Whatever happened to Boy?

By Chris Schulz

James Rolleston says he is shy around fans of the hit film Boy. Photo / Supplied
James Rolleston says he is shy around fans of the hit film Boy. Photo / Supplied

It was the highest grossing New Zealand film of all time, breaking local box office records and delighting audiences both here and overseas.

But the child star of Taika Waititi's 2010 hit Boy still doesn't see what all the fuss was about.

Speaking ahead of the film's free-to-air television debut on Maori Television this Saturday, James Rolleston says he's seen Boy so many times he's sick of it.

The 14-year-old says he'd rather watch war films instead.

"I like army films, to do with the war and all that, (like) Black Hawk Dawn and Saving Private Ryan," Rolleston told nzherald.co.nz. "I'd like to act in one as well."

Rolleston was originally cast as an extra in Boy, but was asked by Waititi to take on the lead role in the coming-of-age tale just three days before shooting began.

Thanks to his dry wit, repeated description of friends as "eggs" and those goofy Michael Jackson-aping dance moves, Rolleston's performance in Boy has gone down in New Zealand cinematic history.

Waititi told the The Age he wanted to make another movie with Rolleston, saying: ''I've just got to hurry up and do it before James gets too old'.'

But Rolleston, who was 11 at the time of the film's shooting, admits he doesn't understand all the attention the film gets.

"I don't understand the fuss. I was just an ordinary school kid," he says.

"Heaps of people stop me and ask for photos. All my friends and the other students treat me normal and that's good but if I'm in the city, I try not to go looking around in the shops because people stop me and ask me if I'm 'Boy'.

"I get pretty shy."

Rolleston, who recently moved from Opotiki to Tauranga and is living with his grandmother, shot his second film, a short called Frosty Man and the BMX Kid, at the beginning of last year.

But he wants to pursue other interests aside from acting.

He's enjoying the surf in Tauranga, and says he'll be playing rugby again next season.

"I like the outdoors. I'd like to do conservation work or marine biology."

* Boy screens on Maori Television at 9pm on Saturday.

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