The Untold Story of Jonah Lomu's legendary life has been made into a mini-series

Headlines 21/07/2018

A powerful look at the life of rugby legend Jonah Lomu has been made into a two-part mini-series drama that will air for Kiwi audiences on Three next year.

Funded by NZ On Air, Jonah, The Untold Story  promises to tell the real-life tale of a sporting legend who "stood head and shoulders above the rest".

Nadene Lomu, who lost husband Jonah to a heart attack linked to kidney disease in 2015, says the road to making the project hasn't been an easy one.

"It has been a heart-breaking and emotional journey," she said.

"But I appreciate the efforts of all involved in bringing Jonah's story to life, and for the opportunity to collaborate with the production team on this project.

"Thank you to Three for making this possible."

Lomu's extraordinary talent on the rugby field saw him become one of the most celebrated players of all time.

He became the youngest All Black ever in 1994 when he made his international debut in the black jersey at the age of 19.

MediaWorks chief content officer Andrew Szusterman said they were honoured to tell Jonah's story.

"What Ali was to boxing, Lomu is to rugby. There has never been and most likely never will be a bigger name in our national game.

Szusterman anticipated the mini-series would be one of the biggest local television events of the year.

Lomu was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome just one year into his All Blacks career. Radio broadcaster Grant Kereama donated his kidney to Jonah for a transplant in 2004. 

Philip Smith, CEO of the series' production company Great Southern Television, says audiences should expect "the real story, not the clichés".

The drama aims to give an unflinching look at Lomu's journey on and off the field.

"His life was Shakespearean in nature, full of triumph and disaster," Smith said of Lomu.

"It will be confronting but an incredible ride at the same time, just like his life," Smith said.

The mini-series will be comprised of two 90-minute parts, set to air on Three in 2019.

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