From Hollywood to Hamilton

LOUISE RISK
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2012
Lost star Matthew Fox
PETER DRURY/Waikato Times
BIG PRODUCTION: Lost star Matthew Fox on the set of Emperor, a love and war film set in post World War II Japan.

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Tinseltown came to Waikato yesterday, bringing Matthew Fox with it.

He came to fame as a stressed-out stand-in dad to his four orphaned siblings in 90's angst fest Party of Five, then gained heart-throb status in weirdo plane crash series Lost.

Now Matthew Fox is shooting a movie in Hamilton – at least he was yesterday. The 45 year old, from Crowheart Wyoming, spent a busy day in the Hamilton Gardens working on acclaimed British director Peter Webber's latest film, Emperor.

The movie – Emperor is the working title – is described as "an epic story of love and understanding set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II".

Fox is cast as General Bonner Fellers, one of General Douglas MacArthur's leading experts on the Japanese, who was charged with deciding whether Emperor Hirohito should be tried as a war criminal.

Tommy Lee Jones will play General MacArthur.

Inspired by true events, the film had a love story interwoven into the war story, with Fellers searching ravaged post-war Japan for Aya, a Japanese exchange student he had met years before in the United States while trying to make his difficult decision.

Watch out fellas – sounds like a chick flick.

Unit publicist Diana Goulding described Emperor as an international film with the "cream of the crop" of the New Zealand film industry involved.

A convoy of trucks, complete with its own kitchen and barista, took over much of the main car park area for the day, but the actors remained largely out of sight in the well-enclosed Japanese garden.

Unsuspecting garden visitors wove through men in water waders, crew with cameras and numerous security guards, and were able to enjoy access to everywhere except the Japanese garden.

Ms Goulding said they had been filming in Auckland on Tuesday, and were headed for Wellington today, and a smaller number of cast and crew would also be heading to Japan to do filming there.

She said the film was likely to be completed by late this year or early next year, but it was too soon to say if there was any chance of the world premier being held in New Zealand.

Fairfax Media reported last November that Film New Zealand hosted Webber, who directed Girl with a Pearl Earing and other Emperor producers on a reconnaissance trip earlier last year which convinced them they should film in the country.

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louise.risk@waikatotimes.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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