Simon Prast made his television debut in cop drama Mortimer’s Patch. Best known for playing spoilt rich kid Alistair Redfern in Gloss, Prast’s biggest film role was playing a gay man in 1998 movie When Love Comes. He also has a strong background in theatre, and for 11 years ran the Auckland Theatre Company.
Award-winning actor Jennifer Ludlam has played a range of strong female characters in TV shows such as Cover Story, Gloss, and Undercover. She spent time in Australia appearing in a number of dramas including Prisoner and Sons and Daughters. Returning to New Zealand, Ludlam starred in Sima Urale’s feature film Apron Strings.
Canadian-born to New Zealand parents, writer and director Alison Maclean helmed one of the most successful NZ Film Commission-funded short films of all time, Kitchen Sink, which debuted at Cannes and won eight international awards. A graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, she has directed feature films Crush (which she also wrote) and Jesus’ Son. A director of commercials and television series including Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, Maclean divides her time between New York, Canada and New Zealand, and she is developing several feature films.
Rima Te Wiata won fame with her impersonations of famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Her most famous parody was of newsreader Judy Bailey. Te Wiata is also a successful dramatic actor, having appeared in Shark in the Park and Shortland Street. Her film credits include Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Josh Thomson has flexed his comic muscles on 7 Days, The Project, and in award-winning films about upstart badminton players. Plus he directs and edits too!
A generation of Kiwi kids grew up watching Jason Gunn on television. At the same time Gunn grew up on television himself. Beginning in children’s TV, Gunn hosted Jase TV, The Son of a Gunn Show, After School, and What Now? Through many of these shows his co-star was a hugely popular life size puppet named Thingee. Gunn moved on to other programmes such as Young Entertainers and Small Talk. In recent years Gunn has starred in a host of top-rating primetime entertainment and game shows including Wheel of Fortune, The Rich List and Dancing with the Stars.
Producer Grahame McLean was one of the pioneers of the New Zealand feature film industry. In his long career, he was worked in many roles - props manager, assistant director, production manager, line producer, director, scriptwriter and producer. His first job in the screen industry was on the early 70s independent TV drama The Games Affair, and he went on to produce films including Sons for the Return Home, A Woman of Good Character, and Should I be Good? The special guest interviewer is McLean's industry colleague John Barnett.
Actor Joel Tobeck has played a range of ‘off-centre’ roles from a drug addict to a "bastard in a wheelchair". He has appeared in TV shows Shortland Street, Lawless, Hercules, This is Not My Life and (after this interview) Sons of Anarchy, as well as movies Topless Women Talk About Their Lives and Little Fish.
George Henare is acting royalty in New Zealand with a huge body of work in theatre, television and movies. His first screen performance was as a suspected killer in the 1976 TV play The Park Terrace Murder. From there Henare starred as Hone Heke in the epic TV drama The Governor. Moving to the big screen, Henare portrayed the evil tohunga in The Silent One. Henare's other film and television credits include Mercy Peak, Shortland Street, Hercules and Xena, Rapa Nui, Once Were Warriors, and The Legend of Johnny Lingo.
Producer Philip Smith comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s always been in his nature to pursue opportunities. Currently working as head of the production company he created, Great Southern Television, Smith also had an eventful career in journalism before moving into producing. He was once expelled out of Tanzania while working as a print journalist, and sold his first production company for several million dollars while still in his early 30s. Great Southern has produced Lion Man, Eating Media Lunch, The Unauthorised History of NZ and The Cult. Smith lives in both Auckland and Queenstown, where he does a lot of brainstorming out in his woolshed.