She played a crime family matriarch in West Auckland, and now Robyn Malcolm is trying on a new role and suburb for size - divorced realtor of Mt Roskill.
The Outrageous Fortune actress, who turned 47 on Thursday, will play the lead role in Agent Anna, a new television comedy-drama series set to go into production. Malcolm will star as a recent divorcee and newly qualified real estate agent trying to make a buck.
The show is a vehicle for Malcolm, who will display her acting and producing talents. "It's a more collaborative and holistic role," she told The Diary.
Malcolm, who at the weekend attended an Actors' Equity meeting and held placards with her kids supporting the wharfies outside the Ports of Auckland, said she was fascinated with the role.
"It's a comedic drama about our relationship with money and our obsession with real estate."
She plays a woman in her 40s whose husband has left her with a string of debts and two teenage daughters to feed. "She's forced to rethink everything."
NZ On Air has awarded production company Great Southern Television (Million Dollar Catch, Birdland and The Apprentice) $1.4 million to produce the series, which will screen on TV One.
Malcolm has recently been filming scenes in Jane Campion's BBC TV drama series, Top of the Lake, around the hills of Central Otago, where she plays a woman searching for spiritual answers from a guru. "The industry feels really positive at the moment," Malcolm told The Diary. "You know, I've worked a lot in Australia, but I've never left New Zealand. I'm committed to the industry here. It's one of the reasons why I'm so strong in the union."
TVNZ STARS WOW AT WEDDING
Celebrity guests at the wedding of Close Up reporter Mark Crysell and Fair Go producer Briar McCormack on Saturday say three other TVNZ faces played starring roles.
While the bride blossomed with a plunging silk gown and a derriere that drew comparisons to Pippa Middleton, her betrothed's colleague, Mark Sainsbury, brought the house down with a speech paying tribute to the significant age difference between the bride and groom. In response, silver-haired Crysell, who is understood to be in his 50s, quipped his 36-year-old bride was too old for him.
TVNZ's former US correspondent Tim Wilson, who has returned from his stint in the States, played master of ceremonies wearing a white suit that resembled Colonel Sanders'. Sunday host Miriama Kamo read the poem I Carry Your Heart by e.e. cummings.
Also present at the nuptials were the bride's mum journalist Deborah Coddington, artist Julian Reynolds, Cameron Bennett, Gordon Harcourt, interim TVNZ news boss Michele Romaine and TV3 anchors Rachel Smalley and Mike McRoberts.
NOT NAPPING, BUT 'READING NOTES'
A parliamentary insider reckons he's observed Winston Peters dozing off in the House during sittings. But the New Zealand First leader, who turns 67 next month, denied the 40-winks accusation.
"I'm not answering this crap," he snapped when The Diary rang yesterday. "It's total humbug."
He added: "I read my notes on my lap because I have other political parties behind me.
"Your man needs his eyes checked."
Other MPs The Diary spoke to said they thought Peters was too active in the house to fall into frequent slumbers.
HOBBIT HEROES SAVE PUB
"Ian McKellen and I v[ery] pleased that The Hobbit pub appears to be safe. Between his [Facebook] and my tweet I hope we helped common sense prevail," Stephen Fry tweeted on the weekend.
The Hobbit film's actors rallied to support a British pub that had traded under "The Hobbit" name for 20 years.
It faced a copyright infringement lawsuit from Hollywood film producer Paul Zaentz, whose company owns the worldwide movie, stage and merchandising rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
But Zaentz, who claimed the pub was profiting from The Hobbit name, has now back-tracked and offered a truce - if an annual licence fee of US$100 ($121) is paid.
The turn-around comes after The Hobbit actors stirred up support for the Southampton pub on social media.
Sir Ian McKellen (left) took to his blog to describe the film company's actions as "unnecessary pettiness".
"I haven't been there but it's clearly not a place to ill-treat hobbits, elves, dwarves and wizards, in any way. So what's the problem?"
Fry described the actions on Twitter as "self-defeating bullying".
Pub owner Stella Roberts said she would pay the fee to keep the name.
PS: IS LEN LOATHING ALL THE ANGST?
Tory councillors at last week's council debate praised the mayor for staying out of the ports dispute, but the pro-union councillors were dismayed with Len Brown, whose own political career has been sponsored by the unions.