The star of new Kiwi big-budget TV series Nothing Trivial, Shane Cortese, says his new role is the most demanding he has played.

Cortese plays one of five 30-somethings who share their relationship troubles during a weekly pub quiz night in the new TV One drama.

The show also stars Tandi Wright, from This Is Not My Life, and Go Girls' Blair Strang.

Filming began two weeks ago on the 13-part series, which received $6.9 million from New Zealand on Air. It is expected to reach television screens this year.

Cortese, who made his name playing in Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune, says he is relishing the weightier drama role.

"All of those other characters had a quirkiness. This is a very different role.

"It's the most challenging role I have had to play because he is such a real life character. It's a real challenge to play someone who is pretty similar to yourself."

Outrageous Fortune's Nicole Whippy and Debbie Newby-Ward, from The Pretender, also star in the series, and Cortese said it helped that the cast members were already friends. "Technically it's a very difficult show. It wasn't really a show conducive to newcomers. We are a pretty tight group."

Writer Rachel Lang, the co-creator of Outrageous Fortune and Go Girls, said she enjoyed writing a TV drama about characters closer to her age group.

"The characters find comfort in answering the small questions, even if they can't answer the big questions," said Lang, 50.

It is the latest show to come off the highly successful production line at South Pacific Pictures. They describe it as funny, warm and romantic and about people at a crossroads in their lives.

Life centres around the weekly pub quiz at the fictitious Beagle pub where the friends confide in each other while trying to win the bar tab.