James Rolleston and Toi Whakaari graduate Samuel Austin will head an all-star cast in a new Kiwi comedy crime feature film Lowdown Dirty Criminals.

The film marks Rolleston's first lead role since a 2016 car accident in his home town Opotiki left him seriously injured and caused a brain injury so severe he had to learn how to walk and talk all over again.

He's been slowly making his way back into the acting world, most recently starring in Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami's The Breaker Upperers.

Now he and Austin are joined by an ensemble cast featuring some of New Zealand's hottest talent including Robbie Magasiva (Sione's Wedding, Wentworth), Rebecca Gibney (Wanted, Packed to the Rafters), and Cohen Holloway (Hunt for the Wilderpeople).

Directed by Paul Murphy (Second Hand Wedding, Love Birds), principal photography on the project recently commenced in Wellington.


Lowdown Dirty Criminals sees Rolleston (The Dark Horse, The Breaker Upperers) and Austin combine to tell the tale of two naïve young men searching for a better life.

Disillusioned by social convention Freddy (Rolleston) and Marvin (Austin) believe a life of crime will provide them with the future they are seeking, or in their own words, setting them up with "Monies and Honeys".

An excited Rolleston explained how David Brechin-Smith's (Insider's Guide to Happiness, The Cult) script first attracted him to the role.

"I immediately loved the script and jumped at the chance to play Freddy," he said.

"It's so good to be back doing what I love, especially with such an awesome cast and crew."

Murphy also credited Brechin-Smith's writing for helping him assemble a quality cast.

"The calibre of our cast is a testament to Lowdown Dirty Criminal's edgy and hilarious script and I can't wait to see the action-packed story brought to life."