Westside: David de Lautour 'stoked' to be back playing career-criminal Ted West

David de Lautour is back alongside Antonia Prebble for the new season of Westside.
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David de Lautour is back alongside Antonia Prebble for the new season of Westside.

A new season of Westside is upon us, and for career criminal Ted West, it brings a new decade to contend with, a new son – or a new actor playing him at least – and even a new hairstyle.

The year is 1981. New Zealand is about to experience the infamous Springbok Tour, Muldoon is PM, and Rita West (Antonia Prebble) is out of prison.

When last we saw David de Lautour's Ted West, it seemed he and his son might at last be seeing eye to eye – sharing a bit of a moment at a bonfire get-together in the wake of wife and mother Rita's recent incarceration after she took the rap for Wolf's shooting of a gang member.

David de Lautour thought his more hirsute look for Ted West would only last for an episode, but it remained after he and ...
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David de Lautour thought his more hirsute look for Ted West would only last for an episode, but it remained after he and others thought it added much to the character.

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Rita is back now, striding down the streets of West Auckland with such purpose you can almost hear Nancy Sinatra singing These Boots Are Made For Walkin'.

But this is 1981 New Zealand (and the rights for Nancy must cost a packet), so we'll have to settle for Walking In Light by Th' Dudes instead.

Reef Ireland (Wolf) has been a terrific addition to the Westside cast, believes David de Lautour.
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Reef Ireland (Wolf) has been a terrific addition to the Westside cast, believes David de Lautour.

Speaking on the phone from New York, where he's spent the past two months working on a script with fellow Kiwi actor Hannah Marshall – his partner in both life and writing – David de Lautour couldn't be more "stoked" that Westside is back for another round.

"I think I must have been in LA when I heard there would be a second season," recalls the 33-year-old actor, who first moved to the States 16 years ago to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, but is now primarily based in Los Angeles. "I came down to New Zealand again last year for the launch of season one, and then was back up in LA when I heard that we were going again, which I was stoked about."

Do you keep in touch with the Westside cast when you're up in LA?

We definitely keep in touch. Everybody, all of the core cast are actually really tight. I keep up with all the guys in the gang. I'm really good friends with Toni (Rita). And Soph (Carol) and Esther (Ngaire) – in fact, I just fired off an email right before you called to all of those guys, saying that I'm going to be back down for the season two first episode and we should all watch it together. So, I'm looking forward to seeing all of them when I get down there.

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Are there things you just have to do whenever you come back to New Zealand?

Yeah – first thing is, grab a pie. I get a pie on the way home from the airport. So that's sort of the first order of business. They don't have proper pies in the States – nothing man. And I just think they would go great guns here – I don't really know why nobody's doing them. It seems like the perfect place for them, but nobody's cottoned on to that yet. Then, I have to head down to Taupo to see Mum and Dad, because that's where they are, so I try and get down there as quick as possible and relax down by the lake. It's pretty awesome.

What's the new Wolf, Reef Ireland, like to work with?

He's awesome, absolutely awesome. Just putting the camera on him and you see his eyes, he's just got that thing that Grant Bowler possessed, which is that you really don't want to mess with him. Which I think is really, really powerful for Wolf. You don't quite know what he's going to do. Without even saying anything, he holds his own, and at the same time when he is speaking, he's a great actor – he was a really great addition to the cast.

And Ted's rocking a Wolfish-looking goatee now?

Yeah, the Grant Bowler "Wolf". It was interesting, I grew an actual beard before the season and said to them, 'You know, I've got this, so if you want to do anything with it...', and so when I came back for pre-production and rehearsals we started playing around a little bit with it.

I originally thought that it would probably only be for maybe the first episode or something, but everybody seemed to like it. I didn't love walking around in my normal life with it, but I did agree that when you put on Ted's jacket and his clothes and the hair and things, I thought it really added to the character, so I think it's quite a good look for Ted.

Westside 8.30pm, Sundays, TV3.

 - Stuff

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