X-Men cameras set to roll down south

Last updated 11:25 22/01/2008
X-FACTOR: Jugh Jackman will star as teh metal-clawed mutant Wolverine.

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A big-budget Hollywood superhero movie is due to begin filming in New Zealand next week.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the fourth movie in the popular X-Men series, stars Australian actor Hugh Jackman as the mutant hero.

Plans for the film, believed to have a $100 million-plus budget, were announced in September – but 20th Century Fox and Jackman's production company would not say exactly where and when they will film in the lower South Island.

Pre-production and some filming took place at Fox Studios in Sydney last year and industry sources told The Dominion Post filming was likely to begin in New Zealand early next week.

A crew of more than 200 was being assembled in Queenstown and most filming would be at Glenorchy, 40 kilometres from Queenstown and next to Lake Wakatipu.

The lake recently featured in the Hollywood film The Water Horse.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which explores the origin of Jackman's super hero and how his character Logan became Wolverine, would also use locations in Dunedin next month, sources said.

Jackman told Sydney newspaper The Sun Herald yesterday that he was having only a short break after filming in Australia before coming to New Zealand.

"Most people get four weeks in a year so I don't think anybody will be crying for me," he said. "I'll just work on that [Wolverine] then take a bit of time off after that."

American actor Liev Schreiber, who has a part in the film, is the partner of Australian actress Naomi Watts, who spent several months in Wellington filming Peter Jackson's King Kong. The couple had a child last year and there is speculation Watts may spend time in New Zealand while Schreiber is here.

Wolverine is being directed by South African Gavin Hood, whose feature Tsoti won the best foreign film Oscar last year. He also directed the thriller Rendition with Jake Gyllenhaal.

The film, due for release in New Zealand in April next year, is one of several big-budget fantasy films being shot in New Zealand.

James Cameron's sci-fi saga Avatar is expected to finish filming in Wellington next month. Pre- production began this month on Jackson's The Hobbit, a two-film prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

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- The Dominion Post

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