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May 4, 1999 - May 12, 1999

News for May 12, 1999

LOTR Shooting Schedule

5/12/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Tehanu has come up with the goods again. She found this site Film NZ News with a few bits about LOTR. (with a little side note from me: Anyone working on this film can E-Mail me anytime you know, just to chat) - Xoanon

LORD OF THE RINGS - PROPOSED SCHEDULE, New Zealand -in brief

"I can't think of a better country to represent Tolkien's world of Middle-earth on film," says Jackson. "From the Shire to Rivendell, the Misty Mountains or Mordor - it's all here at our doorstep." .

Location: Wellington, Central Otago (South Island), Central Plateau (North Island).

Studio: Camperdown Studios, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pre Production: February 1999

Principal Photography: eptember 19th 1999. Filming for 8 weeks, followed by a 2 week break, this will go on for 18 months

Crew numbers

Standard Main Unit

2nd Unit

Action Unit

Small Unit shooting Miniatures

Small Unit shooting Scenics

Largest number of people will be employed in the Computer Effects, Model Making and Set bulding areas.

Effect on the shooting schedules of other projects - Basically Lord of the Rings will have the same affect as two feature films being shot at the same time. There will be crew and facilities available for other projects.

Calling all NZ Riders!

5/12/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Xoanon Here,

How much would I love to buy my very own black stallion, learn to ride, saddle up, (oh, and move to New Zealand!) and get a job on this film! But alas, I'm a short Italian Canadian who is scared of horse pooh. (not really, but I'm scared of big pooh) This site is looking for genuine talent. Tehanu is already gearing up, heading to those single clubs looking for a horse rider to slide up to and make friends sorry

Auckland, New Zealand .

The Lord of the Rings

This feature film is to start filming in New Zealand later this year. This will requirea massive amount of talent resource, for which ModelPool is procuring with a view to submitting to the Producers. It is expected that there will be around 16,000 film extras required all over New Zealand. There will also be a large number of horsesand horse riders required to make this film.

News for May 10, 1999

LOTR Tidbit

5/10/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Wondering how they are going to use CGI in the huge battle scenes? 'Alain' interviewed Peter Jackson himself not too long ago and learned the following:

....My magazine is a newszine called Science-Fiction Magazine. It's 84 pages quadri with a printing of 65000 copies. It's the one and prime (a.k.a. only) SF mag in France. We also tackle subjects such as Fantasy, Horror, and the Fantastique...

I'm not too sure regarding your whereabouts... But, if you're familiar with the british SFX, well, we sort of look a bit like them.

Weta is Peter Jackson sfx company based in New Zealand. Massive is a software created by Weta geeks. As you surely know, there will be 15,000 extras (non talking parts) involved in the movie The LotR. Thanks to 'Massive', these extras will be digitalized and reproduced so as to have some 200,000 characters in the battle scenes. The + thing is that the battle will run randomly. That is: no one single character is programmed according to Peter's will. The computer will rule them all and decide on its own who dies, who lives, what form of action it performs. And if Jackson goes for another shot, it will not reproduce the same pattern....

Massive is the software that Weta FX has designed to handle the battle CGI. Wow, being a former Computer Science major, that software appears to be very powerful! I wonder what kind of systems they use to run the battles?

News for May 09, 1999

The Jaffas have Landed

5/9/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

View the exclusive pictures from this article in our gallery section.

TheOneRing’s first search for Hobbiton set out under trying conditions. It was raining like stink, and visibility was down to two carlengths if the car in front was fluorescent yellow or something, you sort of had to hope they knew where the road was. And this was State Highway 1 in the Central City we’re talking about. I had visions of being forced to send Xoanon pictures of a wall of rain with an X drawn on it marked, ‘We think Hobbiton is around here somewhere.’ How pathetic.

But the weather cleared, at least to dappled sun and clouds. It’s autumn still and the leaves are changing colour. I used to think that the landscape around Matamata, where we were headed, was just one of those boring green rural bits people have to drive through to get somewhere else. There’s a range of wild forested hills to the East, a flattish plain at their foot, and then further west the countryside becomes more rumpled with small hills and valleys of brilliant green grass. I’d forgotten the way farmers there make beautiful hedges that wander over the countryside in long intersecting lines, rising and falling with the lie of the land. It’s a feature of that area.

And I’d not been there in Autumn.

The native trees here are evergreen, so it’s only in areas where there’s been a great many European trees planted that you see those incredible colours at this time of year. Since, in The Fellowship of the Ring, the hobbits leave the Shire in Autumn, it’s going to be important to have that in the landscape where it’s filmed. Rumour has it that the Hobbiton set, once built, is going to be left to ‘age’ for a year. Which would put the filming there right in the middle of the leafturning season. Around Matamata that’s quite spectacular, because the landscape is full of oaks and poplars and other trees that look brilliant right now.

We wondered if we’d be able to identify the farm where the set was being built, but it was obvious enough. There were at least three ‘No Tresspass’ notices on the big gate, a very new-looking road, and beyond that, a few big pieces of earth-moving machinery.

Opposite the gate was a caravan pulled up into a bit of land by the road, and visitors were directed to report there. We did, and met Barry, whose job it is to keep a twenty-four hour watch on the gate.

"Looking for anything in particular?" he asked.

"Just another f***ing Aucklander, looking for the film set," I said. (Hence the title to this piece.) But he was from the South Island, and hadn’t heard of JAFAS either.

Barry sat us down and talked to us. He seemed a bit bemused by the whole thing.

"Sixty-six people came out here last Sunday to look at this place. Some guy went in duckshooting, and a reporter with a camera went in with him pretending to be doing a story on the duckshooting, but he was trying to get photos of the set! And there’s nothing there, just the road they’re building to where the set’s going to be!"

I asked him if he’d read the book, and he said he hadn’t. He looked like he was used to working outdoors, and this security work was getting to him. Nothing to do all day except talk to strangers who turn up, and then only in order to tell them to go away.

"We’ve had everything out here – people flying over in helicopters…they’re trying to get the area declared a no-fly zone."

I began to wonder if Mr. Alexander, whose farm this was, was getting unpopular with his neighbours. They hadn’t signed on for a year of being buzzed by light aircraft during lambing time; they couldn’t afford a security guard to keep sightseers from crossing their land…

"I can’t stop you from taking photos from the road. But don’t do anything you shouldn’t. Because then it’s me you’ll be getting in trouble, see?" said Barry. I thought he would make a good Sam Gamgee, except he looked big enough to break a fencepost with his bare hands. "Here’s the number of the publicity woman from the film company, I’ll just see if I can find it." He leafed through pages and pages of contact numbers for people involved in the film, shaking his head a little over the sheer size of the undertaking. "See, she could ring you and tell you as soon as anything happens out here, and you’d be all square and above-board."

I was driven crazy by the fact that, under the pages of phone numbers, I could glimpse a hand-drawn map of what they were building out there. Which of course I couldn’t get to see properly. I mean, what can I describe? There seemed to be a stream widening out to a pool, some lines that could be lanes…But you can find out that much from reading the books. Still, aaaaaaarggghhhh!

We drove off promising not to trespass. I hoped that nothing would happen in the coming year to destroy Barry’s Sam Gamgee-like faith in human nature. He believed that appealing to our sense of fair play would be enough. The farmer’s son arrived on a farm bike and gave us a foul look, so we left, and we didn’t climb any fences.

A little way along the road we came to a spot that had some view of what they are building: A road. Hmm. Very scenic bit of road, though, so we took photos of that, and of the landscape around the place generally. Subtract the fenceposts and telegraph poles, and you’ll have a good sense of what the Shire is going to look like.

It looks like there’s some native forest on a hill on the other side of the area where they’re building, and it seems likely that the set could be seen from there, so a later expedition could tackle that. It doesn’t seem to be private land. It’d mean a few km.

walking through trackless forest, and if you got caught by an irate film crew you’d have to pretend you were looking for, um, what is it that people are usually looking for in the bush? Dope? ‘Sorry, officer, I swear I wasn’t trying to get close to Peter Jackson’s film crew….I was just, y’know, looking after business…’

On to the Okoroire Tavern, which is doing a roaring trade since the army is staying there while they build Hobbiton. I wonder how much choice you get in the army – ‘Hey, do you want to go to Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission? Or would you like to go build Hobbiton?’

I asked the barmaid if the troops were enjoying a change from marching or whatever they do normally. She sort of sighed and said ‘no.’ Apparently it’s hard work. The hotel charges people $10 to use the thermal springs on their land, and they were totally booked up. (The bar, meanwhile, was empty.) We wandered over for a look, hoping to find some exhausted army people soaking away the pains of a hard day’s work, but the hot pools were inside corrugated iron huts, so we didn’t get to overhear any fascinating gossip there.

Back to the pub, which is old and gracious. Its grounds would make nice locations for some scenes. Huge old trees, greensward (actually a golf course) and a rather surprising bit of wild rapids hidden in a forested ravine below the thermal springs. Suddenly you drop out of this totally English landscape into a mossy, ferny dark slot in the land with a whole lot of white water churning around at the bottom of it.

The only people in the tavern who weren’t watching rugby were speaking Swedish, so we drew a bit of a blank there. Nobody had any obvious interest in The Lord Of The Rings, so we finished our beer and drove home past a really gaudy Paramount sunset.

Welcome to TheOneRing.net!

5/9/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Hello there and welcome to TheOneRing, our new, bigger, faster website. We think you'll find this new address easier to get to and faster to use. Thanks for joining in the fun. Watching the development of these films should be an interesting journey, and we hope we show you some of the steps that will take us to the finished works. It won't be easy, nor should it be - we can never get inside an actor's or a writer's head when they're doing what they do. Tracing the growth of a film is a bit the same: we can enjoy sleuthing around trying to get a glimpse of the sets or models, but the real fun is in imagining what the director will do with what he's got, when he begins. Everyone's playing that game at the moment, and I bet we've all got our favourite scenes filmed with the greatest cast ever- inside our own heads! It's fun to think about and to argue about. If TheOneRing can give people a bit more concrete information to let their imaginations play on, then that's a good thing. It is our hope that we will one day grow into a huge all-consuming monstrous piece of webspace that people can get lost in for days, and never escape from...mine, all mine...(No! Put the Ring down!) but meanwhile we will try to remain as user-friendly as possible. We welcome your feedback, speculations, gossip and especially INFORMATION yessss, yessss, they must tell everything they knows, they musssst! concerning the Lord Of The Rings film project.

News for May 07, 1999

Rings' Focus Tightens

5/7/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Peter Jackson's whereabouts of late could provide crew clues for The Lord Of The Rings. He returned to New Zealand last month after spending three weeks in Europe, where he is believed to have interviewed possible DP's for his three-picture adaptation of the JRR Tolkien classic. Production is tipped to start on September 18. The only casting detail confirmed to date has been the recruitment of NZ armed forces as extras.

New Owner for Film Unit

5/7/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

The Wellington producer-director Peter Jackson is the new owner of The Film Unit, which is the only one-stop post-production facility in New Zealand. Based in Lower Hutt, across the harbor from Wellington, it offers 16mm and 35mm laboratory and sound facilities, including a state-of-the-art Dolby mixing suite. Peter Jackson told the Press Association: "Would I have bought the Unit if it wasn't for Lord of the Rings (which is to start shooting in New Zealand this year for New Line Cinema)? "I probably would have thought seriously about it, because if I wasn't doing Lord of the Rings I would have been doing some other films, and I'd still want to have the facilities in New Zealand." The first of the three Lord of the Rings features is due to start shooting in September.

May '99 OnFilm

5/7/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

The world's best animators focus on Weta A top American software developer calls working on The Lord Of The Rings "the plum job on the whole of the planet" for computer graphics gurus. "It's the absolute talk of animation news groups on the Internet," says Mark Sylvester of Alias leading provider of open solutions for film & video. "There's a cult following around The Lord Of The Rings, around computer animation, " he told Onfilm after visiting Peter Jackson's Weta animation & graphics factory in Wellington. "I think people feel they have no chance of working on Star Wars - that's the dream - but they have a chance of working at Weta on The Lord Of The Rings, and The Lord Of The Rings will make the facility internationally famous." Sylvester says Weta is challenging Alias involved in the new Star Wars trilogy, to "make sure we can deliver the level of realism they'll require" for The Lord Of The Rings. "We've had to show them, and they've had to be able to prove to themselves, that they can do what they want to do with the software we have available today. "Quality is very important to them. They want to do this right - they don't want to be known for having mucked up an amazing book. "It's a tall order but I walked away with a sense of confidence that the amount of work I'm going to put into this personally is going to be worth the energy." Sylvester reckons the environment that Weta is providing computer animators could only be match by four other places in the world. "Guys who run animation production companies in the United States are at Weta for The Lord Of The Rings," he points out. "Animators aren't driven by the money, although it is good money, as they are by an environment that is technically challenging, and has interesting projects to work on and people savvy to their tools. "Weta is gearing up infrastructure-wise and talent-wise to realize a great vision." Sylvester says when he re-read The Lord Of The Rings, "I asked myself, 'How the heck are they going to do these various pieces?' "I have to say they have not shared that with us. "They feel that's going to detract from the film; that what's important is the film - not how the film was made. "They really want to keep the movie magic."

News for May 06, 1999

More Casting Rumors

5/6/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Well, today I've heard from 3 different sources that an offer has been made to ELIJAH WOOD to play Frodo in the three LORD OF THE RINGS movies that Peter Jackson will begin shooting at the end of the summer. Now, I know for a fact that Elijah read for the part, and before that I knew he was looking at the 3 scripts, and before that... Back when Elijah was working on THE FACULTY and we were talking geeky stuff, he expressed that his favorite book was THE LORD OF THE RINGS. So... Where is this? Between this and to story over at Cinescape it sounds like the casting process might be at that point where final decisions are being made. Cinescape is reporting that Timothy Spall (the photographer in "Secrets and Lies", a film everybody should rush out and rent immediately) has been cast as Gimli in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings"! Warwick Davis apparently spilled the beans on this story at the Star Wars Celebration when he admitted that he had auditioned for the part and lost it to Spall. I think this is a brilliant casting move, and it gives me great confidence in Jackson. Spall has the stature and the voice for Gimli. He'll be great. (He also played Rosencrantz in the Branagh version of "Hamlet".) I have long been absent, but still I lurk. Wood: Frodo? Call me, Overstreet. So far, I think these are a pair of wonderful choices if this pans out. I'm looking into confirming these right now with folks on LORD OF THE RINGS. But these are the first serious casting choices we've received. What with all the Connery stuff and McGoohan, etc... Seems like exciting things are a coming up!

Ordesky Talks Rings

5/6/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Fine Line prez Mark Ordesky, who is supervising the production of Peter Jackson"s Lord of the Rings trilogy with New Line"s Mike DeLuca, took some time to talk up the project. While talking to columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith, Ordesky explained that the film "will push the envelope of computer special effects to a new degree." Ordesky also talked about the casting for the film and the commitment that will have to be made by the actors involved revealing, "With the exception of a few leads, the cast will be working a few weeks on, a few weeks off for what will be a long-term production." Those long term plans mean the previously reported shooting schedule for the three films as back-to-back for a year"s time with "three times that long with pre- to post-production." Ordesky also shoots down the rumors suggesting Sean Connery is involved. Ordesky reveals, "Actors who love the story have been phoning, wanting to be part of the film, but no one has been cast -- we hope to start the process in May." Still, there may be reason to doubt Ordesky"s word on casting with word from Warwick Davis (Willow) last weekend at the Star Wars Celebration that Timothy Spall has already been cast as Gimli.

News for May 05, 1999

Flotsum & Jetsum

5/5/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Taking time out from canvassing for the Scottish National Party and a break from offers to advertise Japanese whisky, Sean Connery is in advanced talks with a US studio to star in what will be one of the biggest films ever embarked on. He is the front-runner to take the lead role in the Tinseltown-backed adaptation of JRR Tolkien's trilogy, *Lord of the Rings*. The film version is being backed by New Line Cinema, the studio behind such blockbusters as *Mortal Combat*, with New Zealand director Peter Jackson taking the chair. Connery would play Gandalf, the wizard who leads the Hobbits in their battle against Dark Lord Sauron. The three Tolkien films, which will shoot back-to-back starting this September, were originally budgeted at a collective $130m when New Line agreed to take over the financing of the project from Miramax Films in return for worldwide distribution and merchandising rights. But now figures being bandied about are much higher with all three costing more than even *Titanic*, which included the world's most expensive ice cube. Like the upcoming *Star Wars* trilogy, Jackson's heavily-shrouded project has provoked endless Internet discussion as it nears the projected September 19 start date. Jackson, like George Lucas before him, is no stranger to the use of digital effects and is expected to draw on his state-of-the-art digital effects facility he had built in New Zealand. The ambitious Kiwi director is expected to create the legions of hobbits, orcs, elves and goblins that make up Tolkien's mythical world of Middle Earth in his backyard. A portion of the year-long production schedule for the first film may even be shot in Europe with a Christmas 2000 release date penciled in for the first episode, *The Fellowship Of The Ring*. But it still remains to be seen whether Jackson will follow the example of George Lucas and shoot the entire film digitally. Whether Connery decides to pick up Gandalf's staff or not, the film adaptation is likely to be one of the most talked about movie projects of next year. With its expansive story, intricate fantasy world settings, big production costs and the lure of Tolkien's original brilliance, actors will be queuing up to play a part.

Rings' Casting Scoop

5/5/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Cinescape Online reporter Chris Kivlehan, on hand to ask the tough questions of the assembled actors at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Denver today, asked Phantom Menace actor Warwick Davis about his interest in possibly being involved with the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy and whether or not he had contacted Peter Jackson. Davis responded "I was fortunate enough to audition for that film." He went on to explain that it didn"t work out, and an actor Timothy Spall has been cast as Gimli. Spall is not of small stature but will instead be reduced in size through special effects which caused some disappointment with an actor who felt he had the obvious attributes to carry that role.

Robert Atkins-Down not to star in LOTR

5/5/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

I have exclusive Cirdan-News about the the Aragorn-Casting-Rumor with Robert Atkins-Down of Babylon5.

Today I met Robert Atkins-Down at a Star Trek/ Babylon5 -Convention here in Bonn, Germany and I told him about the rumor in the Internet. He said, that he only have tried to do this casting, but they don't want him.

Jackson on 'Talen Scout' To Massey

5/5/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Famed New Zealand film-maker, Peter Jackson, is bringing his multi-million dollar production of Lord of the Rings to Palmerston North. Jackson shot to fame with his low-budget cult favourite Bad Tase, and found artistic acclaim with the darkly gothic Heavenly Creatures, and financial success with the US financed The Frightners. Currently Jackson is remaining coy about the actual location to be used for the shooting, but has stated that he is sizing up his optitons before confirming his intentions in the Manawatu. However he is looking for approximately 80 to 100 young extras to various stature. Jackson will be appearing on Concourse on Wednesday 12th of May in the common lunch hour to look for prospective talent. I you are interested in auditioning, application forms will be available on the day. No previous experience is necessary.

News for May 04, 1999

Sean Connery was here, maybe

5/4/99, 12:00 am EST - Xoanon

Wellington - Rumours linking British actor Sean Connery with Peter Jackson's 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy are gathering momentum in the Wellington suburb of Seatoun, where the film-maker lives. First there was speculation the Connery and Kiwi actor Sam Neill ('Jurassic Park') were interested in playing the role of Gandalf the wizard. Now rumours are circulating that Connery has bought a house in Seatoun, where Neill is said to own a property. Locals are believed to have spotted Connery at the Chocolate Fish Cafe in Karaka Bay.

A cardboard cutout of the star has graced one of the cafe's seats since Tuesday. "I haven't seen him myself," said manager Penny Pennington, "but I have people who swear they have seen him here."

Well, with stories like this around, I don't need to make anything up. People's imaginations are running rife down there. Or maybe he really DID go to the Chocolate Fish Cafe. (In case that sounds revolting, chocolate fish are a popular thing here, they're chococlate-covered marshmallow fish.)
(You didn't need to know that...)

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