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Robert Sarkies, director of Scarfies and Out of the Blue, has started work on Two Little Boys, which will be shot in Invercargill and the Catlins next month.
The film is based on brother Duncan's novel of the same name, which is the story of best friends Nige and Deano, of Dunedin, whose relationship hits a rocky patch on a road trip to Invercargill.
The novel started life three years ago as a screenplay, but after it was shown to publisher Penguin, it became a book in 2008.
However, Robert Sarkies decided to reverse the road trip for the film, basing the characters in Invercargill and having them drive to the Catlins.
"Because we've had so much support from Invercargill, we've decided to relocate," he said.
He insisted the decision was not about barriers, merely support, with Invercargill keen to recreate the experience it had with the The World's Fastest Indian.
"We did really want to shoot it in Dunedin, but when we talked to both Dunedin and Invercargill, Invercargill made it easy for us to shoot there."
But his fondness for Dunedin remained: "I'll be back".
The opportunity to film in the Catlins was also exciting, as the area was "completely unexplored" in feature film, and was full of childhood memories.
"It's one of the gems of the country and we are looking forward to putting it on the big screen," he said.
Backing from the region had been great, with those in the Owaka community "embracing" the film.
Aside from support, Sarkies believed the characters were better suited to Invercargill.
"The film should find the place and they should be a good match."
Bret McKenzie, of The Flight of the Conchords, and Hamish Blake, of Australian comedy duo Hamish and Andy, have been cast as Nige and Deano.
Sarkies said they "totally suit the roles" and "can't help but be funny".
"The character I play accidentally runs over a Scandinavian backpacker and then it's about him and his friend trying to get rid of the body," McKenzie said, and described Two Little Boys as a dark comedy.
He had been looking at local and international scripts since the Conchords, and said this one was the best script he had seen in two years.
"I think Kiwis will like it just because it's about New Zealanders. Anyone who has had a friend will like this movie, and if they haven't had a friend, they will be interested to see what it's like having a friend."
Pre-production for the film started two weeks ago, with filming to start next month and take seven weeks.
- Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald