A new gay indie film titled “Mysterious Ways” telling the story of a vicar who decides to have a forbidden Anglican wedding with his Samoan boyfriend is set to be filmed in Auckland this May.

Mysterious Ways is a timely exploration of issues around faith for gay people both here in New Zealand and around the world – a side of the rainbow community not often explored on screen.

Auckland singer Nick Afoa, who played Simba for five years in The Lion King’s London West End theatre production, has been cast as the vicar’s boyfriend, Jason.


Speaking about the role, Nick, of Samoan and Croatian heritage, says, “I’m excited about tackling my first dramatic role. Screen acting is something I’ve wanted to explore for some time. The film bravely confronts issues around sexuality and religion.”

“I’m looking forward to exploring the challenge of how we overcome these,” Nick adds.

British actor Richard Short who will play the role of the vicar recently wrapped production on Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021), as well as Jack Ryan: Season 3 (2022) for Amazon Prime.

Richard Short Toronto Film Festival Supplied
Richard Short

The other key role in the film, Billy, is still to be cast. The character is Jason’s gender-fluid nephew who arrives in town insisting “they are an angel”.

Are you looking to get involved? The Producers are looking for actors of Samoan heritage who can play 18 – 22 year-olds. The role is flamboyant with attitude and requires a believable drag performance. Anyone interested should contact the producer

Director Paul Oremland (100 Men: Like it Is) has been at the forefront of exploring the LGTBQ+ experience in film & television for many years, and comments, “Most religions still see being gay as sinful. This does huge harm to millions of people in terms of self-esteem, family rejection, and legitimising hatred. A love story where God is on our side is a powerful statement that is needed now more than ever.”

If you are interested in getting involved in the film and filling the exciting role mentioned above, please get in touch with the producer via email at