Name: Ralph Winter, producer
Production: The main unit of Twentieth Century Fox's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, directed by Gavin Hood, filmed for two-and-a-half weeks and the second unit for six weeks in New Zealand, principally in Queenstown and environs, Dunedin and Milford Sound, a fjord. All are in the lower half of the South Island. Most of the film is being made in Australia.
- Why did you decide to shoot in New Zealand'
The landscape and terrain had the same feel as the other three X-Men films, shot in Canada. The landscape in Australia is a little more scrubby and not as forested. On top of that, the landscape in New Zealand is spectacular.
- Where else did you consider'
We had competing scouts in Canada and New Zealand. We came to get a different flavour and expand the look but we also wanted to be closer to (Wolverine star) Hugh Jackman. He was doing Australia and we were going to roll right into this.
- How did you find the New Zealand crews'
Terrific. We had a fair number of Australian crew who had worked in New Zealand before and everyone meshed seamlessly.
- Is there anything New Zealand lacks'
We had such large demands that we just could not get all the crew from New Zealand so we had to fly people in from outside. That just adds to costs. But it was also us demanding more of the location than it was able to provide. We had helicopters, car chases and explosions - we were doing so many things so fast.
- What do you know now that you wish you had known before you started shooting'
Because Queenstown is a resort, you have to book early and plan well in advance because you are competing with tourists on accommodation. We inadvertently got caught out there and in Dunedin.
- Are you doing any post-production or visual effects in New Zealand'
No, unfortunately. I used Weta Digital on Fantastic Four and visited Weta Workshop this time and was knocked out by their creativity. I also went to Park Road Post - if I had known they could handle 30,000ft of dailies, I wouldn't have shipped them back to Sydney. That is a spectacular facility and if I'm down this way again I will definitely take advantage of it. I was blown away by the facilities in Wellington.
- What did you like least'
It is an exotic location so you know it's going to be more expensive than, say, Canada. The exchange rate helps a little bit - and the 15% rebate.
- Would you shoot in New Zealand again'
We would come back again because the locations are so spectacular. Filming is dictated by locations.