Michael Hurst Now.com

This website was created to showcase the post-Hercules career of New Zealand actor and director, Michael Hurst.  We will also announce the professional activities of Michael's wife, Jennifer Ward-Lealand . . . More



Look beyond the homepage--use the links below to explore Michael's career:





Photo: Tracey Stevens



Jennifer and Michael are the Patrons of Q Theatre;
seen here at One Night with Q, 7 June 2012.

Follow MichaelHurstNow on Twitter


1 December  Added availability of Ash Vs Evil Dead in the UK and preview of ep 6 to homepage

23 November  Added Jennifer directing The Choice to homepage

15 November  Added Auckland Theatre Awards to homepage

2 November  Added Ash vs. Evil Dead reviews to homepage

16 October  Added Ash vs Evil Dead availability in Latin America/Brazil and Middle East/North Africa to homepage

15 October  Added video of Ash vs Evil Dead panel at New York Comic-Con and Jennifer speaking at WEGC reunion to homepage

14 October  Added Ash vs Evil Dead availability in Scandanavia to homepage

5 October  Added Jennifer singing with Jubilation to homepage

17 September  Added how to watch Ash vs. Evil Dead in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada to homepage

13 September  Added Westside to homepage

31 August  Created Oz Comic-Con page

30 August  Created An Evening with Alan Cumming (video) page and Equity Green Room: Sex & Nudity on Stage and Screen: What is Right and How to Empower Yourself (video) page

29 August  Added Michael directing Westside to Future Projects

11 July  Added video of Ash vs. Evil Dead panel at Comic-Con to homepage

10 July  Added Ash vs. Evil Dead trailer and premiere date to homepage

6 July  Added link to watch Tatau in NZ on Neon to homepage

2 July  Added new Ash vs. Evil Dead image to homepage

1 July  Added Michael's interview at Oz Comic-Con to homepage

24 June  Added links to video of Hercules panels at Oz Comic Con to homepage

16 June  Added Ash vs. Evil Dead to stream in Australia to homepage

12 June  Added Ash vs. Evil Dead panel at Comic Con to homepage

24 May  Added Michael's episode numbers and Mimi Rogers to cast for Ash vs. Evil Dead on homepage

20 May  Added where to watch Tatau in the USto homepage

11 April  Added Ash vs. Evil Dead to homepage

27 March  Created The Lady Killers page

8 March  Added Step Dave to homepage

24 January  Created Our Big Blue Backyard page and Undercover Rescue page

24 November  Created Decision 2014 page

16 November  Added video of behind-the-scenes of Tatau to homepage

9 November  Added Michael guest starring in Terry Teo to homepage

29 October  Added Jennifer in Terry Teo to homepage

22 October  Created Generation of Z/Zombie: Red Zone page

17 October  Added the plot outline of Tatau to homepage

2 October  Created Trees Beneath the Lake page

28 September  Added the cast of Tatau to homepage

14 September  Added Tatau to homepage

10 September  Created Spartacus Overview page, summarizing Michael's contributions to Starz' Spartacus series (with links to individual episode pages)





This is not an official site, but we will keep it current with news of Michael's professional activities, as well as an archive of his projects.  We will also announce the professional activities of Michael's wife, Jennifer Ward-Lealand; see her official site for more on her career.

See also:  Michael's curriculum vitae on his official website: www.michaelhurst.co.nz and his listing on IMDB.  Michael is represented by Johnson & Laird Management.



Starz premiered Ash vs Evil Dead in more than 100 countries on Halloween, including New Zealand (The Zone), Australia (Stan.), Canada (Super Channel), Scandinavia (C More), Latin America/Brazil (Fox Play), and Middle East/North Africa (STARZ Play Arabia).  In the UK, Virgin Media will carry the show on demand beginning 1 December 2015.

Season 2 was announced in the week before the show premiered.

Michael directed episode 6 'The Killer of Killers' (airing 5 December) and 7 'Fire in the Hole' (airing 12 December).  Watch the preview for episode 6:



"Would the catchphrases, the skittering camera work, and the deliberately primitive special effects still have their enormous charm after all these years ... Fortunately, you can say 'Hail to the King, baby', because Ash – and everyone else involved in this continuation franchise – has still got it.  Raimi only directed the 45-minute Ash premiere ... but based on the second installment ... it's clear that others can pull off the giddy blend of horror, comedy, and action just fine".  (Alan Sepinwall, HitFix)

"it's clever, engaging, brisk and, crucially, unpretentious.  Amid the current glut of serious horror series ... the Ash vs. Evil Dead pilot stands out for its intelligent esprit".  (Mike Hail, The New York Times)

"it's goofy, doesn't take itself too seriously, and certainly feels well-calibrated to a very particular appetite that's uniquely suited to pay cable.  ... the show does justice to its campy, low-budget roots".  (Brian Lowry, Variety)

"After decades of false starts, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell have finally reunited for Ash vs. Evil Dead, a weekly series on Starz, which allows them to get as gory and crazy as they want ... there are plenty of 'Well, I haven't seen that on TV before' moments to keep one entertained.  ... The supporting cast is good here too, especially Santiago and DeLorenzo.  ... Ash vs. Evil Dead lives up to its comedy-horror potential".  (Brian Tallerica, RoberEbert.com)

"The gore and the laughs begin almost at once and never let up.  ... with Ash vs Evil Dead, [Starz] earns a label it's never had before:  hip".  (David Weigand, San Francisco Chronicle)

"Beyond the camp of the films, and well into the comedy, this remake is soaked in blood, one-liners, chain saws, and evil dead people.  Of course it's good.  ... There were a thousand ways to screw up this remake, and only one way to do it right.  Dead fans will be pleased to learn that the right one, or mostly right, arrives Halloween night".  (Verne Gay, Newsday)

"Ash vs Evil Dead is the rare film-to-TV adaptation that convincingly proves no other continuation of this story could have been better.  ... From the music to the direction to sequences that could legitimately cause nightmares, Ash vs Evil Dead is a neverending delight that will likely find zero detractors, and those that do surface should run and hide somewhere deep in the woods".  (Nick Venable, CinemaBlend)

"it's freakin' great.  ... Ash vs Evil Dead is a crowd pleaser, designed to provide full-throttle goofiness and thrills along with the moments that fans both old and new will love". (IGN)

This 10-episode first season is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead.  Bruce Campbell is reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario, and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding reponsibility, maturity, and the terrors of the Evil Dead.  When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons – personal and literal.  Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its "Evil" grip.  Click here for more.

It is executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, and showrunner Craig DiGregorio, and stars Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless, Mimi Rogers, Jill Marie Jones, Ray Santiago, and Dana DeLorenzo. 

The first episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead was shown at New York Comic-Con on 10 October 2015.  A panel followed with the cast and crew – watch the panel below:


Jennifer will be the host of the formal part of the evening at the 2015 Auckland Theatre Awards, to be held at the Wintergarden, The Civic on Monday 7 December 2015.

Click here to book.


From the press release:  "Amidst all the fun we acknowledge the outstanding work of theatre makers citywide.  Topping the honours will be the illustrious Excellence Awards.  Having been chosen by a panel of 6 industry professionals, these awards will celebrate a range of disciplines, and be for both individuals and groups.  The returning 'Lifetime Achievement Award', 'Newcomer Awards', and 'Most Original Production' will also be presented within this section of the evening".


In October to December 2015, Michael is directing episodes 3, 4, 7 and 8 of the second season of Westside, the prequel of Outrageous Fortune, starring Antonia Prebble, David De Lautour, Dan Musgrove, and Esther Stephens.

Click here for info.


Jennifer will direct The Choice by Darlene Mohekey and Jess Sayer in the Lido Lounge at The Blue Baths in Rotorua, 22 January–26 February 2016.  Click here for the press release; click here to book.

Forget X-Factor, forget New Zealand's Got Talent.  This is The Choice – a weirdly wonderful talent show unlike any other.  Laugh, cry and cringe till you can't cringe no more, as five fearless actors take on all of the characters you love and those you love to hate.  Broadcast live on air (but not really), this immersive new show leaves you, the live studio audience, to select the winner each night.

Featuring choreography by Taiaroa Royal, The Choice will star a cast of Blue Baths favourites including Jay Chasland, Rutene Spooner, Bronwyn Turei, Aaron Ward, Tainui Kuru, and musical director Darlene Mohekey.


Michael directed episodes 6 and 7 of 8-episode fantasy/drama series Tatau, produced by Touchpaper TV and South Pacific Pictures for BBC Three (UK) and BBC America (USA). 

The series has finished its run in the UK (where it is now available on dvd), and is available on demand in the US through many cable companies and digital platforms (such as Amazon and iTunes).  Click here to find out where you can watch it.  In New Zealand, it is available on Neon.

Tatau was written by Richard Zajdlic and stars Joe Layton and Theo Barklem-Biggs, with Barry Atsma, Shushila Takao, Cian Elyse White, Tai Berdinner-Blades, Temuera Morrison, Alex Tarrant, Rawiri Jobe, Kirk Torrance and Rangimoana Taylor.  It was filmed September-December 2014, in The Cook Islands and New Zealand.  See the show's Facebook page.

Tagata Pasifika did a behind-the-scenes story on the filming of Tatau on The Cook Islands, including scenes of Michael directing; watch it below.


Jennifer plays Barbara Bertinelli in the third episode of Terry Teo, a revival of the classic Kiwi TV show, filmed early November 2014.  Michael plays Cornelius Jones in one episode, filmed mid-December.  The show will air on TV2.

Click here for info.




 Recent Projects    Future Projects
Note: We try to ensure that everything here is correct, but mistakes do happen,
and things can change, so please contact the venues directly for verification.

This site is non-commercial and no money is being made from it. No copyright infringement
is intended. All copyrighted materials remain the property of the original copyright holder.
We believe that everything on this web site falls within the legal description of "fair use".
The site has no formal affiliation with Michael Hurst.

For site update history, click here (latest update 1 December 2015).