×

‘Australian Idol’ Winner Stan Walker Dances to Toronto Festival

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.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Finding Farideh

    Oscars: Iran Picks Doc 'Finding Farideh' As International Feature Film Contender

    “Finding Farideh,” a feature-length documentary about an Iranian girl adopted at infancy by a Dutch couple who 40 years later travels to Iran in search of her biological parents, is Iran’s candidate for the recently renamed International Feature Film Oscar. Co-directed by young Tehran-based duo Azadeh Mousavi and Kourosh Ataee, the doc bridges East and West. [...]

  • Dogs Don’t Wear Pants

    Buyers Catch Valkeapaa's ‘Dogs Don’t Wear Pants’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rolling off its Cannes Directors’ Fortnight world bow, J.-P. Valkeapää’s BDSM movie “Dogs Don’t Wear Pants” has been sold by The Yellow Affair to new U.K. distributor Anti-Worlds for the U.K. and Ireland, as well as to The Klockworx Co for Japan, Ama Films for Greece, HHG for Russia/CIS, Pilot Film for the Czech Republic [...]

  • 'Kix,' 'Frem' Win Docu Talent Awards

    'Kix,' 'Frem' Win Docu Talent Awards at Sarajevo Film Festival

    Hungary’s “Kix” and Czech Republic’s “Frem” won the Docu Talent Awards, chosen from a field of 10 documentary features from Central and Eastern Europe, at the Sarajevo Film Festival on Sunday. “Kix,” directed by David Mikulan and Balint Revesz, is the story of Sanyi, a troubled youth, as he grows from eight to 18, morphing [...]

  • The Garden

    Bragason Brings ‘Woman at War’s’ Geirharosdottir to ‘The Garden’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed actress Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, best known for “Woman at War,” is set to star in writer/director Ragnar Bragason’s dark comedy “The Garden.” Currently in post-production and to be pitched at Haugesund’s New Nordic Films over Aug. 20-23, “The Garden” is Bragason’s sixth feature and his first one since the 2013 Toronto entry “Metalhead.” “I did [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras to Receive San Sebastian Career Achievement Donostia Award

    Costa-Gavras, the Greek-born France-based director of some of the most famed movies of political cinema, from 1969’s “Z” to 1981’s “Missing,” will receive a career achievement Donostia Award at this September’s 67th San Sebastian Film Festival. The filmmaker will collect his prize on Sept. 21 at a ceremony held at San Sebastian’s Victoria Eugenia, where [...]

  • Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), Leonard (Bill

    China Box Office: New Animations No Match For 'Nezha' Domination

    Chinese animation “Nezha” continued its run as China’s biggest hit of the summer, maintaining its top spot at the box office even 25 days into its run with a weekend gross of $41.2 million. The tally made it this weekend’s fourth highest grossing film worldwide. Meanwhile, two other new animated titles performed unremarkably. The flop of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content