Piki Films is looking for the next Julian Dennison, times three!
The casting call closed last week for three child actors aged 10 to 16 to play lead roles in the upcoming movie The Mountain.
Piki Films producer Morgan Waru was tight-lipped about how the video auditions had been received as well as details about the film, other than to say a huge number of people sent in their audition during the seven-week call-out.
Piki Films is owned by NZ film heavyweights Taika Waititi and Carthew Neal, best known for films Hunt For the Wilderpeople and JoJo Rabbit. The Mountain is an adventure film in which four kids journey to the top of a mountain in the hope of finding magic.
The Casting Company is currently viewing the audition tapes and are looking for a male aged 10 to 14 years, a female aged 10 to 16 years, and a gender diverse person aged 10 to 14 years old. The call was made all over New Zealand and picked up by local iwi Ngāti Tūwharetoa, who posted the casting call on one of their Facebook pages.
Waru would not confirm if The Mountain would be filmed in Tongariro National Park and said the film location has yet to be confirmed. The mountains in the Central Plateau famously featured in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy in scenes containing Mount Doom, Mordor and Emyn Muil.
In their publicity, The Casting Company said they were looking for actors of open ethnicity, with a focus on diversity, and living in Aotearoa. Aspiring actors were asked to make a video introducing themselves.
The said the idea was those auditioning would say their names, how old they are, what area they live in, maybe talk about where their name comes from, why their parents called them that and to explain the origins of any nickname.
The Casting Company encouraged children making the audition video to be creative and to talk about the things they love doing in life so as to get a feel for the child's world.
"Tell us a joke! Sing a song, strum a guitar, hop on a horse, shoot some hoops."
In June, Piki Films announced they are launching three projects with Māori writers focusing on stories about the effects of colonisation. Tina Makereti's novel The Imaginary Lives Of James Pōneke is to be adapted into a feature film depicting the true story of a Māori teenager in the 1840s who travels to London to appear as a live exhibit amongst Māori artefacts.
Also to be made into a feature film by Piki Films is Angella Dravid's stand-up comedy show Down The Rabbit Hole based on an earlier part of her life where she ran away to marry a man three times her age on the other side of the world and then ended up in a female prison in the United Kingdom.
Piki Films is also developing a crime series for television, Better The Blood, about a Māori detective on the trail of a serial killer who is seeking to avenge the wrongs of early New Zealand colonisers.
Shooting for The Mountain is set for a six-week period between March and May 2021 and the Taupō & Tūrangi Weekender hopes to bring an update about the film's location and cast early in the new year.