International and local stars working on three major projects are having a ball in the picturesque Deep South.
Netflix movie The Royal Treatment is filming in Dunedin, TVNZ series One Lane Bridge is filming its second season in Queenstown and Rebecca Gibney's new TVNZ Acorn TV romantic drama, Under the Vines, is underway in Cromwell. Shooting for all three is set to continue until the end of April.
The cast and crew of Vines have been enjoying the odd knees-up - singing their hearts out last week at the Cromwell Pub. Gibney's co-stars Sara Wiseman and Cohen Holloway enjoyed a night of karaoke, with Holloway leading the crew on Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball.
We hear Space at the Base in Cromwell serves up a great coffee for hangovers for cast members.
As well as shooting in a local vineyard, Gibney has enjoyed sharing the sights and tastes of the south with her Vines' leading man Charles Edwards, a star of The Crown.
Gibney thinks of British actor Edwards as a brother from another mother and tells her social media followers the entire production team is besotted with him.
The two Kiwi productions came together at Sam Neill's vineyard Two Paddocks in Clyde last month, with Neill hosting a group including Vines' stars Gibney, Edwards and Wiseman, along with Wiseman's husband Craig Hall and One Lane Bridge's Joel Tobeck. The team got Two Paddocks caps from Neill and Gibney particularly enjoyed feeding one of Neill's ducks, while Edwards and Neill had a jolly good natter.
Tobeck and Neill starred together in Perfect Strangers early in the millennium and we are told they have kept up with each other since.
Tobeck is back filming the series with co-lead Dominic Ona-Ariki. Other cast members returning this season include Alison Bruce, Jared Turner, Michelle Langstone and Phil Brown.
The cast has been spotted at all the best spots in the tourist mecca, as well as a group lunch at Gibbston Valley winery.
Congratulations are in order for Langstone, who this week announced that she is pregnant with her first child.
Down in Dunedin, the international stars filming The Royal Treatment include Aladdin star Mena Massoud and American actress and singer Laura Marano. Marano's mother Ellen, and sister, fellow actress Vanessa are in the city too. All three are co-producers on the romantic, Prince-meets-commoner tale and the sisters starred together in the 2019 film Saving Zoe.
The Maranos have dined at Italian eatery Esplanade and dug for clams at the beach. The film has so far filmed at Queen's Gardens and Larnach Castle - which would serve well as Massoud's character Prince Thomas' Royal Palace.
Fresh from commentating at the Meghan and Harry interview with Oprah after-show for Three on Wednesday, Teuila Blakely headed down to Dunedin to film on Wednesday, but did not confirm to Spy whether she was part of the production.
The movie is big, with 30 local actors understood to be involved alongside 1000 local extras - we guess for the fairy tale wedding ending.
Spy hears Blakely has struck gold with her role in The Royal Treatment. Sources tell Spy Blakely is to play Prince Thomas' mother, the Queen. Perfect casting and timing.