Shortland Street actor SOLE KJ Apa has landed a lead role in an upcoming Hollywood film!
KJ, short for Keneti James will be starring alongside Hollywood actors Dennis Quaid and Britt Robertson in a film called ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ – an adaptation of W. Bruce Cameron’s book of the same name. The film is to be produced by movie giant Dreamworks.
The teenager’s luck in the U.S has come a lot quicker than many New Zealand actors. But that’s no surprise considering his Samoan/Kiwi good looks, youthfulness and talent.
Samoan bloggers have even picked him to play the lead role of ‘Daniel’ in author Lani Wendt Young’s ‘Telesa’ movie which received development funding from the NZ Film Commission early this year.
His Auckland agent, Mandy Jacobsen from Red 11 said she travelled with KJ to the U.S last month and introduced him to the major agents there.
“They all came crawling wanting to sign him,” she says.
With his American accent down pat, Apa (whose father hails from Moata’a) left for Canada yesterday to begin filming.
Rachel Roberts, a senior consultant for an acting networking company ‘Industry Hollywood’ based in Los Angeles says that recently there has been more interest from young new Polynesian actors in ‘Pilot Season.’
Each summer, the major American broadcast television networks including ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC receive about 500 brief elevator pitches and pilots for new shows from writers and producers. This is the best chance for new actors to find agents and work.
“We’re really excited about some of them and really interested in this Polynesian talent from down under and want to know more,” she says. “It’s like they are this unique new commodity that is rare in Hollywood.”
And it seems the idea of Polynesians being type-cast in roles is a thing of the past, with actors like SOLE The Rock Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Cliff Curtis and Manu Bennett regularly being cast in lead and core cast roles.
But Ms Jacobsen says it is work ethic that is most important.
“We have an exciting announcement coming soon about a Polynesian actor from New Zealand,” she says. “But at the end of the day, it’s all on the individual and how much they are prepared to work and how determined they are.”