comScore Peter Jackson Built Bag End Behind a Bookcase in His Mansion | The Mary Sue

Peter Jackson Builds Bag End Behind a Bookcase in His New Zealand Mansion

Oh, we're just going to ignore the torture chamber? Okay.


Jackson: Just picture it, Gandalf… Bag End behind a series of tunnels! And torture chambers!

According to, Peter Jackson hired the set designers from the Hobbit movies to help him build out his mansion in New Zealand to his incredibly exacting specifications. If you’re going to build Bag End behind a bookcase behind a torture chamber behind a series of tunnels behind a wine cellar, you better do it right or not at all.

Bino Smith, who worked with Jackson on The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, spilled the details about how the director’s home is laid out.

Bag End is underground. You have to go under tunnels to get to it. You got the house, then you go down to the wine cellar and you pull a bottle, and it opens up a door, then you step out a look down this corridor – about 35 metres, we had to create it, then you go down one part, then there’s a skeleton and some bodies, then you come out to a mock ‘torture chamber’, then you pull a book in a bookcase and the bookcase opens, and you walk into Bag End.

That’s not all, though. “Open up the front door to Bag End and across the grass and through the trees castle ruins can be seen,” Smith continued. With a playground like this, he’s not alone, either. He said, “Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are over here all the time. Danny DeVito is one of his best mates. And it’s just for them.” has some more details, but frankly, we’ve totally seen enough. It’s just so cool, you pull a book in a bookcase and—wait. Mock “torture chamber?” A skeleton and “some bodies?” Hey, Mr. Jackson… is everything okay?

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.