Stars of blockbusters seen around city

The Hollywood glitterati has rolled in to Dunedin and it seems they really are just like the rest of us.

Wolverine star and Hollywood heart-throb Hugh Jackman has been spotted working out at a city gym this week, and American actor Liev Schreiber and his partner, Australian actor Naomi Watts, were snapped shopping at The Warehouse in Maclaggan St at the weekend.

The trio are believed to be in Dunedin for filming of part of $100 million Hollywood blockbuster Xmen Origins: Wolverine, the fourth film of the popular Xmen series.

On Sunday, Schreiber and Watts, who are believed to be staying in an inner-city apartment, purchased a fan at The Warehouse and later took a walk with 6-month-old son Alexander in lower Stuart St.

Australian Jackman was approached by local media during an early morning workout at a city gym. The movie is being filmed on sets near Lake Mahinerangi and at Burnside, in Dunedin, during the next two weeks.

Schreiber, who starred in all three Scream movies and in remakes of The Manchurian Candidate and The Omen, is rumoured to be playing the character Victor Reed and his alter-ego, Sabertooth, the archenemy of Australian actor Jackman's character, Logan, and his alter-ego, Wolverine.

Wolverine publicist Victoria Buchan declined to confirm details of the Dunedin filming, also declining media access to the film site and stars.

‘‘They just need to get on with making the film at this point.'' The Otago Daily Times understands crews are expected to be filming in the city for two weeks.

Filming has taken place in the Queenstown area since January and is expected to continue until April. It is understood filming took place near Lake Mahinerangi yesterday and was expected to continue tonight with the first of three nights of outdoor filming at a set in the old Milburn cement works site at Burnside.

A set called ‘‘Cassidy's Bar'' is thought to have been constructed inside one of the sheds at the old cement works, to be used as the scene of a major fight between Jackman and Schreiber's characters.

Several Dunedin companies and residents are understood to be providing services for the film. Aside from Jackman, who is reprising the title character, Wolverine, the other actors remained unconfirmed.

However, rumours on movie websites and blogs have Schreiber playing Victor Creed, and Michael C. Hall, of Dexter and Six Feet Under fame playing good-guy mutant William Stryker.

Mission Impossible 3 and Die Hard 4 star Maggie Q is also rumoured to have a role.
Schreiber and Watts, who starred in The Ring movies and as Ann Darrow in Peter Jackson's 2005 re-make of King Kong, have been in a relationship since 2005. Son Alexander Pete was born on July 26, 2007 in Los Angeles.

Watts was previously in a twoyear relationship with fellow Australian actor Heath Ledger, who recently died from an accidental overdose.

But it seems stardom has not completely gone to the heads of the stars who have stopped, chatted and posed for photos with Dunedin fans.

Melinda Joe said she bumped in to Jackman in the city yesterday morning. She thought the actor might have told her to go away. Instead, he was pleasant and happy to have a quick chat and pose for a photo.

‘‘He said Dunedin was nice, the weather was nice and he was really liking it.'' The meeting was a thrill for Ms Joe, who works at radio station ZM. She said she had met a few minor celebrities before, but not an ‘‘A-lister'' like Jackman.

On Sunday, Dunedin man Allan Brent said he was a little overwhelmed when he approached a couple he thought he recognised in The Warehouse in Maclaggan St to find they were Watts and Schreiber shopping for electrical goods.

‘‘I heard their accents and thought that must be them and had to know so . . . Iwent up to them after they had bought their things and said ‘‘Are you Naomi Watts?'' and she said ‘‘Yes, yes I am''.

The pair were affable and pleasant, and when he apologised for interrupting them, Watts told him it was fine and that they did not mind speaking to locals, Mr Brent said.

The pair told Mr Brent they were on holiday in Dunedin and so far liked what they had seen of the city.

If you have seen any of the stars of the Wolverine movie around Dunedin, email debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz.

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