A dwarf with a day job

Christchurch actor Mark Hadlow in costume.
Christchurch actor Mark Hadlow in costume.

This is not the first time you have worked with Sir Peter Jackson - you played Harry in King Kong. What's he like to work with?

HADLOW: He is acutely aware of the pressures and the demands on everyone, but that doesn't mean short-changing the story, making shortcuts. He has a great sense of humour and encourages ideas, as long as it supports the story and drives it forward.

What was it like working with the rest of the dwarfs? You were all given a bit of room for character development?

HADLOW: Working with the rest of the dwarfs was sensational, most of the time. The NZ dwarfs had a pretty good representation of some fine actors, many I have worked with, and you put those with the internationals, like Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Jimmy Nesbitt - I mean these actors are household names. You add Sir Ian McKellen, what a bunch of acting prowess you have then. We had plenty of room to move with our characters and most of the time everyone supported each other, as long as any ideas were moving the story, making it a team job.

How did your life change after the release of King Kong? And how do you think it might change after the release of The Hobbit trilogy?

HADLOW: After King Kong there wasn't really any change. You still have to find work, still audition, still miss out, luck out now and then, but you're constantly seeking the next gig. After The Hobbit, I have no idea if things will change. I suspect if I still want to act I will have to put in the hard yards, not rest on my laurels. A lot of it is right place, right time, but I enjoy the challenge, constantly refining my craft, not taking it too seriously but never taking it for granted.

What was your first experience with J R R Tolkien and what was your initial reaction?

HADLOW: I read The Hobbit while at school. It was OK, can't really remember too much from there, other than the fact I was 10! I never read it again until the script for the film, but it has to be an amazing story when you know Sir Peter Jackson has made three films out of it.

If you were not an actor, what would your job be and why?

HADLOW: I have a backup job. It started with Christchurch City Council as an events manager, and that was brilliant. Lot of pressure, but the challenge of creating events, planning and executing their delivery, was pretty awesome. But now I have a job with the Royal New Zealand Navy as an events creative, planning etc for their 75th anniversary in 2016. That is going to be a wonderful year. In fantasy land, I wish I could be a pro golfer. I love golf - the most frustratingly brilliant game on the planet.

What's the next project you're working on?

HADLOW: I am preparing to rehearse Wind in the Willows for summer theatre on the Avon in Christchurch. I get to play Toad again - best role, such a lovely piece of theatre, and he is such a loveable, naughty Toad.

What do you do to relax?

HADLOW: Relaxing is important, I would like to do more! Golf is a pretty good attempt, but good television, I find, is a great way to chill out and let it do the thinking for you. As long as the programme has got some substance and is well made, happy as a par round of 72! Yeah, right.

What was the last book you read and what did you think of it?

HADLOW: I have just read Michael Parkinson's autobiography. Fascinating, all those famous stars he interviewed. And his life history and background, wonderful. My favourite novelist is [Australian thriller writer] Matthew Reilly. Can't wait for the next extravaganza about Shane Schofield.

If you could invite any four people to dinner, who would they be and why?

HADLOW: Helen Clark, John Clarke, Michael Caine and Michelle Pfeiffer. The stories, the anecdotes, fun and great company. It would certainly be a late one.

What would you cook them?

HADLOW: Cheese omelettes with a wicked salad, and Black Estate Pinot Noir.

The Press