Wellington actor providing comedic relief from the political chaos

Green Party leader James Shaw, reimagined by Wellington actor Jack Buchanan in season two of web-series, Flat Race.
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Green Party leader James Shaw, reimagined by Wellington actor Jack Buchanan in season two of web-series, Flat Race.

A chance encounter with John Campbell is to thank for a long-awaited second season of a satirical web-series based on the upcoming election.

Wellington actor Jack Buchanan's series Flat Race made national news in 2014 with its funny take on well-known politicians but up until a month ago, he wasn't sold on bringing it back. 

"I was on my way to enrol to vote and I met John Campbell and I talked to him about it ... He was really supportive and awesome so I walked away from that thinking that was the universe telling me to make it.

"Relentlessly positive" Jacinda Ardern is a new character for Buchanan this time around.
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"Relentlessly positive" Jacinda Ardern is a new character for Buchanan this time around.

"With the nature of this election cycle and what's been going on this year, as crazy as it is, it was too good to miss out on."

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He went home and started writing that night.

Buchanan says his favorite new character to play is The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan.
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Buchanan says his favorite new character to play is The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan.

The six-part series, which began on Monday, pits all of the political leaders, played by Buchanan, in a race to become flat leader.

Buchanan has already filmed the whole season, meaning current events won't inform the storyline – a move that's already proved risky.

"We finished filming the day before Peter Dunne resigned and so I had this whole other character with some great lines but I had to cut him."

Winston Peters is the only leader to have made it into both series of Flat Race.
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Winston Peters is the only leader to have made it into both series of Flat Race.

"Thankfully, I think, everything I wrote is still relevant this week ... fingers crossed no one else resigns in the next five days."

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Buchanan isn't alone in his humorous take on this year's candidates, with prolific snapchatter and actor Tom Sainsbury's version of Paula Bennett racking up the likes online, and Robbie Nicol's White Man Behind a Desk show offering comedic relief from the chaos. 

"It gets very heavy and people can get overwhelmed by the fighting and the 'he said, she said' and so I'm just trying to do something light and stupid and fun – all the things the election, so far, is not, Buchanan said.

ACT Party leader David Seymour is a favorite of Buchanan's, seen here enjoying a relaxing bath dressed as a Pokemon.
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ACT Party leader David Seymour is a favorite of Buchanan's, seen here enjoying a relaxing bath dressed as a Pokemon.

"You can have a laugh at what's going on but then maybe you'll actually see or hear something that a character says and maybe look into a bit yourself."

This time around, with all the chopping and changing of party leaders, Buchanan's highlight has been coming up with new voices.

"Having the chance to do Gareth Morgan was quite fun and I really enjoy playing David Seymour but I really miss Colin Craig.

In Buchanan's new season of Flat Race, Prime Minister Bill English is vying to be leader of a Wellington flat.
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In Buchanan's new season of Flat Race, Prime Minister Bill English is vying to be leader of a Wellington flat.

"When I play them it's not a literal impersonation, I'm not trying to mimic them exactly, it's about taking one aspect of them and running with it and exaggerating it until I find it funny."

*A new episode will be released every day this week until Saturday -  available on Facebook via TVNZ's youth-focused brand Re: where you can view episode one now.

 - Stuff

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