New Zealand Star Times

July 10, 1999

$100m (NZ) Cash Boost for Rings
Patrick Smellie

The movie Lord of the Rings, set to start production in October, has
received a $100 million funding boost, making it the second most expensive movie production ever. The film industry is abuzz with news the budget for the three-part blockbuster adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic has been increased from $260m to $360m.

A statement from Los Angeles yesterday (Saturday), which confirmed 18 year old Elijah Wood in the lead role of hobbit Frobo Baggins, said production would start in October and take a year. Rings Wellington-based director Peter Jackson is believed to be under orders from the project's American backers, New Line Cinema, not to discuss the trilogy without permission. Two highly placed film industry players said sources within the project had disclosed the film had been given another $100 million. New Line had, in effect, accepted the initial $260 million budget would be over-run, said
another source. Publicist Siam Clements would not comment.

While locations for Rings have not been announced, film production houses report a flood of work offered in the past fortnight. "You can't get a carpenter in Wellington for love or money," said one film technician. Post-filming production is also expected to be carried out in New Zealand, mainly at the old National Film Unit in Lower Hutt, which Jackson recently bought. Yesterday's statement from Los Angeles said the Rings trilogy would be produced consecutively. The script for part one, The Fellowship of the Rings, has been written and additional casting was under way.