Darby: funny man to leading man

KATE MEAD
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2010
cox
Photo: Grahame Cox

Rhys Darby is going from comic to romantic lead.

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Rhys Darby has made a career out of splitting audiences' sides.

Now he's about to break hearts as the lead man in two new romance movies.

The Kiwi funnyman will play every-man and Queen music fan Doug in Love Birds, alongside Golden Globe Award-winning actress Sally Hawkins [Made in Dagenham].

Doug falls to pieces when his girlfriend dumps him but finds love again thanks to an injured duck.

It is a very different role from the lovable goof character he has played in other roles such as the 2008 film Yes Man.

Darby describes his character as "a regular guy who I think girls would fall for. [He's] witty but isn't stupid, so that'll be an interesting shift and I hope people will go for that. It's more like me."

Love Birds will be released on February 24.

Also out early in the New Year is Coming and Going. Darby plays 30-something gynaecologist Lee who lacks confidence with women. When he finds himself temporarily wheelchair-bound, the object of his long-term crush finally takes an interest – but possibly only because she thinks he's disabled.

Darby, who first came to international notice in hit TV series Flight of the Conchords, is back in the country doing a live comedy tour.

It has been a whirlwind year for the comic and actor.

He has taken part in TV advertising for New Zealand mobile network 2degrees, and also in Hewlett-Packard commercials in the United States – appearing with hip-hop heavyweight Dr Dre and photographer Annie Leibovitz. He has also had regular stints on popular TV3 comedy show 7 Days.

After finishing up his It's Rhys Darby Night tour later this month, Darby is looking forward to some well-earned time off.

"After December 18 then I just relax hopefully... have some sort of a summer."

The downtime won't last long with his two new films, plus a TV project.

The TV show will be "an action adventure sitcom which I believe is probably one of the world's first".

"Imagine if you watch Indiana Jones each week, but just for half an hour, with the comedy turned up to 11."

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