A quick word with Brit-born Hollywood actor - and sometime magician - Steve Valentine who plays an ageing rock star on hit Disney show I'm in the Band and has been shooting telemovie Avalon High in West Auckland over the past few weeks.

How old are you?

That's a good question, 43.

So are you kind of like the Big Daddy of Disney then?

I have never felt so old doing a movie in my entire life. The cast are all aged between 10 and 20. I kind of feel as if I am the father figure, is that what you say? But I'm also just like a really big kid.

Advertisement

Have you been recognised more since I'm in the Band? It's had huge ratings.

No, because here's the fabulous thing, I wear this long wig, eyeliner and leather pants. And when I was playing Nigel in

Crossing Jordan

I just had this one-length, long hair cut.

Since I have had my hair cut, some people say, you kind of look like that guy on [this] show or that show. [In New Zealand] I have had people coming up and recognising me from a show I hosted called Estate of Panic which apparently showed here.

It's been a strange trip because magic's a hobby of mine and whenever I go to a new country I check out the magic shops - there is a brotherhood among magicians around the world. So I go [to one] and Rob, the guy who owns the shop says there is a Magic Club meeting tonight in Takapuna and if you want to come I'll take you. So I go, and this older guy gets up to welcome me in, and it's this guy I knew from 30 years ago, Brian Oaks. And so we caught up, had dinner a few times and DVDs. And then I get this message on Facebook from a couple I hadn't heard from in 10 years, who said they were coming to New Zealand because they wanted to move here and heard I was here, so we caught up. I've got so many friends here. That has made it so much easier, because the problem with being an adult on a film like this is you have so much time on your hands when the kids are filming.

Being the Big Daddy, or big kid, of Disney, do you find you are ahead of everyone else in pop culture trends?

Oh my gosh yes. I know more about Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez and the music and the phraseology and the internet. I started Twittering and now I'm somewhat addicted to it.

What do you tweet about?

Well that's the thing isn't it - anything. I try not to do "ooh, stubbed my toe" so sometimes I'll be off for a while as I think of something fun or witty or inane.

So did you know about Justin Bieber before everyone else?

I knew about Justin absolutely, oh yeah.

And who would you pick as the next big thing?

Other than me? I think Selena is just going to grow and grow, she struck me as such a smart and mature teenager. It seems to me that it's such an unpredictable landscape right now. Someone could come from YouTube and have a massive record career in a few months.

Do you have kids?

Not yet, I'm planning on it, I'm getting married in August. So I have to sort that out when I get back [to Los Angeles]. Yes, I need to find a wife and get married.

And then decide which wig to wear.

Yeah, I got engaged on the show actually. I wrote a fake scene that ended up with Derek saying he couldn't find a decent girlfriend and all the other guys telling anti-marriage jokes and then they said, no, we think we have the perfect girl for you and pulled her out of the audience. So I proposed dressed as Derek in a wig and makeup.

So who does she think she is marrying?

Well, she's never sure.

Who is this character you are playing in Avalon High?

His name is Mr Moore and he's everyone's favourite teacher. He wears oversized, crumpled clothing. I'd never played anyone who was warm and cuddly with an American accent so I thought, yeah I'll take that challenge. And it's been a blast. I felt like a real teacher.

Well, I'm pleased to hear we were so good to you in New Zealand.

Yeah, even when we had the weather bombs out on Bethells Beach. I was in armour doing battle sequences on the beach - yeah, and then I did some filming as well - so I was there for about 12 hours, but the energy of the place kept me alive.