Topic: Entertainment

Hollywood heavyweight Robert Redford intrigued by Māori culture in the art of film making

updated By Mere McLean
Hollywood Superstar Robert Redford

Local Māori of Rotorua have kept the Hollywood star under wraps, but Te Kāea reporter Mere Mclean was able to get up close and personal with the Hollywood film legend today. 

Robert Redford, one of the most influential figures in the film industry was treated to a Māori cultural experience last night at Ohinemutu by Te Miro Miro cultural group where he experienced wero and karanga finishing the night off with waiata and a hākari. 

Mr Redford, wants to know how he can play a part in connecting the Māori culture and the Navajo people.  He believes that having an indigenous voice in film and documentary making is important and also believes that indigenous languages have a role in this industry, however subtitles are a must. 

The 78-year-old Oscar winner will play one of the lead characters in the remake of the 1977 Disney Classic, Pete’s Dragon which is currently being filmed in New Zealand.  The movie tells the story of the bond between an orphaned boy, Pete and his best friend Elliott, a dragon.  Redford will join Kiwi actor and Lord of The Rings star Karl Urban and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Redford's biggest Broadway success was Barefoot in the Park.  He made his film debut in War Hunt and Inside Daisy Clover won him a Golden Globe.  It was George Roy Hill and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid that made him a major star.  The biggest hit of his career was his part in ‘The Sting’ for which he was also nominated for an Oscar.  The popular and acclaimed ‘All the Presidents Men’ was a landmark film for Redford.  He is also an acclaimed Academy Award winning director and founder of the Sundance Film Festival.

His message to the New Zealand community of film and documentaries is “keep doing what you’re doing.”

“Hollywood as a movie industry has shrunk it’s not the same as it was many years ago.  All movies were Hollywood but now that’s broken apart in the last years with the internet, with cable and with other forms of distribution.”

The production has already finished shooting in and around Wellington, after Rotorua they plan to venture to Te Waipounamu for filming in Tapanui and Invercargill.

The film is scheduled to be released in August 2016.

For more on this story tune in to Te Kāea at 5:30pm and Native Affairs will screen an extended interview with the superstar tonight at 8:30pm on Māori Television.