Spy: Kiwis starring in US high-school crime drama

Spy can reveal that Kiwis will star in teen crime drama One of Us is Lying, which was filmed over the past few months in Auckland and will debut on US streaming service Peacock in two weeks.

Executive producer Matt Groesch tells Spy that Juniper’s George Ferrier has a role in the series. He joins cast members Chibuikem Uche, who stars in Chris Pratt action flick The Tomorrow War, Barrett Carnahan and Annalisa Cochrane, from Cobra Kai, and Swamp Thing actress Melissa Collazo.

The series is based on the best-selling book of the same name. The story follow five kids who walk into detention — but only four come out alive.

“The four then become suspects in a murder investigation of the student who died, a sort of murder mystery version of The Breakfast Club,” says Groesch.

“Along the way, as secrets come out, our characters’ lives are turned upside down. It’s a fun ride full of twists and romance.”

The pilot was shot in 2020 but then Covid hit after the series got the green light.

“As the studio was figuring out how to go back to production safely and where would be a good match for the show creatively, New Zealand became the perfect fit,” says Groesch.

“This was my first time to New Zealand, and it far surpassed any expectation I had coming in. Being able to live there for six months only let us scratch the surface of seeing the country, but from what we were able to do, and the people we met, it has only made me want to come back more.”

Groesch says our east coast beaches were an incredible match for Southern California’s, and the talented crew and cast added in Godzone brought the series to life.

“The crew in NZ were absolutely phenomenal. From department heads to the stand-ins, there was such a collaboration and family atmosphere with everyone on set. The crew’s work ethic in NZ was second to none. No matter the weather, how late it was, or how early the call was, there was such an upbeat, friendly, can-do attitude that made the days better.”

Along with Ferrier, he says there were a number of great Kiwi actors who joined the cast including Antonia Prebble, Andi Crown, Jacque Drew, Aidee Walker, Erroll Shand, Sara Wiseman and Molly Leishman.

Having already filmed the pilot in the US, Groesch had to find ways of replicating the high school scenes already filmed in the US, in Auckland.

“We went all over Auckland, the North Shore, and even made it up to Waiwera. The school is made up of a few different locations in addition to the stage and what was established in the pilot. ASB Showgrounds and AUT Millennium were two places we used. We also shot at Rangitoto College for the rival school to Bayview High School.”

The American cast, producers, and directors all stayed around the central city and enjoyed hanging out at Britomart, Ponsonby and Parnell. When not shooting, Groesch and the cast enjoyed Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel, Te Henga walkway Muriwai, Ōmanawanui in the Waitākere ranges and Tawharanui near Warkworth, as getaways.

As for when Kiwi audiences can watch his show, Groesch says, nothing is confirmed just yet, but he is hoping the NZ home and premiere date can be announced soon.

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