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January 30, 2002 - February 09, 2002

Saturday, February 09, 2002
Russian FOTR premiere - Xoanon @ 13:21 PST
The LotR:FotR movie was finally released in Russia on

There were celebrations in several best movie theaters in Moscow and other cities: costume shows, concerts, trivia games with prizes etc.

I went to the main premiere in the theater "Pushkinskii", and it was a riot! LotR soundtrek was blaring from the laud speakers all over central streets of Moscow, there was a street show with sword fighters and couple of burning Nazgul (done with stuntmen), there was a huge happy crowd with tickets, hunted by an also huge crowd of those without tickets, but who hoped for the spare one. There were big lines for tickets for the next shows.

A funny detail: there was a small meeting of the hard-core communists with red flags and slogans in about 50 meters from the theater. They were pretty annoyed that LotR drew all the attention from themselves, and some were grumbling about "this satanist music" etc. Well, guys, you just have to pick a better time and place next time :)

All the 2600 places in the theater were packed full, and response of the audience to the movie was incredible. I've never seen anything like this! Audience gave applause in the right places, cheered in the right places, went silent in the right places, and the end of the movie was greeted almost with standing ovation!

There were a lot of tolkien fans, and some of them who met through our site Henneth Annun, in the audience, and it was like meeting a family and being on a family celebration. But most of the audience were various important people, including, as I was told, a lot of people from the administration of President V.Putin. So such a warm and emotional reaction to the movie was a bit of surprise.

I also have the first box office results: the movie had a biggest grossing opening ever in Moscow, beating the previous record held by Mummy (of all things!) It grossed about 88000$ on Thursday. Some theaters with more the one screen even had to cancel the shows which were going in parallel with LotR, because everybody wanted only LotR :)

The results from the rest of the country for Thursday-Sunday will be available on Monday, Feb.12th.

LotR movie was released on 79 screens in Russia (17 in Moscow, I think), so don't expect huge b.o. numbers from us. But LotR can still break some internal records and add in couple of mln dollars to the tally.

There's a link to the article in English about Moscow premiere: Tolkien Fans prepare to rush Moscow cinemas.

It mentioned that ticket prices may be too high for the lot of fans, and I'm proud to say that Henneth Annun did something in that direction: we organized a program where students could distribute LotR movie ads and posters in exchange for free movie tickets, and we also were in coordination with some theaters so that they would admit fans in middle-earth costumes for free :)

I'll send more box office and pictures later.

Thursday, February 07, 2002
Elfenomeno Open New Multimedia Section - Strider @ 16:03 PST
Our community member Elfenomeno.com have just opened their new multimedia section, containing a database of 1100 pics, broken up into nearly 70 categories. Check it out! [More]

Different Versions Of Rankin/Bass 'The Hobbit'? - Strider @ 15:47 PST
From Jeff:

I received this email the other day from a fellow Tolkien fan. Since the Rankin/Bass "Hobbit" has some sentimental value for me, I wondered if any of you know anything about the version this writer describes:

"I was wondering maybe If anyone knew where I could get the full uncut version of The Hobbit the animated movie. I bought the Hobbit video in 1994 or so but was dissapointed that it had lots missing from the original movie I seem to remember seeing. It use to be at least a 2 hour long movie. It had Beorn in it. Them crossing the Black river. More time in the Lake Town and lots more. Unfortunatly I can't find this 2 hour long version of the movie. Does anyone have any Ideas were I'd be able to get it?"

This e-mail is quite bewildering to me, and brings up a curiosity I've had for a long time. I have only ever seen the short version of the film (which I own on VHS), but I've never heard any evidence that a long version actually exists. I have a deluxe edition of the whole novel, in hardback, that is illustrated with gorgeous prints from that movie, and the curious thing is that there *is* a picture of Beorn. But I assumed this was something that just got cut from the finished product and was never used at all. Man, I would do anything to see the longer version of the movie, if it exists.

Can you shed any light on this for me?

Monday, February 04, 2002
Viggo Mortensen Exhibit Report #2 - Xoanon @ 13:47 PST
Saturday night at Track 16 Gallery, in Santa Monica, CA , Viggo's painting and photographic show entitled "Signlanguage" opened to a expectedly huge crowd.

I had the privilege to attend this, my second show at Track 16, (I had seen Pierre Vinet's beautiful LOTR photo journey there in January) and I am very pleased to report Viggos works are wonderful, and well worth the trip. One of the pieces struck my spouse and I so much we purchased it. Temporary insanity aside, we also had the incredibly good fortune to run into quite a few of the cast members, take photos and chat a bit. The following is my probably much too detailed experience; now is your chance to hit the "back" button.

I first met Sean Astin, (Sam Gamgee of course) his lovely wife Christine, and most importantly the beautiful Miss Alexandra Astin, who will be featured ,in a very long time, as Elanor Gamgee. Miss Astin's spokespersons (Mom and Dad) confirmed that while the actress has not seen FOTR (too scary), she was hoping that when her screen appearance comes in ROTK perhaps she could catch just the last 10 (non-PG13) minutes of her film and actually see herself.

Unfortunately the filming experience was too long ago for her own memory, but as her Dad said, "We have the stills". She also does not speak with any Kiwi accent, which appararently was a great relief to her, as she worried with an accent, no one in the US would be able to understand her. She is a sweet and very pretty girl, and her Mom and Dad were obviously and justifiably proud.

Sean was kind enough to sign my movie theatre poster, and was very nice to compliment me on my custom (read: homemade) bag I had made to accommodate the whopping 27x40 sheet. Thank you, Sean. I had recently seen his film "Kimberly" and commented how funny it was to see his Mother (Patti Duke) pop up near the end, in the delivery room scene. He said they had a great time with the cigars in that seen. And yes, King of Nepotism that he claims to be, he had suggested his Mom for the role. I told Christine that she and Sean had looked wonderful at the Golden Globes and I sincerely hoped they would get to go to the Oscars as well. Unfortunately I wanted to take pictures at this point, however, I was keenly aware of no pictures being taken anywhere, and not being much of a rule breaker, I let it pass. Now of course I know what a fool of a Took I was.

Unbelievable to those inside the gallery, it was steadily getting even more crowded. Think: leaving a major sporting event and you have the up close, and personal feel of the place. Thank heaven it wasn't summer.

A very short time after that in walked Elijah Wood, whose "are those for real?" blue eyes and light complexion stood out in the sea of "in LA I wear black" mob. Next to him was Dominic Monaghan, with a large twinkle in his eye, and an energy that was very hard for him to contain and stay earthbound. They both seemed very thrilled to be there. These young men are still very much elated to be associated with LOTR projects and it's really wonderful and refreshing to see. As Bilbo once said, "He's still in Love with the Shire", I think these lads are still in Love with their movie. No one here would begrudge them that, of course. Cheers to both boys for coming, as Elijah later said that Sean had called him on his cell from the gallery, told him what a nut house the place was, and that he (Sean) was heading home, yet Elijah and Dom still showed up. How wonderful is that?

I first introduced myself to Dominic and asked him if he had seen his picture yet (it's featured in the shot with Elijah and Dominic in front of the wall). He hadn't , but wanted to know if it was the one with him holding the wine bottle. It was, and after short deliberation he confirmed that it was red, not white wine, but, unfortunately the vintage was not good enough to recall the vineyard name or year. Many lovely young ladies recognized him and praised his work and were richly rewarded with hugs, endless smiles and thank- you's .

Dominic spoke about how his future role as Merry in the next two films would be so much more expanded, and I told him how much I was looking forward to seeing more of "Merry". He talks of Merry as a separate person: " Yeah, he becomes quite a buff guy, in the future , a very tough soldier all bulked up, lots of battles. and then becomes a Knight, it's very cool" (don't forget the Brit accent when imagining) He was very happy about the changes in the character, as in FOTR the Hobbits are more "cute" and "sweet", the word "Disney- esque" may have been mentioned. He also confirmed that he would be getting taller in future films, and they did have him and Billy outfitted (I don't know what specifically) to make them taller in TTT. Sorry min-spoiler!

He added Hollywood was responding well to him and he was getting sent many scripts, though wading thru the, ahem, less desirable, (not quite his words) scripts was on-going. He would like to play something completely different in future, (he said with that twinkle again) a serial killer would be great. I mentioned this serial killer idea to Elijah later as well, but he didn't think that was quite where he was heading for. Lastly, I asked him if he read the boards and sites on the internet, and very matter of factly he chirpped up "Oh yeah, we all do." Any specific? I asked and he answered, the LOTR.net website and One ring.net ,among about four, (he dashed them off so quickly I didn't catch them all). So be careful what you say....

During this time he also signed my poster and we took some pictures. He was very happy to do both and was very nice to everyone who spoke with him.

Elijah was surrounded next to us and for a very steady time after, graciously signing magazines, books, pictures and posing for pictures. Of course I asked him if he would sign my poster. He always had plenty to say to his fans, looked incredibly comfortable, though always surprised when people praised him and ever thankful. Even without his "Frodo" wig and ears he was completely recognizable. Many have mentioned his beautiful features, and both he and Dominic are handsome men, however Sir Ian's quote about Elijah of "He has skin of liquid marble and an other world look about him" is true. His face is very striking to see in person, and LOTR is probably the first film I have seen him in that really brings those features to life. And his eyes ARE that blue, (apologies to Elijah if this is too embarrassing) Dominic's sparkling eyes are blue, as are Viggo's.

One of the photos featured in this article is Elijah playing with a baby girl a couple had there, her face is a match in skin to Elijah's and she even had his eyes, and the two of them just ate each other up. She was just a bit timid at first but Elijah stuck his face right in with hers and she was delighted with her new found" toy". I couldn't resist snapping some pictures.

Some of my conversation with Elijah: No, he did not go Veags for his birthday, not yet anyway. I had recently seen his film "Black and White" and asked him about it. He gave an undeniably negative reponse to the film and his performance in it. I found his honesty very refreshing, nice to see someone who can view his own work with an open mind. I had read an interview of his where he said he was drawn to this work because of the improvisation the actors had to do (there was no script) and he confirmed, yes that was what interested him, he just wasn't happy with the results. As a side note I did not get to tell him I thought it was very brave experience to go after, no matter what the result, and would guess that something must have been learned from it, even if it were to avoid improv in the future (that's a joke).

I asked him what kind of work he was being offered, if he was moving into more grown up roles, (especially not teenagers). And he replied that yes, the roles were a bit older, just a bit. The photo we purchased that night was the black and white of Elijah at Te Anau, South Island, New Zealand in an unexpected snow storm that shut down the filming, and giving the actors a chance to play. I told him we had bought it, he was very happy and thanked us. Incidently, it is THE photo at the gallery, so as the new owner, I'd appreciate it if you go to see it, to make sure no one is sticking their fingers on it, much obliged. At one point the evenings funniest line was uttered when a man approached us as we were talking to Elijah and whispered "Is that the artist?" Especially wicked when you look over the man's shoulder at the Viggo photo entitled "Self Portrait".

Later when the crowd thinned out Elijah and Dominic got a better chance to look around and the two of them came to their portraits. Dominic was clowning around and put his nose to the wall and wouldn't turn round for the photographers starting to line up and click for the obvious oppportunity. Finally he turned and then they posed. Then they started a mock argument nose to nose, trying very hard not to laugh. At this point I would like to say that having met three of the Hobbits, in the same night, how obvious the chemistry that flowed between all them was, despite having met Sean separately. They were all so well suited to each other, you could never doubt the fellowship they have continually professed, had really happened. If Peter Jackson took into account the personalities, as well as the acting abilities, of whom he cast, then the man must be a genius. Apologies, am I drooling?

Lastly, the man of the hour, probably hoping everyone had gone, made his appearance. Yes, despite reports to the contrary, Viggo Mortensen did attend his own opening. He had a very nice light green suit on with the whimsical addition of a "Burger King" name tag with "Viggo" on it (check the photo) Darn, forgot to ask him if it was real. He was a very, very soft spoken man, and graciously signed peoples articles, shyly smiling. I asked him if he would sign my poster, but feeling suddenly guilty, assured him that we had bought his signed book, and that we had bought a piece from the show that night as well. He looked up and wanted to know which one. Then he very sincerely thanked me. I told him we would have to wait till April and the end of the show before taking it home but it was well worth the wait. I also got a rare laugh out of him when I told him about the man asking us if Elijah was the artist. He didn't stay long, and as I spoke later to a friend of his who said how he wasn't comfortable.

As we went for a last admiring of our new picture, we were standing in front of it, talking, when a women came up and asked if we were Elijah's parents. Ouch, beautiful though the young man is, I'm younger than Viggo thank you very much. I'm guessing it was my blue eyes.

Treasures from the world's great libraries - Xoanon @ 13:10 PST
From: Peter

The National Library of Australia is currently showing a "free admission" exhibition in Canberra called "Treasures from the world's great libraries". It will be open until Sunday, 24 February, 2002 and includes the original design for the book cover of The Hobbit (or There and Back Again).

Other neat exhibition items include the manuscript for "Waltzing Matilda" by Banjo Paterson and the manuscript for Mozart's Requiem (essentially his own death mass).

With the current bad weather in and around Canberra it might be fun to get across to the NLA and check this exhibition out!

More information at www.nla.gov.au

Viggo Mortensen Exhibit Report - Xoanon @ 01:15 PST
From: Edie

This weekend my friend and I drove to Santa Monica from Las Vegas, and while we were there we decided to go to Track 16 to see the Viggo exhibit.

First we saw Sean Astin, but there were so many people around that we couldn't get close to him before he disappeared.

Later we saw Elijah and Dominic. We went up to them and asked if we could have an autograph and a picture, and let me tell you, they were so nice and friendly! Other people asked also and they were just as nice with everyone.

A little while later Viggo came out. We went up to him, but it took us a little longer to get his attention because everyone went up to him. Some reporter from USA Today interviewed him and when a second lady tried to interview him he said something like, he would rather do interviews next week because tonight he was there for his fans.

People were asking him to sign posters and books that had nothing to do with the exhibit and he signed everything. He is very soft spoken and a real GENTLEMAN.

Living in Las Vegas I've met a lot of celebrities, some bigger, some smaller, but let me tell you none of them as friendly and courteous as Viggo , Elijah and Dom. I'm not going to bore you with details, so I'll send you some of the many pictures that we took. You're welcome to post them and share them with everyone.

Sunday, February 03, 2002
Cate Blanchett Card - Xoanon @ 22:18 PST
I have been collecting some of the Topps FOTR movie cards with special inserts (authentic autographs and foil cards). Finding the autograph cards is like finding Wonka's Golden Ticket... or at least it was for me!

On Saturday I bought my 5th pack, and found Cate Blanchett's autograph card!! Couldn't believe it, naturally (especially after speaking to a valuer who said her cards are among the most valuable)!

Friday, February 01, 2002
Lee & Howe Join LOTR Fanclub - Xoanon @ 00:43 PST

(NORFOLK, Va. February 1, 2002) ‹ The creative team that dreamed up Middle-earth for the silver screen has joined The Lord of the Rings Fan Club! John Howe and Alan Lee, the artists who conceptualized the amazing characters and settings featured in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, join an elite group of Fan Club Members including Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, and a host of additional actors who star in the films.

Lee, a native of the United Kingdom, and Howe, a native of British Columbia, are critically acclaimed fantasy illustrators tapped by Peter Jackson to serve as Conceptual Artists for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Lee and Howe, who moved to New Zealand for the duration of the project, visualized the settings and contributed to the creature and character design, which was being undertaken by Richard Taylor's team at Weta special effects facility. Though they collaborated on some of the designs, Howe did more work on the creatures and on Sauron and his mighty fortresses, while Lee concentrated on the places the fellowship visit on their travels, such as Rivendell and Moria æ the notable exceptions are Howe's designs for Bag End and the Green Dragon.

Lee, best-known for his illustrations in the landmark book Faeries, is no newcomer to the world of cinema, having worked on Legend, Erik the Viking, and Hallmark's Merlin TV series. Lee also illustrated several well-known Tolkien volumes, including the 1992 centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings trilogy commemorating the 100th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien¹s birth.

John Howe has also illustrated a wide range of Tolkien projects, including books, calendars, and posters. Beyond his extensive Tolkien projects, he has illustrated many books, primarily fantasy, historical, and children¹s titles. He currently has a new book, Myth & Magic, with a preface by Peter Jackson, out from Harper Collins. Howe has also worked extensively for the European film industry.

The Lord of the Rings Fan Club is proud to welcome to the Fan Club these artists who were so instrumental to The Lord of the Rings films!

The Lord of the Rings Fan Club members receive:

- An annual subscription to the bimonthly movie magazine
- Fan Club Membership Portfolio with membership card, welcome letter from director Peter Jackson and collector's lithograph (featuring a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring)
- A 10% discount at the Fan Club¹s online store and catalog
- Preference in purchasing exclusive, limited-edition collectibles
- Fan mail service to link fans directly to the stars of the trilogy

To sign up, fans can visit LOTRfanclub.com, go to the official The Lord of the Rings Web site at lordoftherings.net and click on ³Fan Club, or call 800-451-6381 (North America only) or 303-856-2201 (from anywhere in the world) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. MST.

Box Office: Greece - Xoanon @ 00:18 PST
From: sethdove

This is current's week box office top 10 in Greece (only Athens) in tickets:

1) Ocean's Eleven, 2nd week 59.000, overall 128.200
2) Vanilla Sky, 1st week 33.000, overall 33.000
3) From Hell, 2nd week 16.500, overall 49.100
4) LOTR, 6th 15.000, overall 483.000
5) The Others, 7th week, 6.170, overall 188.600
6) Behind Enemy Lines, 1st week 5800, overall 5800
7) Harry Potter, 9th 4.500, overall 426.500
8) The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, 2nd week 3.200, overall 32.300
9) Mulholland Drive, 3rd week 2.830, overall 29.000
10) Atlantis: The Lost Empire, 8th week 1.760, overall 66.800

the top 10 films (whole Greece) are:
1. Harry Potter 750.000*
2. LOTR 692.000*
3. What Women Want 689.300
4. To Klama Vghke Apo Ton Paradeiso (Greek Movie) 424.600
5. Captain Corelli's Mandolin 349.400
6. O Kaliteros Mou Filos (Greek Movie) 339.700
7. Chocolat 359.100
8. Stakaman (Greek Movie) 348.900
9. Pearl Harbor 298.000
10. Rizoto (Greek Movie) 250.000

*still screening

Friday, February 01, 2002
Bill amend Joins LOTR Fanclub - Xoanon @ 09:18 PST
FoxTrot comic creator Bill Amend joins The Lord of the Rings Fan Club!

FoxTrot comic strip artist Bill Amend is the latest celebrity to join The Lord of the Rings Fan Club! Amend, a Lord of the Rings fan since he was a teenager, has poked fun at passionate Lord of the Rings fans like himself (a.k.a. "Lord of the Onion Rings" fans) many times in the nationally-syndicated and tremendously popular FoxTrot strip.

"Ever since I told my kids I was an honorary member of the Fan Club, they think I'm really cool!" says Amend. "I wish Peter Jackson had made these movies years ago!"

FoxTrot, which debuted in 1988, is now one of the most successful comic strips in the world, appearing in more than 1,000 newspapers worldwide and spawning 23 books.

The Lord of the Rings Fan Club members receive:

• An annual subscription to the bimonthly movie magazine

• Fan Club Membership Portfolio with membership card, welcome letter from director Peter Jackson, and collector’s lithograph (featuring a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring™)

• A 10% discount at the Fan Club’s online store and catalog

• Preference in purchasing exclusive, limited-edition collectibles

• Fan mail service to link fans directly to the stars of the trilogy

To sign up, fans can visit LOTRfanclub.com, go to the official Lord of the Rings Web site at lordoftherings.net and click on “Fan Club, or call 800-451-6381 (North America only) or 303-856-2201 (from anywhere in the world) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. MST.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Hodo the furry footed burrower - Xoanon @ 13:00 PST

Arashi writes: I was watching Dexter's lab tonight and they had a rerun of an older episode. Dexter and some of his friends are playing "Monsters and Mazes" and when Deedee takes over, he is reduced to the role of Hodo the furry footed burrower.

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