Cast of NZ's most expensive drama announced

The newly-announced cast of TV2's new drama, Filthy Rich. From left: John Jnr (Josh McKenzie), Savannah (Emma Fenton), ...
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The newly-announced cast of TV2's new drama, Filthy Rich. From left: John Jnr (Josh McKenzie), Savannah (Emma Fenton), Brady (Miriama Smith), Vader (Taylor Hall) and Joe (Alex Tarrant).

The cast of New Zealand's most expensive television series has been announced.

Filthy Rich, a drama created by award-winning Kiwi writers Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan (Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls, Nothing Trivial), began filming this week.

The series received $8.25 million in funding from New Zealand on Air, the most money given to a single drama series in this country.

Kiwi actress Miriama Smith, seen here posing with her award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actress during the 2012 ...
Sandra Mu

Kiwi actress Miriama Smith, seen here posing with her award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actress during the 2012 New Zealand Television Awards, will star in new Kiwi drama series Filthy Rich.

TVNZ has commissioned 20 episodes of the show to run twice a week over 10 weeks.

Filthy Rich stars Miriama Smith (Seige, Legend of the Seeker) as one of a group of people vying for the fortune of one of New Zealand's richest men.

Smith plays plays Brady, the ambitious, young second wife of rich-lister John Truebridge. When Truebridge dies she expects to inherit his fortune - or at least share in the spoils along with her stepson, John Jnr, who is played by Josh McKenzie (Shortland Street, Power Rangers).

Things get complicated when Truebridge's three illegitimate children are revealed to have a share in the fortune as well.

Alex Tarrant (When We Go To War) plays one of the children, Joe, who is shocked to find out his whole life has been a lie.

The other children are played by newcomers Taylor Hall and Emma Fenton, as the easy-going but secretive Vader and wily, beautiful Savannah respectively.

The cast also features Elizabeth Hawthorne (Outrageous Fortune) as Truebridge's eccentric sister Nancy, Jodie Rimmer (In My Father's Den), Mike Edward (Spartacus), and Erroll Shand (Underbelly).

Producer Stephen Zanoski (Shortland Street) said the cast had been closely involved in the show's development.

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"I'm delighted with this incredible cast and crew, who joined us a lot earlier than most productions to collaborate on a unique look and feel for the show. It's been a dynamic process, now paying off as we film our first episodes," he said.

TVNZ head of content Jeff Latch called Filthy Rich "an addictive, top quality, bold new series".

"We cannot wait to bring this show to TV2 viewers," he said.

The series is due to premiere next year.

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