Twelve Questions

Sarah Daniell poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions with Tim Balme

Tim Balme, New Zealand actor and director, and head of development at South Pacific Pictures. Photo / Greg Bowker
Tim Balme, New Zealand actor and director, and head of development at South Pacific Pictures. Photo / Greg Bowker

Whether he's writing scripts, directing, or acting on the small or big screen, Tim Balme, 44, is an enduring and ubiquitous presence on the creative landscape of New Zealand. He is a writer and actor on the series The Almighty Johnsons. He is married (to actor Katie Wolfe) with two children.

Which screen hero do you most relate to?

Hank Moody in Californication. He often does the wrong thing for the right reason; but he always tries to put his family first while maintaining a deep and genuine affection for women.

What quote from what famous person resonates most for you?

Polonius in Hamlet advises his son Laertes 'This above all: to thine own self be true.' So simple, so erudite, so advised yet sometimes so hard to effect.

What TV show can you watch over and over again?

Fawlty Towers. 12 episodes of comic genius that still remain funny nearly 40 years on.

What single moment set young Tim Balme on his course?

Watching my older brother play Pinocchio at the Gateway Theatre in Tauranga in the 70s. His nose seemed to really grow. How did they do that?! Answer: Theatre magic. I guess somewhere in the deep recess of my child's mind I went. 'I wanna part of that.'

What has film making taught you about yourself?

That whatever you put on screen (tape, celluloid, digital) it's there FOREVER (thanks to YouTube, etc) so be damn sure you are happy with it.

What piece of screen dialogue can you quote and most love or makes you laugh?

Sundance and Butch are on the cliff above the canyon river poised to jump. Sundance finally admits: 'I can't swim'. Butch laughs. 'Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you!'

What makes you miserable?

The really wealthy paying good money to find ways to pay less tax.

What is the thing you would most like to change about yourself?

I'm becoming increasingly aware that 5'11" would be more useful than 5'9" especially when working with actors like Emmett Skilton, Ben Barrington and Michelle Langstone in six-inch heels on The Almighty Johnsons.

When was the last time you walked out on a film?

Hotel for Dogs. School holidays with my daughter. Had to leave her to it. Really, the title said it all.

If you could reverse something you have done in the past, what would that be and why?

I'd have taken up surfing as a teenager when I grew up near Mt Maunganui. If I had I'd be really good now.

Do you remember your first kiss - who, where and when?

Funnily enough I can't! But it would have been in Tauranga and in the 80s so there would have been a lot of bad clothes and bad hair involved.

What do you least like about New Zealand?

Pet bugbear - ACC. A crazily expensive insurance scheme. Child poverty, and a one-lane tunnel at the end of the Northern Motorway on Good Friday.

- NZ Herald

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