Neill, Kightley team up in police drama series
Internationally renowned New Zealand movie actor Sam Neill is teaming with entertainer Oscar Kightley to star in a new TV show.
Kightley will play Detective Harry Anglesea, an Auckland police officer, in six-part crime TV3 series Harry, which began filming yesterday.
Kightley's character is a solo father struggling with personal demons while Neill plays his mentor and boss, Detective Jim "Stocks" Stockton. The pair investigate a major murder case in Auckland.
Neill said he was looking forward to his homecoming and working on the series with Kightley.
For his part, Kightley is thrilled at the opportunity.
"Having Sam Neill in it lifts that excitement to another stratosphere. It is a massive honour for us that he's chosen this project," he said.
Producer Steven O'Meagher said negotiations to get Neill signed on took a month, as the actor worked in the UK and US.
He said the scenes between Neill and Kightley are expected to "crackle".
"Sam and Oscar have a personal friendship which will translate into great on-screen chemistry. Stocks is a mentor, a boss and a mate to Harry, and is one of the two most important people in Harry's life."
He described Neill as one of New Zealand's greatest-ever actors, and his agreeing to play Stockton was a huge endorsement of the show's quality.
TV3 head of comedy and drama Rachel Jean said the series features the realities of police life: family, crime, too much work for not enough pay.
The script is boosted by true stories and advice from police and families affected by crime.
"It is this truth that will make this series `must-watch' television," she said.
"Oscar has a track record with TV3's viewers and they love him. Sam Neill joining the cast is the icing on the cake," she said.
Neill has just finished mystery thriller Alcatraz in the US. The show is due to hit New Zealand screens in the coming months.
Kightley has made a name for himself with Sione's Wedding, bro'Town and as a member of comedy group the Naked Samoans.
Harry is produced by Desert Road with funding from New Zealand On Air.