NZ Stag Almost Made It Into Narnia

Posted April 3, 2005 5:35 pm by Tirian

Rocky the Stag

Rocky the Stag

Stag too preoccupied for movie role
04 April 2005
By KIM SCHWIETERS

Taranaki’s Rocky the Stag scored a part in Walt Disney’s The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. Well, almost – he had more pressing matters on his mind.

The Danish White stag, from Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park, caught the eye of talent scouts from the movie, which is being filmed in New Zealand.

Stoney Oaks owner Gail Simons said the movie’s production manager Tim Coddington had checked out other white stags and white fallow deer around New Zealand, but five-year-old Rocky was his favourite.

“He was in the perfect proportion, exactly what they wanted. Unfortunately, they couldn’t have picked a worse time.

“It’s the beginning of their roar, or mating season. They have only one thing on their mind and, believe me, it isn’t whether they would like to be a movie star.

“All they think about is calling out and harassing the other stags on the property. You don’t go in the paddock because you can get killed.”

The movie, directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson of Shrek fame, is based on the start of a series of seven books by C. S. Lewis about the magical world of Narnia.

The book tells the story of Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter, who discover the enchanted world through the back of their wardrobe.

Film representatives were keen to ship Rocky to the South Island for filming scheduled for the middle of this month, but Mrs Simons said they decided it just was not worth the risk.

“There was a big chance he could kill himself if he panicked, which deer are good at doing.

“Or he could injure someone else, because stags are extremely dangerous during mating season.”

In the end the producers decided to make a model of a stag for filming instead of using the real thing, she said.

So for Rocky – who is none the wiser – his shot at movie fame has been and gone.

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is scheduled for release in December this year.

This story was originally published at Stuff.co.nz