Paul Cleave’s best-selling crime novels are set in Christchurch.
Prestige television is coming to Christchurch.
The entertainment company behind critically lauded hits like Mad Men, Orange is the New Black and The Walking Dead is helping fund a six-part television drama expected to film in Christchurch early next year.
The show, called Dark City – The Cleaner, is an adaptation of Christchurch crime writer Paul Cleave’s debut novel, which was set in his home town.
Dark City producer John Barnett, the man behind Kiwi hits like Sione’s Wedding, Outrageous Fortune, Shortland St, and Whale Rider, said his long-term ambition was to adapt many more Cleave novels for television.
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“He has written a lot of books and I have got the first eight under option, and I am hoping that we can move forward.
“We are really excited about coming to Christchurch. The great thing about Paul’s books is our ambition is really to create an industry out of that work.”
Cleave’s books sold “very well” in Europe and the team was confident the TV series would sell, Barnett said.
“We are thrilled to work with a Christchurch author with an international reputation in a genre that has international appeal.”
The series is largely funded by American entertainment firm Lionsgate, but has also secured funding from the New Zealand Film Commission’s $50 million Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund, NZ on Air, Sky TV, and a $200,000 regional production grant from ChristchurchNZ.
Screen CanterburyNZ manager Petrina D’Rozario said the production would employ 100 crew members over the 100-day shoot and spend $3.5m in the region.
“We are super happy because a drama series means more work, which is what we need.
“We are happy to give it all we have got.”
She said it was the largest production they had attracted to Canterbury through the production grant scheme. ChristchurchNZ, the region’s tourism and investment agency, had a total of $1.5m in to give out through the scheme over three years.
“It is a big one for us,’’ she said.
“A producer as renowned as John Barnett is part of the statement that Christchurch is ready and other producers will follow.
“It will be great to have Christchurch on the map.”
Barnett said they were courting well-known New Zealand actors to cast the show. The series would be entirely filmed on location in Christchurch.
“We think Christchurch is critical. That is where the stories are set.
“That is part of what makes it look a bit different.”
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