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Hero image for Cliff Curtis: On his classic NZ movie roles...

Cliff Curtis: On his classic NZ movie roles...

Interview – 2014

From playing a human mule in The Piano, a dandy in Desperate Remedies and the hated Uncle Bully in Once Were Warriors, actor Cliff Curtis has appeared in a number of classic Kiwi movies. Curtis won acclaim and awards after starring as troubled chess champ Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse. He has also forged a busy international acting career, and moved into producing, out of a desire to make Māori stories.

In this ScreenTalk, Curtis talks about:

  • Playing a minor Māori character in The Piano 
  • Having to play sexy in melodrama Desperate Remedies
  • Being unsure if he wanted movie Once Were Warriors to be made
  • Trying to detach himself from the role of Bully in the movie
  • Loving the romance of the film Whale Rider
  • The "torturous" path of making River Queen 
  • How The Dark Horse is the defining moment of his career
  • Hating having to gain weight for the role
  • The reason he became a film producer
This video was first uploaded on 24 November 2014, and is available under this Creative Commons licence. This licence is limited to use of ScreenTalk interview footage only and does not apply to any video content and photographs from films, television, music videos, web series and commercials used in the interview.
Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside
I don't think there was a film before that — or a film since — that has sort of 'gone there' in that way, with our cinema, and with our culture — and turned it on its head, and offered a new possibility of who we are, and what we are, and how we behave.
– Cliff Curtis describes 1993 movie Desperate Remedies