Of Maori descent, Stan Walker was born in Australia but grew up in New Zealand. At 18, he rose to stardom when he won the final season of “Australian Idol” in 2009. “The whole journey was incredible, especially for me to win a show like that,” he says. “A Kiwi with a strong Kiwi accent sometimes does not go (over) so well with locals.”
After his win, he was a judge on New Zealand’s “X Factor,” and starred in 2013 drama “Mt. Zion” from Te Arepa Kahi. He’ll appear in the upcoming comedy “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” with Sam Neill and Rhys Darby.
‘BORN’ ULTIMATUM: At the Toronto Film Festival, he’ll be hoofing it in Tammy Davis’ “Born to Dance,” a pic about a competitive hip-hop dance crew, although that discipline is not his forte. “I definitely feel like I accomplished a lot being able to keep up,” he says of the moves choreographed by Parris Goebel. “I didn’t initially know that I would be actually dancing in the film. I didn’t read the fine print,” he jokes.
SPIN DOCTOR: He’s promoting his album, “Truth & Soul,” with a Canadian tour, and his shows will include the film’s theme song, which he wrote.
ROLE MODEL: Walker says “Born to Dance” — starring Maori thesp Tia-Taharoa Maipi and a cast of Aboriginal actors — tells a significant New Zealand story. “I’m proud to see young Maori and Polynesian people being examples of hope,” he says. “All of the actors in the film are paving the way for the next generation, and they don’t even know it.”