The Desolation of Smaug production blog #1 focuses on how awesome the sets and landscape in New Zealand are. Okay, we get it. You guys got to go on an awesome vacation in freaking New Zealand while our affordable vacation plans consisted of huffing paint until we went to a world of pure imagination.
For this second trilogy, Warner rebuilt the previously-styrofoam sets of Hobbiton out of permanent materials so it can be used as a tourist attraction after the film wraps. That seems like a capital idea until it inevitably becomes overrun with feral sheep, which is what happens to all empty buildings in New Zealand. You can learn these and other astounding facts to impress your friends in my upcoming book, Things Iowans Believe About New Zealand, coming soon to your local Kum & Go.