Interview with Andy Anderson, New Zealand Film & TV Actor

Andy Anderson is a professional actor well known for his roles on both Australian and New Zealand television. He has appeared on a number of popular TV shows over the years including The Flying Doctors, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Water Rats, Neighbours and Packed to the Rafters. On film he is known for roles in Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid and also House of Wax and Tracker. He recently won the StarNow Best Actor in a Short Film Award at the first Sorta Unofficial New Zealand Film Awards for his role as Terry in Honk If You’re Horny.

Congratulations on winning Best Actor in a Short Film at the Sorta Unofficial New Zealand Film awards – how did it feel when they announced you as the winner?

Thank you. The category came up so close to the start of the show I got a shock. I completely forgot to give a hoi to Jim Moriarty and Waka Rowlands, the other nominees. I don’t know what I said, so let me thank all involved now, it’s a privilige and honour to get the nod.

What made you choose the role of Terry in Honk If You’re Horny?

The director, Joe Lonie chose me. He sent the script and offered the role. As most actors know, a straight out offer is special. He knew what he wanted. I got a good feeling for the script and character and agreed but Joe did the choosing. I saw Clint Eastwood in an interview and he said that as a director he tries to see a potential actor in something rather than do an audition. So Joe’s taking after Clint.

Can you tell us about yourself? What made you want to become an actor?

How much time have we got? In 1956 when I sat in the theatre and saw that massive wide shot of James Dean as Jett Rink in “Giant” striding across the Texas skyline, measuring out his land, Dimitri Tiomkin’s music thundering out, I thought “This is what I want to do”.

When you’re a 9 year old living in NaeNae that’s a lofty ambition. I don’t know if I wanted to be an actor. It was more that I wanted to be involved in that spectacle; that feeling. To be a part of making people feel as I felt then. I haven’t achieved exactly that – yet - but I have felt that lift, that buzz of being part of a band or film or a play which transported us and hopeefully the audience to that magic zone.

I’ve always been an actor. For survival I knew instinctively that going around Lower Hutt saying that I felt scared or troubled would not be wise, so I put on masks and became a character. I did an especiially fine impression of being relaxed, confident and unafraid. The act of being tough was tougher to fake; sometimes I’d get splattered but in the main it worked ok. I’ve heard many performers say that they used humour to stay out of scrapes, which was true for me. So, cut to years later and I’m using that same method in ‘real acting’. I’d had some bad experiences with horses as a boy and was scared of them but I had to ride one in Sullivans - across a river! My conscious process was “I’m scared of horses but Jim, my character, was brought up on a farm, he’s ridden all his life, he’s not scared” so that’s how I went into it and wouldn’t you know? The horse responded and across the raging river we went. Same with dancing and other fears. Acting has forced me to step through fears and go for it. Then I found I actually wasn’t afraid. There’s no way to go into a scene which requires heavy emotions or complicated actions thinking “I can’t do this.” The nature of the beast forces us into positivity: “You’re on. The clock is ticking, we’re losing light, do it.“

I do love being on a film set; the process of film making. The cameraderie with cast and crew; the going out in all situations and bringing home the goods, the collaboration. To be in this industry is an incredible privilige. I don’t always see it this way but it’s true.

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