Kiwi filmmaking is at an all-time high thanks to the “Lord of the Rings” director, who, 12 years ago, boosted the country’s Hollywood stock. Peter Jackson is walking down the familiar twisting lanes of the picture-perfect village of Hobbiton. Discussing the next day’s shoot with the cast and crew of The Hobbit, he gazes up at the setting sun and appears overcome by a strange sense of deja vu. “I did this on this street 12 years ago, and it’s exactly the same,” says Jackson. “I don’t feel the same, though.”
Jackson pauses to survey the village in Waikato that’s familiar to millions of fans of the director’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Before Jackson and his crew transformed it into a little piece of Middle Earth, this was a simple New Zealand sheep farm. Now it’s become a J.R.R. Tolkien tourist mecca, and five days into location shooting for Jackson’s two Hobbit movies, it has been transformed again into a bustling film set. More..