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Shortland Street

Weeknights at 7pm | TV2

Get to know: Rob Williams


Rob Williams is Snr Constable Simon Barker on Shortland Street

Rob Williams is Snr Constable Simon Barker on Shortland Street

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Shorty's back for 2012 - and it's straight into the drama as the fall out from the cliffhanger continues. Rob Williams is currently Snr Constable Simon Barker, who is in charge of the investigation into the chemist robbery - and we caught up with him to see how it's all going.

How did you get your role on Shortland Street?

I received a call from Andrea Kelland, the casting director for Shortland Street and she asked me if I would be interested in playing a Senior Constable - a detective type role investigating the cliffhanger murder. She said I would be playing opposite some of the lead characters, with quite a few scenes opposite Peter Mochrie (Calum McKay) and Lee Donoghue (Hunter Mckay). I said yes.

How long have you been acting and how did you get your first big break?

I have only been acting for about four years now! I sold my shares in my website company back in 2007ish and I didn't really know what to do with myself. I heard my father's voice in the back of my mind saying: "You should have been an entertainer."

My first break came in a full feature film in 2008 playing opposite Ben Mitchell; the movie didn't make it big so it was back to the drawing board. I contacted a friend about a role on Korero Mai last year in 2010 where I was successful in landing a lead role as Maru, which is where I met Te Kohe Tuhaka and Jarod Rawiri two of my very good friends today.

Since then I have been in Nothing Trivial and now Shortland Street .

Name three similarities between you and your on-screen character.

I've got the same face, the same arms and we are the same height...
Wow, Simon Barker is very different to me. He is very serious and all about the business - I can be like that sometimes I guess.  We are both methodical at work. We both like to make sure things are safe - Simon with the law and me, well, I like to make sure food is safe. Like a cake at a party before anyone else tries any. I'll be like "Hey, stop, let me see if this is safe first".

What has been your best experience/scene on the show to date?

I would have to say working with all the actors on set and the challenge of working in such a fast-paced environment. It was interesting to see how the hospital sets are made up in almost a Lego like way with walls and doors rolling around to make another set in only a few moments.

Which other character would you like to be and why?

I'd like to play Vinnie; his character gets to have lots of fun. I appreciate the way Pua plays this character and he makes me laugh. I'd love to have the opportunity to explore a comedic character.
 
What are your hobbies/interests outside of Shortland Street?

I'm enjoying CrossFit at the moment. I like to play basketball, catch up with friends, travel when I can.  I enjoy going to theatre and watching movies.

What do you do in your down time during the day when you're not shooting?
 
I have a couple of website projects I am working on to get off the ground; one will be called the 24 Fast Shop, I'm looking at getting back into property investing soon and I work part time at a talent management company called 't management' previously M&T Models and Talent.

What is your favourite destination in NZ and overseas?

Queenstown is pretty awesome and the area around Twizel with all that turquoise water. Overseas, my favorite city would be Rome - the history is amazing. A close second would be Athens or Nice.

How many brothers and sisters do you have, are they older or younger?

This has a complex answer: I was adopted when I was 10 days old. So I have a three sisters and two brothers from that family. My birth father has a daughter and a son and my birth mother has two daughters and a son. I'm doing math now.. six sisters and four brothers, plus stepbrothers etc.

What is your date of birth and what star sign are you?

Not telling... Leo the Lion.

Do you have any pets?

Tropical fish at work! Owen, Oscar, Ollie, Otis and Obama.

Who is the actor or actress that you look up to or admire the most?

The late Andy Whitfield. I had the chance to meet him in person before he passed away, I was actually reading an audition for him to send off to the States. He had so much time for acting students. I can't forget the way he played Spartacus; he had an amazing way of internalising what was going on and saying things softly but speaking volumes when he did speak.

I also enjoy Johnny Depp's portrayal of Jack Sparrow. I'm just amazed at how he came up with the mannerisms for that character.  With comedy I rate Vince Vaughan - he is the man!

What is the thing you enjoy most about going to work everyday?

I'd have to say the actors. They are amazing and in great spirits all the time. But I am also taken back by the way the show comes together at such speed and with so much co-ordination, how everyone works together to make the show what it is.

What has been your favorite scene to film in your time at Shortland Street?

The interrogation scene with Hunter McKay. (I've caught you out mate and you know I have.)

Do you watch Shortland Street at home? If yes, is it strange seeing yourself on television or are you used to it?

I actually don't watch TV that much but I do tune in to Shortland Street if I'm home from work in time. It is weird seeing yourself on screen. Because you want to know if you've done a good job, especially with the fast turnaround of the show. I can be my worst critic.

What is your favourite food?

Thai beef stirfry with basil and chilli.. But I love a good ole Kiwi roast dinner as well. Oh and raw fish.. nom nom

What is your favourite television programme and/or film of all time?

Avatar - but I love comedy and Zoolander, Anchorman and the Austin Powers series of movies were a crack up when they came out.

Are you from Auckland or did you move here to film Shortland Street? Where did you grow up?

I am originally from Palmerston North but I've been here a few years now.

Which other actors/actresses do you like working with the most and why?

I enjoyed playing opposite Peter Mochrie as his character is so different from his personality on screen. He has a few jokes and quips up his sleeve. Amanda Billing is good to act opposite as well.

Have you made any good friends amongst the cast and crew?

I definitely made some friends on set. I knew a few of the guys already but its always good to get to know people more especially when you can have some long waits on set between your last and next scene.

What's the best experience you've had with a fan/fans?

I've played a cop before and there is something about a man in uniform. I've had a few compliments about it!

What's the strangest experience you've had with a fan/fans?

Being asked if I still had my police uniform!

Can you remember your first day on Shortland Street - what was it like?

I was lucky as I only had one line. But the second filming day was quite full on and I was introduced to the fast pace of it all. I admit I was nervous but settled into the groove quickly.

Don't forget Shorty is on weeknights at 7pm on TV2!


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