Apparently while he had some spare time in Te Anau he drove around to one of the lodges, where the Hobbit headquarters were rumoured to be.
He noticed a bunch of markers and roadsigns pointing the way - I've seen the same signs here in Wellington, pointing to various filming locations. They are designed to get a filmcrew, often unfamiliar with the local roads, effeciently to the set without getting lost.
If anyone knows what "LR" stands for, drop me a line? They are most likely the inital letters of the working title of The Hobbit project, whatever that happens to be. For instance, with King Kong the letters were "BPP" (Big Primate Productions).
Now before you all start following the signs to Hobbit paradise, keep in mind that just before you get to the good bits, you'll meet the security crew, who are paid to keep you out, and they're very good at it. I wouldn't suggest tangling with any of them - they are there to make sure the production doesn't get distracted by a thousand onlookers - so PLEASE stay out of their way!
My contact mentioned that the "hired goon" was friendly but looked like he meant business. When asked if all this was to do with "the movie" he replied "it's only a gate". They're happy to talk about the weather but you won't get any Hobbit details from them. I've tried for years here in Wellington - they're very good!
When the "spy mission" was completed, he drove off back home, but was unsure if the large white SUV suddenly behind him was the same white SUV that was parked at the security checkpoint. Quote :
I think I lost him just past the local Bar and Grill where I did a sudden right turn. Recon he might have stopped there as a safe place for a “steak out”.
I reported my story to some locals and heard of a local lady getting frisked at a check point near the Te Anau Helicopter Hanger [JM: presumably to avoid aerial photography of the sets].
All very exciting!