Greetings from New Zealand,
Having survived a hectic day 1, we had time off on day 2. So there is no report to give you except that we walked around Auckland and ate good food.
Today, Saturday, is day 3, and this was another day off because we are in the midst of a very large 3 day holiday that involves thousands of people trying to go somewhere. We decided to join the mob along with producer Dan, MTV executive Polly, and a driver who gave up his day off to drive a group of 13 film people around the island of Waiheke for wine tasting and lunch.
I was told the actors had not had much time off (if any) since filming started, and they were all very excited to be spending a day driving around a beautiful island off the coast of Auckland, visiting with yours truly and Judine. The start was a little wild because everyone had to get down to the ferry and aboard while fighting off hoards of weekend vacationers trying to do the same thing. But we all made it on and then rode half-an-hour to Waiheke where we all got to do it again trying to get off the ferry.
Our driver took us to Mud Brick Vineyard for a tasting and then on to Kennedy Point Vineyard for lunch. While doing all this we passed through some truly beautiful countryside and talked shop. This is a young enthusiastic group of actors, all of them telling me how thrilled they are to be in the Shannara TV show while I am telling them how thrilled I am to have them in the show. I like it that they mostly have not gotten huge exposure as yet and will not be identified with other shows. This way they will inhabit their characters and make them their own.
Everyone talked about the long hours spent on set. If you are called up for a particular day’s shoot, you can be out there for 12-14 hours. Much of what they do – given the nature of the story – is quite physical, and they really do have to work hard and be in good shape. I tried to picture myself at their age doing what they do and failed. I think I was reading books or something. The bonding with them was such fun, and no one said anything negative about their experience.
I come away from this convinced we have a great cast that is going to surprise you with its depth of character, and as with the sets Judine and I visited the other day, all of them exceed my expectations and are very much larger than life.
You, the readers, are going to be so happy with what you see on the screen. Remembering that this is not paint by the numbers but a fresh experience, a new rendering of a familiar story, will help you understand why I am so positive about what is happening. Those of you who have worried earlier about how this might turn out or who have pleaded with me to protect a story they have come to love will not feel disappointed.
More tomorrow, this time from another part of New Zealand. On Monday, I will be on set for filming and for interviews. On all days, we will send along fresh pix of what is happening.
Magic always, Terry.