One of its stars is going from goalkicker to safecraker. Another plays her own television grandmother.

That's the cast of Westside Story and its stars are promising it will be a sexy and stylish 1970s-set prequel to Kiwi television classic Outrageous Fortune.

The actors in the leading roles have been revealed exclusively to the Weekend Herald as the wide-collared big-moustached retro-revival of hit Kiwi dramedy begins shooting in Auckland tomorrow.

Original series star Antonia Prebble has been confirmed as playing her grandmother Rita in Westside Story.


It's a role she took on earlier while starring as Loretta West in OF, during flashbacks to the earlier days of safecracking grandpa, Ted West who was played by the late Frank Whitten.

The young Ted is to be played by David de Lautour, the recent star of hit telemovie The Kick about Stephen Donald's role in winning the Rugby World Cup.

"Antonia was attached to this project from the beginning," says series co-creator James Griffin.

"The Wests always spoke of how much Loretta was the spitting image of her grandmother, Rita, and we played with that very briefly during Outrageous Fortune but with Westside Story we head back to the 1970s and we will discover much more about Ted and Rita West ... and everything else there is to know about the roots of the West family tree."

Prebble says playing Rita has taken some figuring out - especially as daughter-in-law Cheryl West always described her in Outrageous Fortune episodes her as a "cold hard bitch".

"Now I have this great opportunity to play Rita and I've had to really do a massive U-turn in my whole system to figure her out. That's taken me a while but in the last couple of days, as all the various parts of the show are coming together, I've figured out where I need to go and I'm really looking forward to it."

De Lautour is understandably chuffed at landing another high-profile part.

"I'm so excited to be a part of what is shaping up to be an incredibly tough, sexy, funny and stylish show. I was such a fan of Frank Whitten's grandpa and can't wait to sink my teeth into the challenge of portraying Ted in his heyday."


The late Frank Whitten as Grandpa West.

Griffin says while casting the show producers realised they couldn't expect to find a a younger version of Frank [Whitten].

"What we needed to find is the actor who embodies the essence Ted West and who would believably go on to become Grandpa in the future. David brings that special something to the role."

The show's many other familiar faces -- though some of the male ones are hidden underneath period moustaches - include Dan Musgrove, Esther Stephens. Will Hall. Todd Emerson, Pana Hema-Taylor, Xavier Horan and Sophie Hambleton.

The story will start in 1974 and move through the next five years -- including 1977, the year of Gutter Black, Outrageous Fortune's classic theme song by the late Dave McArtney and Hello Sailor.

The period covers young Wolfgang "Wolf" West - played by Grant Bowler in Outrageous Fortune - from the age of 11 to 16. The series will be getting two young actors to cover the teenage growth spurt but their casting is not yet confirmed.

Being made by South Pacific Pictures with $4,818,254 of New Zealand on Air money, the six-part series show is due to screen on TV3 next year.