Gloriavale comes to Shortland Street

Ricardo Simich,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Saturday, 21 October 2017, 4:12PM

New Zealanders’ fascination with Gloriavale is about to get the soap treatment in the form of a new cult emerging on the outskirts of Ferndale, with Outrageous Fortune star and feature film director Tammy Davis as its leader.

Shortland Street is famous for taking a trend and making it part of the storyline — sometimes spookily, before it happens. The costume designers from the multi Emmy-Award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale reportedly looked to Gloriavale to dress the Handmaids and we understand Shorty Street has done their own special take on the Gloriavale look. Christian communes are all the rage in pop culture at the moment — just think of Justin Bieber’s headline-grabbing Rock star Christian Community Hillsong Church in the United States — Shorty is on point.

The storyline is part of Shortland Street’s much anticipated Christmas cliff-hanger and principal photography started this week.

Spy can reveal that 42-year-old Davis’ new role as Luke (meaning “light”) sees him playing an ex-con, who started his own commune: “deep in the bush five years ago.

“This character is like nothing I have ever played before — he is charming, charismatic and persuasive — all the trademarks of a dangerously manipulative leader, and I am having a blast playing him,” said Davis.

“While I have never been to a commune myself — I do know quite a few people who have grown up around or near them. They are fascinating people to say the least. Very creative, open thinkers, free spirits.

“I watched Gloriavale a couple of times just to try and empathise with their culture and the ideas that encompass the people that choose or are made to live there. I then trusted myself and my instincts to believe in the character and his ability to control people from the position of misplaced love and confusion.”