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 Shadows Film Premiere - Ethel and Margot

Rita Angus Retirement Village’s new film star has modestly taken her big screen debut in her stride and is keeping an open mind about other film offers.

Ethel Robinson, 98, stars in Taika Waititi and Gemaine Clement’s new vampire movie What we do in the Shadows which premiered in Wellington on June 18.

She is an independent resident at the Kilbirnie retirement village owned by Ryman Healthcare. The village was partly converted into a film set for the filming of the vampire ‘mockumentary’.

Ethel plays a vampire’s love interest in the film and she enjoyed being directed in the film by Taika Waititi.

She is a Waititi fan – she has a copy of his film Boy and she comes from the same part of the East Coast as the director.

After the premiere she said she thought it was “quite good for a vampire film’’ but wasn’t sure other residents at Rita Angus would think it was their cup of tea.

“I think it is more a film for younger people,’’ she said.

She was first approached about the film in 2012 and she was sworn to secrecy about her involvement. Margot Boock, sales adviser at Rita Angus, was also filmed and accompanied Ethel to the premiere.

Ethel is a former school teacher with no acting experience but took to filming like a duck to water.

She died her hair purple to match her lipstick and nails for the premiere. Despite the media attention and bright lights on the red carpet, she enjoyed the experience.

“I’d do it all again. You don’t get many opportunities to do things like this at my age.’’

Margot also got into the vampire swing of things for the premiere, wearing a necklace including crosses and cloves of garlic.

“Ethel got huge attention on the red carpet and she got massive applause. It was an amazing experience.’’


About Ryman Healthcare: Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns 27 villages and serves over 7,500 residents in New Zealand and Australia. Each village offers a combination of retirement living and aged care.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602.






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