Film-maker Taika Waititi is casting for a feature film based on a Barry Crump book, and he tells The Diary the project will be under way soon.

Hunt For the Wilderpeople is a movie written and directed by Waititi, and based on Crump's bushman novel Wild Pork and Watercress.

Waititi, 39, is casting for a Maori girl, aged 11-15, to play a support role in the film, which also requires experience in horse-riding and guitar-playing.

Taika Waititi. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Taika Waititi. Photo / Sarah Ivey

"We are just casting a couple of roles right now," the Oscar nominee said. He is in the final stages of financing for the film, with shooting to begin shortly.

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The project has been on the backburner for the past six years. Originally titled Land of Tears, the film is an adaptation of Crump's novel which follows two young boys, one Maori and one Pakeha, with troubled upbringings who escape into the bush.

Now the movie has a new producing team of Carthew Neal, Leanne Saunders and Waititi, and the trio have formed Piki Films together.

"We're excited to be bringing this great Kiwi story to the silver screen - told by two of New Zealand's best storytellers," Neal told The Diary. "It's a good old Kiwi yarn."

Details of when filming starts, and who has been cast, remain closely guarded.

But excitement is buzzing around this film, and industry insiders say it is likely to top Waititi's Boy at the box office, which is the top grossing film in New Zealand.

Crump, who died in 1996, was a deer culler and a successful author, whose semi-autobiographical novels sold more than one million copies in this country.

Baseball legend takes in some cricket

Retired New York Yankees superstar Derek Jeter was a surprise to see on the pitch at the MCG before start of play on Sunday. Is the baseball giant considering switching codes? Unlikely.

Derek Jeter (centre) with Kyle Mills and Shane Bond at the MCG. Photo / Twitter
Derek Jeter (centre) with Kyle Mills and Shane Bond at the MCG. Photo / Twitter

The slugger watched over the coin toss between Australia and New Zealand, and posed with Kiwis Kyle Mills and Shane Bond. The boys were smitten, with Mills gushing "what a legend".

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And he has a legendary personal fortune estimated at US$25 million ($33.2 million) to boot. Now Jeter is taking his brand into the restaurant business. Will those soon-to-retire Black Caps follow suit?

Cruden gives a hand to the uninitiated

Aaron Cruden has penned a rugby guide, entitled The Beginners Guide to Rugby (Penguin Random House). The All Black hits the author's touring circuit next week for book signings.

Aaron Cruden's new book.
Aaron Cruden's new book.

Cruden covers all you need to know about the Kiwi religion, including such pearlers as: how do you pass a rugby ball and how do you tackle someone bigger than you? No word, however, on whether he covers the all-important topic of how-to-get-to-the-airport-on-time-and-catch-a-plane-with-your-teammates.