Elijah Wood Reacts To Amazon's Lord Of The Rings Series Leaving New Zealand
Wood had a simple and straightforward response to the decision to leave New Zealand for the UK.
Actor Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings series, has reacted to the recent news that Amazon's new TV series will move its production out of New Zealand and into the UK for its second season. Wood's response was short but emphatic.
Sharing a news story about the announcement, Wood used the facepalm emoji to describe his emotions about it.
New Zealand is synonymous with The Lord of the Rings. In fact, the country's own tourism department uses The Lord of the Rings to encourage people to come visit (or at least they did before COVID).
Jackson's The Lord of the Rings series was filmed in New Zealand, except for some interiors that were shot in the UK, Wood acknowledged on Twitter.
Amazon deciding to film Season 2 outside of New Zealand marks the first time a recent live-action Lord of the Rings project was filmed outside of the country, as The Hobbit was filmed there as well. Amazon Studios boss Vernon Sanders said in a statement that New Zealand was an "incredible place to begin this epic journey" with The Lord of the Rings TV show.
New Zealand Film Commission boss David Strong responded to the news, saying, "It's a shame and I feel for everyone who has put their hearts into this production."
New Zealand politician Todd McClay said to Variety that New Zealand's economic and regional development minister Stuart Nash is to blame. "Stuart Nash has shown a lack of interest in negotiating with Amazon, despite the huge impact the production could have on our economy," McClay said. "Stuart Nash needs to be transparent with Kiwis about why he didn't even ask for future seasons of the show to be filmed in New Zealand."
Nash responded, saying Amazon simply made a "commercial choice" and that New Zealand's film industry remains healthy and a viable place for productions to take place.
The report from Variety further suggests that New Zealand's strict border policies in the wake of COVID-19 might have played a role in Amazon's decision to do business elsewhere. By contrast, the UK is less restrictive, and it's also where Amazon is filming Anansi Boys and Good Omens, so Amazon is already up and running in the region.
Amazon's The Lord of the Rings series will debut its first season on September 3, 2022. Episodes will be released weekly for Prime subscribers. The first teaser image from the show appears to highlight the Two Trees of Valinor, which is intriguing to think about.
The show features an ensemble cast that includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.
Behind the camera, Amazon recruited Breaking Bad alum Gennifer Hutchison as an executive producer, while Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom's J.A. Bayona, Doctor Who's Wayne Che Yip, and The Witcher's Charlotte Brändström all directed episodes.
The official description for Season 1 is below:
"The new epic drama brings to screens for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history. Beginning in a time of relative peace, thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth."
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