Guy Pearce is to play the lead in epic action feature The Convert from Die Another Day director Lee Tamahori.
Mister Smith Entertainment will launch global sales at Cannes later this month on the feature, which is set in early 19th century New Zealand and kicks off principal photography in September.
The King’s Speech and Mare of Easttown star Pearce will play Thomas Munro, a lay preacher who arrives at a British settlement in 1830s New Zealand. His violent past is soon drawn into question and his faith put to the test, as he finds himself caught in the middle of a bloody war between Māori tribes.
Tamahori said it has been “20 years since Guy Pearce and I talked about working together.”
He added: “Guy is a brilliant actor and to have him onboard will allow me to sleep easy at night, for I know he will inhabit the character of Munro in ways I cannot foresee and bring to life The Convert, my period drama about early contact between Europeans and Maori, when European settlers were outnumbered by several hundred to one and Māori had just acquired muskets.”
Tamahori and co-writer Shane Danielsen’s script originates from a story by Michael Bennet. The producers are Robin Scholes (Once were Warriors), Māori producer and actor Te Kohe Tuhaka, Andrew Mason (Saving Mr. Banks) and Troy Lum (The Water Diviner). The Convert is an official New Zealand Australia co-production, between Auckland based Jump Film & Television and Sydney based Brouhaha Entertainment. Film financing has been offered by the New Zealand Film Commission and the New Zealand Premium Production Fund.
Pearce is represented by CAA, Independent Talent Group, Shanahan Management, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.