Fact File: The Book of New Zealand

Background information on he Book of New Zealand, the world's biggest 'pop-up' story book, brought to life in LA in 2013.

Brief: To create an impressive installation set based on locations featured in The Hobbit Trilogy as a showcase for the New Zealand landscapes by bringing international press and film stars together during the world premiere media junket in Los Angeles for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Dan Hennah: "We want to show that the huge epic sweeping backgrounds in the movie are real places, not computer-generated backgrounds."

Key players:

  • Dan Hennah - Production Designer, The Hobbit Trilogy
  • Ra Vincent - Set Decorator, The Hobbit Trilogy
  • Simon Bright - Supervising Art Director / Set Decorator, The Hobbit Trilogy

Locations featured:

  • Hidden Bay = Turoa, Ohakune
  • Forest River = Pelorus River, Marlborough
  • Lake-town = Pukaki, Aoraki Mount Cook
  • Beorn’s House = Paradise, Queenstown

Original set features:

  • Lonely Mountain - Statue of Dwarf King Thror
  • Forest River - Barrels and arrows
  • Lake-town - canal, boats and buildings
  • Beorn’s House - carved walls, giant chair and bed

Lonely Mountain - Statue of Thror:

  • 300kg weight
  • Timber frame, polystyrene, paint
  • 10 artisans = carpenters, sculptors, painters

Dimensions:

  • Total area = 24m by 36m or size of two tennis courts
  • Height = 15m high
  • Weight = 30 tonnes

Materials used:

  • timber
  • ply
  • polystyrene
  • paint
  • polyester moulded elements

Transport:

  • Auckland (New Zealand) to Los Angeles (USA) = 10498 kilometres / 6,521.75 miles
  • 6 x 40’ containers = each @ 4 - 6 tonnes capacity

Set construction:

  • 12 weeks to complete project
  • 8 weeks build
  • 2 weeks deconstruction / packing
  • 4 weeks transport

LA installation:

  • 4 weeks
  • LA = 2 week construction
  • LA = 1 week of events
  • LA = 1 week deconstruction

Multi-media:

  • 90-sec opening sequence directed by Dan Hennah
  • 7-day scenery shoot by George Hennah
  • real film and digital effects by WETA Digital

Interior set:

  • 4 media stations representing 4 locations
  • 225 capacity VIP reception zone