long-awaited screen presentation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the
Rings trilogy will be shot exclusively in New Zealand over a period
of 18 months, with post-production adding the same length of time again.
At three years in the making, this will be the largest production ever
to be mounted in the Southern Hemisphere.
Written by Oscar-nominated screenwriters Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh, with Philippa Boyens and Stephen Sinclair, this technically challenging production will assemble an international cast, utilize over 20,000 extras' days, employ a full crew of over 300 (including award-winning high profile technicians from both within and outside of New Zealand), and will feature 1200 state-of-the-art computer generated effects shots.
Peter Jackson's Wellington-based production company, Wingnut Films Limited, together with the special effects company WETA Limited, have been involved in developing and designing this realization of the Tolkien classic for more than two years. During this time a stunning array of miniatures, creatures, prosthetic effects and armor have been created to bring the grandeur and spectacle of Tolkienís richly evocative Middle-earth to life on the screen.
WETA Limited, New Zealand's leading Special Effects house, continues to focus all of its efforts on this one project. Dedicated to meeting the exacting visual and technical requirements of Director Peter Jackson, WETA Digital is developing its own proprietary programs and using state-of-the-art motion control, blue screen and forced perpective techniques to achieve his vision. The people and creatures who populate Middle-earth, as well as their homes, cities (and lairs) are being conceptualized by WETA Workshop with the guidance of Alan Lee and John Howe. Alan & John are internationally recognized Tolkien artists.
New Zealand is Middle-earth. Geologically a young country, New Zealand is a wild mix of diverse terrain, which brings with it a sense of grandeur and antiquity. Peter Jackson will use the peace and tranquility of New Zealand's rolling pastoral farmland, the rugged beauty of the North Island's volcanic plateaus, and the majesty of the South Island's snow capped Southern Alps to bring the screen his interpretation of how Britain, Tolkien's Middle-earth, might have looked 7,000 years ago.
Since the public announcement by New Line Cinema in August of 1998, international interest in this project has been overwhelming; little wonder, considering The Lord of the Rings trilogy was voted Book of the Century in 1997. Internet sites devoted to the trilogy have attracted a record number of hits and thousands of approaches have been received by the production company from people wanting to be involved in the project both behind and in front of the camera.