Shane Rangi as Rongo, Michelle and Nova too!

We shot TEN scenes this weekend!


It was a whirlwind ride, with new cast members gracing us and showing us that the film is going to be a lot better than we expected. It’s a fairly diverse cast. Sure, it’s a got a middle class white male in the leading role but we have plenty of range in colour, age and size with the rest of the cast.

Cast HJW
Nova, Simeon, Michelle and Abby hanging on set


Shane Rangi, legendary stunt and motion capture performer, wowed us all with his first scene as Rongo. He’s taken the role from Grant Roa whose schedular conflicts couldn’t be worked around. Shane’s stature ensured that pedestrians left us alone while we were shooting. At one point, shooting at night down an alleyway, we were approached and, in a haughty tone, asked, ‘What are you guys doing?’

Shane replied promptly in his powerful low voice, ‘Filming.’

The subject was dropped and we were left to shoot in peace.

Before we started shooting with Shane, he txt me some options for costume. He knew from the script that his character had to be intimidating, and he felt a leather jacket would work. I explained that due to the nature of the film, I couldn’t pay for items of costume we couldn’t source from friends. Shane replied ‘haha, I’ll pay cuz’ and with a ‘ting’, Shane sent me an image.

Shane Rangi, Rongo
Shane Rangi as Rongo

Perfect. That’s exactly the look we wanted. Seeing this towering pillar of man stalking down the street toward you with dark sunglasses on and a thundering stride reminiscent of a Once Were Warriors lead, we knew this was the most serendipitous casting we could hope for.

As well as bringing a great performance, Shane helped out with stunts, chase scene choreography and ADing, yelling a thick ‘3, 2, 1 ACTION’ for us.

Because Shane’s leaving to flit about the globe on another show in a week, we are hoping to shoot him out this weekend. I’m already trembling to get editing on his footage.


This weekend marked the debut on screen of Michelle Ny, our leading lady! NZ born, Michelle is of Cambodian descent and was described to me by a casting agent friend as ‘the next New Zealand prodigy’.

Michelle Ny
Michelle Ny plays Sophia, and looks remarkably Asian in this photo

I jumped on that. We’ve been on the cusp of each other’s friend groups for a few years and have gotten to know each other better these last couple of weeks, workshopping and rehearsing scenes, and this weekend we finally called action and saw Sophia on screen.

I won’t say anymore here because we’ll be seeing a lot more of Michelle in the weeks to come. Suffice it to say that she’s a great actress, perceptive and genuine and beautiful.


We didn’t get rained out! Shooting in the same location as last time, we tempted fate, but the weather held out! Blue skies, minimal wind and a scorching sun. We nailed two dialogue scenes (this time with the Ronin steadying rig that almost tore Simeon’s arms off) and retired very happy.

Hayden Nova
YUSSS! The sun prevails!

After watching the footage, me and Simeon have predicted the relationship between Dan and Summer (above) will be the most affecting of the film. Acting with Nova is a blast, she remembers lines like a pro with barely any read throughs, and is completely natural.

We have seven more scenes to shoot with Nova and I look very forward to seeing her charm the audience.


Not long now. However, we can’t slow down and relax just yet. This weekend marks the first time we’ve had other cast members on screen and it’s really shown us how valuable each character is to the story. Yesterday I marked up the script with my orange highlighter and took great pleasure in crossing off whole pages of the script.

Combined with the notes me and Michelle had made, the shooting script is starting to look pretty worn.

If the first 50 scenes have been this fun, what will the next be like?
If the first 50 scenes have been this fun, what will the next be like?

Enough blogging, it’s time to get scheduling!