The star of the show has arrived and has been suitably splattered with blood and mud.

Eleven-year-old Florida actress Sophie Gonzalez was at Whananaki North yesterday, starring as the lead actress in the first stage of filming for the movie R: Rage of the Zombies.

The film takes place 20 years after the apocalypse, where the world has been ravaged by a zombie outbreak and resources are running low, making the zombies even more crazed by their hunger.

American director Fred Potts said the film's point-of-difference was the super terrifying Lone Creature, which even the zombies feared.

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Mr Potts said Sophie, who had her parents in tow, would be in New Zealand for two weeks initially.

"We're going to chop up her hair ... We've had to warn her school back in The States that she'll be looking a bit strange when she comes back," Mr Potts said.

Mr Potts said he had chosen Northland - with most scenes based at private property at Whakapara - as he needed somewhere "quiet, with good scenery".

The film-makers, who include Kiwi Mig Alves, recruited hundreds of Northlanders as extras for the shoot, who would be turning up over the next week.

The stage of filming currently underway is a test shoot. The movie's Chinese funders want to see how filming progresses before committing to a fully-funded shoot, which will also be in Northland.