Oliver Driver: Drive my car at your own peril
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OLIVER DRIVER: ACTOR, DIRECTOR, BROADCASTER AND TV PRESENTER
So you drive a Lexus 450h?
I have a creative partnership with Lexus Auckland City, supporting them to make their launches and events cool, theatrical and fun. I used to be a Lexus ambassador, and I still have a strong relationship with them. I just got a 2016 Lexus 450h, it's black and really shiny. The Lexus 450h is spacious which is great for a tall person. It’s got a good height on it and it’s a hybrid, which feels great to be doing my part for the environment. I drove a Range Rover for a year, so I reckon I have to drive a hybrid for the rest of my life to break even. I also love that it's Japanese ... they really know how to make a good car.
Who else is allowed to drive your car?
Nobody. My insurance dictates that, because of the excess it would cripple everyone if there was a crash. My entire family would be bankrupt. This rule can be broken in an emergency or if I have had over two beers.
How often do you clean your Lexus?
Carwash once every couple of weeks. I have two dogs, a Hungarian Vizsla — George — and a mixed-breed retriever/labrador/poodle — Harry. The front of the car is beautiful and the back is like a hairy cave.
What do you always carry in your car?
Two dogs, an umbrella, leads, frisbee, tennis ball, chucka (thing to make my girly throw more effective). For filming I have a lot of wet-weather gear — boots, pants and jacket. I also carry a couple of disposable confetti cannons. Everyone should.
First car? 1980 Mazda 323. It was yellow and a very old shape. It was what I could afford. I loved it and smashed it into a fence and that was the end of that. Then I got a sky blue Nissan Sunny.
Your dream car ...
Lexus LFA, because it’s a super car.
Who taught you to drive?
My dad from when I was 12. He used to drive rescue trucks for the Royal Air Force. He was an amazing teacher — he taught me to always be on the lookout. Defensive driving is so important, you need to make sure that others don’t kill you.
Most memorable road trip?
Heading to Mt Ruapehu to ski with my family years ago. It was a trip we made many times. I love going down the Desert Road and stopping at Pokeno for a sticky lamb shank.
If you could go anywhere in any vehicle with anyone ...
I want to travel by motorbike across a big country like India with a really good friend. I’d buy a bike at the beginning and sell it for almost nothing by the end.
Do you enjoy driving or would you rather be a passenger?
I’m a terrible passenger. I always have my foot on the imaginary brake.
Do you see yourself buying a driverless or an electric car?
In two minds. My car is half-electric now. In my dream future you can do both. Drive it when you want, like to the beach, and then you can hit the button and it goes on auto-pilot when you’re in traffic.
Favourite movie scene with a car?
Every James Bond ever made. Who doesn’t want a machine gun and rockets in their car?
And what do you listen to in your car?
National Radio, because I’m an old human being now.
What’s a great day trip out of Auckland?
My fiancee and I like nothing better than going to Karekare, Bethells or Piha. It’s an awesome drive out west with lots of corners. Once you come over those hills you see the ocean from a height — it’s amazing. They are epic places to be with dogs and loved ones.
What’s your take on Auckland’s traffic?
Auckland’s traffic problem won’t go away until you make me not want to drive. Make it hard and expensive to drive: make the price of parking in the city expensive, introduce congestion charges and at the same time provide a strong public transport alternative — bus, train, cycle.
Do you watch Top Gear? Who do you most identify with?
Probably more Jeremy Clarkson, but I relate to all three. The good thing about Top Gear is you see parts of yourself in each of those guys. It’s like one guy split into three extreme personalities.
■Oliver Driver directs Jesus Christ Part II at Basement Theatre, Greys Ave, CBD from November 27-December 19. See: iticket.co.nz/events/2015/nov/jesus-christ-part-ii