American producer Rob Tapert first heard that New Zealand was 'an undiscovered production treasure', in a studio carpark. He was later responsible for bringing the internationally popular syndicated TV shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules here to realise that vision.
Costume designer Barbara Darragh is the creator of Xena’s iconic outfit, Billy T James’ look as the Tainuia Kid in Came a Hot Friday, and has won awards for her work on the feature films The End of the Golden Weather and River Queen. Darragh’s television credits include Under the Mountain, Greenstone, Hercules and Xena, and, most recently, Spartacus.
Award-winning actor Luanne Gordon has fought Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess, run a strip club in The Strip, and played a tough detective in Interrogation. She has also appeared in a range of feature films including Stickmen, King Kong, and Irish comedy Sensation.
Actor Kevin Smith could do it all; from brooding like Brando in a Tennessee Williams play, through Xena, to the gentle romantic lead of Double Booking, and self-parody in Love Mussel. Collected here are selections from a career cut short (he died in a 2002 film-set accident). Plus tributes from James Griffin, Michael Hurst, Geoffrey Dolan and Simon Prast.
South Pacific Pictures marked its 30th anniversary in 2018. With drama production at its core, this collection highlights the production company’s prodigious output. The collection spans everything from Marlin Bay to Westside — including hit movies Sione's Wedding and Whale Rider — plus the long-running and beloved Shortland Street. In the backgrounder, longtime SPP boss John Barnett reminisces, and charts the company’s history.
This trio of 1990s-era commercials features a pre-Xena Lucy Lawless — who is more fiscally responsible mum than warrior princess — while the doting Dad is played by Erik Thomson (Packed to the Rafters). The two are promoting the “your future bank” concept by extolling the benefits of banking with ASB, and securing the financial future of their baby Stan. Actor and nature presenter Peter Hayden's smooth tones and power suit launch the campaign. The following decade, ASB bank's ad campaign featuring fish out of water lawyer Ira Goldstein began a remarkable 11 year run.
Michael Hurst is an acclaimed theatre actor and director, who has also featured in a broad range of television and film roles, including his long-running gig as sidekick Iolaus in the American TV series Hercules. In the mid-90s Hurst also began directing for the screen, initially on episodes of Hercules and Xena, but also helming the feature film comedy Jubilee, and TV mockumentary drama Love Mussel.
David de Lautour has had acting success in both NZ and the United States. He debuted with small roles in Xena: Warrior Princess before moving on to kidult shows Being Eve and The Amazing Extraordinary Friends. Now based in LA, de Lautour has been seen in a number of big US dramas such as NCIS and Once Upon a Time, plus sitcom What I Like about You. He has gone on to star in Outrageous Fortune prequel Westside, as family patriarch Ted West.
Katherine Kennard left drama school and immediately landed a role on Xena: Warrior Princess. Her big break came playing lawyer Joni Collins over four seasons of Street Legal. Since then Kennard has appeared in a range of TV dramas including Orange Roughies, This is Not My Life, Underbelly and Spartacus. She was also part of the cast of the comedy-drama Nothing Trivial.
Dai Henwood is one of New Zealand’s favourite comedians. He began his TV career on stand-up show Pulp Comedy and followed that up with a number of presenting roles. His acting roles include Xena, Secret Agent Men and The Tribe. Henwood is best-known for his ongoing appearances in comedy show 7 Days.