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'Screentalk' Posts

Murray Keane: From acting to directing in primetime…

Posted on 15 January 2013

Actor and director Murray Keane's first big role on screen was in 1980s television series Peppermint Twist. His acting credits also include Away Laughing, Chunuk Bair and Braindead. In the 1990s, Keane moved into directing, working on popular drama series Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons and Go Girls. In this ScreenTalk, Keane talks about:

  • Playing a semi-mute drummer on Peppermint Twist
  • Working in mud and unwashed costumes for movie Chunuk Bair
  • Why the film Braindead was the worst experience of his career
  • The pressure of directing episodes of Shortland Street
  • Being proud of directing Diplomatic Immunity despite its disappointing ratings
  • Enjoying public praise for his contribution to Outrageous Fortune
  • How Go Girls proved a great way of improving his directing skills
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



director, interview, actor, outrageous fortune, Go Girls, shortland street, Screentalk, The Almighty Johnsons, peppermint twist, murray keane, away laughing, chunuk bair, braindead

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Fiona Samuel: Marching to success…

Posted on 10 December 2012

Fiona Samuel has found success as an actor, writer and director. Her first acting job was in long-running soap Close to Home, and she followed that with appearances in a number of film and TV shows. Samuel’s greatest passion, however, is for writing and directing. She was the creative force behind The Marching Girls, and has written scripts for shows such as Outrageous FortuneThe Almighty Johnsons and Rude Awakenings. Samuel also wrote and directed award-winning one-off dramas Piece of My Heart, and Bliss: The Beginning of Katherine Mansfield. In this ScreenTalk, Samuel talks about:

  • Being too theatrical on the set of Close to Home
  • Creating the concept for The Marching Girls
  • Discovering her scriptwriting skills needed an overhaul
  • Adding a prostitute to the original story in Home Movie
  • How a surprising statistic led her to create the documentary Virginity
  • Taking 10 years to get Piece of My Heart funded
  • The reasons she picked the main actresses
  • Bringing a fresh but authentic feel to Bliss
  • Wishing she’d had even more opportunities in her career
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



director, interview, rena owen, actor, writer, outrageous fortune, close to home, bliss, katherine mansfield, Screentalk, The Almighty Johnsons, the marching girls, fiona samuels, wude awakenings, piece of my heart, home movie

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Marshall Napier: A trans-Tasman success…

Posted on 25 October 2012

Marshall Napier has forged a successful acting career playing strong supporting roles in a swathe of Kiwi and Aussie TV dramas and films. His numerous credits include The Governor, Goodbye Pork Pie, Came a Hot Friday, Blue Heelers, Babe, McLeod’s Daughters and Water Rats. He also has a strong pedigree in theatre, and took his own play Freak Winds to New York in 2006. In this ScreenTalk, Napier talks about:

  • Having only one costume to wear as Sir Richard Seddon in The Governor
  • Almost driving off the road during a car chase in Goodbye Pork Pie
  • Being told to smile by director Ian Mune on the set of Came a Hot Friday
  • The chaotic nature of filming on Vincent Ward’s The Navigator
  • How people assumed he was a real farmer after his long stint on Australian TV favourite McLeod’s Daughters
  • Being directed by his nephew in I’m Not Harry Jenson
  • Being surrounded by grotesque characters in Picnic at Rock Island
  • Playing a hard-nosed ‘prick’ on City Homicide
  • How an actor’s life is a tough one
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, actor, The Governor, Australia, came a hot friday, Screentalk, water rats, McLeod’s Daughters, marshall napier, aussie, goodbye pork pie, blue heelers, babe, freak winds, city homicide, the navigator, i'm not harry jenson, picnic at rock island

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Mark Leishman: Television, dogs and longevity…

Posted on 9 October 2012

Long-time television and radio host Mark Leishman began his TV career as a continuity announcer, and then moved on to the regional news show Today Tonight. Over the years, Leishman has appeared on a number of hit shows including Top Town, That’s Fairly Interesting and Tux Wonderdogs. As well as presenting, he has also directed documentaries such as A Friend For Life and Kohi: A Guide For Life. In this ScreenTalk, Leishman talks about:

  • Getting a chance to read the news and create stories on Today Tonight
  • Taking over the reins on Top Town
  • How budgets and health and safety regulations weren’t an issue
  • A future All Black becoming ultra competitive
  • Joining a youthful Phil Keoghan hosting That’s Fairly Interesting
  • Missing out on some great footage when directing the Peter Blake Bi-Centennial Race Around Australia
  • Making Tux Wonderdogs a hit
  • Jim Mora’s scripts and voice bringing personality to the show
  • Creating a series of documentaries on guide dogs
  • Pitting celebrities against a young genius on The Great NZ Spelling Bee
  • Feeling fortunate to have had a good long run on TV
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, television, presenter, host, Screentalk, tv, tux wonderdogs, Mark Leishman, today tonight, top town, that’s fairly interesting, a friend for life, kohi a guide for life, The Great NZ Spelling Bee

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Two Heads: The two heads behind The Food Truck...

Posted on 26 September 2012

James Anderson and Nick Ward are the brains behind Auckland based production company Two Heads. They've made a name for themselves producing fresh and quirky documentaries and TV series such as Santarchy, Making Tracks, The Cheerleaders and Funny Roots. Two Heads are also the creative force behind TV ONE’s hit show The Food Truck. In this ScreenTalk, Anderson and Ward talk about:

  • How a $5000 doco about an anarchic troupe in Santa suits got  them their first commission
  • Taking Kiwi music to the world in the series Making Tracks
  • Having to avoid young thugs with guns in Brazil during the shooting of the show
  • Bringing stand-up comedy back to TV in A Night at the Classic
  • Poking fun in a gentle way at mustachioed men in Movember
  • Taking healthy fast food to the nation in The Food Truck
  • How chef Michael was the perfect quirky fit for the show
  • Finding the origins of comedy in TV series Funny Roots
  • How their different strengths and abilities have led to a great partnership
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, Screentalk, tv, two heads, production, Santarchy, Making Tracks, The Cheerleaders, Funny Roots, The Food Truck, Movember

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Elizabeth McRae: Shortland St’s Marge and much more..

Posted on 28 August 2012

Actor Elizabeth McRae is best known as Marge the receptionist on Shortland Street. She began her TV career in the 70s on shows such as The Games Affair. Since then she has appeared in television dramas Hanlon, About Face, Terry and the Gunrunners, and Go Girls. Her film credits include Jubilee, award-winner A Death in the Family, and Rest for the Wicked. In this ScreenTalk, McRae talks about:

  • Working with Rudall and Ramai Haywood in The Doll’s House
  • Melting a vinyl floor during the shoot for The Games Affair
  • Playing a sympathetic aunt in ground-breaking AIDs drama A Death in the Family
  • Being accused of ‘prostituting her art’ by appearing in Shortland Street
  • Having a memorable scene with a bull in Jubilee
  • Playing a slightly batty pākehā mother in Nancy Brunning’s short film Journey to Ihapa
  • The joy of working with other acting veterans in rest-home feature film Rest for the Wicked
  • Acknowledging the importance of writing to the TV and film industry
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, Go Girls, shortland street, terry and the gunrunners, rest for the wicked, Jubilee, Screentalk, Elizabeth McRae, Marge, the games affair, hanlond, the doll’s house, a death in the family, journey to ihapa, about face

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Jim Mora: Wonderdogs, rolling Rs, Mucking In, and more…

Posted on 17 July 2012

Radio and TV host Jim Mora began his career reporting for regional news show The South Tonight. From there, he moved on to One News and then joined Holmes when it debuted in 1989. Over the years Mora became a household name voicing and presenting popular shows including Tux Wonderdogs, Maggie’s Garden Show and the long-running Mucking In. Mora was also involved with the creation of animated TV shows Massey Ferguson and Stains Down Drains, and is the host of the afternoon show on Radio New Zealand National. In this ScreenTalk, Mora talks about:

  • Being daunted by his first piece to camera on The South Tonight
  • Finding reporting on Holmes a demanding role
  • Still not knowing if the Dennis Conner walk-off on the show was pre-planned
  • How the premise of Tux Wonderdogs must have seemed odd to TVNZ commissioners
  • Rolling a huge letter ‘R’ down the main street of Gore in the doco New Zild
  • Wondering if there would be enough good sorts for the long-running show Mucking In
  • How the gardens got more elaborate and expensive as the years went by
  • Always feeling there’s more to achieve with his broadcasting career
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, host, radio, Screentalk, jim mora, tv, the south tonight, one news, holmes, tux wonderdogs, maggie's garden show, mucking in, massey ferguson, stains down drains, new zild

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Dai Henwood: Taking comedy to new heights

Posted on 3 July 2012

Dai Henwood is one of New Zealand’s favourite comedians. He began his TV career on the show Pulp Comedy and followed that up with a number of presenting roles on the small screen. His acting roles include Xena, Secret Agent Men and The Tribe. Henwood is best-known for his ongoing appearances in comedy show 7 Days. In this ScreenTalk, Henwood talks about:

  • Making his first joke at the tender age of five
  • Cutting his comic teeth on TV show Pulp Comedy
  • Being repeatedly smashed against a bar on the set of Xena
  • Playing a molester on The Tribe
  • Being laughed at in the Australian Outback on his C4 show Roll the Dai
  • Why 7 Days has to be checked by a lawyer
  • How the kids’ pictures are his favourite part of the show
  • Learning to cope with jokes about his height
  • Being the son of veteran actor Ray Henwood
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, xena, comedy, presenter, comedian, 7 days, Screentalk, dai henwood, pulp comedy, secret agent men, the tribe, roll the dai, height, ray henwood, short

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Jeffrey Thomas: Close to Home, Shortland St and everything inbetween...

Posted on 24 April 2012

Actor Jeffrey Thomas has had a long and varied career in both TV and theatre. His best-known television role was as Inspector Brian Finn in the police series Shark in the Park. Thomas has also appeared in Mercy Peak, Shortland Street, Spartacus and Outrageous Fortune. He has just completed a small film role in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. In this ScreenTalk, Thomas talks about:

  • How Close to Home was the perfect place to hone his acting skills
  • Having lots of fun and laughter on the set of Gliding On
  • How being seen as a ‘leader’ got him the main role in Shark in the Park
  • How spending time with the police gave him the cues he needed for the role
  • Being mistaken for a real cop by a robbery victim
  • Loving the spectacle on the set of Hercules
  • Playing a dying man on Shortland Street
  • Enjoying working with John Hannah in Spartacus
  • The reason he can’t tell anyone about his experience on The Hobbit
  • Being surprised and humbled by his long career
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, actor, outrageous fortune, close to home, shark in the park, mercy peak, Screentalk, gliding on, Jeffrey Thomas, inspector brian finn, the hobbit, spartacus

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Ken Blackburn: always the bad guy

Posted on 27 March 2012

Ken Blackburn is a British born actor and writer who emigrated to New Zealand as a child. In his long career, Blackburn has appeared in theatre and screen productions in New Zealand, Australia and Britain. He is best known in this country for his portrayal of The Boss in the popular sitcom Gliding On. His other TV credits include Close to Home, Hunter’s Gold, Moynihan and Shortland Street. His film credits include Skin Deep and Rest for the Wicked. In this ScreenTalk, Blackburn talks about:

  • Enjoying playing a devious lawyer on the soap Close to Home
  • Working on location in Central Otago for the series Hunter’s Gold
  • Wishing he’d bought the horse he worked with on the show
  • Playing the quintessential bureaucratic boss in Gliding On
  • How the actors were given freedom to add to the scripts
  • Having a hair dying mishap on the set of Sea Urchins
  • The joy of working with the three young Māori actors on the show
  • Feeling that the writers made his character too abrasive in Shortland Street
  • Narrowly escaping death jumping from a helicopter in The Grasscutter
  • Why working on Rest for the Wicked was like a reunion with mates
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



interview, actor, lord of the rings, shortland street, close to home, the grasscutter, rest for the wicked, Screentalk, Ken Blackburn, hunter’s gold, moynihan, gliding on, sea urchins

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