Shane Rangi to work with James Cameron on directorial debut ‘Taonga’

Shane Rangi.

Māori actor Shane Rangi is set to direct a film based on his life, Taonga, to be executive produced by James Cameron.

Of Ngāti Porou descent, Rangi is known for his acting and stunt work including for both Avatar films, Thor: Ragnarok, The Wolverine, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, the Narnia franchise, as well as all three films in each of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings franchises.

It was his work on Avatar that led to a friendship with Cameron, with whom he collaborated on the development of Taonga, the story of an indigenous Polynesian rugby star who becomes homeless before a violent encounter with law enforcement leaves him for dead.

In penning the script, the New Zealand-based Rangi sets out to navigate the realities of homelessness and modern-day policing, ultimately taking the viewer on a journey through the inherent humanity within people.

Principal photography on the project will begin next year in New Zealand, with Rangi producing alongside Zach Thomson and Fandomodo Films CEO Anthony Kaan, while Scott Frank, Sandy Climan, Dominique Appleby, McKenzie Van Dorne Rice, and Beyond International’s Mikael Borglund have joined the executive producing team. Casting will not commence until after the SAG strike concludes.

Kaan expected Rangi’s Māori experience and life story to “inspire millions”

“This intimate story transcends cultural differences with universal truth,” he said.

The film is being financed independently by Fandomodo Films.