An Interview With Dan Weekes

INTRO
THETRIBE.CO.UK welcomes the very talented Dan Weekes to our tribe cast interview! Dan tackled the role of the (very popular) Ved in series 4 of THE TRIBE, our young – yet very smart – Techno sibling who was on course to rival even Ram himself and become a real force to be reckoned with.

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15 years old, and jumping feet first into a show that already held three series under its belt and was composed of a tightly knit group within its core cast … what emotions do you remember going through upon joining THE TRIBE, and how was your original audition for the role?

Did you have to do any screen tests or readings with your onscreen sibling, James Napier Robertson (Jay)?

DAN WEEKES

I was actually 13 in June of 2001 when I got the part. THE TRIBE had a really large cast. So there were lots of people to meet and such as well as keeping my schooling going so I didn’t think much of trying to fit in as it was a really busy time. I had an audition and then a call back and after that was confirmed for the job. I didn’t meet James Napier, who’s gone on to be a great director, until production started.

It was really amazing on a bunch of levels. Up until that time I had acted in school plays and had done a TV commercial and short films with friends and a couple of segments on “What Now”. So witnessing the scale of a fully working TV production house was really enthralling.

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Series 4 of the show launched several new sibling dynamics which is something that the show has always been eager to try and delve into and develop. What was it like having to regard a complete stranger as your older brother? Were there any behind-the-scenes nuggets of advice (on his part) or hijinks (on yours) to help facilitate this? Or was it just a role and dynamic that you could easily slip into?

DAN WEEKES

Actors, generally speaking, are empathetic. So being strangers isn’t usually a barrier when speaking about the human condition. As the story became clear we followed the direction and writing to produce the show as it stands.

I don’t recall any specifics of advice but I definitely felt guided by James, he’s six years older and he’d been in other TV shows (Being Eve) and perhaps that fed into any onscreen dynamic you might see.

SERIES 4 BROUGHT SEVERAL NEW SIBLING DYNAMICS TO THE SHOW

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Ved was a firm fan favourite from the onset. Not only was he incredibly smart, but he was a rebel ruled by his emotions, clashing with both his older brother and mentor, and was also good looking to boot!

Were you aware, at any time during or after your time on the show, of just how much your character was loved by the fans?

DAN WEEKES

The show didn’t get released here in NZ as a programme that had a lot of exposure, more a Sunday afternoon show if I recall correctly. So I didn’t feel its impact immediately. The thing about cultural products that are part of the public record is that they live on and have a life of their own, I’m just glad to have been part of it. And any popularity of the character is down to the writing/producing/directing crew, and the other actors, as well as there being an audience that connected deeply with the material that was offered. Aside from that it’s a great premise.

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THE TRIBE always balanced survival and seriousness with hope and levity, and there is a scene involving Ved that no one will ever forget. You know what’s coming. Yes, THAT scene. The semi-naked ‘baby with a dummy’ prank that was played on Ved!

Do you remember what was it like having to do that? There must have been quite a few laughs behind the scenes.

Speaking of which, what is your favourite memory from your time on the show?

DAN WEEKES

Haha yeah, it was funny and fun to do. Like with all scripts you just get on with trying to do what’s there to the best of your ability. It was a laugh though.

I don’t have any specific memories that I hold above others. I met a lot of people in the space of 5 months and it was filled with awesome experiences as well as seeing an industry that I’d watched from a couch until that point. Like i can’t tell you how much I like TV, music, movies, etc. and to be in a world like that was awesome. Especially as a young person it gave me a scope of understanding that increases with time, as globally our media markets continue to change drastically.

PRETTY HILARIOUS PAYBACK PLAYED ON VED

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There were some really engaging storylines focused on your character. Not only did we have the teen love storyline with Cloe, but we also had the friction growing between Jay and Ved, and to top it all off, he was also being carefully positioned as Ram’s successor. However, we know that things did not go exactly according to plan.

We have heard the official line – that you both intentionally missed a full day of filming together, incurring a lot of cost and wasted time to the production, and so were ultimately dismissed – but what is your own take on events? Looking back, was it simply young love? And do you hold any regrets?

DAN WEEKES


I don’t want to speak on this as other people were involved.

Safe to say I was a child and we make mistakes.

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Your passion for acting has continued way beyond the confines of the show, as you have participated regularly, year on year, within the New Zealand 48 Hour Film Competition.

What is it about the competition that draws you in?

DAN WEEKES

Yeah, acting work is great and I do it when I can get it, the kind of jobs I’ve done and contexts I’ve worked in are really wide ranging.

The 48 is a kind of fun expression of movie culture that you take part in with whoever you end up with. I did one with Emma Draper this past weekend.

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Trevor Brymer’s visually brilliant short, ‘6EQUJ5’ which you starred in. How exactly did that come about and how did you get involved in the production? Would this be something that you would love to see turned into a full feature, or do you feel that it suits a short format better?

DAN WEEKES


There were emails going around about it and I tried out for it and we shot over a weekend. I don’t know about feature / short dynamics but I do like sci fi.

DAN WEEKES AS ALEX IN '6EQUJ5'

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What are you working on at the moment? And is there a page that fans can follow you on? Is there anything else that you would like to say to your fans?

DAN WEEKES

I’ve got a twitter, @aidanweekes, people can reach me there. Anything that I do I usually put out there. I work as an actor in other sectors that aren’t in entertainment. Training / information scenarios, both in videos and in workshops, etc.

Also, I’m starting to make a podcast with a close friend. It’s a discussion / interview show. There’s no title at this point but once we have our first batch of episodes we’ll be looking for an audience so keep an eye on twitter or here on this website. 

Anyway, I love that THE TRIBE still has such a loyal following and I love interacting with fans.

Cheers heaps for the interview! Thanks for reading!

OUTRO
A massive thank you to Dan for participating in our latest Tribe cast interview!