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Scott Wills


Scott Wills began his screen career in the early 90s, with appearances in soap Shortland Street and a run of short films. During the same period he toured New Zealand theatres in Trainspotting as drug addict Marc Renton, the role that made a movie star of Ewan McGregor.

On the short film front, Wills was part of the ensemble cast of Kiwis in London tale  Permanent Wave. He also appeared in - and co-produced - The Hole, playing one half of a couple who hear voices from a hole they have just drilled. The Hole made it into competition at the highly-regarded Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival in France, and was invited to a dozen more festivals besides.

In 2000, Wills was nominated for two acting awards at once - one for short film Ouch, which reunited him with the creative team behind The Hole, the other for his supporting part in "clever, funny, slightly mad" romantic comedy Hopeless.

In Hopeless Scott plays Phil, best friend of the main character. Scott is about to leave his girlfriend behind to head overseas - though the actor cancelled his plane ticket for long enough to repeat the role, in spin-off television series Love Bites.

The film that really brought Scott Wills to public attention was Stickmen, a stylish comedy about three young men about town, who take on all opposition in a pool contest.  Wills played the bumbling Wayne, a role which won him the best actor award at the 2001 New Zealand Film Awards. Wrote Listener reviewer Philip Matthews: "At the core of Stickmen is a touching, almost old-fashioned sense of male camaraderie that makes it hard to fault".

Stickmen's success saw it quickly moving into the 20 most successful local features released in New Zealand. It was also the first Kiwi film to sell to England before being completed, in a decade.

Wills followed Stickmen with a run of television appearances, often playing policemen and/or diamonds in the rough. In Street Legal (2000), based around a struggling Auckland law firm, Wills was a reformed drug dealer trying to win access to his daughter.

For Interrogation (2005), the first Kiwi drama broadcast on the Prime network, the actor spent time with policemen from Auckland Central CIB. As detective constable Terry Skinner, he played one of the main roles. The series was centred around the battle of wills that occurs in a police interrogation room.

The ambitious but ill-fated mini-series Doves of War saw Scott playing a former corporal, helping his old SAS sergeant hunt down the members of his squad after revelations of dark dealings back in Bosnia. 

Glenn Standring's big-budget vampire feature Perfect Creature put Wills alongside British actors Saffron Burrows and Dougray Scott. Set in an alternative vision of New Zealand, the movie featured another kind of hunt: Wills played the dependable cop who joins Burrows' policewoman character, on the trail of a good vampire gone bad.

Wills showed a different side to his acting - gaining another award in the process - in 2008 family drama Apron Strings. In this tale of mothers and sons, Wills plays Barry, the layabout who is still sponging off his mother (Jennifer Ludlam) at the age of 35.

Otago Daily Times reviewer Mark Orton praised the film: "Apron Strings takes emotive and complex notions of identity, and distills them into a lyrical tale centred on food."

Scott Wills travelled with the film to Canada, after Apron Strings was invited to the Toronto Film Festival. In September 2009 he won a Qantas Film and Television Award for Best Lead Actor, for his work in the film. The same month, Wills began appearing on television as Saul, the troubled head of security in offbeat thriller The Cult.