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WIRE Buzz: Lord of the Rings series resumes filming; 50 States of Fright trailer; Bly Manor

By Nivea Serrao
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The journey to the small screen continues for Amazon's The Lord of the Rings prequel series as production once again resumes in New Zealand, where the show is being shot. According to Deadline, the high-budget television series was one of the few Hollywood projects to get a border exemption from the New Zealand government to begin filming in the country.

The show had been close to wrapping production on the first two episodes of the series earlier in March when filming was forced to come to a halt due to the ongoing global pandemic. However, the series had been scheduled to go on a hiatus for the next 4-5 months after shooting the episodes, in order to account for New Zealand's winters. The first two episodes will be directed by J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).

With the LOTR series already having been renewed for Season 2, the show's writing team has used this time out to plan and write this next season. While the series is set in Middle-earth, the fantasy realm where J.R.R. Tolkien's books take place, the show will explore new storylines set before The Fellow of the Ring, which director Peter Jackson has already adapted into a movie.

J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay (Flash Gordon) serve as the showrunners on the series. The cast includes Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones), Markella Kavenagh (The Gloaming), Morfydd Clark (His Dark Materials), and Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones).

And that's not the only series currently set to film in New Zealand. Another show that's since gotten the green light to film again is Netflix's live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. The series was forced to undergo a 7-9 month hiatus after lead actor (and series star) John Cho (The Exorcist) injured his knee on set. So far, a few episodes of the show — which is based on a jazz-inspired cult classic anime about space-traveling bounty hunters — have been filmed.

No release date has been set yet for either series. 

And next, it's finally beginning to look a lot like Halloween thanks to Quibi's trailer for the new season of 50 States of Fright. The trailer (below) gives fans a glimpse of some of the tales that will unfold in the next four episodes, each exploring a different urban legend set in a different state, and each directed by a different horror director.

The anthology series hails from director Sam Raimi (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) and first debuted back in April as it took a deep dive into some of the folklore-influenced horrors in Florida, Oregon, Kansas, and Michigan. This season will feature Iowa, Washington, Colorado, and Missouri at the center of its spooky stories. 

The cast of this new season includes Taissa Farmiga (The Nun), Ron Livingston (The Conjuring), Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Far From Home), Christina Ricci (The Addams Family), among others. 

50 States of Fright New Episodes | Official Trailer | Quibi

New episodes of 50 States of Fright drop on Quibi every weekday starting on Sept. 28. 

And finally, if there weren't a chill in the air already, there might be one now, as The Haunting of Bly Manor creator Mike Flanagan takes fans behind the scenes of the highly anticipated upcoming series in a new featurette for it (below).

As Flanagan reveals in the video — which also features executive producer Trevor Macy — the show won't just feature an adaptation of the famous Henry James ghost story Turn of the Screw, but also adaptations of some of his other ghostly tales.

"Henry James' Turn of the Screw is one of the most influential ghost stories ever written," says the Doctor Sleep director in the featurette. "What struck me as a really wonderful opportunity for this season was that Henry James wrote other supernatural ghost stories as well. Most of which have never been adapted."

He adds, "The opportunity to go further into Henry James' library and to look at some of his other ghost stories, to try to find a way to bring them all together, it was a challenge we couldn't really say no to." 

This new standalone season sees the return of The Haunting of Hill House star Victoria Pedretti (You) as the young governess who actually narrates The Turn of the Screw as she cares for two young orphans in an old mansion in the country.

She'll be joined by fellow Hill House alums Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Invisible Man), Henry Thomas (E.T.), and Catherine Parker (Absentia) in new roles, as well as T’Nia Miller (Years and Years), Rahul Kohli (iZombie), Amelia Eve, Benjamin Ainsworth, and Amelie Smith (EastEnders).

The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres on Netflix on Friday, Oct. 9.