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Hero image for Irene Wood: The two rules of acting…

Irene Wood: The two rules of acting…

Interview – 2015

Irene Wood has played Katherine Mansfield, a nymphomaniac pensioner, and a gin-toting grandma. Her screen career first got busy in the early days of New Zealand television, as an actor, presenter, and musical performer. Later she snared what is probably her best-known role: as a hard-drinking grandma over five seasons of hit show Go Girls. Wood has also acted in Shortland Street and movie Rest for the Wicked, and won an NZ Television award for 2021 miniseries The Pact.

In this ScreenTalk, Wood talks about:

  • Her no-nonsense attitude to acting  and the only two rules that matter in the game
  • "Prancing around the stage" and singing off-key, in her first performing role
  • Busy days of television, in the 1960s
  • The advantages of being forced to perform live
  • Having to wear Elizabeth McRae’s clothes on Shortland Street 
  • Playing mother to a 'hopeless drug addict son' in dark-edged movie The Shirt
  • Her role as Nan McMann, one of a quartet of solo mothers on Go Girls 
  • Revelling in the chance to make a fool of herself on the show
  • Playing a sex-obsessed pensioner alongside Ilona Rodgers, in movie Rest for the Wicked
  • Why there are less roles in Aotearoa for actors of a certain vintage
  • Her thoughts on portrayals of elderly characters on screen
This video was first uploaded on 20 April 2015, 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 and editing - Ian Pryor. Camera - Jess Charlton
...I think it's better to be over 50 than it is to be 40 somehow — unless you're Robyn Malcolm — simply because that age group is not really written for.
– Irene Wood on the lack of roles in New Zealand for actors of a certain age

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