NewsWire: LotR Film Crew Loving Twizel - The Timaru Herald

"Huge scenes" involving horses are reported to be filmed in Twizel.
New Zealand's The Timaru Herald reports that Twizel residents and retailers and the cast and crew of Lord of the Rings have a good thing going between them.

Film crew loving Twizel
by Jo Heal

Casting co-ordinator Matt Spicer and Karl Kite-Rangi who is in the casting department, said they spoke for the entire cast and crew of the film when they said that the people of Twizel were warm, friendly and supportive.

"We have tried to mix in wherever we have been, we think we are quite good at it but Twizel has been special. The locals appreciate us. The retailers give us discounts and open their doors out of hours for us. The film's cast and crew and the Twizel residents have really clicked," said Mr Spicer.

He said that when he and some friends left the pub late one night they saw some of the town's youth in the Market Place having a push-ups competition.

"The contrast between the youth of Wellington and these young lads is stunning," he said.

Some of the cast and crew have never visited the Mackenzie before and they are blown away by the scenery.

"The other evening I was watching the sun go down at the clay cliffs. I'd had a tough, people-in-my-face type day but those ancient cliffs wrought a magic for me. They gave me an almost spiritual experience," said Mr Kite-Rangi.

"I swear there is someone in the Mackenzie whose daily job it is just to colour the lakes. The landscape enchants, you just have to stop and look," said Mr Spicer.

For their part the Twizel business people and locals say hosting the cast and crew is brilliant for the town.

Lance Young from the Resource Centre said many people had found jobs on the film set as labourers, security personnel, cleaners and extras and 60 houses had been rented out.

Bruce Skinner of the Shell service station said the filming in Twizel was having a huge impact on the town.

"It's just what Twizel needs after the two previous winters and a disappointing summer season."

Ross Herron, owner of Twizel's 4 Square, agrees.

"They are really nice people too, friendly and genuine," he said.

"Retailers in the town are prepared to go the extra distance for them, not just because they are spending money but also because they do appreciate the help given to them and because we wish to leave them with a good impression of the town. They tell me what they appreciate about Twizel is that the locals don't hound them for autographs or treat them differently," said Dave Rusbatch of Southern Photos and Gifts.

Twizel information centre worker Bronwyn Hendry said the cast and crew had given retailers good feedback on the town and would recommend the location to others.

"They were very supportive of the Project 2000 plans, especially for an auditorium where live theatre and all manner of entertainment could take place."

Both Mr Kite-Rangi and Mr Spicer have both worked at numerous locations.

Mr Spicer has worked as a bouncer in European night clubs, was a bodyguard for William Shatner (Star Trek's Captain Kirk) when he visited New Zealand and has held various positions in the theatre world from acting to casting to doing voice-overs for television advertising and documentaries.

Mr Kite-Rangi, although working in casting at present, is an experienced actor and lighting technician.

He intends to bring his wife south from Wellington so she can experience the Mackenzie Country.

"Instead of going to Europe for a holiday I'm bringing her down south to the Mackenzie – she has to see and experience this awesome scenery for herself," he said.

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