SPOILER NewsWire: Filming in Full Swing at Edoras Set - The Timaru Herald

ROHAN COMES ALIVE: The mystical town of Edoras, the heart of Tolkien's kingdom of Rohan, has been created on the summit of Mt Sunday. It will be the scene of some intensive filming sessions this week.
(John Bisset/Timaru Herald)
New Zealand's The Timaru Herald reports that filming of the Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy is in full swing this week in the Mt Potts area, Mid Canterbury.

Note: The article also discusses the film budget mentioned in the most recent issue of Vanity Fair, which is a bigger figure than was previously understood. However, New Zealand newspapers reporting on this development have not been totally clear on whether they are reporting amounts in US or New Zealand dollars, or which exhange rate they are assuming.

Before the Vanity Fair article, the budget for all three films was understood to be US$180 million, which was commonly calculated to be NZ$360 million.

Vanity Fair is now reporting the budget to be US$270 million, which, if true, is a 50% increase. However, New Zealand newspapers are variously calculating this new amount to be NZ$645 million (an 80% increase) or NZ$675 million (an 87.5% increase).

Lord of the Rings filming in full swing at Mt Potts

The set, perched on Mt Sunday in the Rangitata River valley, has been buffeted by strong winds in recent days, but not enough to stop filming.

"It's a beautiful location, and will be filming some big scenes in the next few days," publicist Claire Raskind said.

These will include some 220 extras on the largest day and some 100 horses (with riders). Production teams expect to leave the area at the end of the week.

She also confirmed the possibility there would be further filming in the Twizel area. If this was to go ahead as rumoured it would be on private land in mid-October.

Ms Raskind said in spite of its remoteness and tight security, the Mt Sunday location had proved quite popular with visitors.

"The public are welcome to see whatever they can from the road, and people have been doing that. But our base camp and set are pretty much locked down, which is good for us in terms of security."

Ironically, most people would drive up to the area on Sundays, when there was no filming being done.

"We have a pretty hectic schedule that we have to complete every day, and obviously things run smoother without interruption. We haven't really had any yet," Ms Raskind said.

It was a long drive to just look, she said. Those going out appeared to be dedicated fans.

Meanwhile, the trilogy will cost $675 million to make and be the second most expensive movie production ever, according to an American magazine.

If correct, it would put the project about $315 million above its originally reported budget, Vanity Fair reported.

This would make the trilogy the second most expensive movie production after the three new Star Wars films, costing about $736 million.

Production company Three Foot Six would not comment on the report.

The cost of making the Rings films had been estimated at $360 million but Vanity Fair reported the production would cost $US270 million - about $NZ645 million.

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