The real Louise Nicholas has met her actress double on a Kaitoke film set.
Producer Steven O’Meagher and director Robert Sarkies are putting together a film depicting the saga of Nicholas’ rape allegations against several policemen in the Bay of Plenty.
Before Nicholas called in to the set north of Upper Hutt on Sunday, she told The Dominion Post she had built up a lovely connection with her double, actress Michelle Blundell, who has previously appeared on Shortland Street.
“I just told her to do what comes naturally to her,” Nicholas said.
“I don’t know much about acting . . . I just felt a really lovely connection with her and said to her you know what to do.”
O’Meagher and Sarkies expect to have their two-hour film for TVNZ – which does not yet have a name – completed by the middle of this year, after receiving a $2.6 million grant from NZ On Air.
O’Meagher said viewers should expect a frank portrayal from Blundell. He also believed the film would help answer many questions about the difficulties Nicholas faced.
“We have a cast of phenomenally brave actors and actresses who have been inspired by Louise Nicholas’ life.
“It reveals many unanswered questions the public may have. It introduces new information and it provides greater insight into why the real Louise Nicholas was so driven to have her name cleared.”
In 1993, Nicholas complained she had been raped by four police officers. After three trials and a retrial in 2006, all four men were acquitted.
O’Meagher said he and Sarkies had received the support of police in telling the story.
“The film is not anti-police, but there will be some serving officers [at the time] for whom this will be an uncomfortable story.”
Kelson Henderson plays Dominion Post journalist Phil Kitchin, who broke the Louise Nicholas story.
All the dialogue has been referenced to documents in the public domain, court transcripts and first-hand interviews.
“Most people, faced with the obstacles Louise Nicholas encountered, would have quite understandably given up,” said O’Meagher.
“Her perseverance . . . is the driving force of this story. That is what is going to surprise and shock people.
“It is a story about abuse of power and broken trust. It is a story about the defiance of the human spirit.”