Richard Taylor (filmmaker)

Sir Richard Taylor

Taylor at the 2014 Hobbit*Con
Born Richard Leslie Taylor
Patumahoe, New Zealand
Occupation Filmmaker
Partner(s) Tania Taylor

Sir Richard Leslie Taylor KNZM (born 1960s) is the founder, Creative Director and head of New Zealand film prop and special effects company Weta Workshop.

Early life

Taylor is a graduate of the former Wellington Polytechnic.[2]


Peter Jackson, Taylor and his company created all of the props, costumes, prosthetics, miniatures and weaponry for Jackson's epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. For his work on the three films, he shared in winning four Academy Awards. This included two for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Make Up and Visual Effects, and two for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in Costume Design and Make Up.

Taylor can be seen and heard on all of The Lord of the Rings DVDs, in behind-the-scenes documentaries and on the audio commentaries on the extended edition DVDs. He also appeared on set to give direction to actors and stunt personnel in several fight scenes.

Both Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop appear in the documentary film Reclaiming the Blade, where they discussed the creative and technical process of how movie props (specifically swords) are created at Weta Workshop. Swords created by Weta for films such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are featured in the film as well.[3][4]

Weta Workshop has also worked on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Richard Taylor and his crew designed and built all the armor, weapons and special props for the film. The company were also heavily involved in the making of Peter Jackson's interpretation of King Kong for which he won his fifth Academy Award, in Visual Effects.

In April 2009, Richard Taylor won the supreme award at the World Class New Zealand Awards. The awards honour New Zealand's tall poppies who are successful on an international level.[5]

In the New Year Honours 2004 Taylor was appointed to an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to design and the film industry.[6] In the New Year Honours 2010 Taylor was promoted to a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film.[7]

In February 2012 Taylor was named New Zealander of the year, beating out finalists World of Wearable Art founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff and Auckland plastic surgeon Sharad Paul, nominated for his work on skin cancer.[8]

As of 2014, Taylor is involved in Magic Leap, a startup company reported to be working on projects relating to augmented reality and computer vision that has received over $500 million of venture funding.[9]

Awards and nominations


  1. Finlay, Steven; Taylor, Richard (March 2006). Weta Ltd: A case study. Wellington: Competitive Advantage New Zealand (CANZ), Victoria University of Wellington. p. 5.
  2. "Alumni Galleria". Massey University. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
  5. "2009 World Class NZ Awards Gala Dinner". Kea - New Zealand's global network. 15 April 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  6. "New Year Honours 2004" (14 January 2004) 4 New Zealand Gazette 73.
  7. "Queen's Birthday Honours 2010" (6 July 2010) 79 New Zealand Gazette 2153.
  8. "Richard Taylor named NZer of the Year". 3 News NZ. 17 February 2012.
  9. Hollister, Sean (November 19, 2014). "How Magic Leap Is Secretly Creating a New Alternate Reality". Gizmodo.

External links

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