Nelson actors grab majority of roles in movie

01:09, Aug 16 2011

Casting for the trolley derby movie Kiwi Flyer has finished, with 34 of the 39 roles being given to Nelson actors.

Filming for the family movie, which will be shot entirely in and around Nelson, starts on Friday and finishes on September 14.

The movie will star out-of-towner Edward Hall, who was in the movie Legend of the Seeker, as 12-year-old Ben, who wants to win the trolley derby in memory of his dad. Along the way Ben learns about life, and has to confront cheating Australian opponents and dodgy loan sharks.

Many of the other main roles have been filled by out-of-town actors. Ben's mum is played by Tandi Wright, who stars in current TV One drama Nothing Trivial, comedian Dai Henwood is playing Ben's teacher Mr Lumsden and veteran Kiwi actor Vince Martin has been cast as Wayne, the head of the Australian family.

Nelson College preparatory student Myer Van Gosliga has landed the part of Shannon, Ben's nemesis.

Myer said he was excited to get the part and wasn't fazed about playing a baddie.

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"He's quite self-opinionated and stuck-up and wants to win everything and he's sort of enemies with pretty much everyone and no-one really likes him that much."

He was particularly keen at discovering at how everything came together on the set.

"It's a big opportunity."

Some of the Nelson kids cast in the film had the chance to look over the wardrobe for the film on Friday. Myer was pleased with his costume as they were clothes he would wear into town.

"It's a bit different to what I thought," he said.

"I thought it would be big Australian colours."

Nelson College year 13 student Doug Colling, who will play Shane, the older brother of Shannon, said he was stoked and excited to be picked for the film.

"It should be awesome."

Doug was part of the Nelson Youth Theatre Company, but had not done a huge amount of film work.

He said most of the filming he was involved with had been timed to coincide with the weekends so it wouldn't impact on his schooling too much. It had been cool to check out the wardrobe and his character as a "bit of a try-hard" who wore baggy jeans and hoodies and that suchlike.

Brittany Dick, who plays Amanda, who gets caught up in a love triangle with Ben and Ben's best friend Jeff, said she was also extremely excited to have been picked.

"When I got the phone call I was running up and down and bouncing around the room."

She said her character was the coolest girl in school, and a karate expert.

"So that's going to be pretty fun to play."

Being in a movie was something the Waimea College year nine student said she had always wanted to do, and her friends were excited for her that she was finally getting a chance to do something she had dreamed of, she said.

Director Tony Simpson said hundreds of people from around Nelson and Blenheim attended the casting and auditions, and it had been a real thrill to fill so many roles from the region.

He said everyone, including those who missed out on roles, still had a chance to be in the movie.

"We will be inviting members of the public to come and join the crowd on those filming days when we are re-enacting the race itself."

Funding for the $1.1 million film has come from the Film Commission, New Zealand on Air, the Nelson City Council and Nelson angel investor Group Venture Accelerator.

TV3 owner MediaWorks is also backing it and has bought screening rights.

The Nelson Mail