Coral accused in murder movie
Oskar Alley, Sunday Star-Times, September 28 2003

The man charged with murdering Coral Burrows will appear in an upcoming Kiwi film about a young girl who is abducted and murdered.

Coral's stepfather Steve Williams appears in For Good as an extra in a bar scene of the film, directed by Stuart McKenzie and starring his wife Miranda Harcourt and Tim Balme. Celebrated director Jane Campion also helped with the script.

The scenes were filmed at Featherston's Tin Hut Hotel, owned by Williams' mother Robyn.

McKenzie confirmed the "really cruel irony" when contacted by the Sunday Star-Times, saying he was upset when he learned of Coral's disappearance and that Williams was charged with her murder.

The scene cannot be changed or deleted as the film is finished and has screened overseas.

"Our heart goes out to Coral's family," McKenzie said.

"We have talked to people who have lost their children and one of the things that is very successful about the film is the way that devastation and raw grief is communicated."

"What can you say?"

Williams had not been recruited for the role as an extra in For Good but was one of a handful of locals who appeared in the scene.

"He [Williams] didn't know what the film was about, he was just one of five or six people who happened to be drinking in the pub that evening when we were filming," McKenzie said.

"It's a really sad coincidence."

"He had no idea of the theme of the film but I guess he would have known that in the scene, Tim Balme plays a murderer released on parole, and he's contravening those parole terms."

For Good is the story of a woman haunted by the abduction and murder of her childhood companion. The woman poses as a journalist to confront the murderer.

McKenzie said he had returned from showing the film at the Montreal Film Festival and learned of Coral's disappearance when he bought a newspaper at Auckland Airport.

"The first thing I saw was the story about Coral missing."

"I was upset because the film is about the abduction of young girls and there's been a number of these instances in New Zealand. That's a crime that Miranda and myself have found particularly disturbing and that's what motivated us to make the film in the first place."

McKenzie watched the scene again on Friday and said Williams was barely recognizable in the background.

The scene was filmed in late 2001.

Police allege Williams killed Coral, 6, after he dropped her older brother at school on September 9. He is due to appear in court on October 17.

For Good is scheduled for general release in February.

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