Eye on the Oscars: The Producer

When inclement weather on a New Zealand mountain forced the crew to quit shooting “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” producer Barrie Osborne decided to take matters into his own hands by grabbing a script and a small chopper to scout locations.

“To his credit, many directors would have gone back to the hotel,” recalls Osborne, “but Peter (Jackson) hopped in and we filmed.”

That take-no-prisoners attitude helped Osborne, Jackson and producer Tim Sanders complete a grueling production schedule of 15 months and 274 days of shooting three films back to back to back.

According to Osborne, the scope, scale and isolation of shooting in a faraway country presented the biggest obstacles in moving the movie from script to screen.

“It’s been a huge campaign to do three movies at once in a country where we’ve had to build up most of the resources,” he says.

To oversee a crew of 2,000 and five separate shooting units in different locations, the company employed satellite connectivity to stay up on dailies.

But technology couldn’t always bridge the gap. In the end, the lack of visual effects equipment forced them into making do with what they had on hand.

“We used every trick in the book down to having an actor kneel or stand on an apple box,” laughs Osborne.

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