×

Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series to Shoot in New Zealand

Amazon Studios has set New Zealand as the location for its upcoming series production of “The Lord of the Rings,” following in the footsteps of the movies made by Peter Jackson. Pre-production on the series has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months.

“We knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff,” said showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

The three hit “Lord of the Rings” films helmed by Jackson, himself a Kiwi, were largely shot in New Zealand, and some of the locations have since become tourist attractions. Produced by New Line Cinema, the movie trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy cycle earned nearly $6 billion worldwide and garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards.

The new TV series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Popular on Variety

“The scale of Amazon Studios’ series, based on ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ will create significant economic benefits and employment opportunities,” said Kerry Prendergast, chair of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC). “The New Zealand Film Commission, along with the broader industry and New Zealand partners, welcome the opportunities Amazon Studios will bring.”

NZFC chief executive Annabelle Sheehan said that the series will employ vendors from across New Zealand, and include location shooting in several regions. The main production base will be in Auckland, on the North Island.

Little is known about the plot of the “Lord of the Rings” series beyond the fact that it will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The show’s official Twitter account sent out an image of a map, along with the two messages: “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,” as well as “Welcome to the Second Age.” In Tolkien’s mythology, the Second Age was the time during which the Rings of Power, including Sauron’s One Ring, came into existence.

J.A. Bayona (“The Orphanage,” “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom”) will direct the first two episodes and serve as executive producer, alongside his partner Belen Atienza. Executive producers are Lindsey Weber ( “10 Cloverfield Lane”), Bruce Richmond (“Game of Thrones”), Gene Kelly (“Boardwalk Empire”), Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison (“Breaking Bad”), Jason Cahill (“The Sopranos”), and Justin Doble (“Stranger Things”).

To date, Variety has revealed that the cast includes Australian actress Markella Kavenagh and British actor Will Poulter (“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” “The Maze Runner”).

More Digital

  • Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

    Facebook Revenue Climbs 25% in Q4 to $21 Billion, Stock Falls

    Facebook turned in another massive quarter — reporting a quarterly record $21.08 billion in revenue, and announcing that its core app now reaches 2.5 billion users each month. Still, while it Facebook beat Wall Street expectations on revenue (vs. analyst forecasts of $20.89 billion) and earnings per share of $2.56 (vs. $2.53 estimates), the stock [...]

  • Apple Computers Logo Placeholder

    Apple Poaches Senior Netflix Engineer for Streaming-Tech Team

    Apple has tapped nine-year Netflix veteran Ruslan Meshenberg as an engineering leader on its streaming-video team. Meshenberg tweeted news of his joining Apple on Monday, posting a photo of the tech company’s HQ at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, Calif., and the caption, “New adventure!” According to his updated LinkedIn profile, his title at Apple [...]

  • Richard Plepler

    Ex-HBO Boss Richard Plepler Invests in Luminary, Joins Podcast Company's Board

    Richard Plepler has hopped on the podcast train. The former HBO chief executive has invested in Luminary Media, a podcast-subscription service, and taken a seat on its board. Plepler acquired a minority stake in Luminary, according to sources, although they could not confirm the amount of the investment. The New York-based company has raised over [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Parent Company Files for Bankruptcy

    Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns the defunct MoviePass cinema-subscription service, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The company disclosed the move in an SEC filing dated Jan. 28, when Helios and Mathenson filed the petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Chapter 7 [...]

  • Knews logo

    News Corp Launches Knewz With Stories From 400-Plus Publishers, Promising No Clickbait or 'Narrow-Minded Nonsense'

    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp says it’s trying to battle fake news and social-media clickbait with Knewz, its own curated headline-aggregation service. The company’s new Knewz.com site — a text-heavy agglomeration that has already drawn critiques of its cluttered design — officially launched Thursday as a “beta” test. The site, patterned after other aggregators like Google [...]

  • John Stankey

    AT&T's John Stankey: TNT, TBS to Boost Unscripted Volume as WarnerMedia Invests in HBO Max

    The march to the launch of HBO Max in May is driving changes across WarnerMedia. John Stankey, AT&T chief operating officer and WarnerMedia chairman, told investors on Wednesday that cable powerhouses TNT and TBS will lean into more unscripted programming as WarnerMedia steers its investment in high-end scripted programming to the nascent subscription streaming platform. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content