By CNN Staff • Updated 5th August 2018
Academy Award-nominated actor Alec Baldwin’s new directorial debut “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople” was shrouded in secrecy, at least from the outside.
But co-star Sam Neill, speaking to the New Zealand Herald newspaper , has provided some insight into what it was like working on the film, debuting worldwide Aug. 4.
“We had a director, then a rewrite, then a rewrite, and then I found out we were doing a film with Alec,” said Neill, noting Baldwin’s choice of a Hawaiian nickname.
“It’s called Rust — it’s what he called me,” Neill said. “He said, ‘Tell me what Rust does.’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Well, I know,’ he said, ‘it’s a weird kind of family tree. And the Native Hawaiians have a guy called Rust who gets into arguments with his grandfather. Rust’s brother has a kid who has some issues with his grandmother.’”
Film credits reveal co-stars believed to be Michael Palin, Rosemary Harris and Christopher Guest.
Neill said he had no idea about the huge event Baldwin was about to get into.
“The reason I found out we were shooting this film was because Alec said, ‘Is there anyone you’re going to recommend as a gun-safety trainer?’ I said, ‘That would be great.’ And he said, ‘Eh, I’m not sure.’ So I’m not sure because I don’t think he was shooting with someone that good,” Neill said.
The movie was originally set for shooting in the South Pacific, but several months into the shoot, Baldwin and co-stars Jackson Gallagher and Ruka Rona moved the filming to New Zealand for budgetary reasons.
Neill, for one, said he loved it.
“It’s actually been terrific,” he said. “I guess in general I find New Zealand to be the most open, creative place I’ve been.”
Baldwin, who plays an overly opinionated hunter in the film, is “self-conscious about his body of work,” said Neill. “He’s never walked down a movie set in New Zealand and said, ‘I’ve just directed the greatest film of all time.’ He’d go, ‘I’m trying.’”
CNN left messages with the publicist for “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople” at Baldwin’s request, but we did not hear back.