I spoke at a conference in late 2011 that had a lively Green Room, illuminated particularly by the presence of Lucy Lawless aka Xena Warrior Princess and Lucretia in Spartacus. Her husband the producer Rob Tapert spoke prior to me about his early challenges assembling the investment to make crazy films.
Just as Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor and others spearheaded Wellington’s move to the front seat of global movie-making, Rob and Lucy have for over a decade been powerhouses for international television production in Auckland.
Series three of Spartacus – “Vengeance” – has just started screening in the US (I read the Greek battle classics by torchlight when growing up), and it comes at a time when in New Zealand has just been named (by P3 Update) as one of the top ten filming locations in the universe. The report cites recent and current productions of Avatar, Tintin, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Hobbit and Jane Campion’s new mini-series Top of the Lake as evidence of how writing, acting and producing talent, crews, locations, facilities, and attitude have coalesced.
Add to this last week’s announcement that director James Cameron is coming to live with his family in New Zealand (he must be channeling Tom Peters), and you have an edgy creative cocktail.