MichealBack to the top
Matt Whelan is a young kiwi actor on a trajectory for greatness. He finds it playing Michael.
Originally from Christchurch, Matt moved to Wellington to attend Toi Whakaari – New Zealand’s internationally recognised national drama school – then headed north to Auckland for a lead role in TVNZ’s acclaimed series Go Girls.
In 2010 Matt was awarded Best Supporting Actor at the Qantas Film and Television Awards for his work playing Brad in Go Girls. The show directly led to him being cast as the romantic male lead in Roseanne Liang’s critically acclaimed feature film My Wedding and Other Secrets – a role for which he gained a nomination in the 2011 AFTA Awards for Best Lead Actor in a Feature Film.
Matt brings to The Most Fun You Can Have Dying a powerful intelligence, a physical intensity, and the sort of brooding leading-man looks that casting directors, and audiences, dream of.
MATT WHELAN ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“When I first read the script I was blown away, it was incredibly riveting and I couldn’t put it down, it was such a beautiful story, beautifully told.
The film is not about a guy dying. It’s about a young man making the most of his time living. Throughout the film he’s ignoring his declining health and doesn’t want a bar of it. He’s running from death but he’s also running from the safety nets people want to wrap him in.
People will be challenged by the film and I hope come away thinking about what they appreciate in life and the people around them.”
DIRECTOR KIRSTIN MARCON ON MATT WHELAN
Matt Whelan is really the only young man in New Zealand who could have played the role of Michael. He is stunningly talented, he’s capable of playing somebody who does thoughtless and selfish things, and yet he’s got vulnerability, heart, and openness. He’s in every single scene and it’s a hugely demanding role, emotionally, physically and mentally.
SylvieBack to the top
Roxane Mesquida is well known in her native France and to festival audiences for a string of brilliant performances in successful European movies. She has recently successfully made the move across to English language films.
Roxane was discovered at the age of 11 by the director Manuel Pradal who cast her in his film Marie Baie des Anges (Mary from the Bay of Angels) with Vahina Giocante and Emmanuelle Beart.
This led directly to roles in L’École de la chair (1998), and then to a series of collaborations with the controversial and acclaimed director Catherine Breillat, who cast her in Á ma soeur! (Fat Girl), Sex is Comedy and Une Vieillie Maitresse, in which she starred alongside Asia Argento.
Roxane’s other notable roles include her performances in Sennentuntschi, Rubber, and Kaboom (working with the director Greg Araki). Roxane has recently been shooting TV’s Gossip Girl, playing Beatrice Grimaldi, Prince Louis Grimaldi’s beautiful sister.
Apart from her extraordinary and ethereal beauty, Roxane brings a smouldering intelligence to The Most Fun You Can Have Dying and great acting craft. She submerges herself in the difficult and many-layered role of Sylvie turning out an unforgettable performance.
ROXANE MESQUIDA ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“I wanted to be involved because this was one of the best scripts I have ever read and I had seen [director] Kirstin’s short films. I love her style. Even though it is a movie of someone dying and should be sad, it is very alive. We are always laughing and screaming and doing crazy things.
Sylvie is a sincere and complex character and truly the most amazing one I have done since playing Fat Girl ten years ago. She has her own problems and has had a hazy and complicated past. She does things because she is really sensitive and she is trying to protect herself.”
DavidBack to the top
Pana Hema-Taylor discovered his talent for acting while performing at high school. Beginning with a series of roles in short films and local te reo drama Whanau, he soon secured a key role in Taika Waititi’s BOY as a member of the Crazy Horses Gang.
Pana then landed a role in the made for TV movie Nights in The Garden of Spain, followed by a long running role in TV’s Spartacus as the much beloved Nasir.
Pana is one of the most exciting and watchable young actors working in New Zealand today.
PANA HEMA-TAYLOR ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“When I first read the script I was touched by it personally and to be honest it made me cry tears. I was keen to play my character David because he’s a nice guy. I’ve done a lot of bad dudes. I love David as a character as he’s so soft and so responsible.
It’s a universal story and people will relate to my role of caring unconditionally for someone who is ill.
Also traveling to Monaco, Berlin and Munich ‐ it was like something out of a movie. To travel overseas was quite big for me.”
JOHNBack to the top
Actor Colin Moy plays Michael’s father John in the film. A familiar face to New Zealand audiences, Colin is well-respected having long worked in the theatre, television and film industry.
Born in Auckland, Colin left New Zealand to study for three years at the Sydney Acting School. His television credits include Hercules, Xena Warrior Princess, Shortland Street and Mataku. His film credits include Memory and Desire, I’ll Make You Happy, The Vertical Limit and In My Father’s Den, for which he was awarded Best Supporting Actor at the New Zealand Screen Awards.
Over the past decade Colin has developed his writing and directing experience and been actively involved in encouraging new New Zealand plays and playwrights through his work at the Auckland Theatre Company.
LIZZYBack to the top
Introducing 15-year-old Clementine Howe who plays Lizzy, the younger sister of David in the film. Lizzy is a key role as Michael sees her as his surrogate younger sister too. He also has little idea she has a blinding crush on him.
Clementine’s mother signed her daughter to an acting agency aged seven. As Clementine says, “I’ve always had that ‘drama queen attitude’ to me.”
“My family is really happy I got this role, but they don’t want me to turn into a diva, they want me to stay true to myself.”
CHLOEBack to the top
Caren Pistorius came to the screen after carving out a name for herself in the Auckland theatre scene.
Born in South Africa, Caren moved to New Zealand when she was 12. She graduated from Howick College in 2002 as top dramatic performer of the year and credits her arrival in New Zealand with opening her career prospects to acting.
She studied graphic design at the Auckland University of Technology before realising acting is her true calling.
Quickly establishing herself via a role in the ABC Studios action-adventure television series Legend of The Seeker, based on The Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind, this is Caren’s debut feature film role. She plays Chloe, Michael’s girlfriend.
TINABack to the top
Sophie Henderson is familiar to New Zealand audiences playing the bombshell Bailey Wilson in TV3’s outrageously successful Outrageous Fortune, as well as several other notable TV productions, including The Cult, This Is Not My Life, Legend of the Seeker, The Jacquie Brown Diaries and Underbelly: Land of the Long Green Cloud.
A UNITEC Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts graduate Sophie appeared in the feature film Rowboat. She also has theatre production credits to her name having both written and acted in the theatre production I Heart Camping.
To the pivotal role of David’s girlfriend Tina, Sophie brings a luminous and quiet intensity that makes her scenes unforgettable.
DR LAKEBack to the top
Matthew Saville is an accomplished writer, director and actor. His acting credits include the recent telefeatures Rage and Strongman, cult comedy series Go Girls and Super City, and American shows Legend of the Seeker and Spartacus.
His first play The Boxer toured New Zealand and was nominated for the Chapman Tripp Theatre awards for Best New Writer. His follow up work, Kikia Te Poa, was met with critical acclaim in Wellington, Sydney and London.
In 2006 he won the NZFC ‘First Writer's Initiative’ and has since then been developing several screenplays with the NZFC.
Most recently Matthew's short film Hitch Hike has been selected to screen at the prestigious Tampere Film Festival 2012 in Finland, competing in the International Competition section judged by an international jury. It is his film directorial debut.
A graduate of Otago University, Toi Whakaari and Victoria University, Matthew has a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Performing Arts, and a Masters degree in screenwriting.
JEFFBack to the top
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying is Arlo’s debut into feature film, and a role which he has thoroughly relished. A graduate of Christchurch’s Hagley Theatre Company, Arlo moved to Auckland to complete a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts at Unitec in 2009. He has worked extensively in theatre in both cities, including roles in Macbeth, A View From The Bridge, Tape and Our Town, and winning best actor at Hagley Theatre Company in 2006. He’s featured in one or two New Zealand television productions, and is currently exploring the Scottish Highlands.
WRITER/DIRECTORBack to the top
Kirstin is an energetic and charismatic director, who firmly believes the more lightning you can trap in the bottle, the better. She is a talented writer with a deeply subversive voice, drawn to create moments of sweet romance meshed with turmoil. Her idea of a good story is bold, primal and most of all entertaining. She has fought hard to keep this film an unapologetically biased story about an anti-hero; a fully rounded experience that takes him and the audience to the edge.
Kirstin attended film school in the Waikato. Following film school she branched out into student radio and music magazines, eventually becoming a graphic designer. She returned to study at the Elam School of Fine Arts in her early twenties, and after the birth of her son worked in advertising.
Over the years she has kept her passion for making films, whether it be art school projects, 48Hour film competition entries, Film Commission shorts, or making Lego animations with her son.
Her 35mm short film She’s Racing was in competition at Edinburgh, Torino, and Chicago where it won a Silver Plaque, and was selected for the honour of being screened at the Telluride Festival before Australian indie hit Chopper. Her next short Picnic Stops went to Hof, Germany; Expression en Corto, Mexico; and the 27th International Women’s Film Festival of Créteil, France.
She was a selected participant of the Berlin Talent Campus, studied the Meisner technique of acting, and is a committed daydreamer.
KIRSTIN MARCON ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“This is my first feature film. The journey to make it has taken seven long years – I feel like it’s the hardest, best thing I’ve ever done.
PRODUCERBack to the top
Alex Cole-Baker steps into her role of debut producer of a feature film following just over 20 years in the industry.
Initially working as production manager on commercials, documentaries and television magazine series, in 1998 she was thrown in the deep end as a first time production accountant on Scarfies, when a friend asked for help. Since then she has worked in this role on many New Zealand features including In My Father’s Den and The Tattooist, as well as other international festival successes such as Out of the Blue and Number Two. It was during this time working with prominent producers she was able to gain the experience, support and encouragement to make her own mark.
Alex produced several short films, including La Vie en Rose by Anna Reeves - recipient of a Gold Plaque (Chicago), as well as several New Zealand awards - and co-produced the no-budget featurette Long Hot Summer while living in the UK (in which Martin Freeman of The Office and The Hobbit fame made his film debut). She is currently developing other film and television projects under her company Chocolate Fish Pictures.
ALEX COLE-BAKER ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“It’s been a ride; from reading the novel, to watching Kirstin create an awesome script and pull off shooting it across the world, with amazing actors and a kick-ass soundtrack. I couldn’t be happier”.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERBack to the top
Timothy White is one of Australasia’s most experienced producers. His long list of producer credits include Death in Brunswick starring Sam Neill; Vincent Ward’s Map of the Human Heart and Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar & Lucinda.
Over the past decade Timothy has been Chief Executive of Fox Icon and Working Title Australia, a production and development company linked to UK’s Working Title Films. He now manages his own production company, Southern Light Films based in Sydney, Australia.
In 2005 he produced Number Two with NZ director Toa Fraser which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He also produced Out of the Blue directed by Robert Sarkies, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. More recently he has completed The Boys Are Back (starring Clive Owen), Sleeping Beauty (in Competition at Cannes 2011) and Two Little Boys (starring Bret McKenzie and Hamish Blake). He also executive produced Mister Pip, directed by Andrew Adamson and starring Hugh Laurie.
CINEMATOGRAPHERBack to the top
Cinematographer Crighton Bone boasts an impressive list of achievements in the commercial, feature film and short film realm.
He spent ten years in London working in television documentary fashion photography, then television commercials, pop promos (for the likes of Bassment Jaxx, Cinematic Orchestra), documentaries and feature films before returning to New Zealand in 2007.
He was the 2006 Co-Winner of the Jury Prize for Best Photography at the San Sebastian International Film Festival for the Iranian feature film Half Moon directed by Bahman Gobadi and distributed by Match Factory, Germany. The Most Fun You Can Have Dying will be Crighton’s 4th feature as Cinematographer.
CRIGHTON BONE ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“It’s a great story full of adventure and rollicking well-spent, rather than misspent youth. We wanted to give the film a very realistic and vital style so we shot it all hand held and gave it a naturalistic lighting style as well. “
PRODUCTION DESIGNERBack to the top
Bruce Everard was born in New Zealand but spent his 20s and most of his 30s in London. He studied fine art at Goldsmiths college, then home to the recently graduated “Young British Art“ scene.
After graduating and spending time as an artist and sculptor he started dabbling in designing sets for music videos.
He returned to New Zealand in 2005 and has continued his career Production Designing, working with many of the world’s top commercials Directors.
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying is his first feature film. He has really enjoyed the process, especially the creative freedom that can come with this medium. He looks forward to the next one!
BRUCE EVERARD ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“Crighton and Kirstin were great to work with. For me it was a chance to do a lot of European sets and play with those styles in an edgy but beautiful way. We had the freedom to play with the look which I am grateful for. I had a great art team and we had fun.”
MAKE-UP DESIGNERBack to the top
Make-up designer Deb Watson came to the The Most Fun You Can Have Dying set with a wealth of experience and a particular flare for prothestics, having worked on many film and television sets including King Kong, Underworld, The Tattooist and Spartacus. She had a task integral to the success and believability of the story – the challenge of creating the slow transition of Michael’s illness using make-up.
DEB WATSON ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“What was required was a special effects type of makeup but not from a horror-gore –fantasy-world, but to create the real thing, so the audience are never jarred out of the story. They actually believe Michael is dying and they can see the transition.
The other part of my job is to use what I do to make the actor look skinnier, or bruised or more sickly. It is like handing the actor a costume as when he looks in the mirror he can see the transformation and feels himself get sick because of that. It was a really big challenge for me as an artist.”
COSTUME DESIGNERBack to the top
Costume designer Liz McGregor was born and raised in Tonga and emigrated to NZ as a 12 year old. At 17, on completion of a Fashion Design course at AUT, she entered the world of film as an assistant costumer on the drama The Piano, and thus began her costuming career full time on motion pictures. She has spent the last 22 years working on films in NZ and internationally, notably the past 16 working exclusively with Oscar–winning costumer Ngila Dickson. Liz has worked on films such as Mister Pip, Blood Diamond and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
For The Most Fun You Can Have Dying, Liz carefully selected a wardrobe that “created the shift from New Zealand - bold, colourful and bright – to darker, melancholic colours as Michael and Sylvie journey through the European winter. To aid the physical degeneration, the wardrobe transforms from well-fitting to loose-fitting clothes, signifying the shell of the beautiful boy Michael once was.”
COMPOSERBack to the top
“Who else writes tunes as achingly beautiful as these? Not many people around here, that’s for sure!” – Nick Bollinger, RNZ National, The NZ Listener
Hailing from Palmerston North, 26 year old Grayson Gilmour began making solo recordings aged 16. His first album received such a positive response he was convinced to record a second and things have snowballed from there. For many, Grayson is better known as one quarter of New Zealand band So So Modern, and he has spent the last years shifting between playing and recording with the band, and his own ‘bedroom/studio recluse’ projects.
After moving to Wellington, he recorded Behind Locked Doors (2003/4) following some time spent playing lobby piano in Japanese hotels, with solo albums Phantom Limbs (2005) and You Sleep, We Creep (2006) coming out in quick succession, alongside the So So Modern international touring schedule.
Despite this nomadic lifestyle, Grayson managed to write and record the stripped back Chapters EP in 2008 and compose his first handful of short film scores, receiving the APRA Professional Development Award in 2009. 2010 saw the release of his fifth album No Constellation through Flying Nun Records.
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying is his first feature length film score and an incredible challenge.
GRAYSON GILMOUR ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“I saw this feature film score debut as a unique opportunity as it made use of the skills I have being in bands as well as a solo musician and composer. I found I was writing stuff I hadn’t written before only because I hadn’t sat down and thought, ‘today I’m going to make a club-ready electronic track that’s going to be huge sounding’, and it was actually quite enjoyable, if not a little self-indulgent. I also got to experiment in a way with sound I haven’t before. Part of the process was breaking everything down, not into location or country parts from the travel perspective but more from the characters and their relationships and interactions.”
EDITORBack to the top
Peter Roberts has been in the film and TV industry for over 30 years, the first seven of those in London, and two in Sydney.
Trained in London film cutting rooms, working in TV commercials, broadcast documentary and children’s programmes, he emigrated to NZ in 1986.
In New Zealand Peter took a job editing with TVNZ. Whilst at TVNZ he worked in many disciplines – film, cinetape, news, drama and sport, gaining wide experience. Peter also became an editors’ delegate within the PSA.
After five years of corporate life he decided to return to freelancing, and also set up Broadway Post in partnership with VTR in Auckland, pioneering the first digital non-linear editing systems in New Zealand. Later, Peter set up RPM Pictures, a boutique HD and SD post-production house in Ponsonby.
Peter is described by the director as “pretty wild back in the day” so he had an innate understanding of Michael’s character. Bringing his life experience to his part on the film Peter endeavoured to bring out Michael’s humanity and likability, while keeping him truly wild and unapologetic, both things that were very important to the director.
SOUND DESIGNERBack to the top
Simon began working in sound post production in 2007. The feature films he has worked on include Boy, The Warrior’s Way, Under The Mountain, and Russian Snark. He’s currently working on Mr. Pip.
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying is his first film as lead Sound Effects Editor, and he brought to it a huge amount of energy and dedication. Creating a convincing world for Michael that incorporates locations in Europe from London to Venice, Hong Kong, Hamilton and Raglan was a big part of the challenge. But not only does the sound convincingly lead us through the locations, he also uses to it mirror Michael’s emotional journey in the film. From cage-rattling loud to subtle and beautiful, the sound takes us powerfully inside Michael’s point of view.
Simon was part of a very talented post production sound team that also included Emile De La Rey as Supervising Dialogue Editor, and Bruno Barrett-Garnier as Sound Re-recording Mixer.
NOVELISTBack to the top
Seraphim Blues, the novel the film is based on, was published in 2003 by Reed Publishing (now part of the Penguin Group).
Born in England but raised in Te Kuiti, New Zealand, Steven studied Philosophy and Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North.
He is an exhibiting artist and recently completed a Bachelor of Fine Art. As well as writing and painting, Steven has been Executive Director of the New Zealand Writers Guild since 2007.
He has a cameo role in The Most Fun You Can Have Dying as a bartender in the Yellow Submarine Hamilton pub, something he felt very at home with.
STEVEN GANNAWAY ON THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE DYING
“It was a well-reviewed novel but by far the best review was Kirstin and Alex deciding they wanted to make it into a film. I had actually always hoped it was going to be picked up as it was a theatrical story in my head. It has truths that translate. I was working in a record store when I wrote the novel and thoughts of escape involving large sums of money were always at the front of mind, as with anyone working in retail.”
“There was an article on the news about a kid who had leukemia and his small town had raised all this money for the operation and I jokingly thought at the time that if the kid had found out how much money it was, he would probably want to spend it on Lego. Then I thought about what I’d want to spend it on and that was the genesis.“