Richard Taylor

Founder, creative director and head of New Zealand film prop and special effects company Weta Workshop.

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

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. He was nominated for Costume Design for The Fellowship of the Ring.

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.

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 was 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 honor New Zealand's tall poppies who are successful on an international level.

In the 2004 New Year Honours, Taylor was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to design and the film industry. In the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours, Taylor was promoted to Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to film.

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.

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

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