Amazon shuts down Lord of the Rings production in NZ

Staff told "there are no clear answers to when we will resume production"

By Chris Evans 16 Mar 2020

Amazon shuts down Lord of the Rings production in NZ

Amazon Studios has halted production of its $1bn Lord of the Rings TV series in New Zealand due to the coronavirus.

 Production staff, reportedly numbering 800, have been stood down from Monday after the country closed its borders on March 13 in the strongest response to the spread of the coronavirus by any country worldwide.

 Production has been suspended for two weeks as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, with staff told "there are no clear answers to when we will resume."

 The New Zealand Herald published advice from producers GSR Productions sent to all cast and crew on Sunday which said: "In an abundance of caution, UAP [Untitled Amazon Project] has suspended production for the next two (2) weeks commencing Monday, March 16.

"This is done in an environment where travel restrictions directed at the control of Covid-19 are issued daily by New Zealand and most other countries."

It adds that details of compensation and other procedures will be issued on Monday.

In the meantime, cast and crew are directed to "not report to the set or to the studio without the express permission of your supervisor."

Beyond travel disruption, the memo cites health and safety concerns for the cast and crew.

It adds, "we are doing this to minimise stress on the resources and infrastructures around us by doing our part to reduce population density in our communities and daily activities, in efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus."


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