She’s a manual. Sea breeze is the colour. It’s a sort of garish greenie-blue that makes it easy to spot. I bought it when I was 19 with my dad who chose it because it has electric wing mirrors and cup holders. Those cup holders have seen a lot of action over the years. I don’t move the electric wing mirrors much anymore because the wing mirror is full of spiders.
What do you drive in The Brokenwood Mysteries?
Some sort of Holden! It’s full of buttons and lights and, just like me, it beeps loudly when anyone gets too close. It’s got sweet wing mirrors but the cup holders could be better, sorry Holden.
What do you always have in your car?
I always make sure I have the following items: five empty coffee cups, three burger wrappers, one pair of togs from last summer I’ve forgotten to take inside and are now bleached white from the sun, 50 crumbs, one toolbox containing no tools except for a tape measure, one wine bottle full of sand from a beach up north that my girlfriend insists is some sort of keepsake, two wigs, one map of New Zealand crusted in mustards and sauces, one mix tape of the Foo Fighters stuck inside the tape player rendering the whole stereo purely ornamental.
How often do you clean your car?
I’ll clean it tomorrow! Could you get off my back about this for one second?
Who taught you to drive?
My first lesson, my dad took me in the family van and I crashed it into a parked car 50m from our house. That was his first lesson: “You can’t drive through cars.” It’s a lesson I stick by even to this day.
Manual or automatic?
I prefer manual because I don’t like handing over too much control to a machine that I don’t understand. That’s how I, Robot happened.
Most memorable road trip?
In 2007 I did a road trip as the Easter Bunny for Cadbury. It was five weeks from Dunedin to Auckland with two other actors in a purple van filled with chocolate. Every day we would stop at Pak’n Saves and malls and I would put on this giant sweaty, damp rabbit suit and do a show for the kids. I got to see heaps of the country, I ate 1000 marshmallow eggs and I almost fainted about five times in the suit. It was a magical, horrible trip.
And if you could go anywhere, with any celebrity?
I would drive through the south of France with Jason Sudeikis in a sedan with the best cup holders in the world. I’d comment on how people sometimes say we look a bit alike and he would say he couldn’t see it. Then we’d sit in tense silence for the rest of the trip.
Favourite movie car scene?
That bit in Grease when the car starts flying. Seems like they couldn’t figure out how to end that movie. “Let’s have the car fly away?” “Why?” “I don’t know! Shut up!” “Fine.”
Do you enjoy driving or would you rather be a passenger?
If I’m in the passenger seat I still mime like I’m driving the car, which I understand can be annoying.
What do you listen to in your car?
My radio’s broken so I have to listen to my own stupid thoughts. It sucks.
— as told to Donna McIntyre
■The Brokenwood Mysteries has an encore series on Prime, Saturdays at 7.30pm. Nic hosts Everyone Can Science! at the Basement Theatre until September 19.