New Zealand Authorises Several Film and TV Productions to Start Up, Including Lord of the Rings and Cowboy Bebop

In case you needed a reminder that New Zealand is a very pretty place.  (Photo: Ross Land, Getty Images)
In case you needed a reminder that New Zealand is a very pretty place. (Photo: Ross Land, Getty Images)

New Zealand is handling covid-19 better than most, with ongoing cases in the country down to a handful. That makes it a promising place to resume production on all those TV shows and movies we love, and the country has recently authorised a handful of productions to resume or begin inside the country’s borders.

As reported by Variety, a number of productions have been given the go ahead, including Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings television show, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop, and, to my personal delight, Power Rangers: Beast Morphers, which is in the middle of producing its second season. For some of these projects, like Beast Morphers, this will be a return to already active production, while for The Lord of the Rings and Cowboy Bebop (which you may recall was delayed by an unfortunate accident) it’s only the beginning. In May, New Zealand also authorised the return of the crew of the second Avatar film.

All told, 206 cast and crew members, accompanied by 35 family members, will be given freedom to enter the country over the course of the next six months, Variety reported.

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“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,” New Zealand’s Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said in a statement obtained by Stuff, a New Zealand media outlet, and reprinted by Variety. “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. This is an opportunity friends [sic] that we must grab. Despite the turmoil that the world is facing, this is an exciting time for New Zealand’s screen sector.”

It’s nice to know that, even in these tumultuous times, some amount of normalcy will return somewhere. Even if it’s just so we can watch Cowboy Bebop here in America, where lockdown (or conditions that make it advisable) will probably last for a while yet.