Sir Edmund Hillary ‘more than just a person who climbs a hill’ in new drama

Edmund Hillary gained worldwide fame as the first man to conquer Mt Everest, the highest mountain on Earth. But there was far more to the rugged Kiwi, says Andrew Munro, the actor who portrays him in the six-part TV One drama Hillary, which aims to introduce the man behind the legend that is Sir Edmund Hillary.

"I mean you look at the $5 note and you think Everest but there was so much more," says Munro. "I think viewers will see more than just a person who climbs a hill."

Hillary, made with the help of $6,418,835 funding from New Zealand On Air, is the story of Sir Edmund Hillary and the people who were most important to him, particularly his first wife Louise (Amy Usherwood) and his best mate and fellow mountaineer George Lowe (Dean O'Gorman).

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Calum Henderson: Hillary’s TV One debut a ‘promising start’

If the Legionnaire hat comes roaring back into fashion in New Zealand this summer, we won't need to look far to find the reason why.

The iconic flap-back cap favoured by Sir Edmund Hillary looks set to see plenty of free advertising over the next five weeks as our most famous adventurer's life story is given the dramatic treatment in the long-awaited TV One series Hillary.

The six-part biopic began last night, not atop a mountain but amidst the aftermath of the plane crash which claimed the lives of his first wife and daughter in Nepal in 1975. While this sombre, speechless opening scene might not seem like the most obvious starting point, it was a clear signal of the series' intent, and it hung ominously over the following hour.

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Living up to a legend: Sir Ed story most anticipated drama of the year

Playing Sir Edmund Hillary in a mini-series would be a big deal for any New Zealand actor. But for Andrew Munro — whose handful of screen credits include "Film School Tutor" in the movie My Wedding & Other Secrets and "Guard Arthur" in the tele-feature Field Punishment No. 1 — it's a really big deal. It's his first lead. It's his big break.

And it's a long way from his days playing in Dunedin punk band The Yams, working as a chef in Parliament, and doing odd jobs in the TV and film industry, before moving to Auckland in 2005 to give acting a real crack. Now it's paid off.

Hillary's story has been told before — in books, a documentary, a feature film — but never a drama series. Funded with nearly $6.5 million from NZ On Air's Platinum Fund, the Great Southern Television production was filmed largely in Auckland, the Southern Alps and Nepal between January and April last year. The series' creator, writer and executive producer, Tom Scott, based Hillary on his biography of his friend — and on hundreds of hours of interviews about Hillary's most public and private moments.

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Hillary, a six-part mini-series, premieres on Sunday, August 21, 8.30pm, on TV One.

Benedict Wall set to play Alf Stewart’s son on ‘Home and Away’

Taken from NZ Herald.

New Zealand-born actor Benedict Wall has picked up the role of Duncan Stewart on Home and Away.

Reprising the role of Alf Stewart's son, Wall says he can't wait to be a part of the show.

"It had always been on my radar and when you're young, the shows you see every day are definitely the ones that you aspire to be a part of."

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Angela Zhou talks ‘Hell on Wheels’ with NZ Herald

Taken from NZ Herald, by Ben Hill.

A young Kiwi actress is planning her next Hollywood move after going through a gender-swapping twist in a US television show.

Angela Zhou is one of the main stars of the fifth and final series of hit American show Hell on Wheels - screening in New Zealand on Soho.

Her role on the Emmy-nominated show - which takes place during the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s - has been a rollercoaster ride. She played a Chinese girl disguised as a boy to get work on the railroad.

In the final series she abandons her disguise and becomes the main love interest of the star, played by Anson Mount. The 24-year-old told the Herald on Sunday she had more auditions lined up in the US.

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Erik Thomson wins at 2016 Logie Awards

Taken from ScreeNZ.

At Sunday evening’s Logie bash in Australia, Erik Thomson won the Best Actor award for his work on 800 Words.

It was the show’s only win from its nominations, missing out on Best Drama Programme, Most Outstanding Drama Series, and Best New Talent (Benson Jack Anthony – pictured, top, on right).

Also nominated for Logies but missing out were Kiwi actors Emily Barclay and Sam Neill. Barclay was up for Most Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work on Glitch, Neill for Most Outstanding Actor for House of Hancock.

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48Hours 2016 Update

Hi All,

Firstly I want to apologise for keeping everyone in the dark regarding dates for this years competition. We've not gone 'troppo' on you.

There's been some dull administration reasons for the delay in announcing the dates that have been unavoidable. I really hate not being able to lock in a date in advance and I know many of you feel the same way.

All of which means we won't be having the 48 weekend during May this year. We're going to have to move it til later in the year and this is where we need your (and teams) help. If you could take one minute to answer some simple questions on this link attached, it would really help us a lot in nailing down the comp for this later year.

Please SHARE this post with anyone you know who would like to be involved in 48HOURS as well.

Thank you for your undying patience,

Chief Banana

Answer the 48Hour questions HERE

Madam Black wins at French Film Festival

Taken from

A New Zealand short film about a dead cat seemingly gallivanting across the globe has won an award at the world's largest short film festival.

Madam Black took out the Prix Du Public, or Audience Award, at the Clermont Ferrand International Film Festival in France over the weekend.

The film has also won a number of awards at festivals across Europe and the US, and the audience choice award at the New Zealand International Film Festival last year.

It tells the story of a photographer who kills a child's cat, but doesn't have the heart to tell her.

Instead, he poses the taxidermy feline in front of backdrops in his studio, and gives the girl postcards from her pet, outlining its apparent adventures.

Read the full article here.

‘What We Do in the Shadows’ sequel in the works

Taken from the NZ Herald.

A spin-off film centred around werewolves is in the works to follow cult comedy vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.

Kiwi director and writer, Taika Waititi says his next project after finishing Thor: Ragnarok will be the spin-off We're Wolves.

Co-writer and director, Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame is also on board.

"Jemaine (Clement) and I are trying to write a werewolf spin-off, yeah, so that will most likely be the next thing," he told Crave Online. "It's going to be called We're Wolves, like We are wolves. We're Wolves."

No word yet on what the plot will entail and whether any of the werewolves - which included Rhys Darby - from the first movie will make a comeback.

Read the full article here.

Bullet Heart Club celebrate as Daffodils becomes feature film

Taken from NZ Herald, by Dionne Christianson.

A tiny Auckland theatre company is celebrating after learning its debut show will be made into a movie.

Bullet Heart Club, started by Rochelle Bright and Kitan Petkovski in 2013, will develop Daffodils, which is inspired by true events, into a feature film with Emmy award-winning production company, Wellington's KHF Media.

A cabaret-style musical, Daffodils features iconic New Zealand songs from Crowded House, Bic Runga, Don McGlashan, Dave Dobbyn and The Mint Chicks. It tells the story of playwright Bright's parents who met in Hamilton in the 1960s.

Silver Scroll winner LIPS (Stephanie Brown and Fen Ikner) and musician Abraham Kunin remixed and reimagined the pop-rock music that shaped the romance of Bright's parents.

Read the full article here.
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