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Shortland Street


Owen Black plays the cryptic Ethan Pierce. Find out more about Shortland Street's mysterious leading man....

How did you get your role on SS?
I had been away in London for about a year and when I got back to Auckland there wasn't a lot going on acting wise so I went home to Waipara and spent a few months on the farm pruning Dad's pine trees.

My agent called one day to say there was a great new role coming up on Shortland Street and that they wanted to see me for the part so I flew up to Auckland to audition then a few weeks later I found out that I got the job. 

How long have you been acting and how did you get your first big break?
I have been acting for about 15 years now. My first acting experience was in a musical called 'Making It Big' at the Repertory Theatre in Christchurch. I did a couple more plays in Christchurch before moving up to Auckland where I scored my first big role on Hercules.

Name three similarities between you and your onscreen character.
I don't actually have a lot in common with Ethan but I can certainly understand his appreciation of good food, fine wine and beautiful women.

What has been your best experience/scene on the show to date?
One of the first scenes I had to shoot was an operation scene and I was really nervous about it because of all the action and medical terms I had to remember. I ended up really enjoying it though and it was very satisfying to get a complex scene like that under my belt early on.
Which other character would you like to be and why?
Ethan is a great role and it's difficult to imagine playing anyone else, but I really enjoyed watching the character of Callum's mother. Provocative characters are always fun to play because they force strong reactions from the other characters which makes for interesting scenes.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of SS?
I like going to hot springs when I get the chance, and in the summer I like to spend as much time as I can in the sea. I read a lot and love it when I come across a good novel that I can't put down. I love sharing a quiet ale and having a good laugh with my old man whenever we get the chance too.

What do you do in your down time during the day when you're not shooting?
During my down time at work I eat toast and learn lines.

What is your favourite destination in NZ and overseas?
In New Zealand I would have to say that Waipara is my favourite place to be, and Hanmer Springs which is only an hour away from home. Choosing a favourite overseas destination is a little more difficult. Venice, Florence and Paris are all unique beautiful, romantic cities to visit. Edinburgh and Bath are also places I could go to again and again.

Are you single or attached?

How many brothers and sisters do you have, are they older or younger?
I have an older sister and two older brothers. 
What is your date of birth and what star sign are you?
I was born on September 19, which makes me a Virgo.

Do you have any pets?
Back home we have a cat called Tiger who catches lots of rabbits and mice, which he eats.

Who is the actor or actress that you look up to or admire the most?
There are so many actors and actresses I admire, it's hard to pin it down to just one. If I could have three I would have to say that right now it's Robert Downey Junior, Christian Bale and Steve Coogan.

What is the thing you enjoy most about going to work everyday?
Knowing that I'm getting paid to do something I really enjoy.

What has been your favorite scene to film in your time at Shortland Street?
I guess the early scenes with Brooke as they were all about establishing my character and exploring our relationship, which is interesting to say the least. Plus, Beth is a really good actress and lots of fun so working with her is always enjoyable.

Do you watch Shortland Street at home? If yes, is it strange seeing yourself on television or are you used to it?
I don't mind seeing myself on TV but it can be difficult sometimes if you're not happy with the work you've done.

What is your favourite food?
My stepmother was Japanese and a fantastic cook so I was exposed to a wide variety of Japanese food from a young age, then in my early twenties I spent a fair bit of time in Japan. As a result of that I love pretty much anything Japanese now. I especially love sukiyaki, shabu shabu and oden. I also love Mum's pumpkin pie and Mum's pinwheel scones.

What is your favourite television programme and/or film of all time?
The Wizard of Oz had a huge effect on me when I was little and is still one of my favourite films. Wild At Heart by David Lynch and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre are also up there in my list of favourites. On TV I enjoy British comedy the most - The Office, League Of Gentlemen, Saxondale, Fawlty Towers etc.

Are you from Auckland or did you move here to film Shortland Street? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Twizel but grew up in Christchurch then moved to my Dad's farm in North Canterbury when I was 16.

I moved to Auckland initially to trial as an animator for Walt Disney NZ but it wasn't for me and I ended up auditioning for the Unitec Performing Arts School instead. I was accepted and have been based in Auckland since then.

Which other actors/actresses do you like working with the most and why?
I am having a great time working with all the actors and actresses on Shortland Street. It's a real fun environment on set and I'm learning a lot while having a good time.

Have you made any good friends amongst the cast and crew?
I 'm sharing a dressing room with Michael Galvin, which is awesome. We get on really well and if I have any questions about the show there is no greater authority.

What's the best experience you've had with a fan/fans?
Mum's probably my biggest fan and I get great satisfaction out of making her proud.

What's the strangest experience you've had with a fan/fans?
Nothing really out of the ordinary yet.

Can you remember your first day on Shortland Street - what was it like?
It was like being the new kid at school. Fleur, who plays Libby, took me around and showed me the different sets and introduced me to people, and everyone was really nice and welcoming.

I was lucky that I didn't have to shoot anything on my first day, I was only rehearsing but even so I was still really nervous.