Lord of the Rings TV series to film in New Zealand

Amazon Studios chose the country over Scotland to represent Middle Earth

By Chris Evans 18 Sep 2019

Lord of the Rings TV series to film in New Zealand
Auckland. Credit: Unsplash

The hotly anticipated Lord of the Rings TV series will film in New Zealand across Auckland, Amazon Studios has confirmed.

New Zealand will reprise its starring role as Middle Earth having been the setting of the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy movies, and the Hobbit franchise. The country beat strong competition from Scotland to host the production.

Filming for the NZ$1.3bn (£660m) series is slated to begin in the coming months across Auckland. The capital Wellington had been considered but was ruled out due to all available studio space being taken up by Hollywood director James Cameron, who is filming his four Avatar sequels there.

“As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff. And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” said showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

“We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”

Phil Twyford, New Zealand’s economic development minister, described the “ambitious production” as fantastic news for the country, and said it would create jobs and significant overseas investment.

New Zealand offers a rebate of up to 25% for international productions. The local government was reported to have paid out NZ$161m to Sir Peter Jackson for the Hobbit trilogy.

J.A. Bayona will direct the first two episodes of the new TV adaptation, which will explore storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Rumours suggest that the focus will be on a young Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen in the film trilogy.

Bayona is also serving as executive producer, alongside his partner Belén Atienza, Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad), Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), and Justin Doble (Stranger Things).

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