Anna Hutchison won fame down under thanks to three very different TV roles: tomboyish school girl Delphi Greenlaw on Shortland Street, bankrupt go-getter Amy Smart on Go Girls, and the lover to drug king Terry Clark in Australia's Underbelly. First nominated for her work in Shortland Street, she went on to act in Joss Whedon-scripted horror movie The Cabin in the Woods, and Charlie Sheen TV comedy Anger Management.
I hear so many kids saying they want to be an actor or a movie star and then they just end up working somewhere down the road. I didn't want that to happen to me. Anna Hutchison, in an interview for Pavement
This gleefully violent "zombie romcom" is another offering from Auckland's Media Design School, where 3D CGI students collaborate with their tutor, director James Cunningham, and industry veterans. Based on an idea from course grad Philip Magnussen, Rotting Hill sees two lovers — played by Anna Hutchison (Go Girls, The Cabin in the Woods) and Australian actor Jason Smith (Home and Away) — finding that "true love never dies" in a post-human future. The short has netted over one million views on Vimeo. Keep tissues handy: you may shed a tear ... or maybe an eyeball.
Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan created Go Girls out of a desire for an upbeat show about "people who liked each other". Audiences liked the characters too: the show ran five seasons, after introducing us to a group of 20-something friends, each aiming to make a major life-change in the next year. Over five series various romantic adventures ensued, and the core cast of Anna Hutchison, Alix Bushnell, Bronwyn Turei, Jay Ryan and Matt Whelan were joined by others — before finally departing altogether, with one final season revolving around a new cast of wanna bes.
Go Girls starts from a twist, a beach and a promise. The twist is that this femme-dominated tale is narrated by a male (Jay Ryan). The promise involves four friends having a drink on the beach, and agreeing to make a major life-change within a year. Amy (Anna Hutchison) wants to be rich; whacky bartender Britta (Alix Bushnell) seeks fame; straight-talking Cody (Bronwyn Turei) wants a hubbie. The intentionally "optimistic, kind" hit show stretched to five seasons. In the backgrounder, co-creator Rachel Lang writes about the show's origins and difficult, rain-sodden birth.
Television series Ride with the Devil follows a car-mad Chinese immigrant who arrives in New Zealand, and plunges into a world of car racing, burnouts and parties. In this first episode, Lin (Andy Wong, from TV movie Eruption) arrives in Auckland to stay with his aunt and start a business course. But by the end of his first night he finds himself in the middle of the action: trying to win a burnout competition in his cousin's car. Watching on is ex-con Kurt (Xavier Horan from Westside), who runs a custom car workshop. Kurt offers to help Lin get some wheels of his own.
Boy racer drama Ride with the Devil is a rare Kiwi television series to be built around an Asian character. In the second episode, Lin (Andy Wong) finds excitement and humiliation after moving from China to Auckland. He watches his new friend Kurt (Xavier Horan) in action at the race track. Things spin out of control during a party at Kurt's workshop — Lin is humiliated by his cousin after he slips off for some backseat fun with Pony (Anna Hutchison from Go Girls). But there is much worse to come, after a late night drag race goes badly wrong.
In the third episode of Ride with the Devil things rev up at "the holy grail of styley cars"— a car show. Lin and Kurt win attention for their vehicle, but they haven't banked on a visit from the police. Lin must decide whether to front up over a tragic accident. Meanwhile, Wendy (Lynette Forday, who was nominated for a Qantas Best Actress award for the role) discovers that her daughter has many secrets — including running a dodgy website involving the back seat of her car. Director Murray Keane created Ride with the Devil to represent New Zealand's boy racer culture.
In this episode of boy racer drama Ride with the Devil (a rare Kiwi TV drama built around an Asian character), Lin (Andy Wong) faces an uncertain future after telling police he was driving the car that accidentally killed a boy. This episode features Shortland Street veteran Angela Bloomfield, who was nominated for a Qantas award for her portrayal of grieving mother Shona. Meanwhile Wendy (Lynette Forday) reads the riot act to daughter Amy (Kellie Michelle Cheung) who continues to romance garage owner Kurt (Xavier Horan); and Kurt's enemy sees the chance for revenge.
Car-mad Chinese immigrant Lin (Andy Wong) is in a whole heap of trouble in episode five of boy racer drama Ride With The Devil. Not only is he facing deportation for his involvement in a fatal car accident, local tough guy Pinky (Ali Foa'i) plans to deliver some street justice. Amy discovers why her mum Wendy (Lynette Forday) seems to anticipate her every move, but payback for frenemy Pony plays out in an unexpected way. Plus Wendy and driving instructor Graham's mutual attraction hits new heights just as Lin's troubles go into overdrive in the last quarter.
Ride With The Devil brings The Fast and the Furious to Te Atatu. The sixth and final episode of this boy racer drama series features laughter, romance, burnouts and drama in equal measure. Chinese immigrant Lin (Andy Wong) is to be deported from New Zealand for his involvement in a fatal car accident, but there's unfinished business to attend to. Kurt (Xavier Horan) and Lin's mates from the garage celebrate endings and beginnings the only way petrol heads can — by burning serious rubber. At Lin's goodbye dinner new love is celebrated, but there's a brutal twist in the tale.
Shortland Street is a fast-paced serial drama set in an inner city Auckland hospital. The long-running South Pacific Pictures production is based around the births, deaths and marriages of the hospital's staff and patients. It screens on TVNZ’s TV2 network five days a week. In 2017 the show was set to celebrate its 25th anniversary, making it New Zealand’s longest running drama by far. Characters and lines from the show have entered the culture — starting with “you’re not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata!” in the very first episode. Mihi Murray writes about Shortland Street here.