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Queenstown Hosts a Luging Director and an “Iconic Character”

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Sir Peter Jackson luges in Queenstown during his down-time

There have been many reports of Hobbit cast sightings in Queenstown, but none so entertaining as the picture of Peter Jackson joining locals on the Skyline luge.

Jackson and his immense entourage were in Queenstown to film the scenes of Beorn’s Hall. The huge set took eight weeks to build and more than eight months to design. All of this work and planning will translate to about three minutes in the final film. “Generally, you spend three, four, five days in one place because often you’re only shooting one or two scenes there,” Jackson said. “The Hobbit is a story of a quest; it’s a travelling story, so virtually every scene takes place further along the journey.” The next stop on the journey for the first unit is Te Anau, where they will be filming for an undisclosed number of days.

Photo - Otago Daily Times

Jackson described Beorn, played by Mikael Persbrandt, as “a very iconic character in the book […] he mistrusts Dwarves, so Gandalf introducting 13 Dwarves is a slightly socially awkward moment.” All thirteen dwarves, as well as Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and Ian McKellen as Gandalf, were in attendance and in costume to film the memorable scene from the novel.

The production hit a snag, however, when a century-old tree that was Jackson’s reason for choosing the location was blown down. “The tree we thought would be great to have right in the front yard of the house,” he said. But the show must go on, and Jackson explained that they “had to build a fake one.”

The famous director was also excited to talk about the use of 3D cameras on The Hobbit. “You’ll literally feel like you’ve stepped into the story,” he said. And though some fans may be worried about his interpretation, he remarked, “All I can do is make the best movie I can and hope people will enjoy it.”

Click Here for an on-set account by Otago Daily Times journalist James Beech.

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