Film crew adds colour to community

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Hollywood has come to the Maniototo, but it is business as usual according to local residents.
The vast, golden area is the setting for Jane Campion’s latest production, The Power of the Dog, which is now being filmed at Hills Creek.
Maniototo residents have rented their homes to film crew members for the duration of the project, and also welcomed them through the doors of their restaurants and cafes on a regular basis.
However, it is not just long­term residents doing good in the community.
Film crew members were among some of the first people on the scene when the Ancient Briton Hotel in Naseby caught fire in December.
Publicans Adrian Hood and Jan Rutherford credited the crew staying with them at the time for their quick-thinking actions.
‘‘Some of them had hoses out. They were staying with us [and] one was a firefighter from Australia,’’ Mr Hood said.
‘‘They are real people. They are not Hollywood. They are not precious — they are far from it — very much down-to-earth.’’
He said the wider community had also pulled together to help the couple re-establish business at The Royal, which they had initially set up for large functions.
‘‘The locals were very good. They were down here helping us do what they could to get this up and running.
‘‘It’s one of those communities that rallies around when disasters are on. You certainly see it . . .the community comes out.’’
Mr Hood said the ‘‘summer buzz’’ Naseby was known for had been given a boost by the production.
There had been a big effort by the team behind the film not to disrupt existing business, including the Otago Central Rail Trail.
‘‘They didn’t come in waving a cheque book saying we want this, we want that. They were quite the opposite.’’
Overall, they have been ‘‘hugely respectful’’, right down to ensuring they did not leave a footprint, he said.
A Naseby resident, who declined to be named due to the secrecy surrounding the film, said the crew had become ‘‘a colourful part of the community’’.
‘‘It’s quite fun having different accents and it adds an international flavour to our community.’’
She said the crew was made up of people from around the world, but included many Americans and New Zealanders.
The News also understands many of ‘‘the boys from Home and Away’’ fame were among the familiar faces who had been seen in the area.
Hollywood stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst were also among the actors in the film, which is a Netflix Western drama.
However, there have not been any confirmed sightings of the two A-list stars so far.
Another Naseby woman, who also declined to be named, said town had been buzzing with film crew members.
‘‘They are really lovely people.’’
She said among the crew adding a presence to the town were genuine cowboys who walked around in their hats, chaps and belt buckles.
The community had welcomed its new temporary locals, some of whom had given up their homes and holiday homes for the duration of filming, she said.