Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Pokarekare Ana movie on hold after James Rolleston injury

The 19-year-old Boy star remains in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit after he was injured in a car crash on Tuesday last week. Photo / File
The 19-year-old Boy star remains in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit after he was injured in a car crash on Tuesday last week. Photo / File

A new movie is being planned based on the Maori love song Pokarekare Ana but producers have hit a roadblock following the injury of the film's would-be lead actor James Rolleston.

The 19-year-old Boy and The Dark Horse star remains in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit after he was injured in a car crash on Tuesday last week.

Pokarekare Ana: Yeon-Ga, the movie, is a co-production by award winning New Zealand producer Catherine Fitzgerald and South Korean producer Sebastian Dong Hun Lee.

Set in the midst of the Korean War, the film centres around the love story between a troubled Maori soldier and a young South Korean woman.

Rolleston was to have been named as the lead actor to play the Maori soldier in the $9.7 million war romance movie.

"Certainly James' accident makes it inappropriate to name him at this stage," said Fitzgerald, who is also chair of the New Zealand International Film Festival Trust.

"We wish him a speedy and complete recovery with the privacy he and his family deserve at this time."

Rolleston was in a car that crashed into the Otara Bridge in Opotiki, in his home town in Bay of Plenty, and was flown to Tauranga Hospital in critical condition.

He was transferred to Waikato Hospital where he has remained since.

A Waikato District Health Board spokeswoman told the Herald yesterday that he was "still stable and in intensive care".

"It would be premature at this stage to publish a wish list of potential cast without having first talked to them and their agents," Fitzgerald said.

Sebastian Lee said the movie will be filmed in Korea and New Zealand, and was scheduled to begin late next year.

He many Koreans regarded Yeon-Ga as a Korean folk song and did not know of its Maori origins.

"I would love to create a moving film about how the beautiful Maori love song Pokarekare Ana became the popular Korean folk song Yeon-Ga through an epic love story," Lee said.

"When New Zealanders fought for South Korea and came to know South Korean civilians during the Korean Ware, Pokarekare Ana was a gift left behind by the Maori soldiers."

In the movie, a Maori warrior, Tangaroa, meets a young Korean woman, Soon-hee, a war orphan whose world had been shattered by war.

Despite coming from very different worlds and against all odds, love blossoms and their relationship grows -- but the brutal escalation of war threatened to destroy everything.

"I want to portray the moving love story of the brave young New Zealand warrior and the pure but strong young Korean girl," Lee said.

Lee, who also produced the hit Korean drama series, City Hunter, said both New Zealanders and Koreans could easily identify with the storyline and characters in the movie.

"Nearly all Kiwis and every Korean know the song, and many are also familiar with the Korean War," he said.

"It will be close to the heart of every New Zealander and Korean, and I believe the movie will be a hit."

About 4700 New Zealanders served as part of the New Zealand contingent, Kayforce, in the Korean War between 1950 and 1957.

A further 1300 served on frigates between 1953 and 1957 and 45 New Zealand men lost their lives in the war.

(END)

- NZ Herald

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