The Diary: Cameras roll on South Island sci-fi blockbuster

Wolf of Wall Street star unveils new look as Zachariah shoot begins

Z for Zachariah star Margot Robbie is enjoying being a real cowgirl in the remote South Island settlement of Port Levy.
Z for Zachariah star Margot Robbie is enjoying being a real cowgirl in the remote South Island settlement of Port Levy.

The power may have gone out on Banks Peninsula yesterday, but that didn't stop production on the big-budget post-apocalyptic blockbuster Z for Zachariah, which kicked off on Monday, starring Hollywood heart-throb Chris Pine (Star Trek), Golden Globe nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and The Wolf of Wall Street's Margot Robbie, who replaced Amanda Seyfried after she could no longer commit to the part.

Tobey Maguire's production company Material Pictures is behind the movie with Palomar Pictures and Iceland's Zik Zak Filmworks. Film New Zealand helped in the scouting of locations, including a stately Port Levy house. It's quite a coup for the remote South Island settlement, known for its rolling farms, marae and filmed scenes from Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures.

Pine, who was hobnobbing with Lorde at Daft Punk's Grammys after-party, is expected on set soon. Australian ingenue Robbie arrived on Monday and dyed her blonde locks to a chestnut brown for the role.

"Z for Zachariah is well and truly under way," she tweeted. "I'm now officially a brunette and spent the day milking cows and driving tractors!"

Line producer Murray Francis was on set yesterday, but mobile contact is limited. Crew take refuge at the Diamond Harbour Country Store and Cafe after shooting.

Henry redefines current affairs

Paul Henry's return to our TV screens may be in an off-peak timeslot but the question is, for how long? Henry tells The Diary he wants to make his eponymous current affairs show "appointment viewing and bring a peak-programming audience to the late-night hour". But there's some suggestion the TV3 star may move to a more palatable primetime slot later in the year if the show's ratings are high and generate commercial returns as expected.

So far, TV3 says ratings are excellent with the debut show drawing 165,400 viewers on TV3/TV3plus1 and outrating Nightline's average.

Meanwhile, Seven Sharp was resurrected on Monday with two capable new hosts, but the programme's content on the night of a vital re-launch was of the same lightweight ilk as before.

TVNZ were miffed, The Diary has learned, that John Campbell scooped an interview with Grammy winner Joel Little. Seven Sharp insiders complained to this column that Wendyl Nissen, stepmother of Little, helped secure the coveted interview for TV3. She didn't, MediaWorks said. Nissen tweeted yesterday: "To all my media mates I know you had to ask but sure you'll understand it wasn't for us to be doing iv's. Joel and Ella's night."

While keen media are reviewing the 7pm flagship offerings, it's Henry's 40-minute late-night show that's redefined the current affairs genre.

It launched on Monday with a car giveaway and not one, but three political interviews, including with a jaded Jacinda Ardern, who after supporting her leader's state of the nation speech and spinning decks as an amateur DJ, generously allowed the TV cameras into her sparse lounge. They exposed the (obligatory) pic of Norman Kirk and revealing 80s-style furniture. Rebecca Wright's livewire cross at 11pm - complete with martini from an earthenware mug - proved one of the most memorable moments.

O Lorde, MP's Emmy gaffe

Lorde, the pride of New Zealand, is playing a show on Auckland's waterfront tonight - and, as she says in her letter to readers of the Herald today, "together, we'll make it magic".

Everyone's jumped on the bandwagon, including her old college Takapuna Grammar who erected a large banner yesterday across the school's administration block.

Some got it wrong. David Cunliffe offered his congrats but sacrilegiously misspelled her name, and North Shore neighbour Maggie Barry tweeted her cheers for Lorde at "the Emmys". She meant Grammys.

Lorde, who's old enough to bring home two gongs but not old enough to vote, was mature enough to attend Daft Punk's Grammy after-party at Park Plaza with her minders. It was the hottest ticket in town, apparently. She drank bottled water and hit the dance floor in the VIP section where the Carters - Jay-Z and Beyonce - were also busting moves. Madonna was there, too, with a white cane and daughter Lourdes (a bit confusing?). Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Beck and Metallica were there as well.

The de Blasios of Act

Zainab Sokona could be the secret weapon Act's Jamie Whyte needs for a shot at the leadership.
Zainab Sokona could be the secret weapon Act's Jamie Whyte needs for a shot at the leadership.

John Boscawen may be shunning lamingtons and the Act Party board in his desperate bid to win the leadership contest and Epsom candidacy at a hastily-called public meeting tomorrow, but his main rival, 48-year-old Dr Jamie Whyte, a former Cambridge University lecturer and management consultant, has no need for goalpost-moving tactics. He has a secret weapon - his African-born, Belgium-raised socialite wife Zainab Sokona.

The mother-of-two, who owns a fashion accessories company, is an on-the-ball businesswoman with fresh ideas. Whyte's straight-talking spouse brings to mind the assertiveness of First Lady Michelle Obama, minus the home-grown kale garden. The couple are the political de Blasios of Auckland and, many believe, the only answer to reinvigorating a party on the verge of extinction. Let's hope the Act board agrees.

Going up, going down

Kim Dotcom tweeted from his hospital bed: 'X-ray showed foot fracture. Can't move, severe back pain.'
Kim Dotcom tweeted from his hospital bed: 'X-ray showed foot fracture. Can't move, severe back pain.'

UP: The look of frostbitten fingers. Lorde's teenage artistic mind continues to set trends.

UP: The fast-paced wit of Paul Henry. Barbs and banter are coming faster than a Mitchell McClenaghan ball.

DOWN: Narcissism "news". Dotcom had a fall, hurt his foot, tweeted from his hospital bed on the same day all eyes were on Lorde. The big man missing attention much?

DOWN: David Cunliffe's timing for a party political broadcast. Half the country was on holiday.

Hasn't been Dunne yet

PS: Political satire memes are on the rise. First, there was Parrots That Look Like Annette King, then Cats That Look Like Cunliffe, Mutts That Look Like Mallard and Eggs That look Like Joyce. Peter Dunne's signature colourless coif is begging for a mildewed owl send-up, surely.

- NZ Herald

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen, notorious for breaking celebrity scoops and dishing dirt on the country’s best known personalities. She’s feared. She’s loathed. She’s courted by anyone with skeletons in their closet. Rachel knows where the bodies are buried. Mick Jagger wined and dined her. Mike McRoberts devoted a chapter to her in his memoirs. And John Key has her on speed dial.

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