Ido Drent shows off his seedy side on The Brokenwood Mysteries
Kiwi actor Ido Drent is no slouch when it comes to publicity. Within two minutes of meeting him at a production company's headquarters, he's filming a quick Snapchat video.
It feels slightly unnerving as his smartphone's camera is briefly pointed in my direction.
But you get the feeling this is completely normal for media savvy actors such as Drent.
Following his departure from Shortland Street, the 29-year-old found success in Australian drama Offspring where he plays Lawrence Pethbridge, a counsellor.
Drent has been with the show since 2013. He also landed a role as drummer Jon Farris in Aussie mini-series Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story Of INXS.
Now he is making a brief return to New Zealand television in The Brokenwood Mysteries.
"I play a character called Greg McQueen," says Drent.
"Greg spent some time in Afghanistan in the army and has come back quite a changed man as a result of some stuff that has gone down there."
The episode Drent appears in centres around a beach hop where car nuts come to show off their hot rods.
Greg is an old friend of Jared's (Pana Hema Taylor) and owns a 1950s Ford Comfort Line which is his pride and joy. The vehicle is known as The Killing Machine.
"Greg's got an interesting relationship with his car," says Drent.
"He has full control, full power over it and it won't let him down."
Drent goes into detail about what is set to happen in the episode but it is clear his character attracts the attention of the authorities for all the wrong reasons.
"Greg's quite a dark guy and I think he's naturally someone who one could suspect of something," he says.
"And he's also very capable of doing some unsavoury things because of what he's seen. He finds himself in Brokenwood in the midst of a murder and there is some stuff at play.
"Is he guilty? Is he not guilty? Well I guess we'll have to see.
"He definitely does some things that I wouldn't agree with in my own life, and deep down he acts out of his brokenness a lot more than one would envision," adds Drent. "He's definitely a flawed human being."
In his own life, Drent is married to Mandy and the couple have a young son, Bastion. Their second child is due in November.
The family divide their time between the US, New Zealand and Australia, depending on the work.
Drent played Sarah Potts' (Amanda Billing) son Daniel on Shortland Street for three years but quit the long-running show to explore other opportunities.
"A lot of people prior to me had left Shortland Street and not got any work, but moving to Australia for me was the natural progression," says Drent. "I definitely saw it as a risk but having said that, I've got a property degree, I had a property business at the time, and I knew there were other options for me.
"So it wasn't do or die but I wanted to keep acting and it was a bit of a scary time for sure.
"I've definitely landed on my feet and there have been some doors that have opened for me – I've been very fortunate in that respect. But it was by no means offers flowing through the door.
"I've had a really quiet time over the past 18 months. I had my son so I took six months off, but I've been over in LA and got close to a couple of things so nothing has come apart from doing a few small jobs back here.
"It's a nice reminder of how difficult this industry is and how hard we have to work to make sure we are staying on top of our game, being the best we can be."
Part of staying on top, it seems, is having a social media presence if you are an actor.
"It's partly a prerequisite," says Drent, "but largely an opportunity to really take control of your brand and who you are and in the way you engage with the public and what experience you give them as they interact with you."
The Brokenwood Mysteries, Prime, Sunday.
- TV Guide