||The Evening Post
November 13, 2000
Post Pipped at Party
The Lord Of The Rings crew was having a party and we weren't invited.
The country's news media got invitations to a shindig at the Dry Creek Quarry on Haywards Hill on Saturday but the movie moguls wanted The Evening Post sent to its room.
Heaps of big stars were there but The Post was deemed too unruly to get close to them.
Publicist Claire Raskind said there had been "problems" over the past seven or eight months with the paper - presumably she meant the extensive unauthorised news coverage given to production of the film.
She wouldn't even let us stand in the carpark while the well-behaved news media played pin-the-tale-on-the carefully-sanitised-media moment in the big tent up the hill.
Ironically, Dry Creek Quarry is home to the Minas Tirith set, the scene of the book's decisive battle between good and evil.
Into which camp does manipulation of the media fall?
Sure, The Lord Of The Rings is a massive enterprise, great for New Zealand, and director Peter Jackson is a hugely talented man . . . but why do the lords of Lord Of The Rings have to be so paranoid?
Ultimately, they live or die on interest in the film - and The Post's coverage has reflected that interest. It just hasn't been done according to Mr Jackson's script.
J R R Tolkien would probably chuckle at the circus around his book.
Y'see the ring at the centre of the story is renowned for causing problems. It can make the wearer invisible - obviously what the film bosses desire - but ultimately it drives them mad with lust for evil power . . .
Post editor Suzanne Carty said today she was disappointed on behalf of readers that the paper's reporters and photographers had been specifically banned from the press conference.
"This high-handed kind of action takes me back to the Muldoon days. Never mind - Wellingtonians are understandably fascinated by Lord Of The Rings and if the film's hired hands choose to be unco-operative, we'll just have to keep getting our information in the time-honoured way of journalists - by digging, talking to people and not being fobbed off with handouts, press conferences and photocalls."
Still, it's the fans that matter, right?
German tourists Matthias Dabisch and Astrid Meier were standing at the entrance to Dry Creek Quarry, happy with a long distance sight of the site.
Matthias denied coming to New Zealand just to visit Rings sites, but admitted it was "an opportunity we couldn't miss".
"We knew about New Zealand before it (Lord of the Rings) but it was a good chance to combine two things," he said.
They didn't know about the Rings party but were delighted after getting a wave from Peter Jackson as he drove by.
So at least some people left Dry Creek happy with what little they saw. But the last vision of Matthias and Astrid was of them peering over a gate topped with barbed wire while a security guard locked it with a hefty rusty chain.