Thanks to Darryl A. for sending in this article and image from The Levin Chronicle. It’s a couple of weeks old, but provides a bit of a humourous glimpse at these reporters’ efforts to get a closer peek at the film shoot.
Tight Security for Lord of the Rings Shoot
by Aaron Smale
The Levin Chronicle – August 2000
Hobbits had become tired of getting around on their big feet and had acquired some trucks for their journey.
It seems there may be hobbits lurking in the misty hills around Otaki Gorge–there were definitely a lot of trucks parked up in a paddock with security guards chasing people away.
The multi-million dollar Lord of the Rings trilogy by Wellington film-maker Peter Jackson set up in the bush clad aread around Otaki Gorge Road yesterday.
Weta Productions, Peter Jackson’s film company, set up in the area recently and neighbours have been kept away from the contingent of crew and vehicles on the rural site.
Lord of the Rings publicist Claire Raskind says the set was for one day’s shooting of the fellowship trekking across Middle-earth and the area had the right look for the sequence.
She said the crew and actors left from Wellington at 5:15am and had breakfast at the set when they arrived. She said the beautiful location made the early start worth it.
Ms Raskind said she could not name those present on the set for security reasons, but said “a few Hobbits were there”.
The scene was for the first film of the trilogy being made by director Peter Jackson and was of Hobbiton and the surrounding Shire.
Ms Raskind said the film has used over 100 locations over 14 months and filming was due to wind up around January or February.
More filming will carry on in the South Island in a few weeks and then will resume again in Wellington, she said.
An attempt was made by the Chronicle to get closer to the making of the fantasy classic but we were herded off back down the farm track by a rather unfriendly security guard.
The Chronicle driver managed to conveniently stall the car trying to turn around while the photographer snapped away.
Hobbits were obviously tired of getting around on their big feet and had acquired a number of large catering trucks for their journey. The Tolkien purists will be outraged. Peter Jackson should go bush now.
We were told by security that we were making life difficult for them but the media circus consisted of us and a herd of cows.
Making inquiries as to who owned the neighbouring properties, we were told by a polite gentleman that his wife owned the land that filming was taking place on.
They had been invited over by the staff for a cuppa before filming started but were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing them from contacting the media.
They were later prevented by security from entering the property.
Driving down the lane we were pursued and cornered by the security guard. He was probably helped by our decision to reverse down the track with the intention of making a fast getaway. This was the photographer’s idea which she executed with panache. Only we didn’t get away in a hurry and the only photo we got this time was one of the security guard on his cell-phone.
He protested that we had invaded his privacy despite being in the middle of some one else’s paddock.
While waiting for his senior to confirm whether we could use the lane, the happy little chappy told us we were threatening the making of the film in New Zealand. He obviously had no experience of Hollywood media.
The location manager arrived, a much more cheerful bloke by the name of Jared, and after a drive and a quick chat came back and told us with a broad grin that he’d won.
With good humour he kicked us out.