I'm the new girl. Not Zooey Deschanel. My name is Heidi Haglund. I just joined the project a few weeks ago and I'll be honest, the only thing I know about Lord of the Rings is the small, creepy guy who says, "fresh meats." My friend, Kelsie Moore, is the director of the documentary about this whole project, but she can't fly out until later. As the recipient of flight benefits, I offered to join the hobbits and film them here in New Zealand.
Not only am I completely uneducated on all things JRR Tolken, but I also didn't know these hobbit guys very well. As all road trips go, we've become very close in the past few days. Things I've learned:
John D (the D stands for Danger..sometimes) - afraid of bees, loves talking to strangers, has the best laugh, and is from some place called "The OV."
Jonathan Wright - Georgia peach, loves all types of berries, doesn't give up easily, and is a graduate student...cool.
Mitchell Stevens - gentleman (well, they all are), stylish, not single, and is obsessed with New Zealand.
Overall, I've been super impressed with these guys and how genuinely nice they are to everyone they meet. The time we've spent in Christchurch has been so great. We were hosted by our professor and a native new Zealander who fed us and gave us an excellent tour of Christchurch, including the neighborhoods damaged by the earthquakes in 2010. I wasn't part of the project when they won "Dining with the Dean" and we're granted $2,000 to donate to their charity of choice - the New Zealand Earthquake Appeal - but it was so amazing to be able to give money to the people of Christchurch after seeing their torn up homes.
Loving this trip, but looking forward to driving to Wellington and getting on set with Peter Jackson!
PS Having your luggage lost on a trip to New Zealand means you get to kill time by hiking through caves and rivers and climbing the hills of Narnia.