Actor Wayne Hapi who played "Ariki" had no previous acting experience before his debut in 'The Dark Horse', however as an ex gang-member he did have direct experience with the film's content. Wayne applied for an audition via email after Casting Director Yvette Reid placed a job listing at WINZ "seeking Maori Men aged 50-65yrs, tattoos and criminal records welcome!". Wayne was honoured with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 2014 New Zealand Film awards. See more »
In a chess lesson, Genesis identifies the square c4 as "the Spanish square" and b5 as "the Italian square." These are the squares to which white moves the king's bishop on the third move of the Giuoco Piano, or Italian Game, and the Ruy Lopez, or Spanish Game, respectively; he's got them backward. See more »
Other reviewers have summed this film up very well, it is a remarkable story and I can also see if you are a Kiwi coming from the area it would have even much more of a significant impact.
However, let me just take a minute to reflect on the performance given by Cliff Curtis. He is such a versatile actor! Having played in many Hollywood hits and also lower budget Kiwi productions, he has the ability to transition from cool, calm characters to angry, stormy characters and now to a perfect portrayal of Genesis, the Dark Horse, who is "sick" but doing his very best to help troubled kids in his community. Curtis' acting in every one of his films is horrifyingly convincing and it is fair to say he will be robbed if he doesn't win an award for this role in particular. He played such a gentle, caring character all you could do was feel sympathy for his situation throughout the entire duration of the film.
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