Look out Blenheim, Hollywood is coming. Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz and Oscar-nominated Michael Fassbender are expected to arrive next month to begin filming the movie The Light Between Oceans at an undisclosed Marlborough location.
Shooting on the Derek Cianfrance-directed period drama is due to start at the end of September, sources tell The Diary, and will include several weeks of filming in the Marlborough and Otago regions.
The DreamWorks movie is set after World War I on a remote Australian island and features a young lighthouse keeper and his wife who decide to keep an orphaned child who is washed up on shore, Variety magazine says.
DreamWorks Studio was awarded a New Zealand Screen Production Grant, part of the new screen incentives. How much is not clear. The cash grants came into effect in April.
Film New Zealand says it's a coup getting the Steven Spielberg-backed motion picture house here, even if the lure of a financial incentive was necessary.
"The production coming here is the result of successful collaboration between a range of agencies including Marlborough District Council, Film Otago Southland and Film New Zealand working together with the producers," said Film New Zealand boss Gisella Carr in a statement on the company's website.
Producer Jeffrey Clifford has been calling Wellington home for the past month, before production gets busy next month, when he moves to Marlborough.
More than 70 cast and crew members will be involved with the movie, which means tourism dollars and publicity for Blenheim and the surrounding area.
Of course, local photographers will be keen to get snaps of the stars relaxing off-set.
Fassbender, who was in the South Island last year shooting the movie Slow West, will be on his guard, no doubt, after paparazzi pictures of him, er, relieving himself on the set were sold to international publications.
The Irish actor is known to like a tipple and is sure to partake of the region's extensive wine and gourmet food. Two years ago he was thrown out of his movie premiere's party after a night of over-indulging.
For star hunters like me, the big question is whether James Bond star Daniel Craig will follow Weisz, his wife, to New Zealand for some R&R while she works. His stunt double on the 007 films is Kiwi Ben Cooke, and Craig is said to be an avid rugby fan. His presence would be a welcome addition for all.
Get-Carter ploy backfires
They pride themselves on being the political outfit wooing young voters with social media savvy, but Kim Dotcom's Internet Party scored an own goal when they went head to head with All Black legend Dan Carter online.
Carter held a press conference for fans on his Twitter account on Wednesday, and encouraged people to ask him anything.
So, Dotcom's political propaganda arm did.
"Who are you voting for?" the Internet Party tweeted Carter, perhaps expecting him to play coy about his political position.
But the All Black replied emphatically: "John Key."
Richie McCaw and Dan Carter with John Key, who's getting Carter's vote. Photo / Getty
Awkward! The Internet Party replied: "I guess JK's spying isn't a worry for you. The countries [sic] already seen you in your undies."
Loaves and fish for Lorde
Her record-breaking hit Royals criticises the lavish lifestyle pop stars sing about in their songs, preferring low-key tastes over Cristal and Maybachs.
And the 17-year-old is true to her word. The Diary spotted Grammy winner Lorde and her mother, Sonja Yelich, chowing down yesterday at Ponsonby Food Hall.
With a string of gongs and record royalties to her name, it's nice to know Ella Yelich-O'Connor is not above using plastic trays and communal eating hall facilities like the rest of us.
Incidentally, her star power carried little weight with Food Hall staff who had no clue she was a celebrated artist who counts pop princess Taylor Swift as her international BFF.
The Devonport teen has managed to maintain a degree of privacy in her homeland. But overseas it's another story. Lorde is the subject of paparazzi attention when she travels in the States - papped on a West Coast beach with Swift, or riding shotgun on the East Coast with Swift behind the wheel.
Next month, she returns for a tour that will take her right across America, from Philadelphia and Boston, to Colorado and Vegas, ending with an open-air concert in San Diego in October.
Jane backs good cause
All Black Cory Jane, 31, is lending his name to a cause he holds dear - fatherhood. The father of four is getting behind Repco's Dad of the Year award and calling for nominations to find the best dad in the land.
Proud dad Cory Jane.
Nominations close on September 7 and can be lodged at www.dadoftheyear.co.nz with the public deciding the winner. Top prize is $10,000 cash.
"I'm really proud of being a dad, and I'd like to think that my kids also appreciate me and think I am pretty cool," Jane said. "I know there are so many other fathers out there trying to ensure their children grow up to be the best they can be, which is what makes them great dads."