The Convert: Guy Pearce in trailer for new historical drama

Pearce describes The Convert, a film about pre-colonial New Zealand, as 'realistic and profound'.

Kismet Films has just released a trailer for its new, Guy Pearce-starring historical drama The Convert.

The Convert is set during pre-colonial New Zealand, with Guy Pearce (Memento, Animal Kingdom) as a lay preacher who arrives at the then-British settlement during the 1830s. His violent past is soon drawn into question and his mission put to the test as he finds himself caught in the middle of a generational blood feud between Māori tribes. 

Watch the trailer below:

‘I thought the script was immediately poignant and realistic and quite profound,’ said Pearce of the film. ‘And knowing that Lee was going to be making this, I just knew that there was a tenderness and an intelligence to it that perhaps others wouldn’t bring.’

The cast also includes Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, We Are Still Here), who was named a ‘Rising Star’ at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Jacqueline McKenzie (Savage River, Pokerface, ), Antonio Te Maioha (Waru), Lawrence Makoare (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), and Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit trilogy).

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‘The film gives us an opportunity to see Māori as they were before the influence of Europeans changed their lives forever. Agriculture, clothing, weaponry, transport, and most important of all their relationship with the land, waterways, and sea,’ said director Lee Tamahori . ‘This is a film where the European community exists in the Māori world on Māori terms.’

Kismet will distribute The Convert theatrically in Australia and New Zealand, with Mister Smith Entertainment handling international sales.

The Convert is an official New Zealand/Australia co-production made with funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Government’s Te Puna Kairangi Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund, MBK Productions, and with the support of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Rebate, the Australian Producer Offset program, and the New South Wales Post Digital and Visual Effects rebate, facilitated by Fulcrum Media Finance. 

The film is a presentation of MBK Productions in association with Mister Smith Entertainment and The New Zealand Film Commission. The film is a production of Jump Film & Television together with Brouhaha Entertainment.

The Convert opens in Australian cinemas in 2024.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports