Amazon Lord Of The Rings Series Moving Production To UK From New Zealand
Amazon’s highly anticipated Lord Of The Rings web series has moved production from New Zealand to the UK for season 2.
An untitled prequel series to the books of acclaimed author J.R.R. Tolkien is set to make a big impression, with the help of the largest budget for a TV series ever. In fact, the series reportedly cost a whopping $465 million (£336m) to develop.
Despite the significant cost of the first series, Amazon is clearly confident in its ability to draw viewers, as it has been renewed for a second outing before the first has even arrived. However, COVID-19 regulations and filming costs have forced the production to move from New Zealand to the UK.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently announced the country would be maintaining its strict border controls until at least 2022 to reduce the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
On top of COVID-19 concerns, Albert Cheng, COO and co-head of TV for Amazon Studios noted:
As we look to relocate the production to the U.K., we do not intend to actively pursue the Season One MoU five percent financial uplift with the New Zealand government or preserve the terms around that agreement, however we respectfully defer to our partners and will remain in close consultation with them around next steps.
Naturally, because of financial constraints and practicality, the big-budget series has had to look elsewhere for filming locations. Nonetheless, Variety reported Vernon Sanders, VP and co-head of TV at Amazon Studios, thanked New Zealand for the opportunity to make season 1 in the country.
We want to thank the people and the government of New Zealand for their hospitality and dedication and for providing The Lord Of The Rings series with an incredible place to begin this epic journey.
We are grateful to the New Zealand Film Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Unlimited, and others for their tremendous collaboration that supported the New Zealand film sector and the local economy during the production of season one.
Post-production of the first season is set to be completed in June next year in New Zealand, with the second season beginning filming in the UK later in 2022.
The news about the change of location has drawn some controversy, however, with the likes of Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in the celebrated Peter Jackson Lord Of The Rings trilogy, expressing his disappointment.
Additionally, fans have also voiced concerns about nudity appearing in the show after a job listing for the project detailed a need for comfortability with intimacy. The petition ended up gathering over 35,000 signatures.
The new series evidently has expectations to balance, and it will be interesting to see if the UK can help satisfy fans of Tolkein.
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