Whoosh! Issue 74 - December 2002

INSIDE THE HEAD OF DARIEN TAKLE
By Amy Murphy
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! Edition © 2002 held by WHOOSH
8361 words


Introduction (01-02)
Darien's Head (03-209)
Darien's Résumé
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF DARIEN TAKLE







Introduction



I am ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille

Darian Takle


[01] I got to see this very talented lady in Los Angeles at a convention and she was awesome! She sang with such grace that she impressed my niece and I greatly. New Zealand sure pumps out wonderfully talented people, doesn't it? Darien Takle has worked in the theatre in England, Australia, and Hawaii. She has also appeared in short films, feature films, and on television series in Australia and New Zealand. We all know her as Xena's mum, Cyrene. She even made a CD called No Regrets.

[02] She was awe-inspiring with the fans and had no problem answering any question, no matter how many times it was asked, and always with grace, dignity, and a touch of humor. I am grateful she did this interview. You will see what a grand person she is. I would also like to thank her friend Cath for putting up with me begging for this interview.



Darien's Head


Interviewer:
[03] Why did you start acting?

Darien:
[04] Because I was a born show off. Actually, Cathy wrote that while she was setting me up on her computer to do this interview because I'm still not set up at home but am getting closer!!!! The phone line is in and the double plug in but I need a computer wiz and a modem. Just done a spate of work so I've been away again. I was in Wellington at Downstage Theatre playing the Duchess of York in Shakespeare's Richard the Third . Very enjoyable and my son Frank came with me and played Prince Edward (the Duchess of York's grandson!!!). It was fun though to work together which we have done before. I played Frank's Mum in The God Boy for Auckland Theatre Company. Directly before the Shakespeare I was up North in Whangarei doing a feature film, one of these no budget (as opposed to low budget) features where we are all accommodated in a Motor Camp, fed but not paid (that supposedly comes later after the film is released.) But it was a great experience and I don't say no to these opportunities to play good lead roles. I had to age considerably to play an emotionally abused wife, no makeup, really unattractive role but that's the acting profession. I even had to work with a dead cat! So as you can see this profession away from the tabloids and Oscar ceremonies, etc. is plain hard work, nitty gritty stuff. I spent 3 weeks on this film and did 14-hour days and couldn't sleep but I sort of loved it, which is where I start to answer your first question.

[05] I started acting because I had no other option. I wasn't really a show off. Well, maybe I was but it was something "I was born to do". That phrase has always struck me as a bit pretentious but I guess it's true. Ex-Kindy teachers have assured me I would always answer the "What are you going to be when you grow up?" question with a very firm "an actress" answer and I started doing shows from the moment I could talk coherently. I started doing shows with my friend Cathy at primary school. We would entertain the school with puppet shows before school started, mock Italian operas and hair-raising court cases before the teacher arrived in the classroom (one of the more famous being the case of the hairy leg) not entirely suitable for a young girl's private school. We also had a ukulele duo called the Woodbines; later to become a guitar quartet a la Peter Paul and Mary. Folksong stuff, and all our holidays and weekends were spent doing plays that we wrote ourselves. I wrote big award winning tragedies and Cath wrote comedy and we performed them for each other, but for some reason I sat stone-faced watching poor Catherine trying to make me laugh while Cathy laughed her way through my deeply serious heart wrenching dramas. So that's a wee bit of my acting history. But I had this fire inside me from the start and it's a passion that is just there and I'm pretty hopeless when I'm out of work because my soul isn't being fed and I feel really lost. I come to life when I'm working and I remember talking to Lucy about what we felt arriving on a film set. I said to her that the only way I could describe it was like being in love, and she agreed. It's also like an addiction. And that keeps one hanging in there through the rough times because most of the time, unless you are a big Star and on the Hot list, an actor is struggling to survive. So one needs to be so resilient to survive the hard times.

[06] I've just had a rewarding 10 months or so in work but I had to travel away from home a lot to do this work and that's hard; but it's good when I take my son with me. He is doing work on a television series at present i.e. Shortland Street. He is only 16 and still at school but seems to have caught the acting bug as well. Oh dear. I was hoping he would be a lawyer and look after me!!!!

[07] So I started acting because it was my destiny, I guess, and I'm still hanging in there hoping to avoid having to do a real job. Usually just as I start looking at other possible jobs, an acting job comes in. I must say singing at the Xena convention in Pasadena restored a lot of my self-confidence, which I lost after my husband did a runner with a young woman.(ho ho) It was so fantastic at the convention to get so much positive feedback and to meet such wonderful people.

Interviewer:
[08] If you had to do it all over, would you be an actor?

Darien:
[09] I'm afraid so, but I think I would have another string to my bow as well. Like being a property developer. Ha, wish!! Well, it's a good idea to have another way of having money coming in because a girl has to eat. I have a Fine Arts diploma but that's another unstable life choice as well!

Interviewer:
[10] Give us a brief day in the life of Darien.

Darien:
[11] It depends which day. When I'm acting I'm totally consumed by that commitment and if I'm doing a show every night I have a sleep in. After an afternoon rest I arrive at the theatre two or more hours before the show to warm up vocally and physically, and take at least an hour to settle in the dressing room. I love life in the dressing room; it's like being home and there's such a closeness that develops between the actors one is sharing with. I find having one's own camper on a TV or a film set is a bit isolating and lonely. A theatre dressing room can be rather grotty and cramped and threadbare but the conversations that go on would make award winning films or novels. If it is all women, we 'tell-all', often to actresses we have just met and may not see for years but there is a tremendous bond that lasts forever. I love it.

[12] When I'm not working I mooch around the house feeling sorry for myself, wishing I hadn't collected so much junk, that my dishwasher wasn't broken and knowing I ought to be getting over to Cathy's to do my interview for "Murphy". And looking out at the lawns and know they ought to be mowed but the lawn mower's broken. But at present I'm working up to write another solo show that I'll bring to America. I have an art studio in the garden which everyone fills with broken bikes and chairs and heavens knows what, so I'm clearing that out to do some painting. I love doing artwork. It's like a meditation. I love it big time.

Interviewer:
[13] How do you handle stress?

Darien:
[14] Ah stress, good old stress. Best thing for me is to walk and exercise, to keep the body moving. Yoga is excellent. Another favorite for me is to go and find some water, walk along a beach. Another positive thing is to go to an art gallery. That seems to instantly cure sadness and stress. Massage is great if someone is handy but since my marriage broke up I don't have that luxury on hand so to speak!

Interviewer:
[15] Years from now, how would you want to be remembered?

Darien:
[16] I would like to be remembered as kind, but that's a hard road to travel and as much as one tries, one doesn't always get it right. It would be a boring world if everyone was kind all the time, but trying to be compassionate is a good aim in life. I flounder along the way but I would like to finally achieve a bit of that quality and to be remembered as a reasonably good actress and a funny person. I have allowed myself to get too serious and wallow in misery since my husband left. That is stopping... now.... let the laughs begin.

Interviewer:
[17] What is your pet peeve?

Darien:
[18] People doing drum solos on the table with their fingernails when you are trying to have a conversation with them!

Interviewer:
[19] Who is Darien?

Darien:
[20] I'm not quite sure. I have always found myself a little overpowering especially when I was in my teens and twenties and thirties. I had this huge fire, this huge passion inside me and the only way to deal with it was to perform because the power of that passion was too much to hold inside. So I would stride on to the stage and pour out all this fire and passion almost like a huge purging of overflow of spirit. It was like having a volcano inside and I was merely the vessel to house this.

[21] Nowadays the volcano is perhaps more a sparkler (you know those fireworks that you hold in your hands and are safe for children?). I would love to have some of that fire and passion back, but it kind of knocks you out and I don't have the strength to handle it now. Darien has a sense of humor and I love making people laugh; it's such a buzz. I belong to a women's comedy group called "Hens Teeth" and I love performing with them, but it doesn't happen often because they are based in Wellington and I live in Auckland. Although recently while working in Wellington, I did one of my comedy acts in a charity concert with Hens Teeth and it was so much fun. I love doing mad things, doing practical jokes and putting stupid things on my head. I think I need to start all this again! You have inspired me!

[22] Darien is a big extrovert on stage and a shy wee munchkin in real life. I love my privacy and like to feel safe in my house. I am a typical Cancerian. I scuttle under my rock and hide. But when I burst out I go for it. Most actors are like this. People think we are so outgoing and extroverted but we are not. It's an image we create by what we do on stage and screen, etc. I am a typical Cancerian horder - it drives me mad. All this stuff I have, all this stuff that may be useful in future!!! I am on a clearing out binge at present. It's all got to go. My one regret is I don't have my Xena costume. They said that had to go back to Universal Pictures. I guess that's in case there's ever a film, but I'm sorry I don't have that. I'm saving lots of old costumes from different shows for my one-woman show, an autobiographical piece. But yes, I collect stuff and I'm not proud of that. Cath and I are going to have big garage sale.

[23] Darien is also a mum. Well, a trainee mum. I'm still learning this one. It's pretty challenging but my children certainly let me know what grades I'm getting!!!

Interviewer:
[24] How long have you been singing?

Darien:
[25] Forever. [I] started at primary school with a ukulele then graduated to guitars and last year sang with that wonderful band in Pasadena and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Auckland. Boy, that was a buzz. Little me and a huuuuuuuge orchestra! I was so scared but I loved it.

Interviewer:
[26] Which do you like more, singing or acting?

Darien:
[27] I am an actress who sings. Funny, I have never considered myself a singer. I just seem to be able to put across a song and have a loud voice, so I just consider singing as acting.

Interviewer:
[28] What's theater life like?

Darien:
[29] Ah yes, well this could take a year to write so I'll just give you a short version. It's hard, grueling, tiring, nerve-wracking, dangerous, exhausting, depleting, takes one to the limit of endurance but with that it is also glorious, exhilarating, fun, out of this world rewarding and I can't imagine doing anything else as hard or as stimulating and joyful. It is a combination of extremes and I've talked before about life backstage and the friendships formed overnight. There is a group of us that still get together from early days in a theatre called the Mercury Theatre and we are still all working, hanging in there, and those days when we never stopped working and were privileged to be part of a company has left us with an amazing bond stronger than anything I know. It's like having special knowledge.

[30] It's extraordinary what we have shared and where we have all ended up. Some have died, some have changed gender, and some have gone on to greatness but that special bond remains. I have stories to tell about my years in England and Australia and there isn't room or time here. But you sort of have to be mad to commit to this life because of its mad ups and downs. With all the great hooplas and joys there are the BIG disappointments.

[31] There are terrible feelings of rejection when you don't succeed in an audition or sometimes you don't get the chance to audition in the first place. But in theatre, all the glamour is on stage or in the audience. Backstage it's about cramped, smelly quarters, threadbare carpets and one loo. BUT I love it! I prefer to be in a dressing room with others; it's so much fun and companionable. We look after each other, we hear each other's tales of woe, and we share bad news/good news and heartbreaking news. It's a warts-and-all situation. There is probably no other job like it.

[32] One is so exposed as an actor because one has to tap into oneself to find the character and sometimes that is scary and leaves one so vulnerable. So one needs tremendous support, and despite what people say it's not really a bitchy business. Most actors look out for each other and the ones who gossip and back stab don't last long (or Karma gets them!) I have made it a rule to never bad mouth in this business because what goes around comes around and it always backfires. "Careful how you treat people on your way up because you may meet them on your way down"!!!! One director said to me you are only as good as your last job! And every time you have a last job you are convinced it IS your last job, but just when one is thinking of retraining or going for that undertaker assistant's job, then something comes in. It's uncanny.

Interviewer:
[33] What are you doing now?

Darien:
[34] I could be a smarty-pants and say writing this interview but I won't be that silly. My son in filming at present so I'm helping him with lines and making sure he keeps up his schoolwork. He's 16 years old. I'm setting up my computer so I can go online and also write my new solo show and autobiography. I'm also clearing out my junk!!!!!!

Interviewer:
[35] What is the most sensitive part of your body?

Darien:
[36] Um... Good sensitive. Hair. I love my hair being brushed or done. I drift off into la-la land.

Interviewer:
[37] What do you see yourself doing in the future? Future projects?

Darien:
[38] Standing in New York and saying "Wow! I made it, I'm here!" My son is considering a film school in New York. Any recommendations? Yes, I want to travel and have adventures (I sound like a Ms. World contestant). I see myself being joyful and happy again and doing more comedy, making another solo album with original songs, having an art exhibition, writing my autobiography, moving house (having got rid of my junk) and getting really fit and growing my hair again, so I can con someone into brushing it! I would like to visit America again especially come to another Xena convention and to check out Italy, Morocco and Greece.

Interviewer:
[39] How do you handle depression?

Darien:
[40] Not very well. I and sit in a cafe, get out, get talking to someone out in the world. It brings things into perspective. I visit an art gallery, watch Oprah, go to a film, eat, go back to bed and sleep. I don't get depressed when I'm working or painting. Sometimes housework helps if you pretend you are someone else!

Interviewer:
[41] What advice can you give to future actors?

Darien:
[42] Become a property developer first. Be prepared to get rejections sometimes, even a lot, and not take it personally. A rejection is not really a rejection; it just means someone was more suitable for the job and your turn WILL come. Only one person at a time can be suitable for the job. You have turns in this job and what is meant to be, will be. It's most often not your talent, it's your look, so when you turn up for an audition: 1. Be early; 2. Look the part, i.e. hairdo, makeup clothes; 3. Never, ever, ever tell them you are tired, sick, had a late night, only got the lines yesterday or that you are not good enough or that your cat died and you are in a bad way. Leave all that stuff at home; 4. Know your lines backwards and if not, don't go. AND there are no small parts. Every part is important. Keep fit. Keep well. If I was starting over I would probably find a way of surviving when I'm out of work - i.e. have another skill that actually pays! Hence property developer. Well, something that you can just drop when the acting opportunities arise.

Interviewer:
[43] What are your dreams? Hopes? Wishes?

Darien:
[44] To be healthy and to be able to keep acting and singing till death us do. To be able to accept growing older and looking older and keep looking forward. I hope to find a lovely place to live preferably near the water. I want to make more movies. I love making movies.

Interviewer:
[45] Who do you trust?

Darien:
[46] Friends, my children, the Dalai Llama and my own instincts.

Interviewer:
[47] What is the stupidest thing you have ever been asked?

Darien:
[48] "Why are your friends' marriages successful and yours wasn't?"

Interviewer:
[49] What are you tired of being asked?

Darien:
[50] How do you learn all your lines?

Interviewer:
[51] If you are a parent, what is the greatest wish you have for your child?

Darien:
[52] To have courage and self-esteem, honesty and integrity, and know how to keep secrets when asked.

Interviewer:
[53] What would you say every actor needs?

Darien:
[54] Stamina, a strong work ethic, and integrity.

Interviewer:
[55] Do you believe in prayer? Explain.

Darien:
[56] I believe in tuning into a higher force, whether that is God or Spirit or Higher self. I am still in training as a spiritual healer and believe in higher forces and highly developed spirit guides that can help us through many obstacles and illnesses. When I was in a very bad state after my husband left, two woman healers helped me through a hellish time, or at least they were channels for special help and this encouraged me to train as a healer myself. I have always been interested in forces beyond and within and been on Buddhist retreats, Vipassna retreats and at present reading the Dali Llama's Art of Happiness. I am interested in everything, really, that helps one to achieve compassion for others. I am very much in the early stages regarding this sort of knowledge. And yes, I pray, I tune in, I ask for help from a Spirit or God source and am open to any new knowledge. For me the spirit world exists and I know we have spiritual guides and it only takes a thought to make a connection.

Interviewer:
[57] What makes your best friend your best friend?

Darien:
[58] Unconditional love.

Interviewer:
[59] Did you ever ask the writers to tone down your characters?

Darien:
[60] I wouldn't dare. But I have modified my performances to make a 'nasty' character more than one dimensional - e.g. when I was playing a Joan Collins type character in an Australian TV drama Possession I started presenting her as really nice and genuine even though the words coming out of her mouth were pretty awful. I try not to play any character as too obvious. When doing Xena I decided to make Cyrene a bit naughty and with a sense of humor and after that I started getting some funny lines and situations.

Interviewer:
[61] Do fans expect too much from stars?

Darien:
[62] I guess they probably do sometimes because stars are usually just hardworking actors who are vulnerable and shy like anyone else and sometimes want to go up the road in their fluffy slippers without makeup. It must be hard for stars in America who want to have a private outing with their family but can't. We don't have that sort of star system here. I remember my husband getting really cross because people were always asking for my autograph in Australia when I was playing the Super Bitch in Possession. I didn't mind because they were so nice. In England when I toured with the musical Godspell we had a group of Godspell groupies who followed us around England but they were fine. I did seem to inspire some rather unusual stage door Johnny's (as theatre fans are called). But I love getting feedback from shows or concerts or T.V./film performances I have done. It is one's job to touch people in some way and fans are nice as long as one isn't stalked. I have had some unpleasant phone stalkers in the past!

Interviewer:
[63] What did the show Xena mean to you?

Darien:
[64] This show was a great experience in that I was involved in a show that was a great success overseas and that this meant being able to connect with so many other countries and ultimately be able to meet so many Xena fans. It was an opportunity to work for Americans and that was very rewarding. I have nothing but praise for the way we were treated. We, the actors, were treated with courtesy and respect, fed well, paid well and were well looked after. Of course we had a wonderful N.Z. crew and many crewmembers I had worked with before over the years. There is no hierarchy in New Zealand film and television so we treat each other with equal respect whether one is cleaning the portaloos or producing the show. I loved the brilliant sets which were designed by Rob Gillies who had been at the University with me years ago doing a Fine Arts diploma at Elam school of Fine Arts (the faculty of Fine Arts at Auckland University but always known simply as Elam). It was a joy to see the success Rob made of the Xena sets and he was very treasured by Rob and Lucy. One crewmember was an old boyfriend of my daughter, so we had a connection there and many people were old mates, which made working on set very special. There were no union problems or hissy fits on set because New Zealand crews are down to earth "get on with it" workers and that made working on Xena so special.

[65] We all wanted the show to be a success and there was mostly an atmosphere of goodwill on set. It is hard work all those long hours with often wet/cold unpleasant conditions but we were well led by Lucy who is another one who gets on with the job and NEVER ever acts the big star or throws a wobbly. I totally admired this in her and she was never less than totally professional and giving. I especially admired her when she was fully pregnant and exhausted, giving her all filming that huge musical episode Lyre, Lyre Hearts On Fire. But the thing about Xena was, it was an awesome experience, especially the location sets built on the site of an old Lion park. The sets were amazing and set in great landscape. I loved my village Amphipolis! It was a unique experience and only one I can share with people who have worked on Xena. So when I meet up with friends like Joel (Toebek) or Michael (Hurst), we can share this great experience, especially the Xena convention experiences. (We love the conventions and so did Kevvy.) That sort of makes us the Xena family. But hey, that's cool.

Interviewer:
[66] What's the most romantic thing anyone has done for you?

Darien:
[67] Ridden 400 miles on a motorbike to propose to me in hospital where I had just had a baby (to some one else!)

Interviewer:
[68] What theme would you like to tackle in your next work?

Darien:
[69] Prostitution or drug addiction.

Interviewer:
[70] What was the last thing that made you smile recently?

Darien:
[71] My son, imitating me being a fussy old trout.

Interviewer:
[72] What made you angry?

Darien:
[73] Do you mean recently? Our city council bowing down to the Chinese Consulate's request to take down the banner celebrating the arrival of the Dalai Lama in Auckland, a banner which advertised His Holinesses' talk at Eden Park. I was furious.

Interviewer:
[74] As a parent, how do you explain things to your child? Like violence, terrorism, death, etc?

Darien:
[75] The violence is a hard one because it is so in your face all the time. My son watches violent movies, television, Playstation games, and world news. We do talk about it and have ongoing arguments about the videos he wants to watch. I don't like what he sees and I am going to put a ban on the R-18 movies that the video store allows him to take out, but it means constant policing and that's not good either. But at least we discuss at length the dangers of watching these shows and he has to give a seminar at school about violence in the media affecting crime figures. But trying to stop a 16 year old is not easy and I haven't come up with a solution there. We have had some good discussions about terrorism.

[76] Especially after September 11. He was horrified and very, very sad about it and certainly did not see it as anything other than what it was; a horrific crime against Americans.

Interviewer:

[77] You now have absolute authority over the world. Omnipotent in all areas. What's your first move?

Darien:
[78] Take away the toys from the boys. Remove ALL weapons. Ban War.

Interviewer:
[79] Do fans scare you?

Darien:
[80] No.

Interviewer:
[81] Do you have stalkers? If so, how have you handled them?

Darien:
[82] Just a phone stalker. I had to stop being polite and well brought up and hang up. Notify the police. It was a long time ago.

Interviewer:
[83] How would you categorize your best acting?

Darien:
[84] When I act with passion and total commitment, I'm on the right path.

Interviewer:
[85] If you had thirty seconds to live, what would you think, feel or say?

Darien:
[86] On my way!!

Interviewer:
[87] What stupid thing did you do as a teen?

Darien:
[88] Quoted Shakespeare over dramatically and totally frightened off potential boyfriends.

Interviewer:
[89] What, if anything, can stop you from acting?

Darien:
[90] Nothing.

Interviewer:
[91] In your opinion, do you fit your astrological sign?

Darien:
[92] Yes. I'm a Cancerian. I am a horder. I am a nester. I am very emotional. Mad as a chook. Love nursing people. Over sensitive. Untidy. Creative. Scuttle under my rock and hide. Extrovert, then shy. Make mountains out of mole hills. Love luxurious surroundings. Water.

Interviewer:
[93] What to you is the worst feeling in the world?

Darien:
[94] Hatred.

Interviewer:
[95] The best feeling in the world?

Darien:
[96] Compassion, especially to the supposed enemy.

Interviewer:
[97] Favorite song of the moment?

Darien:
[98] True Colours. (Cindy Lauper's version is still my favorite.)

Interviewer:
[99] What is the first thing you think of in the morning?

Darien:
[100] Life.

Interviewer:
[101] Is there one part of the acting process where you usually get stuck?

Darien:
[102] Not really. Sometimes it takes a long time for the character to fall in place.

Interviewer:
[103] What have you tried to change, that was successful or not?

Darien:
[104] Best thing to do is not worry about it and listen to one's instinct. The problem can arise when the director sees you as totally opposite to what you instinctively feel. So best to ride that and hope the two merge. Resisting the process is fatal.

Interviewer:
[105] Does the best acting flow for you, or does it come from retakes?

Darien:
[104] I'm more a one take wonder. Either I get it first up or I have to leave it and try later. I get worse as I keep pushing.

Interviewer:
[105] Which part of acting do you enjoy most and why?

Darien:
[106] The moment when it all comes together - i.e. it happens! A scene works and a connection is made with the actor or actors in the scene. It flies off the page, as they say.

Interviewer:
[107] How often do you think about a piece when you're working on it and when do you think about it?

Darien:
[108] All the time. I live it, eat it, and breathe it. I'm no good at turning off until the job is totally finished. I can't even shop properly. Everything else takes a back seat.

Interviewer:
[109] When someone walks into your bedroom, what are the first five things that they're likely to notice?

Darien:
[110] Buddhas, color, art works, the cat, the untidiness.

Interviewer:
[111] Do you feel in control of your acting, or do your inspiration or characters carry you away?

Darien:
[112] I am in control now. In the past, I put too much of myself into the character and often got very ill or injured. Now I stand a little outside myself for preservation. I have played real people and some times felt they took me over too much. Like Piaf or Eva Peron.

Interviewer:
[113] If you consider yourself to have a muse, what exactly do you mean?

Darien:
[114] I suppose they would be the Gods or Goddesses of the Arts.

Interviewer:
[115] Tell the truth--are you your favorite actor, or in your own top five?

Darien:
[116] Well, no, honestly, I've never thought that. I have been proud of some my performances (especially as Edith Piaf, and people still stop me to say how much of an impression that performance made on them) but I'm not in my top five. Because as actors, we are so insecure about our own work and sometimes I wouldn't even come into the top 100!! But I do know I was given a gift and for that I am grateful. But when I'm unemployed like today I think I've had it, finished up, terrible, etc. Five favorites are Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Glenda Jackson, Emma Thompson, and Ellen Burstyn... oh, they are all women. I do like Ian McKellan, Bruce Willis, Michael Caine, John Travolta, Robert De Niro.

Interviewer:
[117] Would the world be a better place if women ran it or would it be basically the same?

Darien:
[118] I think it would be very different. Softer, less violent.

Interviewer:
[119] What is your favorite spot where you live now?

Darien:
[120] Cheltenham beach.

Interviewer:
[121] What books are you reading now? What about it/them is holding your attention?

Darien:
[122] The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, good food for thought, teaching one about compassion. Two books by Tony Parsons. Funny and sad. Can't remember the titles. I love reading. I have to read or I panic. If there were no book, I would have to read the label on my socks or the phonebook!

Interviewer:
[123] What would your friends say is your worst trait?

Darien:
[124] Hiding.

Interviewer:
[125] What is the longest any plant in your home has been with you?

Darien:
[126] Nothing.

Interviewer:
[127] Do you have any particular bedtime rituals (glass of warm milk, etc.) that you follow every night?

Darien:
[128] Clean teeth and face, cup of Sleepytime herbal tea, book, glasses, Hotty (hot water bottle) if cold, Collect the cat, check back door is locked. Turn on radio. How dull is that!?

Interviewer:
[129] If you find a spider in the bathtub, do you help it out or squish it?

Darien:
[130] Definitely help it out. I go through elaborate efforts to save anything in the bath, moths, spiders, etc. And chat to them while I'm doing it. Mad old coot, eh!

Interviewer:
[131] What was the last thing you bought that you really didn't need?

Darien:
[132] Hair gel.

Interviewer:
[133] Have you ever smoked cigarettes?--explain.

Darien:
[134] No, but(t) I have a ritual where I smoke one cigarette (or splutter through one cigarette) at the end of any theatre season.

Interviewer:
[135] Who is your favorite Greek God?

Darien:
[136] Hercules.

Interviewer:
[137] Why do fools fall in love?

Darien:
[138] Because they like the thrills.

Interviewer:
[139] Do you keep a diary and if so what do you call it?

Darien:
[140] I used to keep a diary. Now I write a sort of journal each time I do something interesting like on a film shoot or going to L.A. for a Xena convention. I sometimes have poetry writing binges and I have written plays, stories, part of my autobiography - [I'm] up to year eleven.

Interviewer:
[141] What skill would you like to have, that you don't have now?

Darien:
[142] Rollerblade.

Interviewer:
[143] Who is your real life hero and why?

Darien:
[144] Cathy Freeman the Australian sprinter. I'm crazy about her. She is aboriginal and has worked and pushed to get where she has. She is fantastic and what a runner. This is my first real life hero.

Interviewer:
[145] Would you like to write a script?

Darien:
[146] I have written many scripts but it's time for me to write a film script.

Interviewer:
[147] Would you like to direct?

Darien:
[148] I love directing, just love it. I have done quite a bit here and in England and love to write and direct scripts for my drama classes. [I] also wrote screen plays for my film and television acting classes. Love it.

Interviewer:
[149] Is it hard to do a love scenes?

Darien:
[150] Not really. [It's a] bit nerve-wracking if one is naked, but best to know it's only a job and get on with it and be 'in love' for the take then let it go immediately after. It's very easy to fall in love with your leading guy (or gal), so best to know it's just a gig and treat it as professionally as anything else.

Interviewer:
[154] What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?

Darien:
[155] Deal with the break up of my marriage.

Interviewer:
[156] What was the easiest?

Darien:
[157] Getting married.

Interviewer:
[158] What movie touched you so much that you still remember it vividly?

Darien:
[159] The Wizard of Oz.

Interviewer:
[160] If you could only choose a single climate with no variation, would you prefer it to be sweltering hot or freezing cold?

Darien:
[161] Hot.

Interviewer:
[162] What is the first thing you notice about someone when you meet them?

Darien:
[163] Their eyes.

Interviewer:
[164] Have you ever done something that accidentally caused something really bad to happen to someone?

Darien:
[165] No.

Interviewer:
[166] How is $25 well spent?

Darien:
[167] Groceries.

Interviewer:
[168] Would you rather live in a sociable suburb, or alone in the deep woods?

Darien:
[169] Sociable suburb.

Interviewer:
[170] What literary character did you most identify with as a child?

Darien:
[171] Anne of Green Gables.

Interviewer:
[172] What is the source of your inspiration?

Darien:
[173] Often from art, sometimes movies and books, mostly talking to people.

Interviewer:
[174] Where do your ideas come from?

Darien:
[175] The great beyond.

Interviewer:
[176] What do you find most satisfying about your job?

Darien:
[177] Doing something useful.

Interviewer:
[178] What are the three things you enjoy most about acting?

Darien:
[179] Making people laugh, sharing with other actors, being someone else.

Interviewer:
[180] What were your favorite book, TV show, and movie when you were a teenager and what do you think of them now?

Darien:
[181] I had a favorite book when I was young called Nancy and Plum. I don't know who wrote it but I'd love to find a copy. I loved all the Anne of Green Gables. Have I already answered this one? Not sure, I'm over at Cathy's and aren't fiddle around in her computer in case I do something silly. So if I did answer this, forgive me. I loved a T.V. series called The Nanny. It was British set in a stately home during World War One. I could easily sit down and watch it all again. I love any costume drama. I loved Bally Kiss Angel set in Ireland. I'm a great fan of NYPD Blue too. When I was a teenager I was off doing plays, etc. all the time or swimming and water skiing on Lake Tarawera. My Dad built me a theatre in the bush complete with a punga proscenium arch!

Interviewer:
[182] What's your idea of a perfect world?

Darien:
[183] War free. No cruelty, no crime, just debating rooms where people with the help of others sort out any grievances. Where schools teach children listening skills, meditation and compassion. Where everyone has a home, a garden, a job and food.

Interviewer:
[184] How real is your acting to you?

Darien:
[185] It's just a job basically, but some parts I get more involved in than others. But I try to keep the me in me separate.

Interviewer:
[186] What Disney character do you most identify with and why?

Darien:
[187] Goofy, cause he's a laugh.

Interviewer:
[188] Who do you read for inspiration?

Darien:
[189] The Dalai Llama. True stories of people who have overcome major obstacles in their lives. I love reading autobiographies.

Interviewer:
[190] When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

Darien:
[191] An actress, no question. It was always to be.

Interviewer:
[192] What are the limits in sacrifices for true love?

Darien:
[193] Losing your self-esteem.

Interviewer:
[194] If you could interview your favorite actor, what questions would you ask? And, WHY?

Darien:
[195] How do you stay sane and useful while out of work? The reason for this is that for me and I believe for other actors, the old term "I act, therefore I am" is a real creed or dilemma or maybe even a curse. Our work is like a meditation, like being in love. It is all consuming and I am rather lost without it. It's very hard to focus on other things when one is in work or out, but that's a good life lesson. I have to find a way to 'be' outside work projects. Otherwise one could disappear down a great dark hole!

Interviewer:
[196] What makes a great kisser?

Darien:
[197] Being gentle, not mashing, and leaving the saliva out of it!

Interviewer:
[198] What have you learned from your animals?

Darien:
[199] Ah well, quite a lot. From my cats, I have learnt how to be independent, speaking up for oneself, meowing when hungry, and looking soulful and cute when one wants stroking.

Interviewer:
[200] Does our society glorify violence to the point we have become desensitized to it and the consequences?

Darien:
[201] I think violence in the media has left our children thinking violence is entertainment. Violence is related to sitting comfortably at home eating and being entertained. Our film and television heroes and heroines deal with violence and kids relate success to shooting up the bad guys in Playstation games. They relate killing to winning. My son is doing a project on this at school and so we are debating a lot right now. His argument is that if one is in the right environment at home and one knows right from wrong, then one will not be desensitized. He says you know it's not real and so that's okay but I am finding I am turning off violent T.V. programmes, especially where it is violence done to women. But when one sees real people being massacred or the terrible terrorist attack on Sept 11th, there is no way one can be immune to that horror. I would like to see far less glorification of violence and in many ways it's up to the actors who agree to act in violent movies and up to the media who continue to blast our living rooms with terrible scenes. It would be great to see some uplifting stories on our screens.

Interviewer:
[202] What is your motto?

Darien:
[203] I have three: Keep on Keeping on. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. We must all love each other.

Interviewer:
[204] Do fans matter? Explain.

Darien:
[205] Well, I never thought so until I met the Xena fans and then I realized that the warmth and friendships generated from so many people who share an appreciation of a show, the actors, and of all concerned, creates a very caring and fun environment. It has given me great personal joy to connect with so many people and to get so much positive feedback. This came at a time when my self-esteem was down the dunny after my husband ran off. Fans do matter because without them one cannot gage the success or failure of a show, and without them the show can't really go on. What I loved about the Pasadena Convention was that it was such a great way to share amazing energy. It was quite uplifting and like a huge party or extra special sleepover! I came back a little tired, but emotionally and spiritually, I was totally rejuvenated and inspired to record another C.D. For this I thank the Xena fans.

Interviewer:
[206] What do you think when actors take themselves too seriously?

Darien:
[207] Get over it.

Interviewer:
[208] What questions should I have asked? Then answer them.

Darien:
[209] What do you want to be when you grow up?
An actress.
What would you like to change next time round?
I would like to be taller! And positive with lots of inner calm. I would like to travel and live in lots of different parts of the world. I would like a career like Cate Blanchett.



Darien's Résumé

TV
Xena: Warrior Princess
Shortland Street
Marlin Bay 1994
Typhon`s People
Possession

Films
Donuts for Breakfast
Sci-Fi Betty
The Ugly
Heavenly Creatures
Bread and Roses
The Lost Tribe




Acknowledgments

Thanks to Kamouraskan for the beta.





Articles

L. J. Maas and Murphy Wilson [Amy Murphy].One Step Beyond ... Uber, That Is. WHOOSH #49 (October 2000)

The "Inside the Head of..." series in Whoosh issues #58, 61-66,68-74





Biography

a woman of mystery Amy Murphy
Amy Murphy resides in Indiana, and is an avid reader of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction. If it exists in the Xenaverse, chances are she has read it! Murphy has also tried her hand at writing fan fiction, turning out two very nice pieces that reside on a couple of web sites throughout the Xenaverse.


Favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124)
Favorite line: "I Have Many Skills" Various episodes
First episode seen: TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510)

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