23 Dec 2013

Scenery, not movie rebates, the draw

9:18 am on 23 December 2013

The director of a Hollywood movie about to be filmed in New Zealand says recently announced tax rebates did not play a part in the choice of location.

Fiming on Z for Zachariah, produced by Hollywood star Tobey McGuire, begins in Canterbury next month. Based on Robert O'Brien's children's novel, the film is set in a remote valley which survives a nuclear holocaust.

Director Craig Zobel says there are only three characters in the film, none of whom will be played by local actors, but the the majority of the crew, about 60 people, will be New Zealanders.

Mr Zobel says an increase in rebates able to be claimed by big-budget productions in New Zealand was not a factor in filming here, as the production is too small to qualify.

"We were looking for a place that had pretty steep mountain walls with a valley in it that would be lush and green and verdant," he said.

"And also, you guys have made a lot of very big movies here so there's a lot of very talented people here."

Film New Zealand chief executive Gisella Carr said the independent film will be a small but quality production, and will boost New Zealand's reputation as a film location.

Locations on Banks Peninsula and in mid-Canterbury were chosen after a trip last month to check out suitable sites.

The cast includes Chris Pine, who played Captain Kirk in the recent Star Trek movies, as well as Amanda Seyfried, known for her role in Mamma Mia!, and Chiwelel Ejiofor, who starred in Twelve Years A Slave.