It had been the independent filmmaker’s lifelong dream to make a live-action version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, an endeavor that other filmmakers thought was too ambitious. However, by utilizing cutting-edge techniques, Director Sir Peter Jackson could bring Middle Earth to life. His confidence was undoubtedly boosted because he knew where to find the locations that would perfectly evoke the books: his home country of New Zealand. But did you know how the New Zealand Army helped make the Lord of the Rings Movies?
The New Zealand army assisted in producing the Lord of the Rings films by acting as soldiers and orcs.
The Lord of the Rings Army Controversy
The New Zealand army has denied that it should not have used its soldiers to play hobbits or elves in the new Lord of the Rings film.
Hundreds of soldiers were used in battle scenes while filming JRR Tolkien’s classic in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Defense Force received approximately 20 New Zealand dollars (£6.10) per person for the work.
However, New Zealand First party defense spokesman Ron Mark claims the soldiers are being exploited, claiming the pay is “insulting” compared to the film’s $250 million (£200 million) Hollywood budget.
According to the army, the work sharpened soldiers’ military planning skills and demonstrated support for New Zealand.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a massive New Zealand film industry undertaking. Local director Peter Jackson has been working on the project for several years. Ron Mark, a former officer, believes the military should be held accountable for exploitation by offering low pay to its soldiers.
Taxpayers must be informed as to why, at a time when the government cannot afford to raise pay rates for junior ranks serving in East Timor, the government is effectively handing over soldiers’ expertise.Ron Mark, Former New Zealand Officer
He said the pay was “absurd,” and soldiers’ skills and resources were more valuable. (Source: The BBC)
Grateful Army Slash Lord of the Rings Extras
But the army is not convinced.
We used the job as part of military planning and logistics exercise, and see this as part our contribution towards Lord of the Rings, of support for New Zealand, The whole exercise helped sharpen planning and logistics skills before troops were posted on United Nations’ peacekeeping duties to East Timor.Warren Inskster, Army Spokesperson
He said that soldiers were paid their normal wages while filming, and the money was paid to the army for expenses.
It was a unique experience for our people, a good, positive experience.Warren Inskster, Army Spokesperson
Allowing the soldiers to participate in the film was a form of government subsidy for production. According to a New Zealand government spokesperson, the deal was approved to ensure that the three films would be made in New Zealand. The first Lord of the Rings film will be released around the world at the end of the year.
Gandalf is played by Sir Ian McKellen, Galadriel is played by Cate Blanchett, and Sean Bean plays Boromir. (Source: The BBC)
Image from The Daily Blog