Niki Caro, Jeremie Renier, and Keisha Castle-Hughes
Filming will begin tomorrow (February 19, 2008) on director Niki Caro’s new movie project, the much anticipated film adaptation of The Vintner’s Luck.
New Zealand actress and Oscar-nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes, who came to worldwide attention in Niki Caro’s Whale Rider, is re-uniting with Caro for the project. The film is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by NZ author Elizabeth Knox.
Niki Caro, whose two features Whale Rider and North Country have each earned Oscar nominations, teamed up with Joan Scheckel to write the screenplay.
The Vintner’s Luck is a story of love, wine and angels. It tells the tale of Sobran, a peasant winemaker in 19th Century France and his life-long relationship with an angel.
“It’s really exciting to get the project underway,” said Caro. “It’s a scary kind of honour to bring Elizabeth’s book to the screen,” she said.
Caro is also looking forward to working again with Castle-Hughes. “Keisha and I have such a close relationship and strong history; it’s great to work with her again in her first ‘grown up’ role.”
Filming will begin at an Auckland vineyard tomorrow, before cast and crew relocate in March to the Burgundy region of France then Belgium.
Belgian actor Jeremie Renier (Atonement; L’Enfant) takes the lead role of wine-maker Sobran Jodeau, with Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith , The Nativity Story; Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger) playing his beautiful wife Celeste.
“It is my first adult role and I was initially quite nervous,” said Castle-Hughes. “But now I’m really looking forward to it. It is going to be a challenge, but I love challenges,” said the 18 year old.
French actor Gaspard Ulliel plays the role of angel Xas, a curious creature who appears more human than divine. Ulliel has more than 20 productions behind him including A Very Long Engagement and Hannibal Rising.
American actress Vera Farmiga who plays Baroness Aurora, had her first break when she starred opposite the late Heath Ledger in the 1997 television series Roar. She has since appeared in a number of independent feature films before coming to worldwide attention in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.
Novelist Elizabeth Knox says she is excited about the project. “I am so pleased production is underway and am over the moon about the cast and crew. I can’t wait to see the finished product, it will be like giving my book a new life,” she said.
The Vintner’s Luck is being produced by Laurie Parker, Robin Laing, Niki Caro, Pascal Judelewicz, Ludi Boeken and Jean-François Klein.
The Vintner’s Luck is a New Zealand-France co-production, and is backed by the New Zealand Film Production Fund, the New Zealand Film Commission, the Motion Investment Group (Belgium), OLC Rights Entertainment (Tokyo) in association with Ascension Films, Birka Film Production Sarl and Kortex Sarl.
International sales are being handled by Kathleen Drumm at NZ Film.
For more information contact:
Kathleen Drumm, NZ Film / Kathleen@nzfilm.co.nz /Tel: +64 4 382 7682
Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Niki Caro, Joan Scheckel
Producers: Laurie Parker, Robin Laing, Niki Caro, Pascal Judelewicz, Ludi Boeken, Jean-Francois Klein
Cinematographer: Denis Lenoir
Production Designer: Grant Major
Editor: David Coulson
Costumer Designer: Beatrix Pasztor
Makeup Designer: Denise Kum
1st AD: Liz Tan
The film’s New Zealand producer Robin Laing has produced seven feature films including Perfect Strangers, Ruby & Rata, Bread and Roses and Mr Wrong. She has Executive Produced an additional two features. Laing has served as Chair of the Trust Board for the NZ Film and TV School, trustee of the NZ Film Archive and the NZ Film Festivals Trust and is founding president of Women in Film and TV (Wellington). She has represented the Screen Producers and Directors Association on both the Copyright Council and Screenrights boards, and has served on the board of the NZ Film Commission.
Director of Photography is Denis Lenoir (Paris Je T’aime), production designer is Academy Award winning Grant Major (The Lord of the Rings trilogy; Whale Rider) and the editor is long time Caro-collaborator David Coulson (Whale Rider; North Country).
The Vintner’s Luck will feature special effects by New Zealander Harry Harrison and choreography by Guiliano Peparini and the aerial choreographic team for Cirque de Soleil.
Investors: This New Zealand-France co-production is backed by the New Zealand Film Production Fund, the New Zealand Film Commission, the Motion Investment Group (Belgium), OLC Rights Entertainment (Tokyo) in association with Ascension Films, Birka Film Production Sarl and Kortex Sarl.