Hollywood heavyweight Sir Ridley Scott is eyeing Wellington as a possible location for one of his next films.
The director of Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator was in Sydney last month, amid speculation that he was scouting locations and studio space to film a sequel to his 2012 sci-fi film Prometheus.
Jamie Selkirk, facility manager at Wellington's Stone Street Studios where big-budget films including Avatar and The Hobbit have been shot, could not confirm whether Scott or his representatives had visited the studio complex in recent weeks.
However, Selkirk, who won an Oscar for editing The Return of the King, said "inquiries had been made by his [Sir Ridley's] producers" in recent weeks about the use of Stone Street Studios for a project.
Scott, 76, directed and shot most of the US$130 million (NZ$150m) Prometheus at Pine wood Studios in Britain, but Weta Digital contributed visual effects, with up to 400 people working on the film in Wellington.
Scott is attached to Prometheus 2 as a producer and the cast is likely to include Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace from the first film.
While in Sydney, Scott was spotted lunching with Cate Blanchett, fuelling speculation the Australian actress will also feature. Scott is also involved in at least three other sci-fi films, including a sequel to Blade Runner.
Prometheus 2 backers Twentieth Century Fox have not announced a release date for the film, but do list an "untitled Ridley Scott project" as scheduled for release on March 3, 2016.
Selkirk said more international productions had shown an interest in using Stone Street Studios since the start of a new Government grant scheme for films in April.
International productions were eligible for a cash grant of 20 per cent of what would be spent in New Zealand. Interest by Scott's representatives was one of about five overseas inquiries since the grant scheme began.
"It pretty well ramped up things since the beginning of April. Most come down these days not just for the studios but locations as well. Another incentive to come out here is Weta Digital and Weta Workshop. They look at those as another key reason to come out to New Zealand because they have such a good skill base," he said.
A spokeswoman for Film New Zealand, which promotes the country as a location for international productions, said it could not discuss the details of any inquiries to film in New Zealand. However, it had seen an increase in interest from international productions since April.
- The Dominion Post
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