Filming has started on a new Kiwi movie - and it comes with a stunning line-up of talent.

The Breaker Upperers is the first feature film from Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, the Funny Girls and Super City stars who have written and will also direct and star in the movie together.

They will play the lead roles of Jen and Mel, "cynical misfits who earn a living by breaking up unhappy couples for cash".

Co-stars include Australian Celia Pacquola, along with Kiwis James Rolleston, Rima Te Wiata, Cohen Holloway and Nic Sampson.


Sami's comedy skills are well known after two seasons of her TV show Super City, while van Beek is a regular on TV3's Funny Girls and has appeared in Taika Waititi's Eagle vs Shark and What We Do in the Shadows.

Waititi has a role in this too. He's acting as executive producer, while his Hunt For the Wilderpeople partner Carthew Neal will co-produce the film with Ainsley Gardner and Georgina Conder.

That's a hell of a lot of Kiwi comedy heft, and Waititi says he's proud to be involved with two of New Zealand's "best comedians".

"Madeleine and Jackie are two of the smartest and funniest people I know and I can't wait to see what they do with this hilarious script," he says.

"Women are hugely under-represented in the film industry so I'm very proud that two of our best comedians, who just happen to be women, are getting to make their movie."

That female-first policy doesn't stop with the film's lead roles, says van Beek.

"Most of our key cast and crew are women, which feels exciting. And many of our heads of department are job-sharing in order to fulfill their filmmaking ambitions while also raising families," she says.

"If this film helps to establish this model as a popular way of working I'll be extremely happy."

Sami says the idea for making the film together started with an idea by van Beek.

"When Jackie came to me with this premise I loved it," says Sami. "It's exciting to have the opportunity to bring this story to life."

The Breaker Upperers is being filmed in and around Auckland now, with a release date set for 2018.