The Lord of the Rings TV series allowed to begin production in New Zealand
The crew members of Amazon Prime Video's television adaptation The Lord of the Rings have been granted permission to enter New Zealand to begin production, along with five other projects.
According to New Zealand media website Stuff, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has revealed that international crews for seven projects have been allowed to enter the country in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, reported Variety.
In addition to the long-awaited Avatar sequel and Jane Campion's film The Power of the Dog, whose crews had already been allowed in the country, staff are beginning to arrive for television shows The Lord of the Rings, Cowboy Bepop and Power Rangers Beast Morphers, as well as films The Greatest Beer Run Ever and Sweet Tooth.
A total of 206 cast and crew members and 35 of their kin will be allowed entrance into the country over the course of six months. When making the decision, MBIE cited that letting the productions in will create 3,000 jobs and add 400 million USD to New Zealand's economy.
Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said in a statement obtained by Stuff, "Our success at managing coronavirus gives our country an opportunity to become one of the few countries still able to safely produce screen content. The inquiries and interest we are getting from international production houses tell me that the international film community sees New Zealand as something of a global safe haven This is an opportunity friend that we must grab. Despite the turmoil that the world is facing, this is an exciting time for New Zealand's screen sector."
When the pandemic hit, the The Lords of the Rings television series was already in production in Auckland, allowing some crew members to quarantine in the country while others returned to their homes and now must come back to New Zealand.
Although shooting has not yet resumed on The Lord of the Rings, the New Zealand Film Commission said that they have begun pre-production.
Stars including Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur and Nazanin Boniadi along with 93 crew members and 20 family members will be brought into the country for the series alone.