The Evening Post
Soldiers in Armour

The Evening Post
November 14, 2000

Rings Filming Continues Around Region
Staff Reporter

It was lights, cameras and sword-waving around Wellington region yesterday as filming the multimillion-dollar Lord Of The Rings project continued.

At an elaborate "castle ruin" set in Peterkin St, Taita, actors and extras decked in armour could be seen from the street.

Another battle scene was being filmed next to Queen Elizabeth Park, north of Paekakariki.

The Taita scenes may be part of a climatic battle at Minas Tirith, of which other scenes due to be filmed at a set nearing completion at Dry Creek Quarry next to Haywards Hill may form a part.

Most of the media were invited to the set on Saturday. However, The Evening Post was barred because the project's producers said they were unhappy with the paper's coverage.

Several dead or wounded soldiers and an elaborate structure featured in the scene being filmed next to Queen Elizabeth Park. The structure may be the remains of a huge featherless bird of prey, ridden by one of nine evil creatures called Nazguls during the battle of Pelennor Fields.

Director Peter Jackson said at the weekend that shooting for the film trilogy would finish on December 22. But producer Barrie Osborne remained tight-lipped on the production's cost. It was to have cost $260 million when the plans were announced in 1998. However, American magazine Vanity Fair reported last month that the figure was $US270 million ($NZ692 million).

Another American magazine, Variety, reported last month that a German investment company was trying to raise $360 million to invest in the project.

Hanover Leasings had established the fund to finance The Return Of The King, the third film of the series, due to be released in December 2003. Investors must have at least $110,000 to invest in the film.

Variety said German investment schemes, such as that for The Lord Of The Rings, were usually offered towards the end of the financial year to big-income earners looking to bring down their taxable income.

A trailer showing some scenes from the project was released on the Internet in April. In the first 24 hours that the trailer could be viewed, 1.7 million copies were downloaded. Lord Of The Rings fan websites have speculated that a new trailer will screen at cinemas in the United States before the end of the year.

The first of the three films, The Fellowship Of The Ring, is due to be released in December 2001.

The New York Times last Sunday featured an article on The Lord Of The Rings. It included a photo of filming in Canterbury.