Most of the facilities on the New Zealand set -- from editing suites and special effects workshops to hair and makeup departments -- were within walking distance. Indeed, with more than 300 crew, dozens of cast members, and some 20,000 extras, Wellington became its own loving, rogue fraternity.
One day Jackson was asked about returning to Hollywood. "Why would I leave the Shire," he replied, "to go to Mordor?"
[So closely did they bond during filming that each member of the fellowship (from young Elijah Woods to the regal Sir Ian McKellen) got an Elvish tattoo.]
[For the Ring trilogy, Jackson and New Line constructed more than 200,000 digital characters, as well as hundreds of real suits of armor, thousands of weapons, and countless prosthetic devices. After filming, Jackson had Bag End (Bilbo and Frodo Baggins' home) moved into the back garden of his New Zealand mansion.]