New Zealand: 47,000 people a year visit film locations


Yes, New Zealand is that beautiful. Even more stunning than advertised.

I recently spent 6 months shooting on locations in the South Island, and the landscapes are stunning. It was fun to see film tourists visit the locations, guide books like The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook in hand, as they retrace the steps of characters from their favorite films.

BBC reports today that 47,000 film tourists a year come to the country to visit the locations they have seen on film.

“Many of these films have helped to attract visitors to the country, just as the New Zealand Film Commission hoped would happen when it first started funding home-grown features in the 1970s.

“In a survey conducted in the first quarter of 2013, one in 10 international arrivals said The Hobbit sparked their interest in New Zealand as a destination.

“We estimate that 47,000 visitors a year visit a film location,” says Danielle Genty-Nott of Tourism New Zealand.

Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula Narnia, aka a Coromandel beach


“Such is the popularity of film location tourism, says Genty-Nott, that a regional tourist office asked Tourism New Zealand to stop using a still from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, in order to protect the beach depicted.

“Too many visitors wanted to run through its natural stone arch, just as the Pevensie children did on their return to Narnia.”

Read the article here. Go to New Zealand if you haven’t, or go again if you have.

Elmore Leonard: “The women outthink the men”

Books-Ageless Authors

Wonderful profile of Elmore Leonard by Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. In particular, Lane appreciates Leonard’s writing style:

“this aspect of his work has been undersung—the women, by instinct and by virtue of the lousy hand that society tends to deal them, outthink the men.”

“who is more alert to the life of an English sentence—its rises, failings, falls, and emergency stops?”

“Character is language in action.”

Read the entire piece here.



Kevin Spacey delivered the McTaggart Lecture, the keynote speech at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival 2013. He recounted numerous anecdotes from his career and shared his thoughts on the state of movies and television.

He said: “The audience has spoken: they want stories. They’re dying for them. They are rooting for us to give them the right thing. And they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly GIFs and God knows what else about it, engage with it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. All we have to do is give it to them.”

The Guardian has the full text of his address here.

Harrison Ford to present PEN lifetime achievement award to Joan Didion


Ford built Didion’s beach house in 1971, when he was still a carpenter, before becoming a movie star. “I was happy with his work — and even happier with his presence in the house because he was a great moral force,” she says. LA Times has the exclusive. Now he will present her the PEN Center USA lifetime achievement award, an honor previously awarded to Elmore Leonard, Larry Gelbart, Joyce Carol Oates, Gore Vidal, Walter Mosley and others.


Tony Leung’s THE GRANDMASTER ” is epic, gorgeous, demands to be seen for its visual opulence”


Drew Taylor at The Playlist says: “The Grandmaster is for any fan of kung fu or a devotee of Kar-Wai’s work. It’s in turns epic and gorgeous, a movie that demands to be seen, just for its visual opulence, and then discussed at length afterwards.” The martial arts wizard Ip Man is “played in the film by the always brilliant Tony Leung.” Zhang Ziyi also stars.

YOU’RE NEXT breakout star Sharni Vinson joins female EXPENDABLES project


Collider says: “Sharni Vinson may not be a name that you’re familiar with just yet, but it will be soon.  The Australian actress leads the excellent new horror film You’re Next in a true breakout role, and now sources confirm to us that Vinson has joined the cast of producer Adi Shankar’s all-female Expendables project.  The untitled film already has Gina Carano and Katee Sackhoff onboard to star, and if you’ve seen Vinson’s work in You’re Next you’ll no doubt agree that she makes an excellent addition to the untitled actioner. “

Samuel L. Jackson and Martin Scorsese present THE GRANDMASTER starring Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang


Samuel L. Jackson is joining the previously announced Martin Scorsese in presenting Wong Kar Wai’s upcoming kung fu film “The Grandmaster,” deeming it “Martin Scorsese and Samuel L. Jackson Present ‘The Grandmaster.'”  The film hits theaters in limited release this weekend, and has a national roll-out on August 30.

Jackson stated of the film: “THE GRANDMASTER is a wild ride and an expertly crafted martial arts film. I was blown away by Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang’s performances, and needless to say by Wong Kar Wai’s direction; he’s a living legend who I’ve admired for ages, and it’s a true honor to lend my support alongside Martin Scorsese.”

Thompson on Hollywood has more. Here is the trailer:

Rachel McAdams joins James Franco in Wim Wenders’ 3D film EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE


Rachel McAdams is joining the Wim Wenders drama, now in front of 3D cameras in Montreal. The film tells the story of  a writer (Franco) who loses control of his life after a car accident, in which he kills a young boy. Even though he is not directly at fault, his relationship with his girlfriend (McAdams) breaks down and his life sets off in a new direction. See The Playlist for more info.