The DVD for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is now out in the US and on it is a short film in which the stars of The Hobbit sing the praises of the New Zealand countryside.
In the featurette Peter Jackson gives a guided tour of the country and shows the locations where various scenes from the movie were shot. Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Andy Serkis, along with other cast members, comment enthusiastically on the beauty of the countryside.
Graham McTavish who plays Dwalin, said of Twizel,
“I took a photo to send to some friends and they refused to believe that this was an actual photograph, that I hadn’t photoshopped it,”
And Sylvester McCoy, the wizard Radagast, said,
“What’s so glorious about those places is you can do a 360 degree shot and not a satellite dish in sight,”
Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf, said his favourite location was in the mountains near Queenstown, which James Nesbitt, (Bofur) called “amazing, a beautiful jewel.”
Justin Watson of Tourism New Zealand told TV ONE’s Breakfast that the short film would be seen by millions of people around the world.
“It’s basically a behind the scenes look at New Zealand through the eyes of the actors that are in The Hobbit movie. So they obviously spent a number of months touring around and on set but they lived a New Zealand life,” he said.
“There’s a lot of warm and heartfelt experiences of their time in New Zealand which is really, really encouraging and a strong message for us to get out there.”
The number of Americans who visited New Zealand in January this year increased by 16%. Watson said,
“If we look over the last two years, we’ve only seen it move maybe 1%, so 16% for January, and it looks like it’s going to be about 10% for February, is a significant move.
“What we’ve seen is a significant increase in the awareness of New Zealand off the back of not only The Hobbit movies, but also the work that Tourism New Zealand’s done in our campaign and PR activity.”