Len Brown-Bevan Chuang saga to be subject of $2.6m TV movie

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Jun 2021, 2:50PM
Actor Michael Hurst. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Actor Michael Hurst. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Len Brown-Bevan Chuang saga to be subject of $2.6m TV movie

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Jun 2021, 2:50PM

The biggest sex scandal to hit Auckland's mayoralty will soon hit the small screen.

The sordid saga of former mayor Len Brown, ex-council adviser Bevan Chuang, and the Town Hall's Ngati Whatua room is to be played out in a publicly funded telefeature for TVNZ.

Auditions have been held for the 90-minute production and the Herald understands that veteran New Zealand actor Michael Hurst is being lined up to play Brown.

There's no word on who will play the leading lady in the film, which will receive up to $2.6m from NZ On Air.

"Telefeature Princess of Chaos is the story of a political scandal as told from the perspective of the 'other woman,' Bevan Chuang," NZ on Air said when announcing the funding.

The film is being produced by Flat3, the all-women production team that had recent success with TVNZ's Creamerie.

A spokesperson for Flat3 confirmed the made-for-TV movie "was in the very early stages of production" but would not share any further details.

Flat3 Production's JJ Fong, Perlina Lau and Ally Xue pictured with Jay Ryan in a scene from Creamerie. Photo / TVNZFlat3 Production's JJ Fong, Perlina Lau and Ally Xue pictured with Jay Ryan in a scene from Creamerie. Photo / TVNZ

Although the producers are still finalising the full cast, a 7-year-old Auckland schoolgirl will play Chuang in parts of the film depicting her childhood in Hong Kong.

"I felt quite overwhelmed actually, because [she] was up against many other seasoned child actors at the audition. I am just so proud and happy for her," the girl's mother told the Herald.

Chuang made headlines in 2013 when she revealed her two-year affair with Brown. The scandal broke days into his second term after his successful re-election campaign to the mayoralty.

Chuang told the Herald at the time that she felt pressured to reveal the affair by a member of his right-wing rival John Palino's election team - and was sorry she went public.

Chuang told the Herald in 2013 that she entered an intimate relationship with Luigi Wewege, a member of Palino's failed campaign squad, who wanted her to expose the mayor's infidelity when he found out about the affair.

It's unclear exactly what viewers should expect from Princess of Chaos, but Chuang posted on Instagram that she is "thrilled" to be working with Flat3 to tell her story.

"Healthy disclaimer: this is a fictional adaptation of one part of my life story, from my perspective," Chuang wrote.

"It isn't a documentary, or an accurate historical depiction of the events.

"And no one is getting rich out this production. Please leave your abusive posts to yourself, your toxic circle of friends and followers, and get a life instead."

Chuang, who did not wish to comment to the Herald, was born in Hong Kong and moved to New Zealand when she was a teenager. At the time of the scandal, she was working as a junior council adviser. Chuang had stood in elections in the Albert-Eden Local Board - Maungawhau Subdivision elections and chaired the Asian Women and family Trust and was a member of the Ethnic People's Advisory Panel.

Chuang met Brown at a council function in 2011, and claimed that the former mayor had pursued her and the relationship turned physical.

Brown, a father of three who remains married to Shirley Inglis, did not wish to comment when contacted this week.

Neither Palino nor Wewege - both of whom are believed to live overseas - responded to a request for comment.