An all-star Pasifika and Māori cast whose international credits stretch across Alien: Covenant, Marco Polo, Star Wars, The Matrix Reloaded, Mortal Engines and Battleship have assembled in Tāmaki Makaurau for a brand-new action film, the directorial debut of director Kiel McNaughton – The Legend of Baron To’a.
Uli Latukefu (Alien: Covenant, Marco Polo), Nathaniel Lees (The Matrix Reloaded), Jay Laga’aia (Star Wars), John Tui (Battleship, Hobbs & Shaw), Shortland Street alumni Shavaughn Ruakere and Pua Magasiva, and Fasitua Amosa (Auckland Daze, Fresh Eggs) will star in the film which tells the story of a Tongan entrepreneur who returns to his old neighbourhood and inadvertently causes the theft of his late father’s valued pro wrestling title belt by some ruthless gangsters. When negotiation and diplomacy fail to get it back, he is forced to embrace his father’s legacy to reclaim the title.
“The all-star brown cast we have assembled for this film is amazing. I’ve always wanted my first feature to be an action film and with a great script from writer, John Argall, and some amazing action sequences put together by our world-class local crew, this film is going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to bring it to life,” said McNaughton.
The Legend of Baron To’a is produced by Kerry Warkia under the Brown Sugar Apple Grunt banner, McNaughton and Warkia are the pair responsible for the critically acclaimed films Waru and Vai and TV series, Auckland Daze, This is Piki and Find Me A Maori Bride.
The production also brings together a world renowned Kiwi stunt team lead by Augie Davis (Adrift, The Meg, Pete’s Dragon) and Andy Stehlin (X Men: Dark Phoenix, Hacksaw Ridge).
The film is funded by the New Zealand Film Commission and will be distributed in New Zealand and Australia by Madman Entertainment (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, The Breaker Upperers) and is represented in the US by XYZ Films (The Dead Lands, Arctic, Brawl in Cell Block 99).
Filming starts today and runs through to the end of May.