Kingdom Come will be done

Thy Kingdom Come will be done - work on the delayed epic movie project will start again this week, the makers say.

Filming on the project, which is based on the life of Jesus, is apparently now set to begin late next month.

The film-makers also say a major film studio has signed a deal to distribute the movie around the world.

Sets have been up in Wellington's Miramar peninsula and across the South Island since late last year, but crew members were given an extended holiday during Christmas and told not to come in for work till earlier last week.

When they did, the news was reportedly good, and staff will begin work again in stages during the coming weeks.

United States-based Kingdom Come publicist Ernie Malik was due to arrive in November, but said his itinerary was still being worked out.

Staff would resume preparatory work next week, and an initial February 2 filming start date had been pushed out to late in the month.

The delays were caused by the continuing Screen Actors Guild "situation in Hollywood", Mr Malik said.

The guild, which represents 120,000 actors, has been weighing up strike action for months.

Director Dean Wright had flown to Los Angeles during the holidays because he lived there though he probably also had talks about the movie, Mr Malik said.

"While I was not privy to his schedule during his trip back to the States, I'm sure there were meetings with studio [executives] and other interested parties."

He said a deal had been negotiated with one of the six major studios for worldwide distribution of the film.

"This deal has attracted significant interest from traditional global film investment sources over the holidays."

Crew members have been reluctant to talk about the movie because of tight confidentiality requirements. Executive producer Joshua Broman was similarly tight-lipped when contacted by The Dominion Post in Japan last year.

In Motueka, where some filming is planned, accommodation had been booked out for next month and March before being cancelled in December.

Film New Zealand chief executive Judith McCann said the guild strike and the economic downturn had slowed the industry down, but it was starting to pick up. Two overseas television series were being filmed in Auckland, while many commercials were being shot around the country and there was renewed interest in making films in New Zealand.

"Clearly the [low] dollar is helping an enormous amount,"she said.

The Dominion Post