Edmund Hillary drama now shooting

05 February, 2015 by Press Release

Andrew Munro (The Kick), Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit) and Amy Usherwood (Shortland Street) headline the cast of TVNZ's landmark drama Hillary – the story of Sir Edmund Hillary’s life.

Over six one-hour episodes, the series explores the life of the legendary mountaineer, from his lonely childhood, to the man he became – Hillary the climber – a man that conquered Mt Everest, a man loved by a nation.


TVNZ Commissioner of Drama, Tina McLaren says: “Sir Edmund Hillary was New Zealand’s greatest adventurer, a compassionate philanthropist and a man who had an extraordinary life, full of incredible highs and heartbreaking lows. To produce a landmark drama of this nature, based on his life, is an absolute privilege.

“TV ONE is the home for compelling New Zealand stories and we’re thrilled to be bringing this television event to audiences in 2016. Creator and writer Tom Scott was a great friend of Ed’s, so we are in a position of total privilege when it comes to revealing some of his most secret and personal moments.

"With Tom’s spectacular scripts, a stellar cast of actors and one of the country’s most talented production teams, there’s no doubt Hillary will be an outstanding production.”

Munro plays Hillary, a man battered and burned by war. But with his life-long climbing companion, George Lowe (O’Gorman) and his future wife (Usherwood) by his side, Hillary embarks on a life full of epic adventures.

An all-star ensemble cast of local Kiwi actors also bring the story to life, featuring Alison Bruce (Top of the Lake), Stephen Lovatt (The Kick, Arcadia), Joel Tobeck (Interrogation, Eagle vs Shark, 30 seconds), Jared Turner (The Last Saint, Go Girls), Ryan O’Kane (Housebound), Peter Daube (What Really Happened), Mick Rose (Tangiwai) and Darren Young (Siege).

Hillary has been created and written by Tom Scott and is based on the story told by Sir Edmund exclusively to Scott for his biography.

Executive Producer of Great Southern Television, Philip Smith says: "Sir Edmund shared a very special relationship with Tom Scott and gifted him thousands of hours of interviews allowing Tom to write the most definitive and thrilling drama on a truly great New Zealand hero. This is about the man – not the mountain – allowing us to understand Sir Edmund and his deepest inner workings, all wrapped around a life packed full of extraordinary adventure and adversity. It is an honour and privilege to make the series, but also a huge responsibility."

Tom Scott added: “I often told Ed that if he’d climbed a sandhill at Foxton his life story would have been made much earlier. This project is a huge undertaking for an extraordinarily talented and dedicated team of people who accept completely what Sir Edmund used to say, “Aim high. There is little virtue in easy victory."

Filming throughout New Zealand and Nepal, Hillary commenced shooting last week and will screen on TV ONE in 2016.

The series is executive produced by Phil Smith and Tom Scott, produced by Carmen Leonard and directed by Danny Mulheron for Great Southern Television. Tina McLaren is the commissioner for Drama and Comedy at TVNZ. The production was funded by New Zealand on Air Platinum Fund.