She’s been billed as a hot young talent by entertainment insiders for her role in Kiwi film Good for Nothing, and dubbed a “lovely newcomer” by The Hollywood Reporter. But for Inge Rademeyer, the film has been a homegrown labour of love for her and her partner Mike Wallis.
The pair have been engaged for five years – almost the length of time it took to make their film – and even put their wedding plans on hold to see the production through.
“It’s like our baby, really,” says Inge (29), who stars in the film and has been nominated for Best Actress in the New Zealand Film Awards next month.
“We always said to friends and family we’ll get married after the film has finished and now they’re all going, ‘So what’s happening?’ Now we say, ‘Once we can afford a wedding, we’ll have one,’” she jokes.
The independently made film, which is out on DVD this month, is both Inge’s acting debut and Mike’s first time as a director and writer. Although working on the film was a new frontier for them, the pair’s relationship sprang from the magic of cinema. They met eight years ago and both worked at Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital.
Their first date was to the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and they had their first kiss under an elven tree at the after-party. “We were destined for movies I guess,” says Inge.
Good for Nothing has caught the eye of critics both in New Zealand – where it is nominated for seven New Zealand Film Awards – and in the homeland of Westerns, the US.
The film tells the story of a woman immigrating to the West who is kidnapped by a bandit (Cohen Holloway). Despite being shot in Otago, the “Pavlova Western” has received glowing praise from US critics, with one commenting, “I wish Americans remembered how to do Westerns like this.”
Though the film has turned out to be a success, Mike says he was apprehensive at first about directing Inge. “I was a little nervous about it but it was really cool,” says Mike (36). “Sometimes when cutting the film I’d be like, ‘Oh hang on, that’s my fiancée,’ but then you snap out of it and remember she’s an actress.”
Although Hollywood is calling, they hope to make films together in the future using New Zealand as their base. “Hollywood is really eccentric, it made us feel grounded in our Kiwi-ness,” says Mike. “We’d love to keep making movies in New Zealand.”