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New Zealand Turns Into Narnia

First it was Middle-earth, now New Zealand is turning into Narnia.

Prime Minister Helen Clark has visited the set of upcoming film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," (search) adapted from the second installment of C.S. Lewis' (search) seven-book fantasy series, the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.

"Narnia," directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson, whose previous films include "Shrek" and "Shrek 2," is another boost for the New Zealand movie industry (search), which is riding high on the box-office success of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" (search) trilogy.

Clark watched the movie's young British stars playing a cricket match on the grounds of a house in the northern city of Auckland.

The newspaper named the actors as Georgie Henley, 9, of London, who plays the lead character, Lucy; Skandar Keynes, 12, who plays Edmund; Anna Popplewell, 15, who plays Susan; and William Moseley, 17, who plays the eldest brother, Peter.

Their names have been kept secret as filming has taken place at locations around Auckland during the past month. The movie is slated for a Christmas 2005 release.