City of Changeover, part 2


Glen Walker visited The Changeover shortly before it wrapped in Christchurch, and talked with producer Emma Slade and co-director Miranda Harcourt.

Part one of this article is here.

Tell us a bit about your decisions in casting.
Emma Slade:
We looked at having an international star (for the role of Laura) but there’s only a handful. They’re booked years in advance and top agents actually said, ‘Do you want to look at attracting them or try and discover someone?’

Fortunately, Stu and Miranda had their eyes on Erana for a long time. She’s beautiful and did a great job with the tone reel but in the year and a half since we shot that down here she’s taken it to a whole new level. And for someone at this stage to be holding her own against Melanie Lynskey and Timothy Spall… she’s coped remarkably well and her performances have been outstanding.

Miranda Harcourt: We have an actor from the UK, Nicholas Galitzine. He’s very sexy but also a deep thinker. The relationship between him and Erana is really fantastic and they’ve answered it beyond our wildest dreams – what they bring to it is really magical and I feel confident that the romance element of the film is really well explored.

We’re really lucky to have Timothy Spall because he appeals to audiences both old and young – like Maggie Smith because of their Harry Potter association. Kids know him as Wormtail but adults know him for Secrets and Lies and Mr Turner and art house films so he spans different demographics.

Emma: I’m a huge fan of Timothy Spall and his acting. Having him here in NZ working with this team and an up-and-coming actress is just elevating, such a huge buzz.

Miranda and Stu already had a relationship with Melanie. Miranda had been part of the process of finding Melanie for Heavenly Creatures and Melanie was keen to work with Miranda in some capacity. Plus, they’re friends with Lucy Lawless so they had connections there. With Miranda’s work as an acting coach lots of pieces fell into place.

What have been the pros and cons of shooting it all on location?
It’s been a very organic shoot because the actors and crew can respond completely to real environments. Our perspective all along has been that it should be a very naturalistic film.

Axel Paton is our 1st AD. He’s very experienced, kept it on schedule and all in a very good-humoured way. The way Axel and Emma have pulled together the crew has been really great. Lots of newer crew and assistants who have been lead by the experienced HODs who really know their shit. They’ve all been on sets a lot.

Everyone knows that we’re lucky because everyone’s been on sets where it hasn’t been so pleasant, working relationships have not been so easy so I think people have really valued it and gone ‘Wow, this is a really lovely shoot’ with a product that I think everyone believes in.

Creating the look of the film while shooting on location hasn’t been too challenging?
Production Designer Iain Aitkin has been a godsend from heaven – he’s so experienced and has amazing taste but he also knows how to get difficult things done in a very short period of time. He is one example of how lucky we’ve been with getting very experienced crew to come do this and answer the challenges. Every day we watch the rushes and say, ‘Wow, awesome.’ We feel like we’re really achieving what we set out to do.

Quite a lot of the effects we’ve been able to do in-camera which is quite nice for this style of film and our cinematographer Andrew Stroud is amazing. We’ve been in love with him for a very long time, probably five years since he made a beautiful short film called Ellen Is Leaving. We’re very lucky to have him on board – it’s his first feature, he comes from the world of commercials, but he has a wonderful aesthetic.

Emma: Cinematographer Andrew Stroud is a genius, and in years to come is going to be recognised as a huge talent. We’re very lucky to have him at this stage. We’ve been very lucky all round, really.

It’s been a fun shoot to work on. We’ve been able to get great people in the key roles and lots of newer people getting experience coming through the system working for them. We’ve got people who have come off huge films; Ghost in the Shell and The Hobbit and the like but they also love the small jobs, they have lots of soul.

The ChangeoverPhoto: Dean Mackenzie

The Changeover
Photo: Dean Mackenzie


  1. Where is Lucy Lawless in this write up? She is a major NZ luminary!!!!!

    Patricia saunders 4 years ago Reply