New Zealand’s most famous vintage steam train featured on the big screen last night (Thursday May 24) when the country’s first western movie premiered at Queenstown’s Reading Cinema.
The Kingston Flyer steam train features extensively in opening scenes of ‘Good for Nothing’, a movie that is fast achieving cult status and was filmed in Central Otago and other areas of the South Island in 2008.
Train owner David Bryce was among the Queenstown audience and said his locomotive looked “pretty amazing” up on the screen.
“Hearing the sounds of the train echo around the movie theatre gave me chills, it was amazing to see her look so good in what was clearly the perfect setting for the movie,” he said.
“It’s hard to believe that this is the first Western to be made in New Zealand, especially with the Kingston Flyer as the perfect prop.”
Mr Bryce bought The Kingston Flyer and revived it from its abandoned state twelve months ago. For the previous two years it had sat on its rails until Mr Bryce ‘stepped up to the plate’ to buy it off Trade Me and save it from overseas ownership and an uncertain future.
‘Good for Nothing’ film director Mike Wallis said The Kingston Flyer had a “sweeping romance” about it.
“The way the train chugs through that wonderful stretch of land transports you to another time and place in such a magical way, it's timeless,” he said.
"A while after filming 'Good for Nothing' we heard The Kingston Flyer was closing down, which would have been a massive loss to the area and the film industry.
“When we heard David was stepping in with his inspiring 'can do' Kiwi spirit it was a real thrill. I look forward to The Kingston Flyer chugging its way into the future."
Lead actress Inge Rademeyer said she had extremely fond memories of The Kingston Flyer when they were filming.
“It’s amazing that we have such an iconic historical train in New Zealand that can be experienced today,” she said. “I think The Kingston Flyer is a fantastic part of the landscape and atmosphere of Southland and Otago.
“It would have been a real pity to lose such an important piece of history, not just for the film industry, but for all the visitors, especially the kids, who get so much enjoyment out of it. Our lead actor Cohen's son Cruz, who is just three years old, loves the movie his dad’s in because of the train. He collects all the press clippings of The Kingston Flyer.”
Mr Bryce said it was fantastic to meet Mr Wallis and Ms Rademeyer in person and see that they were equally as passionate about the “old girl” as he was.
“The appeal of the magnificent Kingston Flyer is universal,” he said. “It meant a lot to me to meet the creators of the movie, because they’re such a fantastic advocate of Central Otago and of course my train.
“I wish them all the very best and hope one day they’ll come back to make another movie using the locomotive.”
The Kingston Flyer is operating private charters and special events until the 2012/2013 season recommences on September 29 2012 with two trips a day. It will ‘steam up’ for various private charters during winter and will host its first ever Queenstown Winter Festival event, the Kingston Flyer Steam Powered Party, on July 1.