Homegrown TV drama series The Cult is getting a $15 million Russian reboot.

The 12-part series - screened on TV2 in 2009 - has been remade for a top Russian network and filmed in Cuba, with an all-Russian cast.

It is one of the few mainstream New Zealand shows ever to be entirely remade overseas.

The new version is made by Russian TV production house Star Media. It will be screened in a primetime slot from late January on the country's second biggest state broadcaster, Russia 1, which attracts 117 million viewers for its most popular programmes.


Philip Smith, managing director at Great Southern Television and devisor of The Cult in New Zealand, said the overseas version was more hard-hitting than the original.

"It is a very Russian translation. There are definitely more guns and a few good beatings handed out.

"But they remain true to our premise which was fundamentally 'what would you do if your children were sucked into a cult' and this remains core to my original idea."

The Cult originally starred Kiwi actors Renato Bartolemei, Latham Gaines, Danielle Cormack, Lisa Chappell and Kate Elliott.

In Russia, the lead roles are played by well-known local actors Konstantin Kryukov, Tatyana Arntgolts and Dmitriy Maryanov.

"It is very surreal to see our show in Russian but also really exciting," Mr Smith said.

"It says a lot for creative New Zealand edge.

"The idea was recognised as being edgy, quirky and easy to translate by the Russians. It is a credit to all the writers, producers and actors who made it happen in New Zealand."

The reboot of The Cult was mainly shot in Cuba on a $15 million budget.

The Kiwi version was shot on Auckland's North Shore and featured people trying to rescue their loved ones from a cult called Two Gardens.

Mr Smith said money received in New Zealand from the deal would be split between Great Southern Television and creative partners.

It is the first time a mainstream Kiwi show has been remade overseas since versions of Outrageous Fortune were tried in the US and the UK.