July 8, 2008

Upham Saga on Track for October Start

By KEITH, Leighton

A NEW director has been found for an $18-million movie about New Zealand war hero, double VC recipient Charles Upham.

Yesterday Fat and Thin Productions announced Justin Chadwick, who directed The Other Boleyn Girl and the multi-award winning BBC production of Bleak House, had signed on to make the film.

Mark of the Lion is Charles Upham's story. Born in Christchurch in 1908, he was twice awarded the Victoria Cross in World War II.

Upham was only the third person to receive the award twice, the only person to be awarded two VCs in WWII and the only combat soldier to receive the award twice.

In a press release Fat and Thin publicist Mary Durham said Chadwick was in New Zealand overseeing pre-production.

"I am very excited about creating a film about a great and brilliant man who, along with a whole generation, went to fight overseas," Chadwick said in the release.

The majority of the filming is expected to take place in Taranaki and Canterbury with the remainder of the filming split between both North and South Islands.

Filming of the movie is expected to start on or about October 1.

The project has been plagued with problems since it was announced in 2006.

Director Nigel Hutchinson pulled out in April last year, because of concerns about the script.

Fat and Thin said it needed a stronger more bankable director for the movie.

Also last year, cinematographer Alun Bollinger, who shot landmark New Zealand films such as Goodbye Pork Pie, Vigil, Heavenly Creatures, The Frighteners, Perfect Strangers, The Piano and River Queen, said he had never signed up to the movie as Fat and Thin had suggested.


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