Taika Waititi’s next movie is scheduled to begin filming in New Zealand, with Kiwi talent and international stars adding to the mix. Another Hollywood production on local shores, Minecraft, is bringing big names, with Jason Momoa joining Jack Black and Danielle Brooks here, and Jennifer Coolidge expected soon.
One of Hollywood’s brightest stars of the moment, Jenna Ortega, is rumoured to be featuring in Kiwi star director Taika Waititi’s next movie.
Industry insiders tell Spy Waititi’s latest movie is soon to start filming in Queenstown and Auckland. In the last few weeks, Waititi has been spotted in Queenstown.
The movie is an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2021 bestselling novel, Klara and the Sun. The story follows Klara, a solar-powered robot or Artificial Friend, who, after finally being picked up by Josie, a sickly teenage girl looking for a companion, finds a new definition of what it means to love someone.
Spy is told Waititi’s movie has been renamed Tears in Rain, but this hasn’t been officially confirmed, so may be a working title for now.
Early last month Hollywood media began reporting that Ortega was close to signing on to star in Waititi’s movie.
Ortega is a big deal. She gained worldwide fandom starring as Wednesday Addams on the Netflix hit show Wednesday a reboot of The Addams family. For her role as Wednesday, Ortega, 21, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in last month’s awards.
Ortega has several high-profile movies in post-production, including one with her Wednesday producer, Hollywood legend Tim Burton, who recently directed her in his long-awaited sequel to his 1988 film Beetlejuice. She is also reportedly beginning filming of the second season of Wednesday in April.
The stars may be aligned for Ortega and Waititi; his movie is said to wrap by then.
It won’t be Ortega’s first time in New Zealand; she filmed horror movie X with Mia Goth and Martin Henderson in the Whanganui region three years ago.
She’s also not the only Wednesday star to be connected with a Hollywood production filming in New Zealand this year; co-star Emma Myers is starring in Jason Momoa’s Minecraft.
She’ll appear alongside Momoa, Jack Black, Jennifer Coolidge, Sebastian Eugene Hansen and Danielle Brooks. Insiders say the full production in West Auckland is expected to be fully under way by mid-February. New cast announcements for Minecraft - the feature film take on the sandbox game developed by Mojang Studios - have recently been revealed on industry bible IMDB, with the additions of Kiwi star Jemaine Clement and American comedic royalty Kate McKinnon, most famous for her 10-year stint on Saturday Night Live.
Some Minecraft stars are here already.
Black was travelling back and forward between Hollywood to New Zealand during January, delighting fans at the Auckland concert of the Foo Fighters, while Brooks posted an excited Instagram post from New Zealand last week, celebrating her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Sofia in the musical The Color Purple.
Momoa is understood to have arrived back in New Zealand this week and posted on Instagram on Thursday showing a view of the Waitematā Harbour, and confirmed he had started filming Minecraft.
The actor’s love for New Zealand also extends to sport and this week he promoted the All Blacks’ upcoming game against Fiji, taking place in San Diego in July.
Anticipation is high for fans for the arrival of The White Lotus star Coolidge; insiders say the star is days away.
Clement may be flying up and down the North Island, as he is also starring in the movie I, Object by Bafta-winning Kiwi filmmaker Andrew Niccol.
It tells the story of a 10-year-old boy who takes refuge in the inanimate objects around him.
Insiders have confirmed the film’s stars Karl Urban and Anna Faris have commenced filming in Wellington.
Comedic star Faris, famous for Scary Movie, The House Bunny and her long-running sitcom Mom, got sprung by fans at Wellington airport last week and kindly posed for photos. She has replaced Hollywood-based Kiwi star Melanie Lynskey, who had to drop out of the movie due to scheduling conflicts.
On Instagram last week, Urban thanked the cast and crew of his latest movie as he announced that he had wrapped filming his role as Johnny Cage on Mortal Kombat 2 on the Gold Coast. And although the star of The Boys has an Auckland base, Wellington was his childhood stomping ground.
Fellow star (and Kiwi) Thomasin McKenzie, who also appears in I, Object, may have already filmed her scenes while home in Wellington over the summer. McKenzie has been back at her base in London and attended a Chanel jewellery event last week.