Hot names star in NZ-based sci-fi
MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
A post-apocalyptic film featuring Hollywood stars Chris Pine and Amanda Seyfried is to be shot in Port Levy on Banks Peninsula early next year.
The film, produced by Spiderman star Tobey Maguire and Icelandic company Zik Zak Filmworks, is based on the 1974 children's science fiction thriller Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brien.
In the book 16-year-old Ann Burden survives a nuclear holocaust and nerve gas attack because her farm is located in a remote valley with its own weather system.
Her belief she is alone is shattered when a scientist arrives in the valley.
The screenplay departs from the book by bringing two men into Anna's orbit, not one.
Seyfried (Mama Mia) plays Anna while Pine (Captain Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness) plays one of the men and British star Chiwelel Ejiofor the other.
Craig Zobel, well-known for indie films Compliance and Great World of Sound, will direct.
The producers have chosen a stately Port Levy home as the farmhouse and are looking at other locations around the peninsula and the region, but want to keep the project quiet to keep away nosy visitors.
They will be filming between January and March.
Production company Z4Z Productions is looking for accommodation in the area for up to 50 film crew. The company was set up by Steven Johnson, a Hollywood-based maker of music videos, commercials and independent films.
Port Levy is no stranger to movies, having featured in Peter Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures.
Pine is one of Hollywood's hottest stars after his success as Captain Kirk and Ejiofor is getting glowing reviews for his role in Twelve Years A Slave.
Seyfried has been shooting Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways To Die In The West.
The Film Commission did not know of the project when approached yesterday, but Film NZ said it had worked with the producers and connected them with the local film industry.
The film's main local agent, Murray Francis, of Film Business, did not return messages.
A Port Levy identity, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the movie production would not faze the locals.
"We hardly noticed when Peter Jackson filmed here. We're mainly working farmers, so will just get on with things.
"If it was Brad Pitt, I might be down there but it doesn't sound that exciting."
- The Press