As a high schooler, Melanie Lynskey came to international attention in her first screen role, playing Pauline Parker in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-nominated feature film Heavenly Creatures. Since then, the New Plymouth-born, Los Angeles-based actress has gone on to work with many of Hollywood’s biggest names, playing Drew Barrymore’s step-sister in Ever After, Matt Damon’s wife in The Informant, and George Clooney’s sister in Up in the Air. She has also had a scene-stealing guest role as Rose on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom Two and a Half Men. Lynskey has returned to New Zealand to star in feature films Snakeskin and Show of Hands.
Christopher Bourn is the pioneering entertainment producer best known for his work on the classic talent series Studio One. He has also worked as a sports director, and on a range of other early TV shows. His legacy of live TV broadcasts includes directing the first ever All Black rugby test to be broadcast on television, as well as the boxing at the 1974 Commonwealth Games; and serving as New Zealand producer for international co-production The Pacific Song Contest.
The path of comedy folk duo Flight of the Conchords is dotted with failure, dismal corporate gigs, globetrotting fans and Grammy Awards. This extended Funny As interview sees Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie savouring their memories of the early days, and all the TV shows that got rejected along the way. Among the topics mentioned are: Wearing naked suits on the streets of Melbourne while promoting an early show The perpetual challenge of singing and playing guitar at the same time The Wellington stylings of their comedy — and how creative collaborator Taika Waititi throws a mean pizza McKenzie's opinion that Pulp Comedy "wasn't very flattering or helpful" to the comedians who featured on it How they probably wouldn't have lasted if that infamous, rejected show for TVNZ had ever come to pass How the Conchords got their name
Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh is the eye behind some of the most iconic images in New Zealand film. His first job in the industry was as a 'general assistant' on Middle Age Spread. From there he worked as a gaffer on films including Smash Palace, Goodbye Pork Pie and Came A Hot Friday, before becoming a fully-fledged cinematographer, learning much of what he knows from his mentor Alun Bollinger, who operated the camera for him on The Piano. Since shooting The Piano, Dryburgh has been working overseas, returning to film In My Father’s Den in 2004.
Veteran broadcaster Bill McCarthy was the popular face of TV news and sport in the 1970s. Starting as a sports anchor, he later moved to primetime news-reading, and then became a producer on the classical music series Opus, as well as one-off big event television such as the 1987 Rugby World Cup and Telethon. In later years, McCarthy has produced host broadcasts for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and become involved with Christian broadcaster Shine TV.
After starting out in stand-up comedy as a university student in Wellington, Guy Williams won a contest to become Dai Henwood’s protege in 2009. He has been working in TV and radio ever since.
Veteran actor Kevin J Wilson has made a career out of playing no-nonsense Kiwi blokes. His film credits include Pictures, Wild Horses and Chunuk Bair. He played Janet Frame’s father in Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table, starred in the Wellington-based TV cop series Shark in the Park, and replaced the late Bruno Lawrence in the Aussie comedy show Frontline.
Ngila Dickson is an Academy Award-winning costume designer who has been involved in some of our biggest film and TV projects. Her first film experience was on User Friendly and since then she has designed for Jack Be Nimble, Heavenly Creatures, Crush and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In television, she made a name for herself designing costumes for Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Dickson has also worked on a range of international movies.
Actor Roy Billing has talked of becoming "an overnight sensation in my early 60s", thanks to playing ‘Aussie Bob’ Trimbole in hit Australian drama Underbelly. Before that he had a successful 30 year acting career in both Australia (Rabbit Proof Fence, The Dish and Siam Sunset) and New Zealand (Inside Straight, Gliding On and Skin and Bone).
Musician turned TV producer turned radio presenter Simon Morris pops up among the Funny As interviews mainly to talk about John Clarke — one of the funniest guys Morris has ever met. Among the topics covered: How Morris and Clarke first bonded in a cafe at Victoria University Clarke's love of the way British comedian Peter Cook combined "low comedy and unbelievably high comedy at the same time...and that was John really" Joining Clarke for a badly-reviewed student extravaganza, where Clarke was one of the only standouts How hit TV show Gliding On (on which Morris directed) utilised the classic sitcom formula of a bunch of characters in a single setting, who irritate one another Working on the TV pilot for comedy group Funny Business, who arrived "just three years too soon" For more on John Clarke, check out this extended interview with Clarke's daughter, writer Lorin Clarke.