In late November somebody snuck a camera onto the filmset at Paradise, and the results made their way onto AICN, so we saw our first pics of the Nine on horseback and the first shots of Liv Tyler in costume as Arwen:
Locals told her about the exciting scenes they participated in as extras mainly Orcs. The orcs filmed a lot around a
farm called Paradise, at the western end of Lake Wakatipu, a land of beech forests and high snowy alps. Lothlorien was set amongst
the beech groves of Paradise, helped out by a carpet of fake gold leaves (and presumably, in the finished product, a lot of SFX.)
We can show you the kind of place they used:
The orc extras chased the Fellowship around the forest, tripping and cursing over their prosthetic feet. The death of Boromir was filmed at Paradise too, and we believe the scenes of Frodos desperate ride to the Ford:
Somewhere nearby in Closeburn, an elaborate set was built that we believe is Amon Hen. The aerial shot we saw in December, swarming with stuntmen, implied that some action would happen there. Months later Scoop came up with a clear photo of the set.
By January, Hobbiton was ready for filming.
First the local extras did their scenes of rural life and festivities under the giant Party tree made for the occasion;
then Sir Ian and the hobbits arrived to film the opening scenes of the first film, Gandalfs arrival with a cartload of fireworks.
The indoors sets produced the interior scenes of Orthanc, and Sir Ian talked about his confrontation with Christopher Lees Saruman. Some Tolkien fans caught glimpses of the tower of Orthanc being built at the workshops.
We heard of a brief excursion up to the hilly country of the west Waikato, near the coast, to do the approach to the Weather Hills, or something of that sort. But the actual structure shown on the preview, were not sure weve seen.
From the middle of January right through to March, we got regular reports of the action being filmed almost nightly at the now-completed Helms Deep set in the quarry outside of Wellington. People spent hours watching through binoculars and the more intrepid ones braved the gorse, blackberries and security guards in order to photograph or film the action as seen from the hills behind the quarry. There were some tense confrontations.
Meanwhile the Rivendell set sprang into existence not far from Wellington in the upper reaches of the Hutt River where it comes out of a deep wooded valley. We saw only a little of the delicate celto-gothic architecture there. The Realm of the Ring got the best pictures: