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New Zealand is once again in the news for providing the incredible locations for internationally acclaimed films

New Zealand stars in hit movies

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By Ruth Atherley —— Bio and Archives December 12, 2009

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- Ruth Atherley

Movie fans have always wanted to know more about the making of their favourite films. In New Zealand, there are many movie themed activities and tours that take fans behind the scenes and showcase some breathtaking locations while providing some insider scoop about the making of the films.

In the upcoming release of The Lovely Bones, a feature film directed by Kiwi Peter Jackson and starring Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Mark Wahlberg, New Zealand is once again in the news for providing the incredible locations for internationally acclaimed films.

New Zealand’s most famous film production is undoubtedly Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was filmed entirely in New Zealand. The upcoming filming of The Hobbit in New Zealand, directed by Guillermo del Toro and set for filming in March 2010, is stirring up that excitement all over again. Throughout both the North and South Islands, Lord of the Rings fans can tour the film’s locations with experienced guides who not only know some insider details of the filming, they often also appeared as extras.

Other box office successes such as King Kong; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; The World’s Fastest Indian; and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe showcased New Zealand’s dramatic and breathtaking scenery and cemented its reputation as a world-class filming location. In fact, three strong contenders for this year’s Oscar Best Picture nominations have New Zealand connections: The Lovely Bones (directed by Jackson), Bright Star (directed by Kiwi Jane Campion) and Avatar, which was partially filmed in New Zealand.

For movie buffs, this provides excellent opportunities to check out locations and talk to locals about their experiences and to hear about some one-on-one “local moments” with stars like Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen. Just ask any local in New Zealand who their favourite star is and you’ll hear great, personal stories about the actors.

While filming, many of the stars take advantage of all the fun things to do in New Zealand. While filming The Warrior’s Way, Kate Bosworth took time to skydive; comedian Robin Williams has gone heli-mountain biking, George Lucas and Hugh Jackman took a wild ride in Queenstown on Shotover Jet and the list of celebrities that have bungy jumped includes Tiger Woods, members of U2, Slash of Guns and Roses and Velvet Revolver, as well as Scottish comedian Billy Connolly who—not to be outdone—did the Nevis Highwire Bungy naked. (Of course the video found its way to YouTube.

For movie fans, a trip to New Zealand is like a visit to the candy store. With a long history of great movies made in the country and locals who want to show you where and how – and tell you about their experience with the stars, film buffs can peek behind the scenes of some of the biggest blockbusters of this decade, as well as some of the best independent films made while visiting New Zealand.

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Travel New Zealand Ruth Atherley -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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