Northspur director pays homage to ‘incredibly funny’ and gaming Marshall Napier
Aaron Falvey and Marshall Napier formed a strong bond on the set of Northspur while filming in Marlborough.
Blenheim filmmaker Aaron Falvey has paid tribute to the “kind and gentle” Kiwi, stalwart actor Marshall Napier, who died in Australia over the weekend.
The Wellington-born actor and playwright, who performed on stage and screen in Australia and New Zealand, died of brain cancer aged 70.
Napier, who lived in Australia but occasionally returned to ply his trade in New Zealand, stars in Falvey’s soon-to-be-released feature debut Northspur.
The film was shot all over Marlborough, and it was to be Napier’s last film appearance before falling ill shortly after filming wrapped.
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Falvey said he felt a little intimidated before meeting Napier for the first time given the actor’s long list of references and his relative lack of experience in the film business, but that he quickly put at ease by the man’s personality.
“I guess when you’re about to work on your first feature film, and you look at somebody’s credentials, and they’ve done a hundred films and productions, you kind of have the feel like you have to be at a certain level.
“I feel like I almost judged him on some of his performances that I’ve seen and some of the characters that he’s played in the past.
“I always remembered him when he was playing Harry Ryan on McLeod’s Daughters for years, he was like the grumpy old dad, and I was like, ‘Oh no! What if he was like that in real life? ?
“But, he’s a great guy, down to earth and his sense of humor was incredibly funny, he had a really dry sense of humor, he made us laugh on set,” Falvey said. .
Falvey said Napier bonded closely with the rest of the cast and crew on the Marlborough set, especially his young co-stars.
“From that first conversation I had with Marshall, it was pretty clear that he was a very nice, sweet person.
“He took young actors under his wing. He worked very closely with Josh McKenzie who plays Kellan, and also Rama Marrow who plays the young boy Robbie, he was really, really good with them,” he said.
Falvey said that despite Napier’s age, there were few things that would slow him down on set.
“One memory that solidified his professionalism was his first day on set. In the morning he was supposed to do a fight scene, but I got a call that he urgently needed his tooth fixed because he needed a root canal.
“So he came on set, did a quick rehearsal, then went to the dentist, got a root canal, and came back on set, played his part and did a scene. fight where he got punched in the face like a true professional.
“You wouldn’t expect anyone to come back on set after a day like that. So for him to come back and throw himself on set… And that was another unique thing about him. We We had a one-two, but he actually did a lot of his stunts himself. So yeah, he threw himself quite a bit for a 68-year-old. He was pretty impressive,” Falvey said.
Falvey said cast and crew members will pay their respects to Napier at the world premiere of Northspur, which will be held at Blenheim’s Event Cinema on September 1, 2022.