If the boot fits, the film world will wear it

Graeme McKinlay, of Dunedin-based shoe company McKinlays, with some prototype shoes made for the film The Hobbit. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Graeme McKinlay, of Dunedin-based shoe company McKinlays, with some prototype shoes made for the film The Hobbit. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
And the Oscar for best supporting footwear goes to ... McKinlays!

The Dunedin-based footwear company created 200 one-of-a-kind boots for Peter Jackson's latest trilogy, The Hobbit.

Company directors Graeme and David McKinlay said the fifth generation-owned business had become involved with film and television productions during the past decade, including King Kong, Lord of the Rings, River Queen, 10,000 BC, Power Rangers and now The Hobbit.

Once the company received the concept from The Hobbit's wardrobe department, an orthotist produced made-to-measure boots sized between 8 and 12 (but not for the hobbits themselves - their oversized feet did not require footwear).

Younger brother David McKinlay told the Otago Daily Times the movie-supplying side of the business had grown via ''word of mouth'' with clients.

''It is a nice extra for us, because it helps cover the wages on certain people because you won't cover their costs purely on factory production.''

For Jack Black's character in King Kong, Peter Jackson sent some original World War 1 flying boots from his personal collection to be replicated for the film.

That earlier work had paid off for the company, with The Hobbit its biggest film footwear order to date.

''There is a lot of work. They are all cut by hand and assembled by hand,'' Graeme McKinlay said.

The company's ability to meet tight production schedules gave it an advantage over foreign counterparts, ''as they ring you on Monday and want them on Thursday''.

The brothers said they had no idea which character wore which pair, because the footwear tended to come with vague descriptions such as ''palace boot''.

The finished product was likely to look very different, with the film's wardrobe department likely to add extra colours and details.

''But if we watch it in freeze frame we can probably recognise our boots,'' Graeme McKinlay said.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 

 

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