The big fish are liking their small pond.

Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox, in Auckland filming the Hollywood-backed movie Emperor, have been enjoying the low-key approach of Kiwi fans.

Jones has been seen shopping on High St and Fox has been out pubbing in Ponsonby, triggering chatter among Aucklanders excited about the presence of the actors.

But producer Gary Foster said Jones and Fox were glad they weren't getting the attention they would receive in California.


While Foster said Kiwis were interested in the film, the absence of Hollywood paparazzi made life pleasurable. "I think both Matthew and Tommy have felt comfortable out and about and not felt like they were being pursued, which is a lovely thing for them."

Foster said some cast and crew members were staying in Herne Bay and Pt Chevalier.

Production finishes here on March 24.

Though Men in Black star Jones would move on, his co-star Fox would jet to Japan for more filming.

Later this year, post-production would be done in Wellington.

"New Zealand will have to put up with us for another four or five months," Foster joked.

Foster, who produced Sleepless in Seattle, said Emperor's biggest challenge came from setting scenes far removed from modern-day West Auckland.

"The film takes place between 1940 and 1945 in Japan so the challenges have been to find locations in and around Auckland ... we've recreated a world that is long gone."

A Japanese-style country house was built on the grounds of the Bella Rakha retreat for this week's production in West Auckland.

War drama action would be filmed at Devonport naval base next week before the production headed off to Japan.