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Current as of 09/12/16 07:39PM NZST
Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Behind the scenes of Air NZ's latest safety video

Air New Zealand says its extending "its creative licence" with its inflight safety videos.

The airline released its latest video, Safety in Hollywood, today and its head of global brand, Jodi Williams, said it was continually trying to achieve "cut through" while still fulfilling the education role for passengers.

"The challenge is how to continue to make them entertaining, how do you continue to attract people and new ideas," she said.

All videos needed to be vetted by the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure they met safety regulations.

Williams said whenever it made a safety video it had to think about what's going to get noticed and routes it wanted to focus on.

"For this one we wanted to have a strong link to one of our key destinations

In the latest video the airline teamed up with Hollywood actress Anna Faris and New Zealand actor and comedian Rhys Darby.

The video, shot at Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, explores several different Hollywood film genres as Darby tries to convince the star of the hit TV show Mom and the Scary Movie films to play a role in Air New Zealand's new safety video with him.

Safety in Hollywood was filmed at four different sets over two days with some of the filming locations seen in movies such as Jurassic Park, Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, War of the Worlds and TV series True Blood.

More than 20 extras were also involved, including Chester the Chihuahua, who has appeared in Transformers and Grey's Anatomy.

Williams says Warner Bros had helped to produce the airline's Hobbit inflight safety videos, and it was "fantastic" to work with Darby and Faris in Hollywood.

"Anna and Rhys make a great comedic duo and really bring this safety video to life, entertaining customers while at the same time imparting key safety messages," says Williams.

Faris spent time in New Zealand during 2011 for the movie Yogi Bear but while on an American television show to promote the movie, the actress said Kiwi men had shouted obscenities at her in public and demanded she show them her breasts. Williams said Faris made no reference to that.

Anna and Rhys make a great comedic duo and really bring this safety video to life, entertaining customers while at the same time imparting key safety messages.

"She was very professional, a lovely lady."

While other airlines were now making quirky and creative safety videos, Williams said Air New Zealand's were now world famous and people anticipated their release.

"The interest in them has been phenomenal and collectively they've attracted more than 83 million views online and featured in international news outlets."

Faris says it's been"exciting and an honour" to follow in the footsteps of acting legends like Betty White, the All Blacks and the cast of The Hobbit.

Behind the scenes of filming Air NZ's new inflight safety video.
Behind the scenes of filming Air NZ's new inflight safety video.

"I really wanted to be part of this project because Air New Zealand has really redefined safety videos with its fun and creative approach." Darby said producing the safety video was a great experience and quite special given he is now based in Hollywood.

Safety in Hollywood will be rolled out across the airline's fleet from today.

The airline is now into the seventh year of its offbeat films aimed at engaging passengers in order to deliver a safety message but also marketing the airline around the world.

Film Facts:

Famous sets: Warner Bros. sets used for shooting for the Safety in Hollywood seen in movies such as Jurassic Park, Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, War of the Worlds and TV series True Blood. The lagoon used took 24 hours to fill.

Chester the Chihuahua is in the latest video and has previously appeared in Transformers and Grey's Anatomy.

Chester the Chihuahua.
Chester the Chihuahua.

Long days: Filming took place over two days and went well into the early morning.

Air NZ safety videos

1. Nothing to Hide, June 2009
2. All Blacks, 2010
3. Richard Simmons, March 2011
4. Best of the Best, November 2011
5. Sketch, June 2012
6. Hobbit Film 1, November 2012
7. Bear Grylls, February 2013
8. Betty White, October 2013
9. Sports Illustrated, February 2014
10. Hobbit Film 2, October 2014
11. Surfing Safari, May 2015.
12. Men in Black, August 2015
13. Safety in Hollywood, July this year.

Bounce backs

Two stars of videos last year suffered setbacks soon after their appearance.

Surfer Mick Fanning had to fight off a great white shark at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa and All Black Israel Dagg didn't make the World Cup squad last year. But Dagg played himself back into the All Blacks for the June tests and Fanning has just triumphed at this year's J-Bay event.

- NZ Herald

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