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Alan Dale: NZ to Neighbours to Hollywood…

Alan Dale: NZ to Neighbours to Hollywood…

Interviews - 2014

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Dunedin-born Alan Dale always had his sights set on brighter lights: first Auckland, then Sydney, then Los Angeles, where he now lives. He started out performing in amateur theatre, but came to professional acting late, taking a DJ slot on Radio Hauraki in his late 20s, followed by a role on the Hauraki-inspired series Radio Waves

Moving to Australia, Dale appeared on The Young Doctors, before playing the fondly remembered solo father, Jim Robinson, for almost a decade on Neighbours. 

Since moving to Los Angeles, he has often played bad guys, authority figures and moguls on series including ER, Lost, NCIS, 24, The X Files and Entourage, plus high profile roles on The OC and Ugly Betty, and parts in feature films including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. 

Dale has returned to New Zealand for only two series: Plainclothes and Auckland Daze. He also appeared in Flight of the Conchords on HBO, playing the Australian Ambassador.

In this ScreenTalk, Dale talks about:  

  • Growing up in a theatre family
  • Deciding to become an actor at age 29 
  • Talking his way onto Radio Hauraki after hearing a DJ quit live on air while he was doing a milk run
  • Talking his way into television in a similar way 
  • Playing a version of his Radio Hauraki boss in his first screen role on Radio Waves
  • Landing an agent and a job on his first day in Australia 
  • His eight years playing kindly patriarch Jim Robinson on Neighbours 
  • Why he wasn’t upset at being written out of Neighbours 
  • How Natalie Imbruglia’s music video for Torn (which was directed by Alison Maclean) inspired him to move to Hollywood
  • Taking acting lessons for the first time as an older actor in Los Angeles
  • Discovering, after years as the “nice guy”, how to play bad guys
  • Why he’s glad his mother wasn’t alive to see Auckland Daze
  • Flying to New York to play the Australian Ambassador in the HBO series Flight of the Conchords 

This video was first uploaded on 18 August 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 and Editing – Gemma Gracewood. Camera – Brett Stanley