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WIRE Buzz: Avatar, Lord of the Rings can resume New Zealand shoots; The Old Guard teaser; Buffy costume

By Josh Weiss
Avatar Zoe Saldana

New Zealand is ready to resume film and television shoots, Deadline reports. Speaking with the outlet, the country's Film Commission confirmed that certain productions "are already safely underway." Naturally, this sounds like a beacon of hope for bigger projects like James Cameron's Avatar sequels and Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV show — both of which were filming in New Zealand before the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down.

Similar to the Czech Republic, the NZ Film Commission will require all productions to adhere to strict health safety guidelines, the full details of which can be found right here.

“The NZFC’s focus and commitment since the industry hiatus, has been the health and safety of all those who work in the New Zealand film industry and the ongoing sustainability of the wider screen sector," CEO Annabelle Sheehan said in a statement to Deadline. "We are heartened and grateful for the hard work and partnership of the guilds who have worked to get this document completed so quickly.”

Avatar & Lord of the Rings

While the Avatar franchise had to push pause on filming some of its live-action segments, work on all four blockbuster sequels didn't grind to a halt. Cameron and his team simply shifted over to the daunting VFX work, which is based in California. Avatar is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 17, 2021.

Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, was planning to shoot its first two episodes (helmed by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's J.A. Bayona) before taking a 4-5-month hiatus. Per Deadline, most of the filming (based in West Auckland) was done prior to the pandemic.

Yesterday, we got the first images from Netflix's adaptation of The Old Guard. Today, we got the very first teaser trailer. Clocking in at a mere 12 seconds, it still offers a window into the character played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Doctor Strange vet is playing a CIA agent/historian who uncovers the truth behind the immortal squad of mercenaries led by Charlize Theron's Andromache of Scythia. 

"I learned your secret history, written in the margins passed on by legend," he says in the teaser, which focuses on his It's Always Sunny-like wall of conspiracy news clippings and photos. "What was dismissed as myth was, in fact, immortality."

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the film was adapted from the comic book of the same name by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez. Rucka penned the screenplay. 

“From the first moment I read Rucka’s graphic novel, I felt like there was great potential to make this thing feel really very relevant and have it ask some real questions about humanity,” Theron told Vanity Fair. “Is what we’re doing enough? Is what we’re doing actually changing anything? Are we making [things] better, or are we making the world worse?”

Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, KiKi Layne, and Harry Melling co-star.

The Old Guard premieres on Netflix Friday, July 10.

Stoking Buffy fan nostalgia from quarantine once again, Sarah Michelle Gellar donned the dress worn by her famous vampire slayer in the Season 1 finale of Joss Whedon's supernatural series.

"Omg is that THE dress?!?" wrote one fan in the comments. "You know it," replied Gellar.

Why would a monster hunter need a fancy ball gown? Well, the finale to the show's first season — "Prophecy Girl" — involves a school dance. Duh! What makes the dress so memorable, though, is the fact that Buffy wears it during her climactic confrontation with The Master (Mark Metcalf).

This isn't the first time the actress has harkened back to her Buffy roots amid the pandemic lockdown. In March, she showed off a wooden stake she'd found during her daily walk.