Tag Archives: Variety Magazine

Taika Waititi Joins Watts and Waltz on Venice Jury

Taika Waititi Joins Watts and Waltz on Venice Jury

New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi and actors Naomi Watts and Christoph Waltz join the main jury of the Venice Film Festival, which will be presided over by director Guillermo del Toro, the winner of…

Melanie Lynskey Stars in Stephen King Thriller

Melanie Lynskey Stars in Stephen King Thriller

“Castle Rock is a giant basket of Easter eggs for King people, but for the rest of us it’s a decent show layered with supernatural secrets waiting to be decoded,” according to John…

Anna Paquin: “You Don’t Do It for Fame, Finance or Glory”

Anna Paquin: “You Don’t Do It for Fame, Finance or Glory”

“Sitting down with Variety’s chief film critic Peter Debruge, Paquin discussed the release of her newest independent movie at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic.” Tara Bitran reports for

It: Chapter Two Casts Jay Ryan as Adult Ben

It: Chapter Two Casts Jay Ryan as Adult Ben

Auckland-born actor Jay Ryan, 36, has been cast as the adult version of Ben Hanscom in New Line’s It: Chapter Two, sources confirmed to Variety. Ryan joins Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader, who…

Marlon Williams Accompanies Wild Wild Country

Marlon Williams Accompanies Wild Wild Country

Despite working with a “micro-budget”, music supervisor Chris Swanson weaves an inspired sonic accompaniment to the Netflix hit Wild Wild Country, a documentary about the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers….

Anna Paquin Does Some Detective Work in Bellevue

Anna Paquin Does Some Detective Work in Bellevue

New Zealander Anna Paquin plays Detective Anna Ryder in the Canadian television series, Bellevue. “Paquin, whose onscreen presence guarantees an otherworldly, alienating grace, is doing more work than is first apparent,” Variety TV critic…

Beulah Koale’s Role Breakout Performance of ‘17

Beulah Koale’s Role Breakout Performance of ‘17

New Zealand actor Beulah Koale’s role in the 2017 film Thank You For Your Service has been deemed a “breakout” performance of the year by industry publication Variety. “As more people discover this quiet gem…

Anna Paquin Stars in Atwood Adaption Alias Grace

Anna Paquin Stars in Atwood Adaption Alias Grace

Alias Grace, Netflix’s limited series from writer/producer Sarah Polley and director Mary Harron based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, dives deep into the life of the convicted murderer, but whether or not she was truly…

Actor Beulah Koale Shines as Heartfelt Warrior

Actor Beulah Koale Shines as Heartfelt Warrior

“Miles Teller hits the true note, and so does the rest of a superb cast , in a drama of Iraq War veterans that sidesteps all the coming-home clichés,” Variety’s Owen…

Thor: Ragnarok Marvel’s Best Film to Date

Thor: Ragnarok Marvel’s Best Film to Date

Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok has an “oddly beautiful scuffed-plastic aesthetic”; it’s “funny, charming, dazzling, gorgeously designed, and full of actors you already like,” with Waititi managing “to finally imbue Marvel’s dullest Avenger with a…

Toronto Film Fest Review of Human Traces

Toronto Film Fest Review of Human Traces

“A sub-Antarctic research station is the setting for Human Traces, a twisty psychological thriller from promising New Zealand director Nic Gorman,” Richard Kuipers writes in a review for Variety. “Isolation is anything but splendid in…

Kimberley Crossman To Star in Showtime’s ‘SMILF’

Kimberley Crossman To Star in Showtime’s ‘SMILF’

“The upcoming Showtime comedy series SMILF has cast New Zealand-born actress Kimberley Crossman in a recurring role,” reports Joe Otterson for Variety. Crossman will play Kit-Cat, the roommate of…

Callan Mulvey Joins Outlaw King Cast

Callan Mulvey Joins Outlaw King Cast

Auckland-born actor Callan Mulvey, 42, is joining the cast of upcoming American-Scottish historical action drama Outlaw King, which will be aired on Netflix. According to Variety, Mulvey will be playing the role of Sir John…

Reasons Behind the China Girl in Top of the Lake

Reasons Behind the China Girl in Top of the Lake

There’s certainly a great deal of thematic resonance in the first series of Top of the Lake and this one, beginning with women immersed in a body of water, a narrative of pregnancy secretly…

NZ a World Power of High-End Filmmaking

NZ a World Power of High-End Filmmaking

“Breathtaking landscapes have long made New Zealand a prime filming location. Where else, after all, can one find alpine glaciers side by side with subtropical seacoasts?” entertainment trade magazine Variety writes. “Plus, the country’s highly…

Warner’s Meg Helps Launch Kumeu Film Studio

Warner’s Meg Helps Launch Kumeu Film Studio

New Zealand’s newest production facility, the Kumeu Film Studio is to launch thanks to a three-way partnership built around the China-Hollywood co-produced, action-adventure film Meg, according to an exclusive story in Variety. The studio facility…

Sundance Grand Jury Winner Stars Melanie Lynskey

Sundance Grand Jury Winner Stars Melanie Lynskey

The presciently titled I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, starring New Plymouth-born actor Melanie Lynskey, pulled off a surprise victory at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Awards ceremony taking the grand…

NZ & Canada Sign Co-Production Treaty

NZ & Canada Sign Co-Production Treaty

New Zealand and Canada have “signed a co-production treaty that will allow enhanced film and TV industry cooperation between the two English-speaking territories,” writes Patrick Frater for Variety. “The treaty was signed…

Sam Neill to Play Texan Patriarch in TV’s The Son

Sam Neill to Play Texan Patriarch in TV’s The Son

New Zealand actor Sam Neill will star in the AMC television network drama The Son, playing the patriarch of a Texas family in a multigenerational story of the clan’s rise and fall. Production on the…

David Farrier’s Doco Tickled a Hit with Critics

David Farrier’s Doco Tickled a Hit with Critics

New investigative documentary, the “engrossing” Tickled, co-directed by New Zealanders David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, has received rave reviews from critics and punters after its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s…

New Zealand’s Post-Hobbit World

New Zealand’s Post-Hobbit World

Even after the end of Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of The Rings’ movies, the New Zealand film and TV business is thriving and “turning the land that once served as Middle-Earth into a host of…

Cliff Curtis on Returning to New Zealand to Produce

Cliff Curtis on Returning to New Zealand to Produce

New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis says that returning to New Zealand to tell local stories keeps him sane. “It sort of grounds me and gives me a sense of purpose,” said Curtis. His next project alongside…

Banshee’ Releases Final  Season Trailer

Banshee’ Releases Final Season Trailer

The trailer for the fourth and final season of small-town crime drama Banshee has been released. January 29 has been set as the show’s premiere date. New Zealand actor Antony Starr is starring as Lucas…

American Cinematheque to Honour Cliff Curtis

American Cinematheque to Honour Cliff Curtis

New Zealander Cliff Curtis, 47, who portrayed speed chess genius Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse, will be honoured by the American Cinematheque at a ceremony on 11 October at the Aero Theatre in…

Anna Paquin to Star Alongside Forest Whitaker

Anna Paquin to Star Alongside Forest Whitaker

Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Anna Paquin has been cast in a new role opposite Forest Whitaker in the epic television miniseries, Roots, which is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel as well…

Born to Dance at TIFF

Born to Dance at TIFF

“Auckland, New Zealand may seem a world away from the heart of hip-hop culture in the US, but the local dance crews featured in Born to Dance totally own it”, writes Justin Lowe for

Richard Taylor to Help Bring Monkey King to US

Richard Taylor to Help Bring Monkey King to US

Special effects maestro New Zealander Richard Taylor will direct the design of characters in the upcoming American film version of The Monkey King, a Chinese blockbuster. “There has been a rush to bring Western-originated movies to…

Jake Mahaffy’s Rare and Valuable New Film Lauded

Jake Mahaffy’s Rare and Valuable New Film Lauded

Jake Mahaffy’s evocation of a borderline unbearable true-life tragedy, Free In Deed is a bracing, bruising corrective to the “faith-based filmmaking” movement, according to Indiewire. The New Zealand-raised director’s third film, set in and…

On the True Detective Set With DOP Nigel Bluck

On the True Detective Set With DOP Nigel Bluck

Recently rated by Variety magazine as one of 10 cinematographers to watch, New Zealander Nigel Bluck, 43, has been working as director of photography on the second season of popular…

Niki Caro’s Latest Feature Hits the Ground Running

Niki Caro’s Latest Feature Hits the Ground Running

New Zealander Niki Caro is the director of McFarland, USA, a Disney film based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a predominantly Mexican-American high school starring Kevin Costner. McFarland,…

Jemaine Clement Stars as Israeli Fixer Opposite Sam Rockwell

Jemaine Clement Stars as Israeli Fixer Opposite Sam Rockwell

The Utah filmmakers who begat Napoleon Dynamite made a triumphant return to the Sundance Film Festival with New Zealand actor Jemaine Clement playing opposite American funnyman Sam Rockwell in Don Verdean, a movie about…

Melanie Lysnkey’s Togetherness Performance a Stand-Out

Melanie Lysnkey’s Togetherness Performance a Stand-Out

It’s hard to pinpoint what is brilliant about new comedy series Togetherness, but a good place to start is its casting of Melanie Lynskey, according to Salon television critic Sonia Saraiya. “Lynskey is a New…

Brazilian Filmmaker David Schurmann Heads Back to NZ

Brazilian Filmmaker David Schurmann Heads Back to NZ

New Zealand Film and Television School graduate, Brazilian film director David Schurmann, is shooting Little Secret, inspired by the life of his adopted sister Kat Schurmann, and written by Marcos Bernstein, scribe of Walter…

Roger Donaldson Remembers New Zealand Beginnings

Roger Donaldson Remembers New Zealand Beginnings

Before he became one of Hollywood’s most dependable big-movie helmers with hits for stars such as Eastwood, Pacino, Cruise, Costner, Hopkins, Statham, Brosnan, Roger Donaldson, 69, literally helped invent the film industry in New…

NZ-China Sign World-First TV Co-Production Agreement

NZ-China Sign World-First TV Co-Production Agreement

The New Zealand and China governments have signed what’s said to be a world first television industry co-production agreement, which is in addition to a feature film treaty signed in 2010 and is the…

‘What We Do In the Shadows’ Wins Hawaii Audience Prize

‘What We Do In the Shadows’ Wins Hawaii Audience Prize

“What We Do In the Shadows,” Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s New Zealand-made documentary-style comedy about three flatmates who happen to be vampires won the audience award for best narrative feature at the Hawaii International…

Weta’s Richard Taylor Takes on Thunderbirds Challenge

Weta’s Richard Taylor Takes on Thunderbirds Challenge

The idea to adapt half-century-old television series Thunderbirds began 12 years ago when New Zealander Richard Taylor an Oscar-winning visual effects, makeup and costumes wizard, went to the UK to ask for creator Gerry…

Andrew McCarten’s Stephen Hawking Biopic a Comprehendible Hit

Andrew McCarten’s Stephen Hawking Biopic a Comprehendible Hit

New Zealand screenwriter Anthony McCarten’s latest The Theory of Everything, which hits American cinemas on November 7, is “a sensitively directed inspirational biopic centred around the great British physicist Stephen Hawking and his mind-over-body…

Black Ranger Power Given to Local Actor James Davies

Black Ranger Power Given to Local Actor James Davies

New Zealand actor James Davies will co-star as Black Ranger (pictured, far left) in Power Rangers Dino Charge, with the television show confirmed to return to the country for filming of the latest series. Davies…

Star of Petals on the Wind Captivating

Star of Petals on the Wind Captivating

Star of television’s steamy Petals on the Wind, New Zealand actor Rose McIver, who plays Cathy Sheffield, “emerges as a captivating and surprisingly shrewd leading lady”, Variety reviewer Geoff Berkshire writes. “ up 10…

Darby’s Sexy Leg Confuses Variety

Darby’s Sexy Leg Confuses Variety

Rhys Darby’s new eight-episode mockumentary Short Poppies is being praised for its “whimsical and winsome” charms ahead of its debut on American screens on Netflix. The LA Times’ Robert Lloyd describes the series as…

Tinkerbell Now Brain-Eating Med Student in Zombie Series

Tinkerbell Now Brain-Eating Med Student in Zombie Series

Star of American series Once Upon A Time New Zealander Rose McIver, who played Tinkerbell in the show, has been cast in the lead role of medical student Liv in zombie crime fighter pilot,…

Shrewdly Cast Star of Free Ride Conveys Breezy Believability

Shrewdly Cast Star of Free Ride Conveys Breezy Believability

New Zealand actress Anna Paquin is “shrewdly cast” in Shana Betz’s feature debut, Free Ride. Set in 1977, Paquin plays Christina, a single mother escaping an abusive relationship and starting a new life in…

Campion to Preside over Cannes Jury

Campion to Preside over Cannes Jury

New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion will preside over the jury of the 67th Cannes Film Festival, succeeding last year’s president Steven Spielberg. This year’s festival takes place 14-25 May. Campion is the only female director…

Compelling Drama Fantasy Blend to Air in US

Compelling Drama Fantasy Blend to Air in US

New Zealand television series The Almighty Johnsons has been bought by American cable channel Syfy, marking the first time a wholly New Zealand-made television drama has aired in the United States. The NBCU cabler has…

South Africa and NZ Join Film Forces

South Africa and NZ Join Film Forces

Executives from the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) have been meeting with producers at the Durban FilmMart (DFM) to research potential development and co-production opportunities. Representatives from the NZFC and the National Film &…

Top of the Lake Receives Eight Emmy Nods

Top of the Lake Receives Eight Emmy Nods

New Zealand director Jane Campion mini-series Top of the Lake has received eight Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Miniseries of Movie, Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries and Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries. The New Zealand-shot…

New Zealander Directs “Engrossing” Documentary

New Zealander Directs “Engrossing” Documentary

New Zealand documentary film maker Sally Rowe is continuing to make an impression with her documentary A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt. The film is an “engrossing full-length documentary” that…

Jane Campion, ‘Child of Cannes’, Announces Festival Winners

Jane Campion, ‘Child of Cannes’, Announces Festival Winners

NZ Film Director Jane Campion headed up the Short Film and Cinefoundation Jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Campion and her jurors awarded the Best Short Film Palme d’or to Safe, directed by…

Class Written All Over It

Class Written All Over It

“New product from Bright Star director Jane Campion is always welcome,” the Guardian says about the New Zealander’s six-part television series, Top of the Lake, which is showing in the Berlinale Special section at…

Call It an Evocative Scowl

Call It an Evocative Scowl

Joe Dredd, played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban, 40, “is meant to be the most fearsome judge – but we don’t get to see many more of his kind around,” USA Today’s Claudia Puig writes…

Short Sequence, Sharp Response

Short Sequence, Sharp Response

A 10-minute sequence from Peter Jackson’s forthcoming two-part Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit has been shown to conference goers at the annual CinemaCon in Las Vegas. The conference featured a presentation from…

Talented Teen Enchants

Talented Teen Enchants

Director Pietra Brettkelly’s documentary Maori Boy Genius, which premiered at this month’s Berlinale, tracks 16-year-old Tuhoe prodigy Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti as he attends summer school at Yale and applies to study there full-time. “Ngaa carries…

Auckland’s Movie Coup

Auckland’s Movie Coup

Filming begins in Auckland on Hollywood blockbuster, WWII political-thriller Emperor this month at Henderson’s Auckland Film Studios. Lost heartthrob Matthew Fox, 45, stars. Inspired by true events, Emperor is an epic story of love and understanding set amidst the uncertainties…

Capital Hobbit Premiere

Capital Hobbit Premiere

Wellington will be the site of the world premiere for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in November 2012. “I think Warner Bros. in particular were blown away by Return…

On a Whizz-Bang Thrill Ride

On a Whizz-Bang Thrill Ride

The Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg motion-capture animation The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn opens in Europe on 22 October before hitting American cinemas ahead of Christmas. “Clearly rejuvenated by his…