Kiwi creative to take charge of adaptation of Matt Haig novel.
Acclaimed Kiwi actor-filmmaker Taika Waititi, 38, has perhaps scored his biggest role yet - signing to Brad Pitt's Hollywood production company Plan B Entertainment to direct a movie.
Pitt bought the movie option rights to Matt Haig's novel The Last Family in England which will be adapted to the big screen with the same name. He has signed Waititi on to helm the project, which is a huge coup for the creative young Kiwi.
Waititi took time out from shooting a television commercial yesterday to tell The Diary about the upcoming film - a dramedy about a talking dog's perspective on his human family's neuroses and affairs.
"It's something I've been working on with them [Plan B] for a couple of years. It's not in production yet, just in the development stage. But I can confirm the project is going ahead," Waititi said.
The Hollywood Reporter said Pitt's production company has three literary adaptations in the pipeline, including Waititi's film. The Hollywood A-Lister said he favours working with the best creative minds and likes both big-budget and low-budget movies that push boundaries. Aligning with Pitt will undoubtedly open more Hollywood doors for Waititi.
Pitt is the sole owner of Plan B, which holds release deals with Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox.
The company is behind a string of movies, including The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Eat Pray Love, Kick Ass and the blockbuster World War Z.
12 Years a Slave, starring Michael Fassbender, who's in Twizel shooting a Western, has been picked as an Oscar contender next year.
Jackson plans return to RadioLive
RadioLive is playing its cards close to its chest since John Tamihere and Willie Jackson were taken off air on Monday. Sources at the station suggest the pair won't return in the New Year, but Jackson refutes the rumour, telling The Diary "that's not true". However, he refused to comment further.
Tamihere could not be reached, but a friend close to the pair said they are hurting. "JT and Willie are in real trouble. This impacts on their other jobs, and the rest of their lives."
Yesterday, Labour leader David Cunliffe said Tamihere had a slim chance of rejoining the Labour Party.
The friend added: "I doubt JT will go back to RadioLive. He's got the s***s... they're pissed off and who can blame them? Willie will be back, he loves broadcasting. But JT has had a gutsful of talkback. It's no secret the show has been on the wane for some time."
MediaWorks won't confirm if the pair will return in January, with a company rep telling The Diary: "That decision has not been made. We are in employment talks and we will continue to review it."
But it's not just Tamihere and Jackson who need do some soul-searching.
RadioLive management should undertake an internal review as to how the whole matter was handled and why they thought it appropriate to repeat the abhorrent interview on their website.
It seems they were happy with the media attention, until advertisers reacted by pulling revenue.
"Basically management panicked over the weekend," said an inside source. "Management kept saying this [situation] is unprecedented, with ads being pulled. But the fact is, they didn't manage the crisis properly. There were no grown-ups in charge at RadioLive."
Wallace Chapman will fill in on the midday show this week, but RadioLive says they "have not confirmed an ongoing host at this point".
Hunter hot and haughty
Proving some things get better with age, Rachel Hunter and her pert derriere were snapped in a barely there blue bikini this week taking in the rays on a wooden deck at an undisclosed Waiheke Island location. Who needs safety barriers with a view like that? The 44-year-old, who evidently didn't mind the splinters, shared the pic with her many social media followers, prompting big sis Jacqui to respond, appropriately: "One kick-ass pic!!!"
Celebs honour New Zealand Herald
The New Zealand Herald turns 150 today and a lavish VIP cocktail party is being held tonight at the Auckland Art Gallery to mark the milestone. The Diary asked some famous Kiwis to share their birthday wishes or roasts.
"After 150 years there isn't an issue the Herald hasn't researched and written about. Happy birthday to an institution I can go from loving to hating before I finish my latte."
- John Key
"150 years! Some will say how did you manage to last that long? But not me. I'd just like to say happy birthday ... and good luck to making it to 200."
- Rachel Hunter
"The New Zealand Herald's existence is so inconsequential to me I have neither birthday wishes nor advice. But you, The Diary, I like."
- Paul Henry
"The Herald has been part of the Auckland culture ... They've always been supportive of us at Team NZ, and it's fantastic it's been around for so long."
- Dean Barker
"The harbour bridge, Rangitoto and Devonport are all synonymous with Auckland and I'd put the NZ Herald in the same category. Like all old buggers you've changed a bit over the years, but to still be here after 150 years is a fantastic achievement, so well done."
- Sir John Kirwan
"Happy birthday NZ Herald! 150 years old and looking trimmer and sexier than ever. Like any relationship, you have infuriated me at times. [Some] days I read you, then use you to line the kitty litter tray."
- Dominic Harvey
"Happy birthday NZ Herald! Every morning I stroll down the front path with my 2-year-old to collect the newspaper from the letterbox, and although there were some mornings earlier in the year that I'd take one look at the front page and decide to leave it in there, for the most part you are my first-choice medium to catch up on all the news I haven't yet got from the internet, breakfast TV or mobile Twitter. 150 years is a long time - you're almost as old as the Treaty, Tane Mahuta or Grant Dalton. Good on you, New Zealand is better for having you around."
- Jesse Mulligan
"150 years young! I celebrate you NZ Herald for continuing to bring our stories to our people. We are a strong nation with important things to say. Long may you - and the theatre and screen industry - be embraced so we can honour our own unique identity."
- Sara Wiseman