Movie Sets
Building Bree

Wellington Evening Post
September 18, 1999

Lips Sealed Over Seatoun Village Set
Simon Beattie

A sleepy village in Middle Earth? Or maybe just an elaborate set for a Wellington high school production of Shakespeare? Fingers are pointing to what appears to be a film set being built at the back of Fort Dorset in Seatoun as belonging to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Shooting on the $360 million project begins on October 11, but a Jackson spokeswoman, Sian Clement, wouldn't comment today on any shooting locations.

Most of the trilogy's details have been kept under a heavy veil of secrecy, including casting. But Ms. Clement did confirm that one of the star signings, actor Elijah Wood, is in Wellington awaiting filming for his role as hairy-footed hobbit Frodo Baggins. "Yes, he's here and busy in training," she said.

Other reported locations for filming of the epic project include the countryside west of Masterton with its native bush. Producers are understood to need hundreds of horses and riders for South Island scenes involving the Riders of Rohan. Meanwhile, Wellington actor Brian Sergent (Braindead, Market Forces) is understood to be one of the first New Zealanders picked for a significant speaking part. He will play Ted Sandyman.