Capitalising on Hobbit in TV shows

Star power turned out at the Green Dragon

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 16:24 29/11/2012

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John Key has joined movie dwarves for an ale at Hobbiton and is hinting at more subsidies to get more big money filming to New Zealand.

The Prime Minister suppled a beverage with Hobbit cast members including Northern Irish actor James Nesbitt, who played pugnacious dwarf Bofur in the film which premiered in Wellington yesterday.

Today it was Matamata’s turn as star power turned out at the Green Dragon at the Hobbiton film set near the Waikato town.

The actors, joked with Mr Key and other guests at a function attended by dozens of overseas media, with the Prime minister tapping a barrel of ale at the inn for the occasion.

Mr Key earlier said the  government is to review subsidies to lure big television productions to new Zealand on the back of the Hobbit.

As it stands a television production must spend $15 million, or more, to qualify for a 15 per cent rebate. Such a spend would require three or four episodes to be filmed here.

“The Government is having a bit of a look at the offering that we have,” Mr Key said. “Whether the television subsidy is fit for purpose.”

Such work has already paid dividends around films, as there were two Hobbit sequels underway and director James Cameron was making two sequels to his film Avatar in Wellington.

Mr Key said both Sir Peter and Mr Cameron had spoken in New Zealand’s favour to Hollywood executives in Los Angeles in a bid to bring more large scale productions here.

Mr Key was particularly interested in attracting the makers of pilot episodes of new series in New Zealand as if the pilot got the green light a series would follow.

Sir Peter, a life long Doctor Who fan, has said he would like to direct an episode of the series in New Zealand after lead actor Matt Smith appealed, through the Waikato Times , to film with him here. 

A Wellington based writer of the show, Neil Cross, wants to pen the tale and the idea has the support of the show’s executive producers Steven Moffat, who worked with Sir Peter on Tintin, and Caro Skinner.

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- Waikato Times

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