Ward returns to ride ‘River’

Helmer was dumped in late October

AUCKLAND — Writer-director Vincent Ward is back at the helm of his historical drama “River Queen,” directing post-production in London, producers announced Friday.

Ward was dumped from the shoot in late October at the insistence of completion guarantors. Lensing had been dogged by delays caused by illness, bad weather and reported tension between the director and star Samantha Morton.

But co-producer Don Reynolds said he was delighted to be “moving to the next phase of production with Vincent firmly at the helm.”

The Anglo-Kiwi co-production, which also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Stephen Rea and local names Cliff Curtis and Temuera Morrison, is the story of a young woman’s search for her kidnapped son during the height of the wars between the colonial troops and the Maori in New Zealand. It is due for completion at the end of March.

Ward is upbeat about the edit of footage shot with d.p. Alun Bollinger in the director’s chair.

“It’s going really well,” he said. “We’ve got haunting visuals, and the entire cast have acted their socks off.”

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