NZ show takes flight to US

The format and New Zealand version of This Is Not My Life has been bought by American company Lionsgate. Photo / Supplied
The format and New Zealand version of This Is Not My Life has been bought by American company Lionsgate. Photo / Supplied

Local series This Is Not My Life has been has been snapped up by the producers of Mad Men.

American production and distribution company Lionsgate, which also distributes daring shows Weeds and Nurse Jackie, has bought the rights to both the format and the New Zealand series itself.

Steven O'Meagher, executive producer of This Is Not My Life, says Lionsgate wanted the New Zealand series before they had watched an episode. In fact they were sold on the initial concept art and the episode outlines.

The managing director of international television at Lionsgate Peter Iacono describes This Is Not My Life as "well-crafted, artfully acted and directed".

O'Meagher says it is exciting to see international companies so excited about the series because the scenery is distinctly New Zealand, the language is local and the actors speak in Kiwi accents.

He also credits the show's lead actor Charles Mesure for helping securing the Lionsgate deal.

American audiences were introduced to Mesure as a major character on hit TV show V around the same time as the negotiations took place.

In actual fact Mesure took the role on V after filming This Is Not My Life, so it was just fortunate timing that the American show went to air first.

In This Is Not My Life Mesure plays Alec Ross, a thirty-something who wakes up in a perfect world, set sometime in the near future, that he is convinced is not his. The role was huge - he was involved in almost every scene. Local actresses Tandi Wright and Miriama McDowell play Alec's wife Callie and love interest Jessica respectively.

The show was written by Rachel Lang (Go Girls, Outrageous Fortune) and Gavin Strawhan (Go Girls, Being Eve). Co-producer Tim White, O'Meagher and other actors and crew worked on Robert Sarkies' Out Of The Blue in 2006.

Sarkies stepped in to direct This Is Not My Life with Peter Salmon, who also has local directing and digital technology credits to his name.

The first season of 13 episodes received funding of $6.8 million from NZ on Air.

* This Is Not My Life premieres at 8.30pm tonight on TV One.

- NZ Herald

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