then, watch it now on 10 play.

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