The life of New Zealand rugby union player Jonah Lomu will be portrayed in a blue-chip television miniseries to be produced by Seven Studios’ Great Southern Television.
The NZ-based indie won the $6 million commission for local broadcaster Three via funding from the government agency NZ On Air. The series will consist of two 90-minute episodes set to air in 2019.
Lomu is widely credited with forcing rugby into the professional era. His dominating performance at the 1995 World Cup mesmerised global audiences and caught the attention of Rupert Murdoch who, seeing the code’s potential, quickly negotiated a game-changing deal with SANZAR for Super Rugby.
Diagnosed with a life-shortening and life-threatening disease at a young age, Lomu beat the odds and went on to dominate one of the toughest physical sports in the world.
MediaWorks chief content officer Andrew Szusterman said, “What Ali was to boxing, Lomu is to rugby. There has never been, and most likely never will be, a bigger name in our national game.
“Working with Great Southern Television, New Zealand on Air and with the support of Nadene Lomu and family, we are honoured to tell Jonah’s story in 2019. I have no doubt the miniseries will be one of the biggest television events of the year.”
Great Southern Television’s series executive producer Philip Smith said: “In full flight Lomu was an unstoppable human torpedo, his star quality due not only to his size and physicality but his deft and effortless skills as a rugby player.”
The series will go into pre-production later this year and will air on Three in the buildup to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Seven Studios will handle distribution of the project. The company acquired Great Southern Television in January 2018.