Angela Barnett talks to scriptwriter Nick Ward about his upcoming series Fresh Eggs, in which Aucklanders move to the country for a new lifestyle
Some people think brown eggs are healthier than white — bollocks?
I have heard that but under the skin, we're all the same. I'm old-school and prefer white bread to brown. As much as we hate to admit it, out of public view of the sourdough and the flat whites, we Kiwis break out the Moccona and white bread.
Your show, Fresh Eggs, is about a couple who escape Auckland to live the good life on a rural lifestyle block. Is it autobiographical?
Well, I was living in Auckland doing stuff that didn't make me happy, working on things for the money. I moved back to the Kapiti Coast and it changed my life. It's rural here, on the other side of my driveway there are cows. Fresh Eggs came to life here.
I bet the rest of the country will enjoy you taking the piss out of Aucklanders.
I think Aucklanders will enjoy it too. We make fun of the country folk. It's all based on real people.
How about living the "green life" in the show? Again, autobiographical?
Growing up in New Zealand, it's hard not to bump into that [marijuana] ... a friend's house with electric puha growing in the living room. Once I was out in the bush with some mates and we came across a plantation and my friend said, "Don't go near it as it will be booby-trapped" and told me about somebody being shot near one. It never occurred to me that the bags that turn up at parties came from this kind of serious industry.
The show's set in this tiny country town called Alberton. Is that based on anywhere?
We [fellow writers, Kathryn Burnett, Bob Moore, Paul Yates and Kim Harrop] were talking about what kind of town and Kath and Kim said, "Like Raglan or Matakana?" I said, "No! They're practically suburbs of Auckland. This is Marton, Taihape, Feilding." In a way, it's Naseby.
Where did you actually film it?
I don't want to give away the magic. We filmed in Alberton.
In the show, Claire Chitham's character, Penny, asks her partner if they're "too nice" and he says, "No we're average." Do you ever suffer from being average?
One word that has never been used to describe me is average. Not even my waistline is average.
What's better — kind or nice?
Kindness is the most underrated quality in any human being. Kind is not weak. Kind will change the world. Nice has lost its meaning.
How do most people describe you?
I'm not interested in how others describe me — I used to be. But if I had to ... difficult? I would like to say generous. I am generous with my time and ideas and with including others' ideas.
You did a stint in an advertising agency years ago and were made redundant — how did that work out?
Great. I had talked about writing a movie for 10 years and suddenly I had time. I took a month and that became my first movie — Stickmen. Although I was made redundant, I discovered I wasn't redundant. If you face a loss, don't concentrate on the loss.
What's the weirdest writing job you've had?
My first ad job for television — I wrote a Vaseline commercial. I was so excited and took it very seriously. They had Vaseline in a tube.
For what, I don't know...
You've written for more than 25 shows [Outrageous Fortune, Barefoot Bandits, The Strip, Wellington Paranormal], do you need a LinkedIn page after all that?
I am on freakin' LinkedIn. Why is that? A yoga instructor from India asked me to connect. I'm not a yoga guy. I probably should be. I would probably be good at it. I've thought of another word people use to describe me — hairy.
Speaking of hairy, Fresh Eggs is truly a dark comedy. Dave Fane's character [with no hair] is so badass.
The New Zealand sense of humour can quickly go from a happy, light story then take a really dark turn but by the end, you're laughing your udders off. Our movies have a dark heart and we've been watching dark TV shows for a while, Breaking Bad, Ozark — Sopranos is 20 years old. We're ready for the darkness in this show.
This is the second time you've written about burying bodies [Burying Brian]. How would you get rid of a body if you accidentally killed someone?
I am not going to tell you, so I can get away with it.
If you could be a lifestyle block animal, what would you be?
I would be the cat. You're warm all the time. You don't have a master, you have a servant. And you have the chance to become internet famous.
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Fresh Eggs, TVNZ2, Tuesdays, 8.30pm