Craig Parker on Reign's final season and why he loves LA life

Kiwi actor Craig Parker as Stephane Narcisse in the US fantasy drama Reign.

Kiwi actor Craig Parker as Stephane Narcisse in the US fantasy drama Reign.

Craig Parker has achieved something many Kiwi actors only dream of. The former star of local TV programmes like Shortland Street and Mercy Peak landed a role on a US drama and lasted three seasons.

Parker, who appeared in Lord Of The Rings as a pointy-eared elf, plays the manipulative Frenchman Stephane Narcisse in Reign, a fantasy drama loosely inspired by the life of Mary Queen Of Scots.

Reign's fourth and final season begins streaming on Neon from February 15.

Craig Parker stars in the fourth and final series of Reign.

Craig Parker stars in the fourth and final series of Reign.

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Parker, 46, joined the show in season two after guest roles on Sleepy Hollow and NCIS.

After what he describes as, "A bit of a midlife crisis" having just turned 40, he arrived in Los Angeles hoping to find acting work. 

"Initially it was really good, but not so much because of Lord Of The Rings, I'm really only in that for a few seconds," he says. 

"I'd just finished a show called Spartacus, which had launched here. It was sort of in a way a guilty pleasure, so everyone here watched it. It's not like doing Game Of Thrones where you're suddenly a superstar in their eyes but it gave me a calling card at least.

"When you first get to LA everyone wants to meet you. It's the most glorious thing. All the casting directors from the studios want to meet you because they're always looking for someone new. And there are a few champion antipodeans out here. We have a very good reputation. We turn up, we do the job. We're not divas. 

"People tell you that LA kills you with hope. You get here and think, 'This is going to be great. I'll have 15 jobs within a week' then comes the learning that you actually have to work harder and you have to stick with it.

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"But I actually love the city here. It's hard to get miserable and depressed because it's generally blue sky and it's warm and there are a million other actors going through what you're going through, so you have a great support network. And that's fun. It is an adventure."

What's also an adventure is his role on Reign where he travelled to Canada and Ireland to film the series.

Reign also stars Megan Follows, who plays Catherine de Medici. Some viewers may remember the actress from the popular 1980s mini-series where she was cast as the lead in Anne Of Green Gables.

The show was a hit in New Zealand but Parker has yet to see it.

"I keep saying, 'I'm going to watch it one day' but I did watch Megan's audition tape, which was online, and there was this 15 year old or 16 year old and she was so good," he says.

"She and I are sort of best buddies and we go on little adventures together and it's amazing, particularly in Canada, wherever you go, there are people of a certain age who just go, 'Oh it's Anne'. She is a fully-fledged goddess."

Reign was not renewed for a fifth season but Parker isn't too disappointed, saying he was lucky to be part of a series which ran for as long as it did. For now, he's optimistic about job opportunities.

"There are possibilities that could mean I'm at work in a few weeks, but until I'm actually sitting on set, I tend to just cruise along. But it's also my natural state. I love the uncertainty," he says.

"You finish one job and hopefully you've scored points with the various people involved in the last job you did which makes you more employable next time. Then you just have to blindly trust that something interesting will come along."

Reign streams on Neon from Wednesday February 15

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