Lynskey, Malcolm to star in Pike River Mine movie

A still image released by the producers of Melanie Lynskey playing Anna Osborne, left, with Robyn...
A still image released by the producers of Melanie Lynskey playing Anna Osborne, left, with Robyn Malcolm as Sonya Rockhouse. Photo: supplied/Matt Grace
Three-time Emmy nominee Melanie Lynskey and Robyn Malcolm will star in a film about the Pike River mine tragedy opening in cinemas later this year.

Producers of the Robert Sarkies-directed movie have released a first glimpse of the film, with a photo of Lynskey and Malcolm playing Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse.

Both women lost men in the 2010 explosion and have become prominent in the families' fight for justice.

Written by Fiona Samuels, the film is being shot in Greymouth, Wellington and Auckland, with some family members of the 29 men who died featuring as extras.

Lucy Lawless plays unionist Helen Kelly in the movie, along with Tim Gordon as Pike Family Committee spokesperson Bernie Monk.

Sarkies said the film captured the community impact of one of the worst mining disasters in New Zealand's history.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to have actors of Melanie and Robyn's calibre in the film," he said.

"Their outstanding performances will remind audiences everywhere of the human cost of these kind of events, as well as the importance of fighting for what you believe is right.

"Our entire cast and crew were inspired by the courage of the Pike River families and have worked so hard to do their story justice."

Pike River includes a cast of more than 40 New Zealand actors who depict miners, Pike families and the wider West Coast community.

Anna Osborne lost her husband, Milton, in the mine, while Sonya Rockhouse's 21-year-old son, Ben, died in the disaster.

The men's bodies were never recovered but Pike River families have successfully pushed for re-entry to the mine.

Police announced in September 2022 they were reopening the coal mine borehole drilling operation as part of the criminal investigation into the explosion.

Last June they said imaging showed the remains of two or possibly three miners in the crib room area, although they were not able to identify them.

The discovery meant the remains of up to 12 of the 29 men had been found.

The film has been made in association with the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air, Three, the New Zealand Screen Production Grant and Park Road Post Production.