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Hero image for Alan Dale: NZ to Neighbours to Hollywood…

Alan Dale: NZ to Neighbours to Hollywood…

Interview – 2014

Dunedin-born Alan Dale always had his sights set on brighter lights: first Auckland, then Sydney, then his current base of Los Angeles. He started out in amateur theatre, then in his late 20s took a DJ slot on Radio Hauraki and a role in soap Radio Waves. In Australia, Dale appeared on The Young Doctors, and did a decade on Neighbours. In Los Angeles, he has played authority figures and bad guys on everything from Lost to NCIS, including high profile roles on The OC and Ugly Betty. He has returned to Aotearoa for Plainclothes and Auckland Daze, and cameoed as the Australian Ambassador on Flight of the Conchords.

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 
  • Spending eight years playing kindly patriarch Jim Robinson on long-running soap Neighbours 
  • Why he wasn’t upset at being written out of Neighbours 
  • How Natalie Imbruglia’s music video for song 'Torn' (directed by sometime Kiwi Alison Maclean) inspired his 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 HBO hit 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
I got to about 29 and I just simply couldn't stand it any more. I tried selling cars and selling real estate. I even had a milk run, and I thought I can't stand this, I remember saying to my then wife "that's it, I can’t stand it, I'm gonna be an actor".
– Alan Dale on deciding to become a professional actor