'Luminaries' filming in Hokitika this month

Eleanor Catton won the Man Booker prize for her novel The Luminaries. Photo: Reuters
Eleanor Catton won the Man Booker prize for her novel The Luminaries. Photo: Reuters
Filming of The Luminaries television screen adaptation will wrap up in Hokitika later this month.

The production team has confirmed that location shooting for landscape footage, including local rivers, will take place around Hokitika in the coming weeks.

A spokeswoman said a reduced crew and three key cast members would be on the West Coast to complete the outdoor filming.

It will conclude several months of filming for the six-part BBC series, which started in an Auckland studio in November. Part of the Auckland set includes a replica of 1866 Revell Street and the interior of a goldrush-era Hokitika hotel.

''In terms of the filming locations, to accurately reflect the period in which The Luminaries is set, the production is re-creating the world of the story which involves construction of a huge amount of studio sets.

''These will be filmed in Auckland due to the proximity of production services. However, the West Coast has some iconic scenery that can't be captured elsewhere,'' she said.

The Department of Conservation has agreed to consider a one-off filming application to allow the shoot.

Doc planning, permissions and land director Marie Long said representatives of The Luminaries Production Company had discussed filming the series on the West Coast with Hokitika staff in October and had identified possible locations.

''The company were seeking to film at a limited number of locations on public conservation land for a short period of time in late March, therefore the department agreed to consider a one-off filming permit application nearer the time.''

In October, Hokitika hosted some of the big names behind the adaptation, including Booker Prize winning author Eleanor Catton, director Claire McCarthy, producer Lisa Chatfield and location scout Sally Sherratt.

Ms Catton has always maintained that any screen adaptation of the book would feature the West Coast.

Development West Coast research and innovation manager Helen Wilson said the majority of filming would be in Auckland, but DWC was continuing to work closely with those involved on post-filming opportunities for the West Coast.

''The town of Hokitika understands that the logistics of bringing a film crew down to Hokitika or any small town, and effectively shutting business down (especially during tourism season) was unrealistic.

''We've been working in the background for four years keeping an eye on the opportunity.''

The lead cast will feature New Zealand actor Marton Csokas (Lord of the Rings) as Francis Carver, French actress Eva Green (Kingdom of Heaven, Casino Royale) as Lydia Wells, and Irish actress Eve Hewson (Bridge of Spies) as Anna Wetherell.

By Janna Sherman of the Hokitika Guardian


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