Hollywood company New Line Cinema is showing signs of strengthening its commitment to the Lord of the Rings film project. Hot on the heels of a $100million cash injection for LOTR comes the news that New Line producer Barrie M Osborne (The Matrix, Face Off, China Moon) has bought a waterfront mansion in Wellington, near Karaka Bay where Peter Jackson and other ‘Wellywood’ film industry notables live. The implication is that Osborne, who will co-produce ‘The Lord of the Rings’ with Peter Jackson and New Zealander Tom Sanders, will be using the new house as his base while filming is underway. This may reflect a desire on the part of New Line to keep a closer watch on the project, or may simply be a practical necessity given the complexity of the shooting schedule. Filming is due to start next month and will continue simultaneously at different sites throughout the country.

Osborne’s million-dollar house may not be a mansion by Hollywood standards, being three storeys of stuccoed conrete under a waveform roof squeezed into the space between the harbour channel and the scrubby near-vertical hillside overlooking Cook Strait. Instead of vast rolling lawns, there is a modest few square metres of rockery plants that can withstand the frequent lashing salt gales. Hopefully Mr. Osborne can too.