Ian McKellen on NZ Shooting

The Independent have posted an article in which Ian McKellen talks about his experience in New Zealand:

A year's work abroad isn't unusual or daunting for an actor – but a year in New Zealand? That was how long I would be needed there as Gandalf in the filming of Lord of the Rings. I'm indifferent to rugby and don't eat lamb but at least it seemed a good opportunity to visit Australia. Almost at once, however, New Zealand's allure won over and I managed only one weekend in Sydney for a wet and cold Mardi Gras.

To begin with, much is familiar. Cadbury's and Marmite are available. From my rented house across the estuary was the hamlet of Eastbourne. I was only 10 minutes' drive from the capital city of Wellington and even less from the film studios of Three Foot Six Ltd, which the director Peter Jackson named after the height of Tolkien's Hobbits. This was the first welcome change from filming in London, where Shepperton and Pinewood studios are an hour or more from home. The second was to be working in a beautiful and underpopulated country, where the unique ecology overwhelms the urban areas.

Eastbourne is scattered at the foot of rolling, bare hills empty of human activity. Back home, wherever I've rambled, it is almost impossible to avoid the sights and sounds of history and industry. From the summit of Great Gable, for example, with its view down to England's most isolated lake of Wastwater, the chimneys of the Sellafield nuclear power station gleam on the distant shore of Morecambe Bay. And too frequently these days, bomber pilots skim the tops on their deafening practice flights.

I knew, of course, that New Zealand is proudly nuclear free, but I was unprepared for its wilderness of rainforests and the alpine ranges where Edmund Hillary prepared himself for Everest, 50 years ago. Then, whole tracts of the South Island's fjordland were still uncharted. These days, the trampers over the mountainous tracks are limited through an advance-booking system.

To read the rest, hit the link above!
Thanks to 'Tom' for the headsup!

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