In the News: Cameras rolling on ‘Rings’ set in Waikato – New Zealand Herald

by Dec 11, 1999Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Susan came through with another article for us… Thanks Susan!

Cameras rolling on ‘Rings’ set in Waikato

by Vanessa Bidois

New Zealand Herald, Auckland – December 9

MATAMATA — Filming of the $360 million fantasy trilogy Lord Of The Rings began in the central Waikato yesterday.

The 120-strong crew of director Peter Jackson’s movie will spend five days filming the mock-up Hobbiton village on a farm between Matamata and Karapiro.

Co-director John Mahaffie, a New Zealander whose credits include Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, said stand-in actors for stars such as Gandalf’s Sir Ian McKellen were being used for the opening shots of the Hobbiton hamlet.

Speaking for the first time to the media, Mahaffie said the big-name actors would not be on the Waikato set until shooting resumed next month.

“We only have doubles because we’re shooting the big wide [shots] establishing the Hobbiton environment.”

Tight security surrounds the location and photographs of the set were not allowed.

The associate producer, Californian Rick Porras, said the brilliant Waikato weather was an exciting start to the shoot.

“As the light drops, the way this tall grass shimmers — you just can’t beat this anywhere else.”

He said Mahaffie had vital experience in working with special effects and prosthetic costuming.

Publicist Claire Raskind said a further two film units were still shooting in the South Island, while a smaller unit was working in Wellington.

Jackson was overseeing the sprawling shoot through a satellite link but would work at the Waikato set next month.

“When Peter wants to view something that maybe John has just shot, that John has a question about or wants him to see straight away, then Peter can see it immediately.”

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