Planning is underway to restart filming international TV shows and movies, even if it means quarantining big stars.

High-profile productions, including Jane Campion's Netflix movie The Power of the Dog; James Cameron's Avatar sequels; Amazon's The Lord Of The Rings series; and horse drama series Mystic, all ceased filming when New Zealand went into lockdown.

Speculation has been rife as to which stars of the productions chose to lockdown in the safety of NZ or fly back to the US or England, where the spread of Covid-19 has been rife.

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst enroute to NZ
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A well-placed source told Spy that one big international star chose to hunker down here and has been enjoying the privacy and safety of our country.

Shortly after filming commenced in Auckland for The Power Of The Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, lockdown was announced.

While Spy's industry source hasn't confirmed if the actors are still here, nearly a month into lockdown, Dunst posted a picture to Instagram with her location still tagged as Auckland, and there have been rumours that Cumberbatch and his family have stayed on too.

Visa availability in levels 2 and 1 will determine if many of the international stars can return to New Zealand, but even if they can, they'll have to adhere to the two-week quarantine regulations.

"The show must go on, no matter the inconvenience," says the source.

It is understood the director of photography for The Power of the Dog is hoping to return back to NZ in 4-6 weeks, paving the way for production to get moving.

One young actress who definitely made it back to the UK is 16-year-old Macey Chipping, who is starring in the CBBC series Mystic, based on best-selling Kiwi author Stacy Gregg's Pony Club Secrets.

In early April, the BBC reported Chipping was due to return home until it was safe to start working again. The young actress intended to monitor the situation through social media and hopes to be back filming the series later in the year.


Last week, Hollywood news publication Deadline celebrated New Zealand's health and safety production protocols, saying it potentially paves the way for the Avatar sequels and Amazon's The Lord Of The Rings series, to get back underway in coming months.

Every production in the country will now be required to complete a registration with portal ScreenSafe in order to help the Ministry of Health with contact tracing and WorkSafe with monitoring.

Industry insiders tell Spy they are expecting a boom in an overseas production filming in NZ over the next year and beyond.