Otago animals hit big screen for Jane Campion movie The Power of the Dog

by Tracie Barrett

Not only did Ida Valley brothers Graeme and Al McKnight's farm provide the backdrop for the film, their cattle played a starring role. Photo / Netflix

Filming of Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog involved 290 extra roles — 55 in Dunedin, 60 in the Ida Valley and 55 in Oamaru — plus dogs, horses and assorted other animals. Tracie Barrett looks at what was involved for extras, both two and four-legged.

Maria Shea is no stranger to extra work on film sets, having spent one day as an orc with misshapen features and oversized feet for Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Her compensation for that day, and her status on set, paled beside that of her family’s rescue dog Frank, one of three dogs used in filming Jane Campion’s latest movie, The Power of the Dog.

Shea said Frank was not only paid far more per day than she had earned as an extra, but more than she made per day in her regular job.

”I’m not sure if that’s a reflection of how poorly I’m paid or how well he was paid,” she said with a laugh.


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