Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a very well known film trilogy based on the three-volume book of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. The films are The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003).
The films were directed by New Zealand director, producer, actor, and screenwriter Peter Jackson. The entire trilogy took eight years, with the filming for all three films done all together and entirely in New Zealand.
Peter Jackson chose New Zealand for filming not only because he felt that there was variety of locations to shoot. aJackson and his team searched New Zealand for the most beautiful, diverse, untouched and unique areas. They found many; today these locations are used for a variety of tours.
The main locations of filming were in the hills of Matamata which became Hobbiton, while the volcanic region of Mt Ruapehu transformed into the fiery Mt. Doom where Sauron forged The Ring, and Queenstown, was the setting for numerous scenes including the Eregion Hills, and the Pillars of Argonath.
The films achieved major critical acclaim as they won 17 out of 30 Academy Awards nominated in total. The Return of the King (2003), won all 11 of the Academy Awards for which it was nominated.
The main characters in the film were: Aragorn played by Viggo Mortensen, Frodo Baggins played by Elijah Wood, Boromir played by Sean Bean, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck played by Dominic Monaghan, Samwise Gamgee played by Sean Astin, Gandalf played by Ian McKellen, Gimli played by John Rhys-Davies, Legolas played by Orlando Bloom, Peregrin "Pippin" Took played by Billy Boyd and Sméagol/Gollum played by Andy Serkis.
Principal photography for the three films was conducted at the same time in many locations between 11 October 1999, and 22 December 2000, a period of 438 days. Pick-up shoots were conducted annually from 2001 to 2004. The trilogy was shot at over 150 different locations, with seven different units shooting, as well as soundstages around Wellington and Queenstown.
New Zealand received international recognition from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and the unique locations where the filming took place are popular tourist spots.
After three Lord of the Rings movies, two Hobbit movies will now follow in 2011 and 2012. They will be prequels to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and will also be filmed in New Zealand.