JUST days after he allegedly cut the head off his neighbour, Jonathon Stenberg strolled into a film set in a remote Queensland town, and auditioned for a role in a thriller.
With NSW Police hot on his tail, wanted over the decapitation murder of north coast man Edward Kelly, Stenberg took himself to the tiny rural township of Winton, where he tried his hand at playing the part of a policeman.
The bizarre twist was revealed today as the producers of the movie Mystery Road contacted the media, hoping the gain some publicity for the upcoming film and shed light on Stenberg’s movements prior to police capturing him.
The film’s assistant director Mark Ingram told The Daily Telegraph the cast and crew – which includes Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson and True Blood star Ryan Kwanten – were still shaking their heads at their unlikely encounter with Stenberg.
“We’re all still a little shaken by it, it was just totally bizarre,” Mr Ingram said.
On the morning of June 23, Mr Ingram was pinning up posters outside the North Gregory Hotel asking locals to audition as extras in the movie, when Stenberg wandered up to him.
“This gentleman came up and said hi, said he was passing through town and wanted to earn a few extra dollars,” Mr Ingram said.
“We weren’t quite ready to take people in yet, so he said he’d go and buy me a coffee and come back in 20 minutes.”
Armed with a couple of coffees and some biscuits too, Stenberg returned to the local pub where Mr Ingram welcomed him in for an audition.
“In he came, he was the first one through the door, so he was number one,” he said.
Stenberg told the film’s producers and director he had a lengthy background in the military, he was trained in weapons use and had served in Afghanistan.
“He was great. Very polite and well-spoken and he seemed really keen to help out on the film wherever he could,” he said.
Stenberg said he had no fixed address, other than the back of his ute, but said he also had a builders license and offered to help with any props building that might be needed on set.
Impressed with Stenberg’s audition and what he had to offer the film, Mr Ingram emailed him to offer him a role.
“Ironically, because of his military background, we cast him as a policeman,” Mr Ingram said.
But on June 25, a day before Stenberg’s ute was found in bushland in the Northern Territory, Mr Ingram received an email turning down the role.
“He wrote back saying it was great to meet you, but unfortunately he had to go up north, and wouldn’t be able to take on the role,” Mr Ingram said.
“He had mentioned at his audition that he might have a job to go to up north, but he didn’t elaborate.”
Stenberg was arrested on Sunday, in a remote bush hideout, south of Darwin, in one of the largest manhunts in the Northern Territory’s history.
Police allege he murdered Mr Kelly, at his Broadwater home on June 21, and left a hat in place of where his head should have been.
Stenberg appeared in Darwin Magistrate’s Court today, where NSW Police successfully sought an extradition order to bring him back to Sydney, where he will be formally charged.