From stalker to front desk:

Tom Sains­bury talks about his re­turn to Short­land Street.

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Co­me­dian Tom Sains­bury’s cur­rent role on Short­land Street is proof that he is in­deed New Zealand’s man of many faces.

In fact, few of the drama’s fans prob­a­bly re­alise the ac­tor who played Ja­son ‘Sexy Eyes’ Fitz­patrick, the stalker of Dr Finn Warner (Lukas Whit­ing), is ac­tu­ally the same man who be­came a so­cial me­dia star for his Paula Ben­nett im­i­ta­tions dur­ing last year’s elec­tion cam­paign.

Ja­son is now back – os­ten­si­bly no longer in­sane and now go­ing by the name of Se­bas­tian – and fill­ing in as the Fern­dale hos­pi­tal’s re­cep­tion­ist while Leanne (Jen­nifer Lud­lam) is off in Bali.

“He’s come back, he’s had his ther­apy and he’s on med­i­ca­tion now so he’s a lot more sta­ble,” says Sains­bury, who is over the moon at be­ing asked to reprise the role.

“It was a dream come true to me orig­i­nally be­cause I grew up lov­ing all the Short­land Street vil­lains in the 90s. It was like, ‘Those are the best parts’ then lo and be­hold I got to play one for a few weeks.”

Ja­son ter­rorised Finn and al­most caused the death of Dr Es­ther Sa­muel (Ngahuia Piripi), be­fore be­ing carted off by the men in white coats. Now, as Se­bas­tian, he’s out to make amends.

“He is so com­pli­cated and so ex­treme which I love and there’s so much drama to sink my teeth into.

“He’s ob­vi­ously un­hinged but I do know peo­ple who are this dra­matic in ev­ery­day life. I think there is a seed of truth to who he is,” Sains­bury says of his en­core per­for­mance.

“This time round he’s a lot more of a comedic char­ac­ter so again I got to ful­fil a dif­fer­ent kind of archetype which I re­ally like, too. So that was an­other dream come true.” The 35 year old is an award-win­ning play­wright (50 plays pro­duced), scriptwriter (Su­per City, Jono And Ben) and, of course, a so­cial me­dia star. How­ever, he says it is per­form­ing on stage and screen that he loves most. “If a re­ally good act­ing job came up, ev­ery­thing else would be put to the side, I reckon. I’d love to do a straight dra­matic role and I think I could,” he says, adding he de­vel­oped his love of per­form­ing as a child. “I think it must be some­thing about be­ing the youngest,” he says, ad­mit­ting his need to be in the spot­light made him an “at­ten­tion whore”. There­fore, Sains­bury sees it as some­what ironic that he has fi­nally fol­lowed his two older sib­lings into the health in­dus­try, al­beit in a fic­tional way. “I am so squea­mish, that some­times just hear­ing the other ac­tors talk­ing through their scenes about op­er­a­tions and things, I was get­ting light-headed. This is def­i­nitely the clos­est I will get to work­ing in a hos­pi­tal. But such fun.” Pre­vi­ous act­ing roles in­clude the movie Pork Pie, Filthy Rich, Aus­tralia’s True Story With Hamish And Andy and, most re­cently, Welling­ton Para­nor­mal, Je­maine Cle­ment and Taika Waititi’s What We Do In The Shad­ows tele­vi­sion spin-off.

Hav­ing al­ready found work across the Tas­man, Sains­bury is now set­ting his sights on the US.

He al­ready has an Amer­i­can man­ager and met with him in Los An­ge­les in March to dis­cuss op­tions for work there.

Mean­while, he is mak­ing the most of his time in Fern­dale by learn­ing as much as he can.

“I was talk­ing to some­one who lives in Aus­tralia and they were talk­ing about Home And Away and Neigh­bours and they were like, ‘The dif­fer­ence with Short­land Street is that it’s so funny’,” Sains­bury says.

“There’s so many laughs in it and even the straight char­ac­ters some­times get funny lines or funny sce­nar­ios, and so I think it’s a real credit to Short­land Street and to the writ­ers and the pro­duc­ers.

“The other re­ally good thing about Short­land Street is be­cause it’s con­stantly go­ing, peo­ple can ex­per­i­ment and train.

“Writ­ers can do a storyline that might not be as good as an­other storyline.

“But the thing is you’ve just got to keep go­ing and come up with an­other one and just get bet­ter and bet­ter. So it’s a per­fect train­ing ground too.”

“I am so squea­mish, that some­times just hear­ing the other ac­tors talk­ing through their scenes about op­er­a­tions and things, I was get­ting light-headed.”

– Tom Sains­bury

P14. Tom Sains­bury

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