Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category
This past week, the New Zealand Government and executives from Amazon TV held a meeting in an effort to address concerns about a lack of studio capacity in Auckland. This planned 5 season LOTR series is a big production that will require quite a lot of studio space for filming, post production facilities and local crews, so of course they want to make sure the resources exist that they need. It appears that a decision or deal may be made within the next month, so we don’t have long to wait. You can see the source of this story at Stuff.Co.NZ.
You may be wondering why Auckland and not Wellington, but that is easily explained by the fact that the Avatar trilogy of films currently in pre-production will soon be moving into full production. While the Amazon LOTR production will be big, Avatar is going to be much bigger, and there may or may not be enough room for both as far as studio and post-production facilities go.
This leads to a much bigger debate on whether or not this new series should look and feel much like the existing Middle-earth films or whether it should blaze its own path for design and locations. The appeal to any production of not having to look for too many new locations can’t be understated. Film and TV productions are always having to research and locate interesting places that fit what the production needs, so the fact that so many locations in New Zealand have already been established as feeling like Middle-earth is a boon. But then, there are hundreds of beautiful places around the world, and with chunks of filming now happening in studios, does it really matter where those studios are? Is it possible that Amazon can do location filming in New Zealand and Studio work in London, Hollywood or Vancouver? Or why not film in British Columbia, or Northern Ireland or Slovenia for that matter?
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Production, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Production, Studios, Television, Tolkien
Royd Tolkien and his brother Mike visit Hobbiton
Many of you will know that Royd Tolkien, great-grandson of the Professor, is currently in New Zealand. He’s completing a ‘bucket list’ of activities left for him by his brother, Mike, who sadly died from ALS (also known as MND) in 2015. Mike was an adrenaline junkie; Royd, by his own admission, is most definitely not. His brother’s list, therefore, is a challenge for Royd, and will see him facing fears and undertaking all kinds of adventures on his mission – quest – thing…
All Royd’s exploits are being filmed for a documentary, There’s a Hole in my Bucket. You can find out more about it in this video: [click here]. Royd says, “It is a journey of discovery and inspiration,” intended “to remind people how precious and important life is and to make every second count.”
Those of you lucky enough to be in Wellington next week can join Royd on Wednesday, 12 April, at the Roxy Cinema in Miramar. At ‘An Evening with Royd Tolkien‘, you’ll hear him talk about his experiences completing his fifty
Auction item: full orc head prosthetic made by Weta Workshop
challenges (which should mostly be done by next week). You will also have the chance to bid in a fabulous auction, with none other than Jed Brophy as the star auctioneer! Today, Royd announced that one of the amazing items up for grabs is a genuine Weta Workshop full Orc Head prosthetic, made for one of Royd’s challenges (see left). What an amazing addition that would make to any Middle-earth collection! Other auction items include a Gandalf statue signed by Peter Jackson himself, and pieces signed by Richard Taylor.
And the good news is – even if you aren’t in New Zealand, you can still participate in the auction! If you check out the Facebook event page [here] you’ll find an email address for Jodie, the event coordinator. To place an absentee bid on any of the auction items, we’re told you can simply send Jodie an email, and she’ll send you the Absentee Bidding Form, which lists all the auction items, reserve prices, and any the information you may need. If you’re an avid Tolkien collector, an art fan, a wine connoisseur, a foodie, or even a keen sailor, you’ll find something to please on the incredible list of auction items. Check out the event page, contact Jodie, and grab yourself an extraordinary treasure!
The event is a fundraiser for MND New Zealand. Details on how to buy tickets to attend are on the event page. If you’d like to know more about MND New Zealand, or support them, click here.
Be sure to let us know if you attend the event – we’d love to hear all about it!
Posted in Calendar, Collectibles, Events, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Jed Brophy, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Merchandise, New Zealand, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Family, WETA Workshop
courtesy of Us Weekly
Adding to the list of rich foreigners who are buying land in New Zealand is singing sensation Justin Bieber. Fresh off a tour of NZ, during which he tweeted his love for the place, the ultimate Bielieber has entered negotiations to buy a substantial tract of land at Glenorchy, near Queenstown. The property includes various film sites from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and is where many Lothlorien scenes were shot.
“What the world doesn’t know is that Justin is a massive Lord of the Rings fan – but the movies only, not really the books which he’s never read,” says a source close to the singer. “Although he knows about Tom Bombadil, he thinks he’s hilarious. He’s seen some Bombadil fan videos online and he wants to create his own, but using these woods that appeared in the films.
“His plans are to build a replica of the horse-people hall and hold big Middle-earth parties exclusively for his friends – but he’ll likely want some local ring-ins as character props, so anyone who looks really hobbity will have a good shot at being invited.”
Bieber spent a few days in Queenstown after his concert in Auckland before jetting off to South America to continue his Purpose World Tour. The source added: “I can say for a fact that he was overheard having several phone conversations with a “PJ.” Whether that was ‘the’ Peter Jackson, I can’t really say. I just know the conversations definitely mentioned Bombadil, something called the Sil-merryland, and roles of interest to JayBee.”
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will recognize that the ‘Sil-merryland’ almost certainly refers to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, an epic compilation of stories recounting, in part, the struggle of the peoples of Middle-earth against the dark lord Morgoth. “Getting the film rights was apparently going to be a major hurdle” said the source. “‘Impossible’ and ‘a real long shot’ were overheard quite often.” But apparently Justin hopes to use his considerable influence to sweet-talk some of the members of the Tolkien family and Tolkien Estate who are huge fans, and devoted Bieliebers, to release at least limited rights to some of the Silmarillion stories.
Regarding possible roles for Bieber, one can only guess. Given that his physique doesn’t lend itself to playing the rotund Tom Bombadil, and Bombadil doesn’t appear in The Silmarillion anyway, fans can only speculate that it would have to refer to some other major role. Given Justin’s rather elfin features, the roles of the heroic Fingolfin, or even the proud Feanor come to mind. The mention of “growing acceptance of gender neutrality trends” was reportedly also overheard by our source, so the roles of Luthien or Melian can’t be ruled out completely.
Meanwhile, if the Queenstown land purchase goes ahead, the Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District has promised to name Bieber as an official inhabitant of Middle-earth. “I’m sure I can get Peter Jackson down here to dub him with a replica of Anduril – the guy owes me a favour for having to muck up all the horse poo he left behind after filming the charge of the Rohirrim,” says the Mayor.
Posted in Calendars, Casting Rumors, Director news, Director Rumors, Fool, J.R.R. Tolkien, New Zealand, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Silmarillion, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family, Uncategorized
As part of the celebrations of the fifteenth anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Tourism New Zealand has launched a new way to explore the country that has become, for many, the ‘real’ Middle-earth. They tell us:
‘To celebrate New Zealand being the real Middle-earth for 15 years (since the first Lord of the Rings film) we have come up with a new way to take you on an adventure.
Imagine if you travelled the real Middle-earth like a Hobbit – what journey would you take? What if you were an Elf? A Dwarf? A Wizard? ‘Middle-earth travel’ aligns the characters to the NZ experiences they would do, on their New Zealand holiday.
Consumers will take a quiz to discover what character they are, and will receive a personalised message from Peter Jackson saying:
- What character they are
- Providing them with a customised itinerary through NZ
- Providing them with a shareable video of ‘What to pack’ for their journey to Middle-earth’
You can take the quiz on Tourism New Zealand’s Facebook page, 100% Pure New Zealand; or you can find it on their website, here.
They also shared with us two fun articles: 15 Middle-earth stars profess their love for New Zealand and How to travel like a hobbit in New Zealand.
Many airline companies have sales on around this time of year, so if you’re inspired, maybe 2017 will be the year you make your own Unexpected Journey to Middle-earth? Or at least we can all enjoy pictures from 100% Pure New Zealand, whilst we dream of such a voyage…!
Posted in Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Tours
A number of other sites around the internet are also celebrating the 15th anniversary of the opening of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring this week, and/or The Lord of the Rings movie franchise in general. For the convenience of our readers, we put together this one-stop shop for a stroll down memory lane. We’ll bring more to you during the week as we find them. Enjoy!
Posted in Cate Blanchett, Director news, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Line Cinema, New Zealand, Oscar Parties, Peter Jackson, Studios, Viggo Mortensen, Warner Bros.
We spotted an interesting read over at Denofgeek.com. posing the question as to whether any fantasy film will ever be able to outshine Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“Legend, Krull, The Neverending Story, Dune, all have their fans but none captured the zeitgeist anywhere close to how Lord Of The Rings did from late 2001, along with Harry Potter. We finally had fantasy films faithful to the genre’s most rock-solid source material, made by a relatively independent director in a country mostly neglected for big-budget filmmaking, and brave enough to commit to a fantasy world with both digitally-aided grandeur and a practical, lived-in feel.”
Of course, it depends on what one’s definition of ‘outshine’ is: Box office success? The ability to support sequels? Motivating people to seek out more of the particular fantasy world? Read the article, then let us know. Read more…
Posted in Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Line Cinema, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Warner Bros.
Image from Startraks/Rex Shutterstock
From stuff.co.nz: Peter Jackson along with fellow Oscar winner Jamie Selkirk stepped down from Sir Richard Taylor’s Miramar workshop on December 31, Companies Office documents show. The change comes ahead of new legislation which would make directors personally liable for health and safety, which the Institute of Directors said demonstrated that directors needed to be across all aspects of the business. Jackson and Selkirk both still own about one third of Weta Workshop.
Weta Workshop senior communications manager Erik Hay confirmed the law change was behind the move for Jackson and Selkirk. “The reason was centred around the law change, which will require them to be more involved on a daily basis. As a manufacturing business, it’s important they are. Peter felt he was not and decided to step out of the piece. They will still retain shares in the company.” Read more…
Posted in Director news, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, WETA Workshop
Autumn had finally arrived in northern California when I boarded a plane to head into spring on the other side of the planet in New Zealand. To say I wasn’t frightened would be a lie. I felt very much like Frodo heading out into the wide world, for I was about to be away from my family and my continent for longer than I ever had. The weather in Wellington had been pleasant until I arrived, or so I’m told, and as more and more cold rainstorms blew into the bay off the Pacific, my co-workers at Weta Workshop teased that I had brought winter with me to their beautiful island nation.
The flight from Auckland to Wellington, NZ
Like most fans of the The Lord of the Rings films, I had long dreamed of visiting New Zealand and seeing as much of its Middle-earth landscape as I could. However, also like most fans, the cost of such an adventure always held me back. As such, if someone had told me that I would have gone to Aotearoa twice in 2015, I would’ve thought they were as full of tall tales as old mad Baggins! But step out my front door I did, each time with a little nudge.
Posted in Fans, Happy Hobbit, Hobbit Movie, John Callen, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, New Zealand, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Uncategorized, WETA Cave, WETA Workshop
Check out this wonderful Entertainment Weekly interview with Peter Jackson about his experiences with, and memories of, the actor who brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s wizard Saruman to life for millions of loving fans. You’ll chuckle at PJ recalling some comical moments, but have a box of tissues ready because you just might shed a tear too. Read more…
Posted in Christopher Lee, Director news, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie The Two Towers, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit
Calling all Ringers in New Zealand and those planning on heading to New Zealand in March 2016. The team over at Welly-moot are arranging an event of special magnificence, assisted by the lovely crew at Roxy Theatre Wellington.
Posted in Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Zealand, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
For those of you who have been lucky enough to visit the Hobbiton set (like me!), you know how magical it is to wander among the well-tended gardens and Hobbit-home facades, to rest in the shade of the magnificent party tree, and to enjoy a pint at the Green Dragon Inn. However, as most of us are aware, the Hobbiton set is surrounded by a 560 hectare (approximately 1,400 acre) working sheep and cattle farm owned and operated by the Alexander family.
Stuff.co.nz recently recounted a bit of the history of the Hobbiton and how Hobbit holes and sheep continue to coexist nicely in a quiet corner of the New Zealand countryside:
“Right alongside the tourism business is their sheep and beef operation, on probably the country’s most-visited farm. While not many of the tourists see the whole farm, the stock is still very much in the public eye, meaning Craig [Alexander] has to be strategic in where he farms stock because of the occasional gate left open by an unsuspecting tourist. Hobbiton is also ring-fenced with paddocks for stock on either side. “If we’re driving a mob of 1500-2000 ewes down the main track and there is a [tourist] bus going through that can be pretty frustrating.”
While the farm is family-owned and operated, Hobbiton is a 50/50 partnership between the family and Peter Jackson. “Today, the tourism venture has about 70 permanent staff and twice that number over the busy summer season. It’s given the Matamata district a huge boost in earnings and the region is now thriving.”
Read the full article here.
Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, Tours
It’s no secret that the artists of Weta Workshop who brought both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to life are an insanely talented bunch, but have you ever wondered what they’ve been up to post Middle-earth? Aside from contributing to multiple other films and their own projects, several have been collaborating on a wonderful series of books showcasing their Fantasy and Science Fiction art: White Cloud Worlds. New Zealand’s Maori name is Aotearoa, which means “the land of the long white cloud,” and given that the art is all Kiwi-made, well, you get the picture! Several of the art pieces included were also inspired by Middle-earth.
The covers of Volumes 1 & 2
Books one and two have already been released, and book three is due out in November. This new volume is said to contain over 200 images, showcasing the work of 60 New Zealand artists, several of whom include such Middle-earth artists as:
Gus Hunter, Weta Workshop Designer, LOTR & The Hobbit
Ben Wootten, Weta Workshop Designer, LOTR
Paul Tobin, Weta Workshop Designer, The Hobbit
Jamie Beswarick, Weta Workshop Designer, LOTR & The Hobbit
Andrew Baker, Weta Workshop Designer, The Hobbit
Lindsey Crummett, Weta Workshop Designer, The Hobbit
Nick Keller, Weta Workshop Designer, The Hobbit
Posted in Books, Merchandise, New Zealand, The Hobbit