Film stars’ location and activity shrouded in secrecy

Crew vehicles line up on a large film set at Hills Creek in Maniototo yesterday. PHOTOS: GERARD O...
Crew vehicles line up on a large film set at Hills Creek in Maniototo yesterday. PHOTOS: GERARD O'BRIEN
Carpenters work on the set.
Carpenters work on the set.
A vintage left-hand drive car on a large film set at Hills Creek yesterday.
A vintage left-hand drive car on a large film set at Hills Creek yesterday.

Hollywood has come to Otago’s Maniototo in a location not far from the Falls Dam and Hills Creek, just down the road from St Bathans and over the hill from Ranfurly.

In other words, it is a place film stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, working for Netflix on this occasion, will find fairly remote.

New Zealand director Jane Campion seems to believe the spot will be perfect for her

latest film The Power of the Dog — at least once her set builders have done their job.

Teams were busy on Thursday, constructing a large building in an otherwise uncluttered landscape.

It is believed the stars will stay in Queenstown; the Ranfurly Hotel yesterday confirmed no bookings for a Mr Cumberbatch or a Ms Dunst.

A large encampment to cater for the film crew — said to number about 200 — is in place, and a Ranfurly local said the town’s old hospital was being used.

The film is understood to be based on the book of the same name by Thomas Savage, described by its publishers as "a powerfully tense tale of domestic tyranny set against the wild [sic] open spaces of the American West ..."

The book is set in the early 20th century, and a vintage car seen near the set yesterday indicates the film is likely to also be set in that period.

A spokeswoman for the Central Otago District Council, which granted resource consent for the filming, said yesterday that due to the "sensitive nature" of the information provided in the consent application "and the potential for widespread public knowledge to disrupt filming activity, the applicant has requested suppression of application details until completion of filming activity".

mark.price@odt.co.nz


 

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