James Rolleston feared acting career 'was over' after car crash

A significant part of being a successful film actor is memorising lines, and then delivering them.

But for Boy star James Rolleston, that was all thrown into chaos after he drove a car into Otara Bridge near Opotiki in July last year - a collision that left him with speech and memory impairments, as well as problems walking.

Rolleston is one of New Zealand's leading young actors, and has also had starring roles in successful films The Dark Horse and The Dead Lands. But everything changed after the incident, as will be explained in TVNZ1 documentary Wait for Me Hollywood, airing on Sunday.

In August, he was sentenced to 200 hours of community service plus one year of supervision and one year of driving disqualification after pleading guilty to a dangerous driving charge.

But it was the threat the crash posed to his acting career that was the biggest punishment, and Rolleston admitted he "lost a lot of hope" in the aftermath.

"I thought my acting career was pretty much over," he told NZME.

"When I thought I wouldn't be able to act again it was very hard for me. Acting is all I know really. I've been doing it since I was 10 years old.

"My focus was only on [acting]. I didn't have anything else to fall back on. There was no plan B."

After months of rehab, Rolleston regained his ability to talk and walk, and he's also found that despite struggling to remember a lot of things, learning lines wasn't one of them.

"That was the one thing that I didn't lose. I'd forget appointments; I'd forget a lot of things ... but [not] learning lines and scripts. So, that was awesome," he said.

"I definitely feel lucky. Especially from what the doctors and nurses were saying about me, they think I'm a miracle and I think I am too."

Wait For Me Hollywood airs on TVNZ1 on Sunday night.