Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman flew into Christchurch this week on a top secret visit to tour locations for New Zealand's latest fantasy epic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Press reported today.
The glamorous star of recent films, The Hours and Cold Mountain, arrived early on Thursday morning and took part in a whirlwind tour of Canterbury's high country in a helicopter. She left Christchurch early yesterday.
One of the locations paid particular attention was Flock Hill station near Arthurs Pass where there were several sightings of the actress and accompanying crew, the newspaper reported.
The visit firmed up rumours Kidman had signed for a major role in the film being brought to the big screen by New Zealand producer-director Andrew Adamson, who also produced the Oscar-winning animated film Shrek.
Adamson's latest epic, based on the C S Lewis classic, would be filmed mainly in Auckland but some scenes would be shot in the South Island.
At 178cm tall, the pale, imposing Kidman, 36, was thought to be perfect for the role of the White Witch, who in the book puts a spell on Narnia so that it is always winter and never Christmas.
Sources told The Press that the Australian actress made a powerful impression during her Canterbury visit.
The casually dressed star looked tired and in a no-nonsense mood but was "very nice" to everyone, they said.
The former wife of actor Tom Cruise was accompanied by eight people thought to include security men and representatives of Los Angeles-based film company Walden Media, the company producing the film.
Walden Media's Auckland office refused to comment.