Middle Earth is coming home. Amazon’s new “The Lord of the Rings” TV series will, like the two Peter Jackson-helmed film trilogies before it, be shot in New Zealand.
Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels, pre-production is already underway in the country with filming to take place in Auckland in the coming months, with one key location expected to be Kumeu Film Studios. That’s one change from the original which was primarily based out of the city of Wellington where WETA Workshop is based.
Amazon paid around $250 million for the global rights to the property and the series’ production budgets, visual effects and the cast and creative teams are expected to push the cost of the overall project to around $1 billion. Showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said in a statement:
“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. 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.
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.”
The TV adaptation of the iconic property will explore new storylines preceding the events of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”. J.A. Bayona (“Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom”) directs the first two episodes and also serves as executive producer. The show is targeting a 2021 premiere.