Filmmaker Taika Waititi has admitted that the What We Do in the Shadows crew pilfered timber from the set of Peter Jackson’s second Hobbit film after it had wrapped production.
Appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, Waititi shared a behind-the-scenes secret from the 2014 film What We Do in the Shadows, which he co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in with Jemaine Clement. He revealed that the crew used dismantled green screen from The Hobbit set to build the house in the low-budget vampire movie.
“When I did What We Do in the Shadows, when Jemaine and I were shooting that, we didn’t have much money to do that film, and The Hobbit had just wrapped,” he said. “So our production designer… in the dead of night, took his crew to The Hobbit studios and stole all of the dismantled, broken-down green screens and took all of the timber, and we built a house.
“The house in What We Do in the Shadows is built out of The Hobbit’s green screen,” Waititi reiterated. “And I have never talked to Peter Jackson about this. I don’t know if he knows. I like telling it at parties, that story, but I don’t know if he actually knows.”
What We Do in the Shadows was filmed on a budget of $1.6 million while the production budget for the second instalment in The Hobbit trilogy – the 2013 fantasy adventure The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – was upwards of $225 million, meaning there was a lot more money available to Jackson and his crew for each phase of the filmmaking process.
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What We Do in the Shadows spawned a television series of the same name that follows a group of centuries-old vampires as they struggle with their mundane modern lives. The series premiered on FX in 2019 and has scored multiple season renewals since, with the fourth season set to premiere on July 12. It’s then set to return for two more seasons on FX.
Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.