Opinion: Chance to spot the stars in Wānaka

Wānaka Sun editor Marjorie Cook. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Wānaka Sun editor Marjorie Cook. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Has anyone seen a movie star in a Wanaka supermarket lately?

I only ask because my Dunedin-based colleagues are hungry for news of Amy Adams, Taika Waititi or anyone else possibly connected with a film production apparently under way at the Silverlight Studios site near Wānaka Airport.

I try not to go to the supermarket too often though, because the price of food is all a bit depressing.

When I popped down to the shops this week, there was no evidence of Amy or Taika that I could see. (There was also little evidence of food too, but it was the day after Challenge Wānaka and all those triathletes must have been really hungry.)

But, my star-spotting radar has never been that great. When pop-country star Shania Twain used to come to town, I was always in the wrong place.

Once I discovered I was within cooee, just an aisle over at Mitre 10, but I was still completely unable to identify her. However, everyone else could see Shania and some supermarket workers even got her autograph.

I also missed comedian Billy Connolly (once rumoured to stay at the Lakeside Apartments), actor Tom Cruise (once rumoured to have taken a real estate tour or flown a helicopter here or near here) and Prince Harry (he actually was at Wānaka Airport but I was sick that day so  someone kindly emailed me a photo).

Actor Reese Witherspoon also proved elusive, although her photo is still  on Ritual Cafe’s wall, showing her cosying up to cafe owners Chris Hadfield and Paul Tregea.

And did anyone see Oprah Winfrey? I heard perhaps she stayed at Shania’s place.

According to Film Queenstown Lakes website, our district is a highly sought-after location for film-makers.  

It is the third largest production hub in New Zealand, with stunning natural landscapes complemented by an experienced pool of local crew, equipment providers and film support services, the website says.  

Other international productions that have been shot here include Mission Impossible: Fallout and The Hobbit Trilogy.

The district is also a popular location for international television commercials.

It’s been six years since Witherspoon and Winfrey were here for the filming of A Wrinkle in Time at Lake Hawea.

Silverlight Studios could bring back that curious buzz, give locals more reasons to go shopping, sprinkle a little star dust around local cafes, create new opportunities to experience Wānaka through the magic of moviemaking.

Go well, Taika et al. Get in touch, if you want. My office is just over the road from the supermarket on Brownston St.