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Major Hollywood Movie To Shoot In New Zealand

New Zealand’s burgeoning screen production industry will receive a significant boost with confirmation that The Last Samurai, a major Hollywood movie starring Tom Cruise and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, will commence filming later this year in New Zealand, Japan and the United States.

“A number of New Zealand agencies have worked with Samurai Pictures Limited to bring this project to fruition,” said Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pete Hodgson. “Investment New Zealand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been in close communication with Warner Bros. Pictures in Los Angeles. The national film locations office, Film New Zealand, and regional film and economic agencies have worked with the production team on the ground here. This level of cooperation between agencies has brought just rewards to the screen production industry, at both the national and regional level.”

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard said The Last Samurai would provide another opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s diverse scenery to movie audiences around the world. “It will bring to New Zealand considerable economic benefits, particularly to Taranaki, where most of the principal shooting is scheduled to take place,” Ms Tizard said. “And it will further enhance our screen productions skill base, as local production professionals have the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading filmmakers.”

The Last Samurai is being directed by Edward Zwick (director of Glory, Legends Of The Fall, Courage Under Fire and The Siege) and produced by Tom Engelman, Scott Kroopf, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. The movie is written by John Logan (Gladiator) and will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures worldwide.

New Zealander Ngila Dickson, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, has been retained as Costume Designer for this production. A large number of other New Zealanders will be engaged on the project and a number of New Zealand film facilities will be utilised during the pre-production and principal shooting.

The Last Samurai is an epic story set in the 1870s following the waning days of the traditional Samurai warriors in Japan and the rise of the Meiji Emperor at the time of the birth of modern Japan.

Warner Bros. Pictures is an AOL Time Warner company, as is New Line Cinema, the studio behind The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

“We are thrilled to welcome this distinguished group of filmmakers to New Zealand and wish them – and Warner Bros. Pictures – every success during the shooting and the eventual release of this motion picture,” the ministers said.


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