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TV Interview

Alan Dale ('Moving Wallpaper', 'Renaissance')

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Alan Dale ('Moving Wallpaper', 'Renaissance')
Echo Beach is dead (commiserations, Martine) - but Moving Wallpaper lives on. Hurrah! Hoping for a second chance of primetime success, Jonathan Pope and his team are back with a new project: Renaissance, a one-off zombie drama pilot starring Alan Dale and Kelly Brook. We caught up with veteran actor Alan for a chat about his heroic role in the pilot and the prospect of playing himself in the accompanying comedy series.

Is Renaissance intended to be a serious drama or is it comedic?
"No, it stands on its own. It's not like Echo Beach was last year. Moving Wallpaper makes the show, but it's just going to be one half-hour pilot. My character is the hero and Kelly Brook plays the heroine. We've both been in most of the episodes of Moving Wallpaper too."

How does the story of Renaissance play out?
"It starts on a 747, which lands and gets overrun with zombies. My character has three children, Kelly joins us, we escape. At one point I've got a flamethrower and we're cooking zombies! At another point I'm jumpstarting a landrover in the forest somewhere. I had a lot of fun doing it. But it's dead straight - there's no attempt at comedy, it's a horror. It's a pilot for a horror series."

So where do these zombies come from?
"It's explained by one of the characters as a military experiment. Someone got hold of the virus and put a strain of it in the reservoirs. Then the people drank the water and turned into zombies, then started biting non-zombies and turning them into zombies too."

In the real world, is Renaissance actually a pilot too? Could this be a potential real series?
"We laugh about it and chat about it, but I don't think that's the intention. On the other hand, it could happen I suppose!"

What attracted you to this show?
"They sent me some DVDs of Moving Wallpaper last year and I just couldn't stop watching them. Also I love England and love coming here."

Did you watch Echo Beach as well?
"No, I never saw that. Actually I had lunch with Jason [Donovan] when I was doing Spamalot and he was still hoping they might bring that back as well. I never saw any of it. Even its name tends to indicate that it's a soap and I don't really watch soaps, so I wouldn't have watched it anyway."

Are there many crossovers from Moving Wallpaper in the script for Renaissance?
"In Moving Wallpaper Kelly and I play ourselves, so I'm Alan Dale and she's Kelly Brook. I'm trying to chat up one of the writers - it's very funny. I feel very uncomfortable playing myself because I've never done it before and I don't really like some of the things I say, because I wouldn't say that. But when I quoted some of them back to my wife she said 'they know you!' I think I probably am like the character more than I think. But whatever, it's such a thrill to be in it. For me, it's a more watchable The Office."

What was Kelly like to work with?
"Lovely. Gorgeous girl. Obviously physically she's gorgeous but apart from that she's lovely. A girl much sharper than anybody thinks."

Moving Wallpaper returns to ITV1 Friday at 9pm.

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