Ac­tor plots to run the show

Tim DeKay wants to act and di­rect, writes Geoff Shearer

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

TIM DeKay has shot to fame play­ing FBI agent Peter Burke in the US drama White Col­lar, but it is Aus­tralian his­tory that is oc­cu­py­ing his mind right now.

With a rich ca­reer in the­atre, DeKay is quick to name the play Our Coun­try’s Good, based on the Thomas Ke­neally novel The Play­maker and set in colo­nial Syd­ney, as one he most wants to stage.

‘‘ It’s a great play that I’ve al­ways wanted to di­rect,’’ DeKay says when we catch up in Los An­ge­les.

‘‘ It prob­a­bly is more rel­e­vant to Aus­tralia, but re­ally that play is a cel­e­bra­tion of the­atre. There was a won­der­ful pro­duc­tion of it in Syd­ney, I be­lieve, a few years ago. It’s about a bunch of ex-cons and sol­diers putting on a play.’’

DeKay, 47, is busy carv­ing a name for him­self as a film, and hope­fully tele­vi­sion, di­rec­tor.

His first ef­fort, the short film This Mon­day, made in 2009, has been shown at nu­mer­ous fes­ti­vals, in­clud­ing Cannes Short Film Corner, to favourable re­views.

‘‘ I’d been want­ing to di­rect a short for a while,’’ DeKay says. ‘‘ I was on a se­ries for HBO ( Car­ni­vale) and I said I wanted to di­rect some episodes. They said, ‘ Well, you should do a short, and once we see that we can go from there’.

‘‘ So I came to­gether with a friend of mine who is a writer. We came up with an idea and just went with it.

‘‘ I was for­tu­nate enough to hire some great ac­tors (Michael San­torico, Paul Ben- Vic­tor, Ralph Gar­man) and it has screened well at fes­ti­vals.’’

The pro­duc­ers of White Col­lar are con­sid­er­ing putting DeKay be­hind the cam­eras for a di­rect­ing stint ‘‘ in the not­too-dis­tant fu­ture’’.

DeKay, who lives in LA with his wife and two chil­dren, a girl aged 8 and boy, 11, shoots White Col­lar in New York. Dur­ing film­ing he’ll of­ten fly back and forth across the coun­try on week­ends when ‘‘ base­ball games, gym­nas­tics, ten­nis, recitals and what­ever’’ re­quire his at­ten­dance.

‘‘ I en­joy the va­ri­ety,’’ he says of split­ting time be­tween the two coasts.

‘‘ I grew up in up­state New York, maybe five hours from New York City.

‘‘ I’m en­joy­ing work­ing there. Just when you think you’ve seen ev­ery ex­pen­sive town­house in New York, the next day of shoot­ing you walk into some gor­geous pent­house.

‘‘ Oh gosh, what per­son owns six storeys? How can they af­ford it? Where is this money com­ing from? It is just un­be­liev­able.

‘‘ The places I’ve been able to ar­rest peo­ple is a hoot. And I got to ride a horse through Cen­tral Park the other day. It’s a dream!’’ White Col­lar Chan­nel 10, re­turns Jan­uary 12, 9.30pm

Ar­rest­ing: Tim DeKay is

FBI agent Peter Burke.

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