1. What's the worst job you've done?
Character mingling at events, those gigs are just death. Like when an accountancy firm has their Christmas party in a Bonnie and Clyde theme and you're hired to add "atmos" by walking around in a badly fitting 40s suit with a tommy gun. People are standing around in groups making the best of an open bar when you come up and go, "Hey, Leftie wants to see you" and they're like, "What mate? No, I'm getting pissed," while the events person is over by the wall keeping an eye on you.
2. How do you cope with the constant rejection faced by auditioning actors?
Imagine going for job interview after job interview and they're not even ringing back to say, "Your skill set is not in alignment with what we need for this position." They're just saying, "We don't want your head in this show." You can't take them to the Employment Tribunal going "you've rejected me based solely on the way I look". In other careers if you work hard you'll progress but in acting there's a lot of luck. You do think about chucking in the towel at times but there's a part of you that goes "Right, well this is just the hard yards."
3. What's the best part you've missed out on?
I read for the lead in Tomb Raider 2 in Wellington one summer. Sometimes they'll do a worldwide search for a new face. I remember thinking, "Holy hell, imagine going off and being in a movie with Angelina Jolie." That would've been life-changing. Gerard Butler got the role.
4. Does being tall and bald affect what roles you get?
I was bald by the time I finished drama school at age 24 and at first was uncastable because I was 6ft 4in with a bald head and a baby face. As you get older you grow into it. Height-wise, I shot up when I was about 16 which was awful. Just when you don't want to stand out I was covered in acne and a head taller than all my mates. It does put me out of the running for a lot of commercial work where they just want a generic guy. I was probably the only actor in New Zealand that didn't get an audition for The Almighty Johnsons. They cited me personally as an example of actors they didn't want because the gag was to have five normal-looking guys who were actually Norse gods. I ended up getting the role when creator James Griffin said, "No, we want one to be different."
5. Has this year been the busiest of your career?
Yeah, I started Shortland Street and Dancing With The Stars at the same time, which was a blessing in a way because DWTS was 24/7 stress and fear so acting was a welcome relief. It became clear quite early on that I wasn't the strongest dancer. I'm just happy I made it halfway through.
6. Shortland Street's Christmas cliffhanger is being billed as Ferndale's version of the Red Wedding. Will your character Drew McAskill finally get his come-uppance?
There is going to be a resolution to the tension between Harper and Drew. But Drew's not a bad guy. He hasn't done anything deliberately malicious. He's just quite Drew-centric. He's driven by his own desires and motives which unfortunately means other people sometimes fall victim. I mean, Drew's a blimmin' saint compared to some real-life plastic surgeons.
7. How does your real-life girlfriend cope with your on-screen philandering?
Her friends text her and go, "Oh my god, have you seen what he's doing?" but she's just happy I'm working because I'm a pain in the ass when I'm not. It's not like they just put two actors in a bedroom and leave you there. You've got a sheet taped to you and there's a man holding a light in your face and another guy with a microphone. You'll be pretending to passionately kiss and the director's saying, "Put your head to the left, your nose is getting in the way."
8. How did you meet your girlfriend, Kristie Fergus?
Boozed at the pub. We were eyeing each other up at Neighbourhood Bar in Kingsland one night and just got drunk enough to talk. I can't remember what I said. You just drink and drink and then all of a sudden you're there talking to her. That's why alcohol is our dear friend. It wasn't serious straight away, she was a tough tiger to tame, but we've been together 2 years now. She works for a skincare and beauty product importer. She's a very, very caring, considerate and selfless person.
9. Would you ever want to be a father?
Yeah, very much. For a long time I put my career first but I feel like I've got to a point now where I'm ready to look at all that normal stuff. I'm 38. My friends all have kids. I'm really fortunate being able to come into Shortland Street and work every day. I can't do the tortured artist thing forever.
10. Do you want to be a director one day?
I'd love to. I've always been a bit of a movie nerd. As a kid I'd spend my pocket money going to see movies on my own. I was really into the mechanics of how it works behind the scenes - the prosthetics, gory make-up and all those practical on-camera special effects.
11. What tribe were you in at school?
Part nerd, part geek. I went to St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton which was very sporty. You couldn't take drama so I did art and music and classics. In third form I had a thick, lustrous mullet. I was a bit naughty but nothing serious. Just telling your parents you were going to a mate's when you were sitting in a windy carpark drinking a bottle of Southern Comfort and throwing up. I didn't really get into acting until I was at Waikato University doing a business management degree. I noticed a bunch of kooky characters performing in the quad and thought "that looks like fun".
12. Are you religious?
I think there's a supernatural world beyond our everyday physical and mental consciousness. I believe in all that stuff like sometimes things are more than just coincidence, they happen for a reason, people have premonitions, people see ghosts. I have felt eerie presences in places, especially in Europe where there's a great deal of history. I've had that feeling of dread walking around where you think, "I bet in this spot 1000 years ago they butchered a whole lot of people". Maybe part of you wants to believe there's magic in our lives, something beyond what you see and think.