In the face of rumours of trouble on the set, it has beenannounced that director Vincent Ward's RiverQueen has been delayed due to the illness of UK actress Samantha Morton,but that she remains committed to the project and the delays are covered byinsurance.

"She has been treated in hospital for severe influenzaand secondary bacterial complications and is now out of hospital, but thedoctor recommends a minimum two to four week period of recuperation,"according to a statement.

"Up to this point, filming has been subject to ongoingday-by-day assessment and re-scheduling, shooting scenes not involving MsMorton, in preparation for her imminent recovery. However, as she is nowrequired for all of the remaining scenes, the producers have delayed the filminguntil it is able to proceed."

The US lead Kiefer Sutherland left New Zealand last week toreturn for the filming of US series 24but has agreed to return for his remaining scenes.

The period drama is a co-production between The FilmConsortium in the UK and Silverscreen Films, veteran producer Don Reynolds andadvertising guru Geoff Dixon's relatively new feature film joint venture. TheWorks has all sales rights except for Japan and Asia, which are held by NewZealand Film. The investors include the New Zealand Film Production Fund, NewZealand Film Commission, The Film Consortium, The UK Film Council, Endgame andInvicta.

The film went into production on June 25 in the Wanganuiregion of the North Island. Morton plays a young Irish woman who finds herselfwith kin on both sides of the lines during the turbulent wars between Europeansand Maori in 1860s New Zealand. Sutherland plays a loyal friend.

"Reaction from the film's international distributors tothe footage shot so far is extremely positive and the producers are encouragedby the extraordinary quality of the performances and the power of the materialand are fortunate in having the support of an extremely talented cast and crew.The production company will retain its Wanganui office."