After winning Australian Idol in 2009 and carving out an impressive career, you would think for R&B star Stan Walker shooting a movie would be a stroll in the park.
After all, what could be worse than having an entire nation judging you?
However, Walker, 22, who was born in Melbourne of Maori descent, said that he was very nervous making his acting debut in Mt Zion, a New Zealand-made coming-of-age comedy-drama in which he plays an aspiring singer who comes into conflict with his iron-willed potato-picker father.
"I was worried about signing on for the film because I wasn't sure if I could pull off the performance that the character deserved," he told AAA.
"Being on Idol was a shock to the system and being in a movie was another shock. I'd never done anything like it before."
Walker said he received great support and help from his co-star Temuera Morrison, who gave a terrifying performance as the abusive father in the 1994 New Zealand classic Once Were Warriors.
"He was awesome. He told me to relax and be myself. And he was crack-up funny," recalled Walker, who said that Morrison had long been one of his favourite actors.
"Tem told me not to act, just be in the moment. By the end, I felt comfortable and it came naturally."
It's no wonder that Walker feels so close to Morrison and Once Were Warriors because the world the film depicts - poverty, alcoholism, violence - was what he experienced in New Zealand.
"We come from a real broken home, just real abusive. My mum and dad were like, you know, druggies, alcoholics. We were brought up around gangs and stuff, just getting beaten every day, just that whole ghetto scene," he told The West Australian not long after winning Australian Idol.
Morrison's mentorship of Walker certainly worked because his performance as the Bob Marley-worshipping farm boy who dreams of opening for the reggae king during his legendary tour of New Zealand in 1979 has been universally praised.
And the film itself has gone on to be a hit in its home territory, opening at number one in the box office and going on to make more than $1 million (a big deal for a New Zealand movie on its home turf).The success of the film means that Walker will now divide himself between music and film. "The response has been awesome, overwhelming. So I'm looking forward to taking on more acting roles," he said.
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