'Spooky' overtones in Kennedy murder movie
By KATHERINE HOBY - New Zealand Herold
A movie of how a Kennedy cousin murdered his 15-year-old neighbour nearly three decades ago has been filmed in Auckland - finishing the same day the actual case was concluded in the United States.
Murder in Greenwich, a made-for-television movie, was filmed over a month in locations - including the former Kerridge homestead and grounds in Glendowie - by Film Factory Greenwich Productions, in Henderson.
Filming finished on Friday, the same day Michael Skakel - nephew of Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late Robert F. Kennedy - was jailed for 20 years to life for the 1975 slaying of Martha Moxley.
He was convicted of the murder three months ago, but has always denied the charge.
Martha Moxley's body was found on the lawn of her parents' home, bludgeoned with a golf club that investigators matched to a set belonging to Skakel's late mother.
New Zealand actress Theresa Healey is one of about 40 locals who had parts in the movie, and says it was "spooky" the filming finished the same day Skakel was jailed.
Special Victims Unit and Oz actor Christopher Meloni has the lead role, that of Detective Mark Fuhrman, who wrote the book the movie is based on.
The film characters are based on real people, who have had their names changed.
Fuhrman is a former Los Angeles police detective turned author who was one of the most controversial figures in the 1995 murder trial of O. J. Simpson.
The other five lead roles were filled by American actors, but over 40 New Zealanders had small roles.
More than 60 locals were hiredas crew. Healey plays Hildy Southerlyn, one of the only Greenwich locals who helps Fuhrman with his investigation.
Healey says filming was intense - with the time allocated for filming just one month, the cast and crew worked days of up to 17 hours.
Locations included the former Kerridge homestead and grounds, ironically in the Beverley Hills subdivision in West Tamaki Rd, now home to the School of Philosophy.
Healey said the cast watched a documentary on Greenwich, Connecticut, where the murder took place.
"Auckland was a perfect match for the place. They are strangely similar," she said.
New Zealand was viewed as an affordable place to shoot.
"We're the new Canada," she said, referring to the recent trend for movie-makers to shoot in Canada.
"We're cheap, and our accents are getting a lot better."
The New Zealanders working on the project had learned a lot from the American actor and crew, she said.
The tele-movie is due to screen in the United States on November 15.