New Zealand Herald
October 7, 1998

Prime Minister Given Spell of Wizardry
Staff Writer

WELLINGTON -- The Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, was given a glimpse of Middle Earth in a behind-the-scenes tour of film director Peter Jackson's Wellington workshop yesterday.

Jackson's WingNut Films will begin shooting The Lord of the Rings trilogy by the middle of next year and the studio, in suburban Mirimar, is in full swing on development work -- writing scripts, preparing models and scouting for locations.

Mrs. Shipley said the project was "most exciting" and a breakthrough for our film industry.

Jackson showed the Prime Minister preparatory paintings of how Middle-Earth would look on film -- green and misty -- and scale models of sets.

"We showed her some of the computer work we've been doing," he said. "There are about 50 models we have to make."

He hoped the Government would smooth immigration paths if any overseas specialists were needed for the project.