Actor plots to run the show
Tim DeKay wants to act and direct, writes Geoff Shearer
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.