The Southland Times
August 31, 2000

Elves and Orcs to Roll Into Central Otago
Regan Horrell

The Tolkein-like areas of Central Otago are set to be captured for the $360 million Lord of the Rings trilogy next month.

About 60 production crew and cast arrived in the area this week to shoot scenes for the Peter Jackson-directed movies based on J R R Tolkein's fantasy novels.

Assistant publicist Melissa Booth said yesterday a range of shots would be covered featuring general scenes of the dramatic Middle Earth.

"We are here to use the New Zealand scenery that we think is like the book and we'll have actors and extras on set to take advantage of the landscape."

The crew would be in the area for two or three weeks "depending on the weather" and would also visit the Te Anau area for shooting of longer scenes including "trekking of landscapes," Ms Booth said.

About 45 horse extras would be based at Cromwell during the time the crew was on location.

Another unit would travel south probably next week, bringing up to 100 or more crew.

The crews would be based in Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau during their stay.

Secrecy continues to surround the site of locations, although Ms Booth hinted most filming in Central Otago would be shot around the "Queenstown area."

"Everybody knows the story, but we are trying to preserve the images and magic of the movies."