Go back to Special Reports Archives

October 24, 2000 - November 10, 2000

11-10-00 Latest News

The Mill at Hobbiton - New picture!
Xoanon @ 11:20 am EST

Newspartner Scoop has pulled another one of their amazing pictures out of the bag, and as usual it's a feast for the eyes.

Click here for the original story from Scoop.

11-08-00 Latest News

Xoanon @ 8:59 am EST

Coming Attractions has nailed it! 3 teaser posters for the Lord of the Rings films!

November 8, 2000... The day that Tolkien fans around the world have been waiting for has finally arrived: feast your eyes on the teaser posters for the Lord of the Rings movies! The posters were sent to us by a trusted source who requests anonymity, but the image itself comes directly from within New Line Cinema and has been used in promotional material. All three posters incorporate a different primary color and Middle-earth symbol.


When we get confirmation, we GET it! New Line Cinema placed a call to TheOneRing.net offices to inform us that these three pics are NOT teaser posters at all. They are in fact early test compositions for some concept art for promotion, these are 3 that did not make the grade and will not be used. No posters were ever made from these pieces of work, they're one of many designs New Line looked at for the films.

11-05-00 Latest News

Weekly Cast Watch: Nov 5 - 11
Xoanon @ 1:44 pm EST

Sunday, November 5

Viggo Mortensen
(Aragorn) The Thin Red Line HBOSIG
Ian Holm (Bilbo) Alice Through the Looking Glass MAX
Sean Bean (Borormir) Airborne HBOPL & Ronin SHOWX & Stormy Monday KTRV
Miranda Otto (Eowyn) The Thin Red Line HBOSIG
Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) Pushing Tin MOMAX & Elizabeth WARM60
John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) Sphinx THMAX
Sean Astin (Sam) The War of the Roses KNXV
Christopher Lee (Saruman) Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady MYSTERY & Horror Express KSTC & Beat Girl KNTV
Steve Coogan (Unknown) Alice Through the Looking Glass MAX
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Child's Play 2 TNT & Child's Play TNT & The Exorcist III Carlton Cinema UK

Monday, November 6

Hugo Weaving (Elrond) The Matrix MAXS
Ian McKellen (Gandalf) Restoration STARZ
John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam WVTV
Sean Astin (Sam) Deterrence TVND26 & Toy Soldiers ENCORE
Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) Elizabeth FilmFour UK

Tuesday, November 7

Viggo Mortensen
(Aragorn) Albino Alligator STARZ
Liv Tyler (Arwen) Silent Fall TNTI & Cookies Fortune TMN
Miranda Otto (Eowyn) The Jack Bull HBO
Elijah Wood (Frodo) Avalon ENCORE
Ian McKellen (Gandalf) I'll Do Anything HBOPL & Scandal STARZ5
Steve Coogan (Unknown) The Indian in the Cupboard HBOF
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones TRUE & Body Parts TMN
John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) Secret of the Andes Sky Premier UK

Wednesday, November 8

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) Raiders of the Lost Ark WXXV & The Sweeney Granada Plus UK
Christopher Lee (Saruman) Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow FLIX
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Color of Night THMAX & Hidden Agenda SHOW
Sean Astin (Sam) Toy Soldiers MAX
Bernard Hill (Theoden) Titanic Sky Premier UK
Ian Holm (Bilbo) SOS Titanic Channel 4 UK

Thursday, November 9

Viggo Mortensen
(Aragorn) The Young Americans STARZ
John Noble (Denethor) Airtight GONZOX
Christopher Lee (Saruman) One More Time SHOWDT & Private's Progress FLIX & Captain Horatio Hornblower TCM
Hugo Weaving (Elrond) The Martix MAX

Friday, November 10

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) A Walk on the Moon STARZ5
Hugo Weaving (Elrond) Bedrooms & Hallways MOMAX
Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) Oscar and Lucinda FMC & Pushing Tin MAX
Sean Astin (Sam) Kimberly TMC & Icebreaker WVER
Christopher Lee (Saruman) Massarati and the Brain WLII
Bernard Hill (Theoden) True Crime MOMAX & Shirley Valentine Paramount Comedy Channel UK
Sean Bean (Boromir) Ronin Sky Premier UK

Saturday, November 11

Ian Holm (Biblo) eXistenZ FilmFour UK

11-03-00 Latest News

LOTR Trailer Update
Xoanon @ 5:42 pm EST

Many people have written in asking me about the LOTR trailer coming out in theatres all over North America this December. To answer you truthfully, we've tried checking in on the details but have come up with nothing, this is what we do know:

- There is a very strong probability that the LOTR will be out this December, according to some reliable people on the inside.

- At first we heard it would be attached to either 'Little Nicky' (November 10th), or, more likely the Kevin Costner suspense/drama '13 Days' (December 20th). This news, however, has changed recently.

- We reported last month that New Line Cinema, the same production company that is producing LOTR, bought the distribution rights to 'Dungeons and Dragons'. 'DND' will be released by New Line on December 8th, and will, in my opinion be perfect fodder for LOTR fans looking for the LOTR trailer.

So the answers you're all looking for? Well, if you live in a major North American city, and want to see either DND, 13 Days or Little Nicky, you'd be covering your bases.

10-29-00 Latest News

Weekly Cast Watch: Oct 28 - Nov 4
Xoanon @ 10:50 pm EST

Sunday, October 29

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) Deception MYSTERY
Liv Tyler (Arwen) Cookie's Fortune HBO
Ian Holm (Bilbo) Hamlet WFXG
Sean Bean (Boromir) Airborne HBOZ
Hugo Weaving (Elrond) The Matrix HBOPL
Elijah Wood (Frodo) The Ice Storm BRAVO & The Good Son WLNY
Bernard Hill (Theoden) True Crime Cinemax
Orlando Bloom (Legolas) Wilde SUNDAE
Christopher Lee (Saruman) Sleepy Hollow JDVC1
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Child's Play 3 USA

Monday, October 30

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) The Thin Red Line ACMAX
Hugo Weaving (Elrond) The Interview STARZ5 & Reckless Kelly TNTI
Miranda Otto (Eowyn) The Jack Bull ACMAX & The Thin Red Line ACMAX
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Body Parts Cinemax
Ian McKellen (Gandalf) I'll Do Anything HBO
John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam WILMLP
Sean Astin (Sam) Harrison Bergeron WYLE
Sean Bean (Boromir) Patriot Games BBC1 UK

Tuesday, October 31

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) Psycho STARZ
Elijah Wood (Frodo) The Faculty SHOWX & The Ice Storm Sky Premier UK
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Progeny Cinemax & The Bride of Chucky TMN
Christopher Lee (Saruman) Scream and Scream Again TMN & Howling II Bravo UK & Dracula Has Risen from the Grave Sky Cinema UK

Wednesday, November 1

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) Fresh Horses STARZ
Andy Serkis (Gollum) Among Giants HBOPL
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Hidden Agenda FilmFour UK

Thursday, November 2

Ian Holm (Bilbo) Mary, Queen of Scots RCN
Elijah Wood (Frodo) Avalon ENCORE
Ian McKellen (Gandalf) Six Degrees of Separation TNTI
Sean Bean (Boromir) Ronin Sky Premier UK

Friday, November 3

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) 28 Days TVND24
Ian McKellen (Gandalf) The Invisible Man SCIFI & Gods and Monsters SHOW3 The Shadow SCIFI
Liv Tyler (Arwen) Cookies Fortune TMN
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) Progeny Sci-Fi Channel UK

Saturday, November 4

Liv Tyler (Arwen) Plunkett and Macleane Sky Premier UK

New Amazing LOTR Pics from McKellen.com!
Xoanon @ 1:40 pm EST

Well, the great wizards website has done it again, this time Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and his amzing team at McKellen.com have posted 3 new amazing pics from LOTR!!! Weither these are production stills or simply photos from the set, who knows. But the one with the rainbow certainly seems to have some post work on it, namely..the rainbow :)

Thanks to Akiva for the tip!

10-27-00 Latest News

Quickbeam wraps up the Wizard Kebab
Tehanu @ 4:50 pm EST

Who's Spiking Who?

It's official. Saruman dies during The Two Towers in a very unique way, via the magic of Peter Jackson's imagination.

We have proof of exactly what was going on in the now notorious photo that appeared in a Wellington newspaper last August. It showed a bedraggled, upended white wizard lanced clean through on a massive spiked wheel. Poor sod.

Like wildfire in a dry prairie, speculation ran far and wide among the online Tolkien community upon the photo's first appearance. Was it Gandalf the White? Was it a post-staff-sundering Saruman who got pushed out of a window by an angry Wormtongue? Who was being spiked-the actor or us fans?

The answer we got from Sir Ian McKellen on his website was a playful non-answer. He said in his Grey Book entry of 8 August 2000: "No, it's not me, although I was filming on the same location yesterday. Nor, as some have speculated, is it Christopher Lee." I for one don't blame him for obfuscating-it wasn't him or Lee, but rather it was Lee's stunt double. Fans were altogether stumped by Sir Ian's comments and the continuing furor even reached the ears of the banal major media, who found it all mildly amusing. Now we can put those doubts to rest.

If you pause to think about it, it's clear that this spiked wheel incident is a bit of physical comedy that pays homage to Lee's remarkable oeuvre as Dracula from the glory days of the Hammer Studios. It must have seemed funny to PJ to have Dracula get a stake through the heart one more time. I wonder that the fan sites didn't pick up on this immediately.

The particular Call Sheet that has proved so illuminating is official and did indeed come from Three Foot Six Ltd. (click here to see it) Now you may be asking, "How did a Call Sheet with this kind of information leak out?" Well, it's not surprising really. You could look in half the garbage cans in Wellington and find more of the same. There are many hundreds of discarded Call Sheets and other bits of paper that are tossed out after filming (Here's a tip for all our NZ Spies: trash digging is a noble enterprise!).

The Call Sheet tells us what they were filming that day, on what set, and the particulars of what the scene required: 'As Saruman turns on the wheel, the Palant'r drops from his hand and into the water.' We have only one conclusion to make: Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have abandoned the original death found in Tolkien's pages, making up something wholly new. The implication for the films' overall story is not immediately clear, but you can connect the dots with what evidence we have.

My take on it: There will be no Scouring of the Shire in the films.

Just like Tom Bombadil, we are faced with the extinction of this crucial episode. If PJ decides Saruman will meet his demise in the second film, after the Ents' destruction of Isengard, then we certainly won't have the chain of events found later in the story! There will be no Saruman to infiltrate the Shire and assert control over Lotho and the other hobbits.

Also note that Christopher Lee (who plays Saruman) was not even present at the rural location for Hobbiton. I understand he showed up in NZ after filming was done at those sites and the entire Hobbiton set had been razed to the ground. Since his work was contained at the Wellington studios, where does that leave the opportunity to film the Scouring?

Having Saruman die like this is unpalatable in terms of the script. What seems in the novel to be an over-long dénouement is really one of the most crucial points that Tolkien is trying to affirm: that not all innocence can be protected, and the evils of the world at large will come home to you if you ignore them. Not only is this Wizard-kebab wildly different from the original text but it's an unreal, Disneyfied way to deal with a villain (and we all know how much Tolkien detested the Disney Studios and their work). When a major antagonist is killed by an "act of God" instead of at the hand of a specific character it's a cop out. If Saruman dies from:

a) falling out of a window
b) a bolt of lightning
c) tumbling off a cliff

or any of those things, PJ is basically telling his audience, "OOPS! These accidents just happen, folks. Saruman's not really responsible for his ultimate fate." I don't buy it because it's a cheap plot device that lets heroes walk away without getting their hands dirty. Now, if he were pushed out of the tower of Orthanc, that would be somewhat different.

But I digress.

There's another possibility that was suggested to me. The Wellington studio contains internal and external sets for "Bag End," some of which are precisely sized to make Elijah Wood seem much shorter than he truly is. Let us assume PJ fully intended to film all the scenes necessary for the Scouring of the Shire, and was able to complete key shots with Lee and Brad Dourif at the studio... right at the front door of Bag End.

Maybe he filmed everything he needed, and then on review decided he couldn't use the shots. Filmmaking is mercurial, after all, and strange things happen. It's not uncommon to shoot a hundred hours of film with only two making the final cut. By that time it was too late and Lee had already gone to work on Star Wars Episode II over in Australia. If PJ were stuck with unusable footage (for whatever reason) and could not recreate the scenes, what could he do? He would have to sit down with Fran and re-write a new death for Saruman.

This line of reasoning gives PJ the benefit of the doubt and it makes sense given how quickly things change during a busy shoot. We would not want to think he would carelessly cut out such an important sequence without good reason. Did the studio suits pressure him into the change? Did he fear that the translation from page to screen would not fare well, becoming cinematic mud in an otherwise quickly paced tale? All this lies within the realm of guessing. Perhaps now that the Wizard-kebab has been so widely publicized it will never even end up in the movie. Maybe it was a red-herring all along, meant to drive us batty and increase free publicity for the project. Feast on that, all you conspiracy theorists.

I'm convinced that my guess is accurate but there is no real way to know, save that PJ himself should break his own Confidentiality Agreement with New Line Cinema and just fess up. But that's not bloody likely!

Much too hasty,


10-24-00 Latest News

Ahhh..Remember that LOTR Dagger Story?
Xoanon @ 11:46 pm EST

Well it turns out that LOTR Dagger pictured below is NOT from the production after all. Thanks to a VERY knowledgeable source, we've determined that it's simply a nicely made dagger, but that's as far as it goes.

Go back to Special Reports Archives