A page dedicated to the film Predicament. All the news articles, stories, pics and scoops will be found here

A film based on the novel Predicament by Ronald Hugh Morrieson. Wikipedia page - IMDb page

Directed by Jason Stutter - Wikipedia page - IMDb page
Producer Susan Rogers
Screenplay by Jason Stutter
Production company - Midnight Productions, Wellington

Filmed in and around Hawera and Eltham, South Taranaki, New Zealand in July - August 2009


Hayden Frost - Cedric Williamson

Heath Franklin - Mervyn Toebeck

Spook - Jemaine Clement

July 28 2009 - Ah it's now official

Jemaine Clement has been officially named as a cast member of the film Predicament. Nothing new to fans reading this site as I broke the news here weeks back. Still, good to have it finally confirmed and his role known. Jemaine has been cast as Spook with Cedric Williamson played by Hayden Frost, a Wellington theatre actor acting in his first movie. Australian comedian Heath Franklin is playing Mervyn Toebeck.

Apparently Jemaine wasn't available to press yesterday but the other lead actors from the film were. My guess to why this was so is that the makers and Jemaine possibly don't want to have this become all about Jemaine and the Conchords. Therefore keeping a lower profile so as to not draw too much attention. Of course, this is all guesswork on my part. Anyone knowing any different is welcome to email in and set things straight ;)

Press reports below. You can also view a clip over at 3News. Click here to view clip

Clement, Finn confirmed for 'Predicament' film - NZ Herald

Tim Finn and Jemaine Clement have both been confirmed for the film adaptation of Ronald Hugh Morrieson's Predicament.

The producers of Predicament, now filming in South Taranaki, today confirmed the roles of Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement and musician Tim Finn in the film.

Novel Productions said Clement would play the character of Spook and Finn would play Martin Williamson in the adaptation of Ronald Hugh Morrieson's novel of the same name.

The pair flew into New Plymouth a week ago amid speculation they had roles in the film, but Novel Productions refused to confirm their involvement at the time.

Newcomer Hayden Frost had been cast in the lead role of Cedric Williamson, with Australian comedian Heath Franklin playing Mervyn Toebeck and Rose McIver, who recently wrapped Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones, cast as Maybelle Zimmermann.

The crime comedy tells the story of Cedric, who conspires with misfits Mervyn and Spook to photograph and blackmail wealthy adulterous couples.

Author Morrieson lived in Hawera in South Taranaki until his death in 1972.

Predicament was published posthumously in 1975, and his other three novels, The Scarecrow, Pallet on the Floor and Came a Hot Friday, have all been adapted into feature films.

Filming would continue in Hawera and Eltham until the end of August, and the film would be released in New Zealand and Australia next year.

Jemaine Clement off limits on set - By Richard Woodd - Taranaki Daily News

Big-name star Jemaine Clement was kept strictly off-limits when the makers of Predicament lifted the lid on filming in Eltham.

But news media people were able to interview four other actors, including Tim Finn in his movie debut, along with the director Jason Stutter.

Clement (Flight of the Conchords) is going to be a key factor in selling the movie to United States and European audiences. He plays a dark, manipulative character called Spook and without his trademark black framed spectacles, is barely recognisable.

Stutter describes him as "one of the hottest young comedians in the world at present".

Predicament is a crime comedy set in the 1930s written by late Hawera author Ronald Hugh Morrieson, in which a naive teenager conspires with two misfits to photograph and blackmail wealthy adulterous couples.

The cast was named yesterday for the first time: In the lead role of teenager Cedric Williamson is Hayden Frost, a Wellington theatre actor doing his first movie. He's just finished a Wellington season in Arthur Miller's The Crucible and was unofficially nominated for The Downstage Award for Best Pash of 2008, in love scenes with Anna Pearson in RPM.

Australian comedian Heath Franklin who has just completed box office record-breaking tours of Australian and New Zealand with his Harden Up comedy show is Mervyn Toebeck, who teams up with Spook to lead Cedric astray.

Rose McIver, fresh from an acting role in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, is the lusted-after Maybelle Zimmerman.

Others are Peter Mochrie, Brook Williams, Edward Newborn, Chad Mills, Hadleigh Walker, Tina Grenville-Cagwin and Carmel McGlone.

The film is being produced by Sue Rogers for Midnight Films, with funding by the NZ Film Commission, NZ On Air, Fulcrum Media Finance and the South Taranaki District Council. It will be released in New Zealand and Australia next year by Rialto Distribution and internationally by NZ Film Sales.

The total budget is believed to be between $5 million and $6 million.

Yesterday was the biggest day of filming on the seven-week schedule, which winds up at the end of August. A total of 91 extras were on set, most of them locals. They included South Taranaki District Council staff and members of the Manaia Golf Club.

Many of the Bridge St shop frontages were transformed for the scene shooting, which went on until after dark.

Director Stutter says the movie will appeal to international audiences because its themes are universal.

"This film has strong themes people can relate to, like loneliness, friendship, anxiety about being accepted. It's a New Zealand story, set in New Zealand and it's not pretending to be American for instance.

"I hadn't heard of Morrieson before a friend loaned me the book. I read it in one sitting and couldn't believe it hadn't already been made into a movie. It started me on a five-year journey which has brought us here.

"Morrieson is such a clever writer. I found it weird that I'd heard of Katherine Mansfield in school but not him. Mansfield has her birthplace in Wellington but I think Morrieson's gets more visits plus it has a drive-through. [the site of Morrieson's Hawera home is a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet].

"We want to make a movie we hope he'd be proud of. We haven't changed the theme or tone, I love the dark humour and the incredible emotional journey running through it," Stutter said.

Split Enz founder Tim Finn plays Martin Williamson, Cedric's deranged father who builds a strange tower with scrap timber. He says the story has "dark undercurrents" and some not particularly wholesome things happening.

"But Hawera is not that different to my hometown of Te Awamutu so I can relate to those complexities of small town life," he said.

Ron Morrieson was a serious musician himself and Finn said he "would have fitted into Split Enz really well".

Hayden Frost describes his character Cedric as "in his awkward adolescent phase" where he hasn't quite figured out his place in the world.

"He's become an outcast by proxy and is still figuring out how to deal with people and how to live day to day," he said.

He is finding the experience of living in South Taranaki as "quite fantastic" just wandering around.

"People who knew Morrieson when he was alive have their stories to tell. Everyone knows everything because it's such a small community. From what I've heard he wasn't particularly well liked, he was very eccentric and frowned upon, a heavy drinker.

"He is looked back on reasonably fondly now though."

Heath Franklin, discussing his own character Mervyn Toebeck, said he sounds like an awful scoundrel, a complete deviant with no morals at all.

He summed up the movie in one sentence: "A boy named Cedric gets led astray, horrible things happen, there is closure." He said living in Hawera was amazing.

"This is such a beautiful part of the world. You wake in the morning, stagger out of the motel, see the mountain in the distance and go off for a bit of a drive somewhere among the cows."

Rose McIver (Maybelle Zimmerman) was surprised at the size of Hawera.

"It's much bigger than I was expecting. There are 50-odd places to eat and 20 hair salons. Everyone has been so hospitable. I'm really excited about the film. My character is not involved in too much of the dark and scary stuff, I have a really enjoyable role. There are some incredible undertones in the book."

Click on images for larger size

Jemaine Clement as Spook in the film PredicamentcJemaine Clement as Spook in the film Predicament

Jemaine Clement as Spook in the film Predicament cJemaine Clement as Spook in the film Predicament

MARK DWYER/Taranaki Daily News

July 20 2009 - Look who landed in New Plymouth. A bit secretly. Apparently.

Yes, Tim Finn! And some other guy. Called Jemaine. NZ Stuff reports via the Taranaki Daily News -

A Conchord flew into New Plymouth Airport yesterday, along with New Zealand music legend Tim Finn, amid secrecy.

Jemaine Clement, best known for being half of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, arrived at the airport on a flight from Auckland with New Zealand music legend Tim Finn.

The Taranaki Daily News understands the pair are in town for the filming of the Ronald Hugh Morrieson novel Predicament in South Taranaki.

Yesterday production company Novel Productions was remaining tightlipped about Clement and Finn's involvement. However, publicist Sue May said all would be revealed at a special on-set media day next week in Eltham.

Both are professional musicians, suggesting that director Jason Stutter might be planning to use them in a Morrieson-type dance band, in addition to acting roles. He has been talking to former musical associates of Morrieson.

However, we do know some council people have been roped in as extras: South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop is part of a bootlegging liquor gang and councillor Mike Powell a policeman. Communications manager Gerard Langford doesn't yet know his part. [Source]

Notice the spooky similarity? They could be twins!

Jemaine Clement and his new glasses landing in New Plymouth, New Zealandc Predicament

Yes, Jemaine appears to be sporting hair and glasses. As does the book. I'm guessing the glasses are for the film and he'll go back to his usual style once filming is done. That's dedication to art right there that is. Who knew Jemaine was a teeny tiny bit of a method actor.

June 30 2009 - Partay!

Following up on the news that this film has Jemaine attached to it (but no role confirmed as yet)

Party to kick off filming - By RICHARD WOOD - Taranaki Daily News 01/07/2009

There's so little public activity you'd hardly know a full-length feature film was being made in South Taranaki, but that's all about to change.

The South Taranaki District Council is laying on a welcome party next Friday for the 50-odd cast and crew of Midnight Productions, who are involved in the making of Predicament.

Invited guests will get a chance to meet the star (as yet unnamed but almost certainly Jemaine Clement, one half of the Flight of the Conchords), the director and screenplay writer Jason Stutter and producer Sue Rogers.

A new clue to the star's identity is the latest reprint of Ronald Hugh Morrieson's novel by Dunmore Publishing, which has a black-haired, black horn-rimmed spectacled chap on the cover that strongly suggests Clement in the lead role of Cedric Williamson.

Company publicist Sue May says everything is going according to schedule with filming starting in mid-July and running through to August, at unidentified locations through the district. However, they are urgently looking for more crew accommodation.

"We need good quality furnished houses in Hawera that are available to rent. This is because although the motels are very helpful, and we are using them, we seem to have booked out the whole town and we have more people still to accommodate," she says.

Anyone able to help should contact Gerald Langford, communications manager at the STDC.

Set building is in full swing in the old Warehouse building right in the centre of Hawera, but the windows have been covered over.

One thing that is known is the director has asked Taranaki Newspapers to print a 200-copy run of a special newspaper, called The Harperton Herald, so obviously something in the movie is going to make headlines.

The big unknown is: Whose house will be used to represent the Williamson family home?

Predicament New cover of book - click on image for full size

June 20 2009 - The press have picked up on the WTF! breaking story

And while we await official confirmation about Jemaine having a role in the soon to start filming Jason Stutter film, Predicament, the NZ press have picked up on the news and are reporting on it. Read more here So here is hoping that Jemaine is still attached to the film and Jason wasn't telling porkies in the interview with Indie Express.

June 4 2009 - New film with Jemaine on board? Starts shooting next month!

A WTF! first (at least I hope so). News just in about Jemaine's next project from a reliable source. A Jason Stutter directed film from the novel Predicament by Ronald Hugh Morrieson will be filmed in South Taranaki in July-August this year. It has a budget of NZ$ around $5 -$6 million and part funding from South Taranaki District Council and The NZ Film Commission. And the plot, as I am sure all the Jemaine fans are wondering is racy comedy crime caper, set in the mid-1930s. Read about the film here.

And if that leaves you asking how do I know Jemaine is attached to this film? Well there is this interview with Jason Stutter where he says

IE: What is next for you?

Jason: We're currently putting together the finance to shoot a comedy-crime-caper feature film, which has Jemaine Clement from HBO's Flight of the Conchords attached. The New Zealand Film Commission have also funded the writing of a couple of my feature treatments.

Read the interview with Jason Stutter here

So yeah, you Jemaine fans have something to talk about again ;) Many thanks to The Spook for the scoop.

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