Following their defence of the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday night, All Blacks, Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, together with team-mate Anthony Boric, faced their next challenge, filming scenes for Shortland Street yesterday.
The drama debut for the star players is timed to screen on the popular drama series for September 9, opening night of the Rugby World Cup.
Filmed in West Auckland at South Pacific Pictures, the script sees the team making a stop to the fictional hospital on their way to the first All Black match against Tonga at Eden Park.
“It’s the meeting of some of the most identifiable faces in New Zealand from sport and television,” says Shortland Street producer Steven Zanoski. “The excitement from the cast at having the All Blacks in studio has been fantastic. It was great to see them star-struck.”
Zanoski says the Rugby World Cup couldn’t go unacknowledged by the show, which seeks to replicate real life in New Zealand.
“It’s the most widely anticipated television event of the year, in addition to being of international importance in the sporting world,” says Zanoski. “The Rugby World Cup is likely to see a record number of viewers glued to their screens. It’s Shortland Street’s aim to provide an entertaining nod to the event in the lead up to the game – and show our support of the All Blacks in the Cup.”
So determined is the production to tie-in with the real-life sporting fixture that they will be filming scenes in which characters react to games the day after they have played. Scenes shot the morning after a match will be seamlessly integrated into the on-screen action that very same night.
“It means leaving gaps in the show that will be filled on the day,” explains Zanoski. “It’s nerve-wracking. Everyone must be at the top of their game in terms of continuity and preparedness.”
While a margin for error remains, the production team is confident that they have covered all bases – for now. Zanoski is more concerned what happens when it comes to the final.
“It’s great for the country that it falls on Labour Weekend with Monday being a holiday but it means we aren’t shooting on the day with our next episode screening at night. What happens when New Zealand wins the Cup? Shortland Street has to acknowledge that.”
Anticipating an All Black victory, Zanoski assures that there is a plan to celebrate on the show.
“I’ll be calling in some big favours from cast and crew on the day.”
The Shortland Street/Rugby World Cup tie-in commences with the episode starring Mealamu, Kaino and Boric, screening Friday, September 9.