The sight of a vintage car in Oamaru’s Harbour St is not unusual – unless it is being driven by a Hollywood star.
That was the case on Wednesday as actress Kirsten Dunst was behind the wheel in the North Otago town’s Victorian precinct while filming a scene for Netflix production The Power of the Dog, directed by New Zealand’s Jane Campion.
Dunst and her fiance, Jesse Plemons, who is also part of the cast, dined at Cucina restaurant on Tuesday night at a table with a view of lower Thames St.
Cucina co-owner Yanina Tacchini said it was “awesome” to have the couple enjoy their fare, which they rated among the best they had eaten since arriving in New Zealand.
“They were very laid back, had a great meal and were very relaxed. They came up to the bar just like normal people.
“They said it was one of the best meals they have had in New Zealand. It was pretty cool. They were also really interested about us and how we came to be in Oamaru.
“They were amazed by the architecture of Oamaru and were going to see the penguins.”
She said Dunst’s mother looked after the couple’s young son while they enjoyed the night out.
Dunst and Plemons also visited Steampunk HQ while they were in Oamaru.
The Power of the Dog also stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who was not in Oamaru for the filming.
Dunst, who plays a character named Rose, did a couple of laps of Harbour and Tyne Sts alongside actor Kodi Smit-McPhee in the vehicle as it was towed behind another vehicle mounted with a camera.
After the scene was filmed she chatted briefly with Campion and another crew member, before being shuttled away in a 4WD.
Extras dressed in period costume, including several local residents, could be seen around the precinct for most of Wednesday.
Sand and gravel was spread along sections of Tyne and Harbour Sts and the Criterion Hotel was renamed Emerton Hotel for the filming.
The film’s publicist, Tracey Mair, of Australian-based Tracey Mair Publicity, declined to comment specifically on Wednesday’s shoot, but said filming in other South Island locations, including Maniototo and Alexandra, had been “fantastic” and she expected Oamaru to be no different.
The Power of the Dog is scheduled for release in 2021.