Amazon has apparently decided that Scotland will suffice as Middle Earth for the Lord of the Rings prequel series it’s developing — a series that will reportedly have the biggest budget in the history of television.
Location scouts on behalf of the company who dressed and acted like tourists, blending in to the local communities, were reportedly spotted last summer checking out sites like Dunskey Castle, Portpatrick, Callander in Perthshire and Balloch Castle Country Park near Loch Lomond. That’s according to Scottish newspaper The Daily Record, which quotes an “insider” as saying that “When Amazon people scouted locations, they didn’t make themselves known, acted as tourists and connected straight away with local communities.”
The report should be taken with a grain of salt, since confidentiality agreements prevented the newspaper from confirming the news with Amazon. But it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise, given that the country with its picturesque landscape is increasingly being sought out as the setting for a variety of current pop culture fare.
According to the Scottish paper, Avengers: Infinity War was shot in part in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Netflix’s Outlaw King was also filmed in a variety of Scottish locales, including Edinburgh, West Lothian, Aviemore and Glencoe and resulted in a roughly 17.5-million-pound boost to the economy there.
“A report by the Glasgow Film Office said movie productions in the city brought in £15.1 million in 2017,” The Daily Record reports. “Edinburgh’s economy was boosted by £16.1 million over the same period.”
In terms of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings production, details have been kept pretty close to the vest, but it’s been speculated that a focus will be on the character of a young Aragorn. This also comes at the same time Amazon is trying to make a play for the fans of epic TV fantasy series, with Amazon on the hunt for essentially its own Game of Thrones.
That’s why the company’s streaming arm is bringing the Lord of the Rings series to fruition, with help in part form the Tokien Estate. Along those same lines, Amazon is also working on an adaption of The Wheel of Time series from Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, with production on that set to begin later this year.