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May 2008


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New American TV series to film in New Zealand

14 May 2008

New Zealand’s film industry is about to get another boost with the producer of Hercules, and Xena: Warrior Princess returning to New Zealand to film a new swords and sorcery television series.

Rob Tapert who is married to Xena star Lucy Lawless will produce the new series known as Wizard’s First Rule, for Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ABC Studios.

Show business newspaper Variety says the series has already been sold. In a growing trend for American television, Tapert will skip the step of making a pilot programme and go straight into production of the 22 episodes.

Each one-hour episode will have a New Zealand director and the series will be shot in the Auckland region over 36 months, starting from June.

One of the episodes will be directed by New Zealand actor Michael Hurst who starred in the original Hercules episodes.

Tapert, who married Lucy Lawless in 1998, is working with Spider-Man director Sam Raimi on the series, based on author Terry Goodkind's popular fantasy books.

Wizard's First Rule is based around a backwoods guide, Richard Cypher, in Westland, the only part of the world which contains no magic.

While investigating the mysterious murder of his father he rescues a woman, Kahlan Amnell, who has crossed over from the "magic" side of the world, and does battle with an evil dictator.

Although the major roles will star Americans, New Zealand actors are likely to be used for some of the minor parts.

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