Cowboy Bebop & more productions heading to New Zealand
Following in the footsteps of James Cameron and his Avatar sequels, New Zealand is seeing a number of other international productions coming to its land including Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop adaptation, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series and three others, according to Deadline.
In looking to jumpstart filming halted by quarantine in many parts of the world, multiple studios are looking to take advantage of New Zealand’s near-eradication of COVID-19 and move their productions to the Kiwi island. In addition to the Amazon adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel franchise and Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the classic anime, New Zealand will also greet the arrivals of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth, Peter Farrelly’s Greatest Beer Run Ever starring Viggo Mortensen, and Power Rangers Beast Morphers.
The latest moves will see a total 206 of foreign-based cast and crew in the country, along with 35 family members, over the next six months after being granted the border exemptions from the country’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, as well as 10 more crew members of Avatar joining the 31 already there.
“Our success at managing COVID-19 gives our country an opportunity to become one of the few countries still able to safely produce screen content,” Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said at Parliament on Wednesday. “And the inquiries and interest we are getting from international production houses tells me that the international film community sees New Zealand as something of a global safe haven.”
The Lord of the Rings had already entered pre-production and early shooting prior to the global quarantine order, coming close to wrapping work on the first two episodes in mid-March before being shut down, though it now fits into their original plan of going on hiatus after the second episode and resuming in September.
Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop had been in production last year before going on a 7-9 month hiatus after star John Cho (Searching) suffered a knee injury onset in October. Though sources report that no resume date has been set for shooting in New Zealand, the studios are looking to continue some time in the next couple of months. MBIE estimates that with the new productions coming to the country and cleared to film, it should create 3,000 local jobs for Kiwis and bring $400 million to the New Zealand economy.