A host of A-list Kiwi actors are joining Lucy Lawless as guest stars in her new show, My Life is Murder — and it reads like a family tree of who's who.
Producers took advantage of Hollywood stars Martin Henderson and Anna Hutchison being home from the US to woo them to join the cast with Lawless and her co-stars Ebony Vagulans, Rawiri Jobe and Joe Naufahu.
The murder series is set in Auckland — a spin-off from the original Australian series. It will screen on TVNZ1 after the Tokyo Olympics.
Henderson plays the brother of Lawless' detective character Alexa Crowe. Jobe's wife, Grace Palmer, gets to work with her husband on screen and husbands-and-wife team Hannah Marshall and David De Lautour are also starring.
De Lautour's on-screen Westside wife, Antonia Prebble, also guest stars — as well as Robyn Malcolm, her screen mum from Outrageous Fortune.
Others joining the cast include former Home and Away star George Mason, who came home from New South Wales, and Josh McKenzie, who is currently filming US show La Brea on the streets of Melbourne.
Actress-in-demand Sara Wiseman plays Eleanor, a surprising blast from Alexa's past.
"The two were besties and neighbours at that pivotal precious age when you wrote secret notes to each other, pledging to be best friends forever," Wiseman tells Spy.
The only other time Wiseman worked with Lawless was on Xena: Warrior Princess.
"We never shared a scene together. It was when I was temporarily and briefly stunt doubling Xena herself, (while studying at drama school). Not long after, the legendary Zoe Bell arrived to take up the helm and, well, I guess we'll never know what happened to her, huh?" she says.
Vegas star Michelle Ang appears in an episode with Kiwi queens Kita Mean and Elektra Shock, who were recently on our screens in RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under.
Ang says her character is a streetwise boss who is bolshy and fiercely protective of her girls.
Ang also worked on Xena with Lawless.
"I worked opposite Lucy when I was a teenager. We did the very last two episodes of Xena together. She was a very generous and warm mentor and I remember being enamoured watching her work. She's still the same grounded, sharp actress today."
Lawless told Spy she can't wait for the rest of the world to see our local talent shine and the city of her birth that she is in love with and which she says, provides a stunning backdrop to the show's stories.
Other familiar faces to appear in the show are Creamerie's Jay Ryan, radio personality Anika Moa, comedian Laura Daniel, Luminaries actor Matt Whelan, Vegas star Cian Elyse White and Shortland Street's Ben Barrington. Producers also managed to snare English comedian Bill Bailey while he was filming Patriot Brains in NZ.
And watch out for a very special guest star in William Shatner, who appears by Zoom call.