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November 20, 2002 - November 26, 2002

11-26-02 Latest News

Dissecting the Hotdog!
Demosthenes @ 5:53 pm EST

You've undoubtedly seen the Hotdog review of The Two Towers. If nothing else, it's definitely causing a fuss amongst many TORn discussion board regulars, who seem to think it's generally too vague to be much of a review.

TORn staffer Morog and myself have, however, gone and tried to pick the eyes out of the few hints that it offers. Enjoy our conclusions (or send us hatemail if you must :) ).

TORn staffer Morog's meta-review

I thought it would be beneficial to those spoiler-happy LoTR fans out there seeking every last scrap of information and every new scan that becomes available to do a quick media review of Hotdog magazine’s latest and greatest. Scans of the article itself can be found here.

First off, the article starts out with a horribly cliched 'hobbit' pun, and immediately we know we’re in for a bit of a rough ride. Though the author seems to have previewed the movie, the review itself seems as though it were nothing more than a combination of general factoids about the movie that have been floating around for the past few months combined with the general plot outline from the books to form somewhat of a haphazard, incomplete article.

Mixed up bad guys?

While the author certainly extols a very optimistic outlook on the upcoming installment of LoTR, they have mixed up, or at least given a somewhat distorted idea of some key Tolkien facts. On the first page, the author builds suspense claiming: “Sauron’s army of Urak-Hai grow to terrifying proportions as the dark lord prepares for conquest.”

Interestingly, Tolkien wrote “The Two Towers” with Saruman as the primary bad guy. Sauron was more of a “loose end” to be tied up in the last book. The reviewer here seems to emphasize Sauron as the Two Tower’s major player.

Has Peter Jackson transformed Saruman into a lesser evil in order to play up Sauron’s part in the Two Towers? It could be that this is simply a continuation of FoTR’s “Build me an army worthy of Mordor” theme. In fact, it’s probably likely.

Yet, one wonders if it could somehow refer to the gathering hordes of Easterlings and Haradrim that Frodo and Sam encounter as they journey to Mordor. Alternatively, maybe the reviewer just a bit new to the world of Tolkien and got confused along the way?

Flying Nazgul at Helm's Deep?!

What really grabs our attention, however, is the author’s revelation regarding the end of the battle of Helm’s Deep. “To reveal the conclusion would be unfair, but you wouldn’t want to place bets on the outcome once the dragon-riding Ringwraiths turn up!” Again, we wonder if Peter Jackson has changed a key element of Tolkien’s plot to accommodate the silver-screen adaptation, or if the author of the review is throwing us off track.

[Dem here. This is quite bizarre. Readers will, of course, know that Ringwraiths never appeared at Helm’s Deep, and only appeared in Rohan right at the end of Book Three after the big confrontation with Saruman at Orthanc. Naturally this has us all scratching our heads about what could possibly be going on.

Firstly, I haven’t noted any Ringraiths in the Helm’s Deep scenes we’ve seen so far. I guess it’s possible the reviewer could be mistaken.

If this isn’t the case, my totally unsupported theory is that it might be a way to draw more attention to the link between the forces of Orthanc and Mordor if Sauron was to lend a Ringwraith or two.

Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that Helm’s Deep is near the end of the film (Jackson has previously indicated this in a Fangoria magazine interview). Perhaps it’s part of somehow compressing or switching the events from “The Voice of Saruman” and “The Palantir” so that the action all fits into that final 10 minutes or so.]

Dragon steeds, you say?!

By the by, the reviewer’s reference to the Nazgul’s steeds as “dragons,” simply seems to be a misapprehension. We clearly see both from Tolkien’s original text and these scans (scroll to the bottom and check out the Flying Nazgul marquettes) taken from LordOfTheRings.net’s “Creatures of The Two Towers” video that the beasts that bore the Ringwraiths were more akin to large, featherless birds.

Praise for Gollum

There’s some very high praise for Gollum, who Tolkien writes as the "Mr Hyde" to Frodo’s "Dr Jekyll".

One wonders if Gollum is going to steal the limelight in Two Towers. Consider that New Line seems to be set to nominate Serkis for Best Supporting Actor for next year’s Oscars. Many have wondered if this is premature, but this is the first real indication that WETA’s spectacular CGI work and Andy Serkis’s vocal and acting talents may live up to the hype they’re receiving.

Also, many people (myself included) have a little trouble with the “Movie Maths” at the bottom of the article regarding ingredients for an epic. Form your own opinions.

In the end, we are left with one very enthused writer and one highly encouraging, yet somehow incomplete, review. It’s more of a teaser, than a review, really.

Since New Line Cinema requested that all reviews be postponed until December 18, the author is most likely withholding more explicit details. Nonetheless, it would’ve been nice to learnt more new things about the movie rather than simply receiving re-affirmations of currently circulating rumors.

Official Site: Inside the Effects!
Demosthenes @ 4:35 pm EST

LordoftheRings.net has just updated their site with some amazing "inside the effects" material. I cannot emphasise enough that you really should check this out right away! Do not walk, run! [To the official site]

If you're not convinced, this is what New Line has to say:

Inside the Effects!

For the First of Two Parts of this extensively interactive feature on the official site, we break apart all the technology and production that went into the making of the Prologue scene in The Fellowship of the Ring.

Explore how the Prologue scene was created from the use of WETA's 'Massive' software to create the armies, to motion capture for the fight styles on the Elves, with matte painting and digital models for the environment. Watch almost an hour of exclusive video interviews with the staff at WETA Digital and download a custom Elf screensaver and Prologue scene desktop.

All new Interactive elements include:

(1) Skin an Elf!
(2) Build your own Orc
(3) Simulate the Prologue Scene

Enjoy this latest offering from the official site- and stay tuned for the second part of the feature - which goes 'Inside the Effects' on the epic Battle of Helm's Deep, which will launch next month.

More On RingCon
leo @ 8:16 am EST

Marcel Buelles, who is the chairman of the German Tolkiensociety and co-organiser of RingCon, wrote to me about the process behind organising an event like RingCon, the problems and highlight they had and much more...

The story behind RingCon - and New Lines mistakes...

When Stefan Servos aka Cirdan from herr-der-ringe-film.de and me talked about doing the first ever Tolkien convention with people from the trilogy we thought it would never happen. We were really excited but being a fan of this book and organising smaller events with the German Tolkien Society I knew this would be so expensive and so hard to do - we'd never thought it would turn into this magnificent weekend we all just had. To all you people especially in the US I would like to write a few lines about the backgrounds of Ring*Con2002.

The beginnings of Ring*Con2002

It all began with an event company asking me about doing a con early this year - I had written the booklet and some other material for the German radio adaptation and one event manager had read my name. A phone call later I was in their office listening to what they were proposing and I immediately decided to have Cirdan on board as we have been working together brilliantly in the last few years.

Some weeks and many talks later we both knew that this company was only out for the buck - and dropped them. On our search for a competent partner we turned to the FedCon Ltd. who are doing the biggest Trek Event in Europe, the FedCon. It was a wise choice - they had the will and the expertise to get things going in less than six months!

Cirdan started making phone calls, I started writing tons of emails and many, many people started advertising for the convention. It really was hard work, especially for Cirdan - talking to agents sometimes is cool - and sometimes not ;) The fans over here in Germany were so supportive - without them all our work would have been nothing!

When John Rhys-Davies said yes to coming to the convention we knew we had put together something that people would really enjoy. And then he had to say no - a big disappointment. However, now with hinsight we are happy to have had people with us who are not only fascinating people and magnificent entertainers but also still have the chance of walking among the fans without being killed by hundreds of mad little girls (although that nearly happened with Craig and Mark ;)) I think Orlando should watch out for these men!

Warner Bros. - less than helpful, and the societies in Europe

I have had the chance of meeting buddies from Greece and their chairwoman, I have talked to the Dutch, the Hungarians etc. Even though one society or so in Europe may have had positive experiences with their distributors it still has turned out to be the fact that all countries where Tolkien fans are all excited about the trilogy and have Warner Bros. as the respective company support by WB is basically zero.

Fans from all over Europe are now starting to organise themselves to do their own conventions, film premieres and other amazing events and all of them will have to do without the Major WB. Ring*Con2002 has turned out to be a big success in spite of their unwillingness to do proper marketing.

Catering to the fans is free advertisement to the film trilogy. The biggest mistake New Line has made in Europe is to give distribution to WB. Due to their behaviour fans are disappointed and frustrated who would love to go to conventions and many other things beside. However, how must a fan feel when he or she knows that the company taking care of marketing for it doesn't care about it all? Just guess :(

Walking a fine line - the fans and commercial events

Many people -especially those who care about the books and take no interest in the film hype at the moment- have written to me and Cirdan why we actually came up with something that in their eyes is commercial.

There is an easy answer to this - if we hadn't done it would have been without fan forums' meetings, without lectures, workshops, without anything that has to do with the worldwide community and of course the marvellous mythology the Professor has created. Instead it would have been a mere sales fair including three or four members of the Fellowship, a big WB sign over the entrance and no literary or community connection at all.

We do hope that we have opened up a door to all you people out there that have written on it in big letters "Do it yourself! The fans can do it themselves and they do it best!"

There were many moments in the last six months where the German Tolkien Society was close to saying "We can't do it" because of the critique sent to us. I even offered my post as chairman to our AGM in August but the 100 members present all said no and told me to proceed with what we were doing. And they were right in telling me to do so. It was so magic - meeting old friends and getting to know many, many new ones! The much too short talks I had I will never forget - especially with all those people coming from abroad!

Ring*Con2002 - a German thing or international?

Some have complained that too many lectures were in German, that too many events were not in English. That is not quite right - all major events like the panels with actors were of course in English and our splendid host, Marc B. Lee, obviously did everything in English. I changed my talks to the English language as well as I feared that we might not have enough for the English speaking people - but I think we managed quite well if you keep in mind we had less than six months! All of the German experts have readily agreed to do ALL lectures on a second Ring*Con in English - that would be one of our major targets in the future! Something like 200 people spoke a language other than German so we are looking forward to enlarge this number next year. We do hope that especially many of our fellow Tolkien fans from Northern America will find their way to us as well as those from the UK and Ireland...

Some thoughts on having big stars - or not!

One of the most amazing experiences we made during the last weekend is that there need not be big stars like Liv Tyler on a convention to make it worthwhile. She would not be able to leave her bodyguards behind and just have a chat and a 'Jaegermeister' (a German, very bitter digestive) with the fans like Cameron Rhodes, would definitely not sign T-Shirts having "We love you! Haldir for President" as Craig Parker did with his fans and she would most definitely not play the bridge scene with any fan-Aragorn as Mark Ferguson did with a fan-Arwen on stage - live - without rehearsal!

(By the way: Brad Dourif to me is one of the big names of the business - some people seem to ignore the fact that millions all over the planet know him. But that's just an aside... ;))

The five actors we were proud and happy to have with us -Brad Dourif, Sarah McLeod, Cameron Rhodes, Mark Ferguson and Craig Parker- were not only professional, polite and friendly. They were simply adorable and admirable human beings coping with a situation new to them - and coped with such style, grace and fun that not a single person in the auditorium missed Elijah. To me it would be one of the most magic moments of my life to meet Sir Ian, that is true, and so it would be with many visitors to Ring*Con2002 - but these five made this weekend a weekend to remember and no doubt about that!

I am giving away something here I think - but in the closing ceremony someone actually proposed marriage on stage pretending to be Sauron with his darkly blurred voice behind the curtain, came up front, asked his bride-to-be - and she consented!! This probably was the most romantic I EVER witnessed in my whole live - and Ring*Con2002 was full of these magic moments.

I am looking for TTT, for much more fun in a steadily growing fan community appreciating the works of Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE - and maybe another Ring*Con in the future. We would all be delighted to have you all come over and join the fun - it really is !!!

May the blessings of Eru be with you!

Best Wishes from good ol' Germany
Marcel Buelles
German Tolkien Society
One of the organisers of Ring*Con2002

11-25-02 Latest News

The Four Two Towers Empire Covers!
Xoanon @ 7:03 pm EST

The folks from Empire sent us a real treat, all four covers from thier future edition of Empire! Take a look!

RingCon 2002 Day 3 Report!
leo @ 6:42 pm EST

Day three already.. To be quite honest this was my first convention ever (not counting the smaller ones we have in Holland every now and then) and I have to say that the days flew by!

The final day of the convention again started at 10am (which really is not a good time for me on sunday-mornings) with the second autograph session, especially for those who didn't get the authographs the first time around. Even though I already got all the autographs in my fully-signed copy of LOTR (I wonder how much it would go for on eBay..) I didn't really have anything better to do and decided to stand in line for a while, talk to fans and basically experience a autograph-line. One thing I noticed was the good mood of all the actors who were signing (after all, it was 10am and all)! It was great watching them take all the time for their autographs, personal messages, pictures and short interviews. I joked around with Mark Ferguson saying he wasn't important enough to sign my book, followed the line until Sarah McLeod who was had her youngest daughter with her (awww.... how sweet!), Craig Parker, Cameron Rhodes and last but certainly not least Brad Dourif! The entire line didn't take more then 45 minutes which I thought was pretty quick!

At one o'clock it was time for the first panel with Cameron Rhodes, which turned out to be better then I expected! As I said in my previous report the actors who were present at RingCon (with the exception of Brad Dourif) didn't really spend a long time on set so didn't really have a lot to say. And although their enthousiasm made up for a lot it would sometimes happen that an actor would stand on stage during his panel and no one would ask him a question, leading to awkward silences. This was however not the case during Cameron Rhodes' hour! Cameron was a great entertainer who did an awesome job in answering all the questions from the fans and pretty much keep them busy for an hour (of course I couldn't go saying bad things since I know he'll be reading this)

It started off with the screening of a showreel which showed various clips from Cameron's career until now; the clip from The Lord of the Rings of course, as well as some scenes from the British serie 'Black Knight' and 'Xena: Warrior Princess', and he then went on telling a few stories about what it was like working on these productions.

After that he really got the crowd cheering when he started to read a scene from Farmer Maggot from the books with a perfect English accent! He then continued to tell a bit more about his experiences on RingCon so far, being nothing but positive and after that the q&a session began.

One of the first things that were asked was whether Cameron also played the man who was holding the scythe, which he admitted he was not (he thought that they might have hired a stuntman for that scene since scythe's are very dangerous). He then continued with handing out lolly's to the persons who knew the three names of farmer Maggots dogs, explained why he wore a wig in his scene (he thought it was to get consistency in the hair of the Hobbits) and told a bit about his Hobbit-feet.

After that he talked for quite a while about his experiences during the Wellington premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring, the wrap party after principal photography had ended (which was the best party he had ever been to) and how The Lord of the Rings really put New Zealand on the movie-map which hopefully for the New Zealand-actors will lead to more work for them as well.

He then spent a long time telling about how everyone in New Zealand was 'captured' by the Lord of the Rings-project, and how everyone would talk about it, look at websites about it and saw sets appearing throughout the Wellington and the rest of New Zealand. Another great moment was when someone from the public asked him if he wanted to play out his scene from the Fellowship of the Ring with herself as the Ringwraith. Another person volunteerd to play farmer Maggots dog and off they went. It was great seeing Cameron doing these kinds of things for the fans!

He then told about how he first came in touch with Tolkien's books, though a school play of 'The Hobbit' when he was 11 in which he had the part of Balin, and he still remembered enough of the play to sing a few lines from a song he had to sing back then! He then rounded his panel of by singing an aria which once again showed how much of a multi-talented man he is (Cameron also does some theatre-work as well as teaching acting and accents to in drama-school and some directing every now and then)!

At the end of this hour the conference room had filled up with I guess everyone who was at the convention that day because it was time for the combined Craig Parker and Mark Ferguson-panel. And to be quite honest, I don't really know what to write about this. The two of them were obviously good friends and during their hour together they would just listen to what people had to ask, joke about pretty much everything that happened, play out a truely brilliant version of the scene between Aragorn and Arwen in Rivendell (yes, again) and much more.

Craig Parker got asked a few questions about his part in the New Zealand stage version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (in which he is currently playing, he managed to get a few nights off to attend RingCon) and even did a part of the Timewarp! Mark Ferguson would be picking up his camera every now and then to film the audience when there was a funny question. They talked about the BBC parody by Saunders and what's-the-other-name-again (French, that you Arathorn!) that was aired last Christmas I believe, and they really had a good time on stage. They both admitted being a bit scared of going to Bonn because they had never attended a fan convention before and they didn't know what to expect and they joked about the people at WETA being 'brilliant, happy people' although they quipped that was probably be the case because they worked in all those fumes from the ovens that made all the phrostetics. I will just leave it with saying this was one of these things you just had to see in order to enjoy them!

And then at five o'clock it was time for the closing ceremony which was pretty much the same as the opening ceremony with the exception of the ninth Nazgul that suddenly appeared, knelt down and proposed to a girl in the crowd! As it turned out someone thought it was a good idea to propose to his girlfriend during RingCon and the organisation was more then accomodating. I guess this was one of these typical convention-things that just have to happen sometime during the weekend, but the audience certainly liked it. After they left the stage the two organisers appeared again (Stefan Servos from Herr-der-Ringe-Film.de and Marcel Buelles from the German Tolkien society) and the entore thing switched into German again. After a while Marc B Lee got introduced again (I have to say he did a great job the entire weekend, even though he seemed to suffer of sleep depriviation on sunday) and he introduced all the guests from the entire weekend, the actors last, and there was much rejoicing, cheering and applauding. The actors said some words of thanks to everyone, the audience thanked them, everyone thanked Marc Lee and so and so forth. And with that RingCon officially came to an end...

I think I've probably said this a few times before but I just want to stress that it was so much fun and such a great experience. Sure RingCon had a few downsides; almost all of it was in German which was sometimes frustrating for the international visitors and there was a quite a bit of confusion about the program every now and then (especially when it came to the actor-schedules) I think that if they sort a few things out and make a few important decisions about next years RingCon (do we want an international event or only a German event? who do we invite?) it will most likely be even a bigger succes then this years RingCon obviously was!

Zum sluss (isn't that German?) I would really advise everyone to read Irascian's reports, the third of which can be found over here, and not just because they feature some great pictures but also because he says some very good things about the general opinions that circulated this weekend!



Fix for Extended DVD Woes?
Arathorn @ 4:33 pm EST

Ringer Spy BigJohn writes in to let us know that if you've been unable to watch your FOTR:EX DVDs on a Samsung SD-616 DVDROM drive (typically found in Dell and HP desktop PCs) - Samsung have now released a Firmware Update which apparently fixes the problem.

Dell should also have this available to download from their Download Library.

N.B. Please check the model and current firmware on your DVDROM before attempting to upgrade the firmware - and only continue if the model type exactly matches that of the firmware - and if the current firmware is older than the propsed upgrade. Incorrect firmware upgrades WILL permenantly damage your DVDROM drive. (I know - it's happened to me.)

Also, be sure to re-run the System Diagnostic of PowerDVD (or equivalent in other DVD playback software) after upgrading firmware to ensure success.

TTT T-Shirts, Posters & DLP's
Xoanon @ 2:33 pm EST

Bazooka Joe writes:

On Saturday (November 16th 2002), the Cinemark Legacy theater in Plano TX had four different Two Towers posters hanging from the ceiling in its lobby. A couple of the posters had hand-drawn signs promoting advance ticket sales attached.

All staff members were wearing red Two Towers T-shirts. The back had the address for the movie fan club, www.lotrfanclub.com.

I don't suppose you've heard whether a digital print of TTT will be released. The Legacy, I've heard, was the first theater in the country to get a DLP projector (it's about a mile from Texas Instruments).

'Gollum's Song' Lyrics!
Xoanon @ 2:21 pm EST

Earendil18 writes: I transcribed the lyrics from the full version of Gollum's Song:

Where once was light, now darkness falls.
Where once was love, love is no more.
Don't say goodbye.
Don't say I didn't try.

These tears we cry,
are falling rain
For all the lies you told us,
the hurt, the blame.
And we will wait
to be so alone.
We are lost,
We can never go home.

So in the end,
I'll be what I will be,
No loyal friend,
was ever there for me.
Now we say goodbye,
we say you didn't try.

These tears you cry,
have come too late.
Take back the lies,
the hurt, the blame.
And you will wake
when you face the end alone.
You are lost,
you can never go home.

You are lost,

HM Film Book Release Party Winners!
MrCere @ 11:40 am EST

Congratulations to all the winners of the Houghton Mifflin book contest! Twenty winners were selected randomly from all those who entered the contest and attended the book events held all over the globe. Each of the winners can expect a copy of the beautifully illustrated "The Lord Of The Rings" that retails for $80 in the U.S. In addition to the 20 random winners, Houghton MIfflin is also sending the eight line leaders who drummed up 20 or more people for a book release party a copy of the deluxe book. We want to send a big thanks out to Houghton Mifflin for making this event possible!

The winners are:
Line Party Leader Qualifiers:

Cathy U.
El Toro, CA

Larry C.
Midvale, UT

Bill P.
Escondido, CA

Martin M.
Co. Clare, Ireland

Anne C.
New York, NY

Mervi M.
TAMPERE, Finland

Math C.
Quincy, MA

Linda T.
Redmond, WA

Participant Winners:

Lon F.
Orem, UT

Jerry H.
Austin, TX

Joseph S.
Baton Rouge, LA.

Aliisa R.
Helsinki, Finland

Fred O.
Pittsburgh, PA

Maureen B.
San Antonio, TX

Kenneth C.
Pittsburgh, PA

Frank H.
Cambridge, MA

Annette P.
San Diego, CA

Lanny A.
Taylorsville, UT

Rahul K.
Kirkland, WA

Dima T.
Richmond VA

Nickolas H.

Carynn U.
El Toro, CA

Michelle F.
Mission Viejo, CA

Jane E.
Gurnee, IL

Vernon C.
Garfield, NJ

Tampere, Finland

O'Neill R.
Ennis, Ireland

Melissa D.
Wonsocket RI

Auckland Charity Premiere Info!
leo @ 10:04 am EST

Carole emailed us with the following information on an Auckland The Two Towers charity premiere which will support the Starship Foundation and Epilepsy New Zealand!

just wondered if you were aware that Peter Jackson has selected two charities to benefit from a special Gala Screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in Auckland on December 18th - Starship Foundation (raising funds for Starship, New Zealand's National Children's Hospital) and Epilepsy New Zealand.

To help support the charities in selling tickets, Weta Workshop has created and donated a unique wall mounted plaque consisting of four Sideshow Weta polystone collectible medallions, signed by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and the sculptors who brought you The Lord of the Rings. Every ticket purchase qualifies for one entry in the prize draw to win this one-of-a-kind collectible.

Peter Jackson said, "We're extremely happy to be supporting the Starship Children's Hospital and Epilepsy New Zealand with a benefit screening of The Two Towers."

"I wanted to show my support of The Starship Hospital because I believe that children are too often over-looked and undervalued in our society. Every day Starship Hospital provides the children of New Zealand with high quality health care, but they remain dependant on fundraising to be effective in their job. I am very happy that our film can make a contribution, however small, to support the wonderful work these people do."

" We are pleased to be offering Epilepsy NZ proceeds from a benefit screening of The Two Towers. This organisation is a great example of the way in which thousands of New Zealanders volunteer their time and energy to help and support their fellow Kiwis. It's nice to be given this opportunity to acknowledge our own 'quiet everyday heroes' and to say "thankyou".


RingCon 2002 Day 2 Report!
leo @ 9:23 am EST

There's one thing I really have to say before I start my report on day 2 of RingCon (which, for good order, was saturday) and that's concerning the actors present. None of them had a lot of screentime in The Fellowship of the Ring, nor will get a lot in The Two Towers (Brad Dourif being the exception here), and someone like Cameron Rhodes had only been on set for 1 day to shoot his scene so naturally they didn't have as much stories and insight on the project as some of the 'bigger' actors would have had. And before and after the cancellation of John Rhys-Davies (he had an accident as you might know) the people behind RingCon had a really hard time getting the big names to come to attend (eventually they all for some reason decided not to come, which was a shame), and so for those who were looking only at the guest list RingCon might have looked a bit 'poor'. However what these guys didn't have 'story-wise' or 'fame-wise' they more then made up with their never ceasing enthousiasm and 'down to earth'-ness. Even though they were hailed as stars and for the fans were probably no less then an Orlando Bloom or a Billy Boyd they were also normal people like all of us; they would walk around the convention or stand in the lobby of the hotel talking to the fans and if they were on stage it was probably very overwhelming to see the attention they got. This, for me, made this convention such great fun. There was no 'stardom', no big heads there was just this fun and relaxed atmosphere of Tolkien-fans amongst each other.

Okay, on with day 2. Those of you who have attended conventions like these before will know that the saturdays are always the longest days, and that certainly was the case with RingCon (and not only because breakfast was only being served before 10am). Saturday featured the combined panel of Sarah McLeod and Cameron Rhodes, the panel with Craig Parker, autograph sessions with all the actors, an auction, a costume contest and to round it all off a panel with Brad Dourif!

After I did some more wandering around the convention center I ended up in the Games Workshop room where Craig Parker again was taking some time out to sign books, talk with the hordes of fans and get his picture taking, all the while with a huge smile on his face. Orlando Bloom would probably have been jealous because of all the attention Craig got...

After having a drink with some of the nice people from the official fanclub message boards we decided to check out the auction. Mark Ferguson yesterday told us he would auction two of the bodywarmers that were especially made for the cast and crew when they were half way through principal photography (I tried to talk Mark into trading them with me for a TheOneRing.net cap but I was too late). We arrived just in time to see them go for 2.000 euro each (a euro is worth about a dollar)! They auctioned some more things such as a topps card of Pippin signed by Billy Boyd, a copy of the One Ring worn by Sauron during the opening ceremony and various merchandise-items. All of the money they gathered went to a good cause (I believe it was SOS Childern-villages), and they got quite a lot!

After the auction we went back to the main convention room (Valinor) where it was time for a panel with Cameron Rhodes (Farmer Maggot) and Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton). It started of with a clip from the serie 'Black Knight' in which Cameron played a significant part. And because Sarah got lost somewhere in Bonn he began all alone. He told the crowd that originally there would be no farmer Maggot in the movies and that he got a phonecall about six months after filming asking if he wanted to play a Hobbit during some pickup shots. At first it would only be some exposure scenes but they told him he might get some lines and if he would he would get payed more. 'After which', he said, 'I was hoping for a lot of lines, hahaha'. Then a few days before he was due to be on set he got sent a script with one line which was Farmer Maggots. He then explained that Farmer Maggots scene was important because it was the first moment of fear in the movie. After that Sarah McLeod appeared on stage and they continued to talk about what kind of movies they like, whether or not they were allowed to take any props from the set home.

A great moment was when they quipped the question if they also got tattoo's after filming with: 'yeah I got a huge maggot tattooed on my entire body' and Sarah admitted she had a rose tattooed somewhere but she wasn't going to say where. All of the questions about what is was like working with the other cast such as sir Ian McKellen and the four Hobbits were answered with only good words and Cameron Rhodes pulled of a nice John Rhys-Davies imitation to illustrate why he wouldn't be able to play the part of Gimli.

Then the conversation went on about the internet and how they used it to prepare for their parts or just google for their own name and see what would come up. Cameron Rhodes he a nice story about how he read about FIGWIT on a message board somewhere and left a message saying FIGWIT was Brett McKenzie (sorry if I misspelled that) and Sarah McLeod was telling about how one site (and I think that was us) had her noted down as the lead singer of some band for quite a while, which of course wasn't true.

She also told some more about the use of forced perspective in her scenes and what is was like seeing every single setpiece in three different sizes, and she told explained that the first scene she shot was the one of the extended dvd in which we see Merry and Pippin dancing and singing in the Green Dragon. And with that they concluded their panel, clearing the stage for..

Craig Parker! Craig Parker's panel was also one of the amusing highlights of this weekend, and he was constantly interacting with the public and making jokes about Dwarves (Gimli's words in Elvish in the extended cut probably weren't translated because they would get rated xxxx according to Craig), how he looked like a Drag Queen, how hard it was to walk and act as an Elf and that, during, breaks he couldn't go out and play because he was allowed to get dirty and that he had to stand on a box all the time because he wasn't as tall as all of the other Elves in the movie (Craig is about 5'11')

But he also said some interestingthings. He started of by introducing himself and telling he was in the first and the second film but unfortunately didn't make it to the third because he got killed, something he wasn't able to talk about a lot because 'there might be New Line spies present'. He talked about how hard it was to learn Elvish and how PJ probably has backmail material for every castmember on his blooper-reel (which I would really like to see, any chance of putting it on a dvd sometime PJ?).

As it turns out Craig got called in a very early stage of production and he came to the studios with a few people to do the voices for the animatics which are on the dvd as well. This was a job Cameron Rhodes did though he came in when they were doing the voices for the three-script animatics and Craig also did the voices for the two-script version of The Lord of the Rings. After that he called casting director Liz Mullane and said he would be prepared to do anything on set, even sweeping floors and making coffee, and ended up getting the part of Haldir.

He talked for a good while about the rumors that there would be Elves at Helsm Deep, which he defended as a good change by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens because it gives the audience a better insight in the decay and death of the Elves, and also because 'Elves fight cool'. After that he went on about the difficulties of all the make-up, how he had a constant rash of getting shaved twice a day and he had a nice story about how Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz) came in at 8pm one night to get his phrostetics glued on and he was still in his chair at noon the next day getting parts of his make-up attached. Another funny moment was when he answered the question how he prepared for his role with: 'I moved to a forest and ate Lembas for a few months.' All together this was a great panel, and Craig did a great job entertaining the fans, answering all their questions, accepting all their presents and generally having a good time.

After the panel all the actors gathered in a great conference room for the first autograph session, and looking at the line I think it kept them busy for quite a while (Cameron Rhodes commented he had never seen so many pictures of his own face before). I strolled around the hotel looking for the promised internet-facilities but they were nowhere to be found so I killed some time before it was time for the costume contest. Highlight of this contest was the moment when Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad) acted out an alternative version of the Aragorn and Arwen scene with one of the participants which made him slightly biased when it came to judging everyone else that entered. In the end though the first prize went to two Orcs that had an amusing scene in which one of them burst out in the song of Gil-Galad, great stuff.

And then the stage was cleared again for Brad Dourif's second panel. This time the convention room was a bit emptier for some reason, but a very good panel. Brad Dourif talked extensively about his parts in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest', 'Alien' and 'Chucky' and he explained that he wa pretty much a whore when it came to acting: 'if there is a camera, a paycheck, a few lines to say and no good reason NOT to be there I'm there!'

He talked for a while about The Two Towers which he found overwhelming and gorgeous and he mentioned that in The Two Towers the accent was more on the character-development. He was full of praise for Bernard Hill who in his opinion gave an 'extraordinary' performance and who 'nailed' a scene with his son (Theodred) which was probably the best acted scene in the entire second movie. It was at this point when Brad's agent appeared on stage probably correcting him because he went on with 'I'm sorry I'm not allowed to say any more about that.'

He continued to talk about how great is was to work with Ian McKellen (who corrected his accent quite a lot), and that on set the cast was pretty much divided into the 'old' actors and the 'young' ones, telling about how when the Hobbits were in their trailers there would suddenly be loud rap-music and Ian McKellen would turn up apologising for the behaviour of the Hobbits, a very enjoyable story. When he was asked if it was hard to film the scene we saw in the trailer of Wormtongue being thrown down the stairs of Edoras he replied: 'There is no way in hell anyone is throwing me down any stairs' and he explained a stuntman did that and that he couldn't imagine someone doing that for fun. He also said that he had to run down a hill in his dress (that's the way he called Grima's costume) which frightened him more then enough.

One of the best parts of the panel was when he was describing what it was like to work on the exterior set of Edoras. He told the crowd that he would get up at 3:30am, spend two hours in a van being brought to the set over bumpy dirtroads but that when they arrived on the location of the set it was so beautiful 'it couldn't have looked more like Middl-earth' with these gorgeous snowcapped mountains, scenic view of the plains. He also thought that what we'll get to see of the Edoras-set on the big screen won't even come close to what it was like working there and that he very impressed and considered himself 'extremely lucky' to be working on that set. You could really see the influence this set must have had on him and it was great hearing him talk about it so passionately.

And after that the panel ended and with that day 2 of RingCon came to an end (once again I say program-wise because they had this piano-bar in the hotel and there was a huge Middle-earth party with live music during which Master of Ceremonies Marc Lee and Cameron Rhodes seemed to have a great time, but I won't bother you with those stories; you had to be there!) As always look for great pictures of the second day at Irascian's report which can be read and seen here! And look for my report on day 3 of RingCon which will feature a great Cameron Rhodes-panel, more Craig Parker and Mark Ferguson madness and the closing ceremony sometime tonight!



11-24-02 Latest News

RingCon 2002 Day 1 Report!
leo @ 8:19 pm EST

One of the most traumatic experiences in my life took place during the Cannes Filmfestival in 2001. We got invited to attend all the Lord of the Rings-goodness around, interviews with the cast in attendance, a truely awesome party on a great location and so and so forth. However; every invitation we saw said very clearly; no cameras allowed. I don't think I've ever seen so many people walking around with cameras on one night as I did during that party, and after that I vowed I'd never leave my camera at home again, because it is very frustrating to walk around all these stars and not being able to get your picture taken with them, as you might imagine.

Why am I telling you this in a report about RingCon 2002? Well, because I'm almost ashamed to admit that I forgot my camera. Stupid me, I'm sorry. In my defence I will say that I had to get up very early and only had about four hours of sleep. As a result I'm afraid I won't have any pictures to go with my report, but if you want to see some awesome pictures jump over to Irascian's website and check out his reports on RingCon which will future some great pictures from everyone who was there (and feel free to email him and ask for more pictures with Craig Parker on them, he won't mind)!

Okay, let's get down to business; day one of RingCon 2002 in Bonn Germany! The event was set to start at noon on friday with a pressconference for those who managed to get a presscard or a lecture on Tolkiens 'smaller works' by a German man who happened to know a lot about these books. Because I had managed to get a presscard, and because my German is a bit rusty I went for the pressconference. Alas for me the first bit of the pressconference was in German as well. This immediatly brings me to the point that for those non-native German speakers in attendance it was slighly annoying and sometimes confusing that the first language used on the convention seemed to be German, except for some of the lectures and all of the panel-discussions with the actors. I think the reason behind the choice as German for the first language (obviously) was that RingCon was organised by the German website Herr-der-Ringe-Film.de and the German Tolkiensociety, nevertheless I hope next year will be more English-orientated. But I'm rambling again, back to the pressconference.

After the part were the two people who started the idea behind RingCon got to say a few things they switched to English and introduced four actors who would be at RingCon all weekend: Cameron Rhodes (Farmer Maggot), Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton), Mark Ferguson (Gil-galad/Witch-King) and Craig Parker (Haldir)! They introduced themselves, told a bit about their parts and then it was time for the journalists present to ask a few questions...


For some reason noone present seemed to have any questions. That's odd.. Well, on the bright side; more time for me to ask questions. So I immediatly asked Craig Parker about his part in The Two Towers. He confirmed his presence (more about that later) but wasn't allowed to say much more then that. They then were asked about how they got their parts, some nice stories there which I will all save for a few lines further down but all in all the there wasn't much news to be found here. I taped the entire thing and I'll have to dig up the tape and transcribe the most important parts but I'll save that for a later report.

After that I decided to check out the rest of the conference until it was time for the first panel (with Mark Ferguson) later that day. I wandered around the Games Workshop room which futured some amazing 'sets' from Helms Deep, Mordor, Moria and more. The Games Workshop room was always busy with people playing the game (unfortunately I know nothing about it but it looked interesting!), there was a table set up where you could paint your own figures and they had the The Two Towers-trailer playing all the time. There's something vaguely odd about hearing German voices in the trailer and it would not be the first time I would hear people complain about the dubbing of the movies in Germany.

Next up was the retailers room (Bree, all rooms had names from Tolkiens works) which, because of my lack of money, I skipped through very quickly. I can't stand the sight of all these things I really want to have being spread out on a table, it makes my wallet itch. The center-area of the convention was filled with little stands of various kind such as the German distributor of the Decipher-cards which set up some tables on which you could play the game (much like in the Games Workshop-room it was always busy at these tables as well), Elbenwald.de had a stand, the guys who promoted the Universal Lord of the Rings computer game had a stand and there was much, much more. The first floor of the convention was mainly used for lectures although a few fantasy-movie projects had their own room to promote their movies and the German Tolkien society had a room there.

Shining in absence were the stands from New Line or perhaps the German distributor of the movies (I haven't seen a single Extended DVD Box all weekend) and Decipher, who both for some reason decided this event was not big enough or not important enough to attend I guess.. Boy were they wrong!

Anyway, after all this wandering it was time for the first panel. First up was Mark Ferguson, who played the part of Gil-galad as well as some scenes from the Witch-King. After his introduction by Master of Ceremonies Marc B. 'you aint getting your donuts' Lee he walked on stage (which was beautifully decorated like it was Weathertop!) with a little handcamera filming the fans which was something he would do all throughout the convention (I wonder how many hours of tape he shot).

Now Mark is a great performer, he got along with the crowd really well, he was funny at times but was also very able to tell a good story which made his first panel one of the highlights of the day. During the hour he talked about the prologue and his scenes in it a while. How PJ fought to keep the prologue in and how he thought it was a pity the fans didn't get to see much more of Gil-galad 'slaughtering many Orcs very well'. He had a great anecdote about how they scenes Gil-galad's death scene. Many of you who have read the Art of FOTR-book might have seen the picture of Sauron holding someone up with one hand, setting him on fire and hurling him across the plains of Mordor, well this was filmed exactly like that and Mark Ferguson had a lot of fun telling about how he passed out when they shot that for the first time on a Wellington car park and how sorry he was to see it didn't make it into the movie (although probably not as sorry as the stunt guy who was set on fire and thrown across the car parc he joked in a panel on sunday).

He talked about the part of the Witch-King, which he got after the actor first casted for the part forgot to mention he was claustrophobic and therefore passed out two times when fitting on the heavy Witch-King armour. And he regretted not being there to shoot the Witch-King scenes on the Fell Beast or the ones with Mirando Otto (Eowyn). He told the crowd he was really looking forward to those, especially since Miranda used to date his brother and had sent him an email saying 'really looking forward to killing you in LOTR'.

He also mentioned that working with Hugo Weaving (Elrond) was one of the highlights of his work on The Lord of the Rings, especially since the two went to Drama School together, and he joked about how the audience that saw the movie was fooled when they saw Elrond leading 'his' (read: Mark's) army since technically Elrond was only Gil-galad's personal assistant.

Of course there was much much more being discussed but these were the highlights for me, and the hour went by way too fast. After Mark the stage was cleared for Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton)! Now Sarah McLeod would have to be the most charming, sweet, nice person I have had the pleasure of meeting this weekend (of course with all of the other guests being male that wasn't that hard). Forget about Liv Tyler or Cate Blanchet for a while, Sarah McLeod is it! For some reason though her panel discussion/q&a didn't go as fluent as Mark Fergusons did, she got a lot of questions that got answered pretty quickly and not a lot of people were asking questions.

However she talked for a fair while about how she got the part after reading for the first time when she was 6 months pregnant and then not hearing anything for a long period of time before she was called and got the part of Rosie. Sarah had worked with PJ before on the documentary 'Forgotten Silver' and wanted to be in The Lord of the Rings as well. She also confirmed she had shot quite a few scenes for Return of the King although she couldn't really say which scenes(I heard something about a marriage, though I could be wrong), or what would be in the movie because it's too early for that.

A lot of questions were asked about the dance-scene during Bilbo's Party and Sarah told that it took a week of rehearsing that scene, and that it was a very hard scene to perform on the un-even ground of the party-field while wearing Hobbit-feet! Also she mentioned that Sean Astin (Sam) was a bit of a stumbeling dancer (though thsat was probably acted) and that she had to take the lead. She then continued with telling about all the work she did with a dialect coach in order to get the accent down and that although it was a pity a lot of her lines in the film got cut she was glad she got more screentime in the extended cut, and that her favorite day on the set was the day that she and Sean Astin brought their daughters along to shoot scenes with.

After this panel it was time for a short break before the opening ceremony and we drifted of to the Games Workshop-room just in time to see Craig Parker being wiped of the board by a Games Workshop eployee (apparently he also won a game although I think they probably let him win) before we grabbed something to eat.

During one of the panel discussions Stefan Servos (webmaster from Herr-der-Ringe-Film.de and one of the organisers of RingCon) came up to me and told me the opening ceremony would be very good, but of course I had to see that for myself. Well, I think next time I might as well take his word for it because it indeed was extremely cool! They started playing the soundtrack from The Fellowship of the Ring and on stage eight Nazgul appeared, creeping about and threatening the audience with their swords and then just when you thought that was it Sauron appeared! And I don't mean we got to see an burning eye on a screen somewhere, no, there was a guy in a huge Sauron-like armoured suit with a mace in his hand and all. It was very impressive! After that all of the guests were introduced (not just the actors but also the people who gave lectures on Tolkien-related topics throughout the weekend), there was the extremely nice Cameron Rhodes (who is a big fan of TheOneRing.net apparently!) who surprised the audience with his line from The Fellowship of the Ring: 'There are no Bagginses around here..', there was Mark Ferguson again with his camera, Sarah McLeod (I only know she smiled and then everything else kinda faded, hehehe) and no other then Brad Dourif (Grima Wormtongue) appeared on stage! He just flew in from whereever it was he was coming from and was heavily jetlagged and the crowd went wild when they saw him. And last but not least there was of course Craig Parker who throughout the convention gathered applause by speaking German..

After what must have been like ten minutes of cheering and applauding most of them left the stage and it was time for Brad Dourif's panel discussion, which was one of the more interesting this weekend.

He started of by telling how he did three auditions for the part of Grima and that in the end he didn't get it, which was a disappointment, but that he got a phonecall after three or four months with the information that the guy they originally casted for Grima for some reason didn't want to do the part (which was something Brad couldn't imagine) and if he was still interested. He then flew to New-Zealand, met with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and discussed the character with them. He talked about taking the tour through WETA Workshop, which he found overwhelming and one of the most impressive tours in his life, and was full of praise about his dagger ('it's the best dagger I've ever had') and his costume and then it moved on to the questions and asnwer-session.

There was quite a lot of discussion about his accent and how he found it very hard to get it right, especially as he was working with all these British 'Sir's whereas he was from West-Virginia. And he talked about how hard it was to film all the scenes in the Orthanc chambers, which were mainly exposure-scenes.

Now because Brad Dourif has already seen the finished version of The Two Towers a lot of the stuff he said was very interesting. When asked the question what would happen to Saruman he replyed: 'I don't think he's gonna die soon, but look for things to be different from the book.' So I'll leave you all to work that one out.. He also had some very good things to say about how he saw his character; he mentioned he thought Grima really wanted to belong somewhere, that he wanted to be loved and that Grima was an interesting character because he was the only human that 'turned'. From all of that you could gather he had done a lot of thinking about his character and it all sounded really good and promising!

But of course there was more! He joked about having to wear a dress as a costume and he couldn't figure out how women put these things on and he told the public it was great to have your own actionfigure and that he thought everyone should be able to have their own actionfigure. He mentioned being very impressed by Miranda Otto (and not just because she was drop-dead gorgeous) and that because Wickerman was one of his favorite movies of all time he was very honoured to work with Christopher Lee. He also had a great anecdote about Christopher Lee who, on set, impressed everyone by being able to throw a rusty nail in the bullseye of a dartboard.

And of course there was the story about his eyebrows getting shaved of for the part of Grima which his girlfriend especially hated and he told that everytime he had to go back to do more shooting or pickup-shots (about three or four times) they had to shave the eyebrows of again, a thing he and his girlfriend always forgot was going to happen..

All in all it was a very, very entertaining hour which really flew by. And with the end of Brad Dourif's panel the first day of RingCon also came to an end as far as the program was concerned, look back here sometime monday-evening for my report on the second day of RingCon 2002 which will feature the joined panel of Cameron Rhodes and Sarah McLeod, Craig Parker's hour of fun and games with the audience (oh and there were some serious things being said as well!) and more Brad Dourif!

Meanwhile be sure to check out all the awesome pictures from RingCon that will find their way to this site right here!

Media Watch: Total Film Magazine
Xoanon @ 8:13 pm EST

Ringer Spy Arwenelf sends along these scans from Total Film Magazine, take a look!

Two Towers On The Tube
Xoanon @ 2:17 pm EST

A.H.Black writes:

For those of us who are geeks on the subject of Lord of the Rings, the next month will be filled with anticipation. It will also be filled with TV specials, interviews, previews and commercials.

This is the "E" James Bond edition of Live from the red carpet. At about a half hour in, there is a holiday movie guide that includes the Two Towers, with some scenes we don't often see. So far it doesn't look like Live From the Red Carpet will be covering the Premier of Two Towers. [More]

AMC Access has been showing previews of the Two Towers this last weekend. There will probably be more. [More]

November 25th - Extra Talks Two Towers. The link will help you find when it airs in your area. [More]

November 25th - throughout the week " E's" holiday movie version of "Rank". [More]

December 4th - Peter Jackson on "Today"

December 4th - This is the one on the WB. [More]

December 8th - Sir Ian McKellen will be on Inside the actors studio. [More]

December 9th - This the Page to Screen program on Lord of the Rings [More]

NZ Reminder: Pavement's massive TTT issue on sale soon
Tehanu @ 12:24 pm EST

New Zealand magazine Pavement has just completed its second massive The Lord of the Rings special issue. The Two Towers issue, featuring 40 pages of stories, interviews, exclusive photo shoots and stills, goes on sale in New Zealand on December 1. Starring Orlando Bloom, photographed exclusively for Pavement in LA two weeks ago, on the cover, the issue also features exclusive photo shoots with Miranda Otto (Eowyn), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Bernard Hill (King Theoden), Brad Dourif (Wormtongue), Karl Urban (Eomer), Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and Andy Serkis (Gollum). Other interviews in the issue include Billy Boyd (Pippin), director Peter Jackson, Barrie Osborne (producer) and Dan Hennah (supervising art director).

Pavement editor Bernard McDonald spent 5 days on the set of The Two Towers mid-2002 interviewing various cast members and production heads, watching Peter Jackson directing on-set and on location and visiting the various LOTR departments (CGI, Weta props, costumes, makeup, etc). Plus, Pavement correspondent Desmond Sampson attended the New York press junket for The Two Towers, where he interviewed Otto, Rhys-Davies, Dourif and Urban, while James Graham interviewed Orlando Bloom in LA.

This is part two of Pavement's LOTR trilogy of issues dedicated to the films. The first, featuring Liv Tyler and Elijah Wood on two covers, sold out. For fans of LOTR outside NZ, the new issue can be purchased from Pavement (pavement@pavement.co.nz) or (Pavement, PO Box 309, Auckland 1, New Zealand). Cost NZ$20 each (including postage & handling). A2 cover poster NZ$20 each (including postage & handling). NZ$30 for a copy and poster. Orders within New Zealand are NZ$10 per copy or poster (including postage & handling), NZ$20 for a copy and poster. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery after date of publication. Sorry, no copies or posters of Fellowship of the Ring issues left.

11-23-02 Latest News

Karl Urban -- Hanning It Up
Demosthenes @ 2:30 am EST

This is from an article about Karl Urban (Eomer) in People Magazine. It's on Page 145 of the December 2nd Issue that has Ben Affleck on the cover.

Thanks to TheBlueKat for typing it up for us to share with you all.

Karl Urban

Age: 30
Height: 6'1
Status: He has a girlfriend and a 2-year old son
Residence: A home in Auckland, New Zealand
Breakthrough role: Eomer, a warrior in The Lord of the Rings:The Two Towers

Background: Growing up in Welllington, New Zealand, Urban got a taste of role-playing as Han Solo in neighborhood games of Star Wars: "I was 5, and I remember thinking, "Wow, this is exactly what I want to do." By 1996 he had made a career of it, landing parts on two syndicated TV shows - Cupid in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Julius Ceasar on Xena: Warrior Princess. "Karl is ruggedly heroic yet imbues his roles with sensitivity," says Rings director Peter Jackson, who cast Urban because "we needed someone who could hold their own against Ian McKellen."

Winning Ways: "Karl has a confident charm that allows him to be tousled without seeming unkempt," says Melissa Blakem a writer on Hercules and Xena. The trick Urban points out, is "putting on the clothes I had on the day before - if they arn't too dirty."

11-22-02 Latest News

Karl Urban To Host "New Zealand Night"
Xoanon @ 4:13 pm EST

Karl Urban, a Wellington, New Zealand native who portrays Eomer in the upcoming feature film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers will be the on-air host of Travel Channel's "New Zealand Night" Sunday, December 15. Travel Channel will air portions of an exclusive one-on-one interview with Mr. Urban who discusses what he loves most about his country and shares anecdotes and experiences from shooting on location in New Zealand during filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, opening in theaters nationwide December 18.

Excerpts from the interview will introduce and wrap Travel Channel's "New Zealand Night" which includes the world television premiere of "NEW ZEALAND: THE ROYAL TOUR" at 9 PM (ET/PT) and the world television premiere of "SECRETS OF NEW ZEALAND" at 10 PM (ET/PT).

"NEW ZEALAND: THE ROYAL TOUR" features New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark who embarks on an exclusive adventure tour of "Middle-earth" in which she traverses the lush rainforests, alpine peaks and steep canyons of this majestic land where the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy was filmed. Viewers may recognize locations as the actual backdrops from the Rings film trilogy. Footage from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring appears in the program.

Immediately following the "NEW ZEALAND: THE ROYAL TOUR" premiere, Travel Channel will air "SECRETS OF NEW ZEALAND" which explores New Zealand's spectacular beauty, while revealing its active volcanoes, dangerous earthquake faults, violent oceans and treacherous weather. The program also reveals ancient secrets of New Zealand's first inhabitants, the Maori, proud warriors who proved their courage by decorating their faces with the world's most painful tattoos and by taking the heads of their enemies in battle.

The central film in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, follows the three separate journeys of the splintered Fellowship -- Hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) as they venture deeper into enemy territory, with the mercurial creature Gollumhttp://theonering.net/movie/char/smeagol.html (Andy Serkis) serving as their guide; Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) in the mysteriously alive Fangorn Forest; and the human Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), the Elf archer Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli the Dwarf (John Rhys-Davies) in the besieged Rohan Kingdom. Together they must stand against the gathering darkness emanating from the Two Towers -- Orthanc Tower in Isengard where the corrupted wizard Saruman builds his lethal army Uruk-hai; and Sauron's fortress at Barad-dûr deep within the dark lands of Mordor.

The Travel Channel is the only television network devoted exclusively to visiting the world's most popular destinations. Travel Channel's web site can be accessed at http://www.discovery.com . The network is available in more than 67 million homes and is a service of Discovery Networks U.S., a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc.

Bonding With LOTR Stars
Xoanon @ 9:18 am EST

Unless you've been living under a rock lately, you'll know that the latest Bond film 'Die Another Day' is released today. Be sure to check out our pal Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz) as one of the main heavies that Bond has to deal with. Lawrence is the latest in a string of LOTR talent that has appeared in Bond films, check out the rest:

Sean Bean (Boromir) starred as Alec Trevelyan in 1995's 'Goldeneye'.

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) was General Leonid Pushkin in the 1987 film 'The Living Daylights', starring Timothy Dalton as Bond

Christopher Lee (Saruman) was the man in question in the 1974 hit 'The Man with the Golden Gun', Lee played Scaramanga opposite Roger Moore's Bond.

Who's to be the next LOTR star to play a bad guy? Our best guess is Billy Boyd! Yes the Scotsman will play Terry McCurdy in the 21st Bond movie 'To Kilt For Love'. The story revolves around Boyd's character opening up a kilt warehouse outlett mall in Orange County, the kilts control people's mind and make them want to Riverdance! Bond comes to the rescue!

...ok maybe not..

11-21-02 Latest News

Flinch @ 5:38 pm EST


Advance TTT Tickets On Sale November 22nd!
Strider @ 2:00 pm EST



Advance Tickets For The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Go On Sale November 22

Los Angeles, CA, November 21, 2002 - To keep pace with the mounting anticipation of the December 18, 2002, release of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the central film in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien classic, New Line Cinema has forged an unprecedented agreement with exhibitors to begin advance ticket sales on November 22, four weeks ahead of release. The announcement was made today by David Tuckerman, New Line’s president, domestic theatrical distribution.

Box office presales will be available both at theater box offices across the US and Canada, and the official movie website www.lordoftherings.net, commencing twice as early with The Two Towers as was done in 2001 for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Last year’s release broke presale records around the world, with online sales ultimately representing 8.25% of the film’s domestic opening weekend. The film went on to gross $860 million worldwide.

“The fan base has exploded since the release of the first film, with skyrocketing DVD sales and increased pressure on exhibitors to make The Lord of the Rings tickets available throughout the Christmas season,” Tuckerman said. “It is incredibly encouraging to have this kind of pressure for tickets this far out.”

New Line Cinema presents The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Peter Jackson’s epic adventure scheduled to open December 18, 2002. The trilogy represents an unprecedented undertaking - three films made simultaneously over a year and a half of production. The first film in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, was released December 19, 2001, to widespread critical acclaim and garnered $860 million worldwide. The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, more than any other film in 2001, and won four.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers stars (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Bernard Hill, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Karl Urban, David Wenham, and Elijah Wood.

New Line Cinema presents a Wingnut Films Production, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, directed by Peter Jackson. The screenplay, by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair and Jackson, is based on the classic trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The film is produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne. Also executive producing is Mark Ordesky. The director of photography is Andrew Lesnie, A.C.S. The production designer is Grant Major. Michael Horton is the editor. The co-producers are Rick Porras and Jamie Selkirk.

Official Website: www.lordoftherings.net

Toronto Two Towers Exhibit Extended!
Xoanon @ 12:36 pm EST

High attendance results in extended date for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Exhibit

TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - Due to a steady flow of interest in everything Tolkien, Alliance Atlantis' Motion Picture Distribution Group announced today the extension of THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS EXHIBIT. The experiential exhibition containing artefacts from New Line Cinema's theatrical production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS currently showing at the Royal Ontario Museum's former McLaughlin Planetarium was originally set to close December 1, 2002, but because of the high interest, Alliance Atlantis extended the date to December 8, 2002. Toronto is the only city in the world where this exhibit will be presented.

Since the exhibit launched on October 31, 2002, 42,000 people have passed through the doors into Middle-earth with sell-out crowds every weekend. That number is expected to reach more than 50,000 by Saturday, November 23, 2002.

"I am delighted that Toronto's response, actually North America's response, to the exhibit has been so overwhelming," said Joanna Miles, Exhibit Producer. "This extra week will give those who haven't seen it a second chance and those fans who have seen it can come again. The crew from New Zealand are ecstatic to hear about the extension and thank Toronto for such a tremendous reception."

The acclaimed Oscar-nominated visionaries, Dan and Chris Hennah, were responsible for the design work of the theatrical trilogy and the 2001 & 2002 Toronto exhibits. They brought a team of 10 from New Zealand to oversee the creation and installation.

Starting in the greenery of the Fangorn Forest and ending in the opulence of Rivendell, throughout their journey guests will pass through such areas as The Golden Hall; the parapets of Helm's Deep; the Glittering Caves and the Isengard Caverns. Interspersed in these environments will be costumes, drawings, props, exclusive never-before-seen footage from THE TWO TOWERS and of course the One Ring.

The exhibit is brought to you by Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures and Bell ExpressVu and through our official media sponsors The Toronto Star, eye, Mix 99.9 FM and Showcase Action. Special thanks to our sponsors Sharp Electronics, the official electronics sponsor, Harper Collins Canada Ltd., HMV, Investment New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Goway Travel.

The ticket prices are as follows:

Adults (18-64 years) $15.00
Seniors (65+ years with valid seniors card) $12.00
Students (with valid student card) $12.00
Children (5-14 years) $7.50

Tickets can be purchased in advance at all TicketKing locations starting October 1, 2002 by calling 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333 or by visiting www.ticketking.com.

New Line Cinema is producing the Trilogy of films based on the much-loved novel. The second instalment of the trilogy, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS will be released across Canada by Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures on December 18.

Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. is a leading vertically integrated broadcaster, creator and distributor of filmed entertainment with ownership interests in 18 specialty channels, including seven established operating channels: Showcase, Life Network, History Television, HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, Series+ and Historia; seven recently launched developing channels: Showcase Action, Showcase Diva, IFC - The Independent Film Channel Canada, Discovery Health Channel, BBC Canada, BBC Kids, and National Geographic Channel; and four channels in which the Company has minority interests: SCREAM, The Score, PrideVision TV and One: the Body, Mind and Spirit Channel.

The Company's principal business activities are conducted through three operating groups: the Broadcast Group, the Motion Picture Distribution Group and the Entertainment Group. Headquartered in Toronto, Alliance Atlantis operates offices in Los Angeles, London, Montreal, Dublin, Edmonton, Halifax, Shannon and Sydney. The Company's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange - trading symbols AAC.A, AAC.B and on NASDAQ - trading symbol AACB. The Company's Web site is www.allianceatlantis.com.

With more than one million customers, Bell ExpressVu is Canada's leader in digital home entertainment and broadcasts over 275 video digital channels.

Bell ExpressVu was launched in September 1997 and since then has become the largest and fastest-growing direct-to-home broadcast company in Canada. Bell ExpressVu is a limited partnership, wholly owned by BCE Inc. The Royal Ontario Museum is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Media Watch: Vogue Magazine
Xoanon @ 12:19 pm EST

thebluekat sends along this text from the December issue of Vogue Magazine featuring Orlando Bloom.

Up Next: True Brit

"I'm always amazed anyone's interested in what I have to say," says 25-year old actor Orlando Bloom. He won't be able to get away with that line much longer. Virtually unknown a year ago, he' s emerging as the next big Brit, thanks to a barrage of recent performances including a ponytailed elfin warrior in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the second installment of which opens this month. "I've been incredibly fortunate," Bloom says of the "huge, rapid roller-coaster ride" he's now enjoying, despite the fact that his "mum" back in Canterbury keeps telling him that people make their own luck. Whatever the source, Bloom has indeed been very lucky. In fact, he's just completed his first leading role, as a milkman/amateur boxer boxer in the low-budget British film The Calcium Kidm and is currently working with Johnny Depp in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean.

Bloom's heroes are mainly American film stars-with Paul Newman and Steve McQueen at the top of his list. "As English actors, we look at these old American movie stars and think, God, how cool!" He has refreshingly little to say about his own technique, howvever- "It sounds slightly self-indulgent to hear some actor wanking on how you get into your role." He'd much rather talk about the joys of moviemaking; the people, the camaraderie, the locations (Morocco for Black Hawk Down, Austrailia for The Kelly Gang, New Zealand - where he got serious about surfing - for The Lord of the Rings, and now the Caribeen island of St. Vincent for Pirates). "The process of making a movie is what I love," Bloom says. "I thrive on that. It's an exciting miracle. It's a mad adventure. I love being part of it."

Xoanon @ 12:10 pm EST

Curugon writes: Hello again from Los Angeles! With Ring*Con approaching, I thought I'd send over a series of stills from the presentation that will be screening this weekend. In addition to the trailer, there will be a featurette with scenes from the film and interviews with Sam and Raiya. In about a week's time after the convention, they will make an appearance on Ancanar.com

The Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game!
Flinch @ 7:15 am EST

Games Workshop is a very interesting company. I have met many of their fine employees and have played a few rounds of The Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game with them as well, among these encounters one trait has always been predominantly strong: dedication. These guys are the best there is at what they do, and while often times these detailed miniatures are expensive to buy, the Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game brings quality Lord of the Rings Gaming to your gaming table, with a little Gollum on the side. November 6th marks the release of the latest release in Games Workshop's LOTR Series; The Two Towers!

Who wouldn't want an inch and a half Gandalf the White to roll a few die against an Orc or two. This game brings to life every character from PJ's The Two Towers in perfect miniature form. This set breathes miniature reality into scenarios directly from the film, and some created by Games Workshop to simulate battles that may have taken place during transitions and travel. The Rule Book included with the Two Towers Boxed Set goes into detail how to set up, and play through Scenarios like Scouring of the Westfold, When Wargs Attack, Ambush in Ithilien, Helm's Deep, and Gandalf's Confrontation with Saruman at isengard! Games put one player as the Free People's player against another player as the Forces of Darkness each with set goals and objectives, often beyond simply killing your opponent.

Game play in the Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game consists of rolling dice to determine the outcome of conflict between hero's and minions. You're able to employ Archery, Stealth, and Brute Force against your foes attempts at completing their objectives, with scale miniatures modeled directly after the designs used in Peter Jackson's The Two Towers. With the stats presented in the rule book plenty of strategies come up to thwart your friends!

Overall the Lord of the Rings Tabletop battle game is a direct way to feel the battle of the Lord of the Rings on your table. Many are intimidated by the price of the Starter Set but compared to other such Miniature Games the Two Towers Boxed Set is only $40.00 US compared to as much as $75.00 for other Miniature games. The Boxed set includes 12 Plastic Riders of Rohan (Spearmen, Bowman, and Swordsmen on Horseback) and 20 Fighting Uruk-hai (With Pikes and Swords), plastic terrain ruins for a quick and easy setup for play, a set of dice, and the Lord of the Rings Two Towers Guide Book which features plenty of details on painting, terrain, game play, and images from the Two Towers we can't even show you here! Try out scenario's from the guide, or try out a few of your own with the Lord of the RIngs Tabletop Battle Game!

Media Watch: UK's Sunday Express LOTR Special
Xoanon @ 12:05 am EST

Ringer Spy DS sends along these great scans from the exhautive Sunday Express LOTR special! This is one of the better pieces on Two Towers I've seen out there lately. Take a look at interviews with Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Miranda Otto, Liv Tyler and even a look back at the good professor himself. Take a look!

11-20-02 Latest News

Media Watch: Cine Live Magazine
Xoanon @ 10:56 pm EST

Ringer Spy The Pouik sends along these scans from the french Cine Live magazine.

Plan 9 & TTT Connection
Xoanon @ 1:43 pm EST

Fresh from creating music for the second instalment of The Lord of The Rings, Wellington composers Plan 9 have been signed to score a major Australian feature, "Danny Deckchair". Plan 9 are currently working on the score of the Andrew Mason produced feature which stars Rhys Ifans and Miranda Otto. Plan 9 have scored a number of New Zealand features in recent years and together with former Mutton Bird guitarist David Long, created the memorable Hobbit birthday party music "Flaming Red Hair" in The Fellowship of the Ring. For the second film in the trilogy, The Two Towers Plan 9 have contributed to "Gollum's Song" which is featured over the end credits performed by Icelandic songstress Emiliana Torrini. In addition Plan 9 composed a number of incidental pieces used throughout the film. [More]

Media Watch: Rosie Magazine
Xoanon @ 1:07 pm EST

The Astins appear in a 2-page blurb in the December 2002 issue of "Rosie" magazine.

Media Watch: Miranda Otto Interview
Demosthenes @ 10:27 am EST

Miranda Otto
by Graham Fuller

Quietly slaying audiences for years, now she runs rings around evil furies in The Lord of the Rings.

In this month's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and next year's Return of the King, Miranda Otto gets to play the only fully realized woman J.R.R. Tolkien wrote into his epic triptych.

As the Lady Éowyn -- vainly enamoured of Aragorn, harassed by the lecherous Grima, and distressed at being left behind when the Riders of Rohan go to war -- she secretly girds up as a knight and suddenly finds herself facing the fearsome Nasgûl lord.

The lissome Otto thus combines the Pre-Raphaelite ideals of yearning medieval damsels and armour-clad slayer of mythical beasts, though there's a touch of the angry virgin there, too.

One of Australia's most gifted performers, Otto has graduated from playing waifs (Love Serenade [1996], The Well [1998]) to sexy manipulators (Human Nature, TV's The Way We Live Now) and classical heroines (A Doll's House onstage in Sydney). In the upcoming Julie Walking Home, she is formidable as a sensual, headstrong woman smarting from her husband's adultery who falls in love with the faith healer tending her ailing son.

Graham Fuller: Éowyn is the only important mortal woman in The Lord of the Rings. Did you feel the burden of that?

Miranda Otto: No, that was exciting to me. I feel the burden of it now because I know a lot of readers like her, and I hope [my portrayal] is somewhere near what they imagine. It is hard being the only woman, because you're given the responsability of being vulnerable.

GF: Since Éowyn's love for Aragorn [played by Viggo Mortensen] is unrequited, is he more of an object of desire than she is?

MO: I think Viggo will come across onscreen as the object of desire more than I will--particularly for women. [laughs] Éowyn never really gets to know Aragorn, but what she responds to in him is the sense of the past, and the fact that he will be the king of men when his time comes.

She feels a desire to pull her kingdom from out of the situation it's in and is thwarted because she's a woman and has no real power. But she's like a tightly coiled spring, and when she sees Aragorn I think she says to herself, "If I was with him, we could bloody change all of this." But I don't know if in the end it's real love.

She's referred to in the book as "stern as steel," but in some ways she's quite a damaged character, because she has always been surrounded by death. She has to break away from that destructive force.

GF: Have you experienced unrequited love?

MO: Yes. I mean, it felt like it at the time, but in retrospect it wasn't the big love that I thought it was. But the way I experienced it at the time was that nothing made sense to me. It was like looking into the abyss.

GF: Did you tap into that, or are those experiences--and emotions--always present because they're aprt of who you are?

MO: As an actor, my thing si not so much that you change, but that you're put in situations where you are forced to keep reflecting on certain things, and they draw your mood into that area. I certainly felt like Éowyn during different times. Although it was like a big family on the set, I felt quite alone somehow.

GF: How did you become an actress?

MO: When I was growing up I became friendly with the two daughters of the director of the theatre company that my dad [actor Barry Otto] worked for. We used to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' films and things like Bugsy Malone [1976], and for years we would write our own shows and put them on.

It was during one of those shows that someone asked me to audition for a film [Emma's War, 1986], which I ended up doing when I was about 16 or 17. Then I went to drama school. It was only afterward, when people tried to stop me, that I really had to fight for my career.

GF: What people?

MO: People I had relationships with who didn't want me to act anymore--it's very hard to go out with an actor. It's a weird, all-involving profession. I think you get better at it as you get older, but it takes up so much of yoyr emotional life.

GF: Do you think you'll want kids one day?

MO: Yeah. When I was working with these children on Julie Walking Home and seeing this huge bond their mothers have with them, I felt quite jealous. I don't want to be someone who gets duped by acting, following something that is essentially unattainable. And I don't want to turn around later and go, "Oops! What happened to my life?"

Fuller, Graham. "Miranda Otto." Andy Warhol's Interview. Vol. 32. No. 11. New York: Brant Publications, Inc. Pp. 52-53.

Kinder Surprise Ads Translation
Demosthenes @ 10:01 am EST

Corsair very kindly provided a translation of the kinder surprise ads for non-German speakers.

Hi, Corsair here from the message boards. My wife, who is German, translated the German chocolate candy ads from the home page. They are as follows:

The newest secret from Kinder Ueberraschung -- Lord of the Rings part two. With new heroes, the brave fighter Faramir and the mighty King Theoden. The Lord of the Rings Two Towers -- starts Dec. 18 in theaters ... already now in Kinder Ueberraschung.

Type at bottom says: Now in every 7th egg!

The others (I presume this is from left to right):

With new heroes, Snaketongue (Wormtongue? A hero?) and Eowyn, the King's niece.

With new heroes, mighty King Theoden and the dark magician Saruman.

With new heroes, Eowyn, the King's niece and the brave fighter Faramir.

With new heroes, the dark magician Saruman and his servant Snaketongue.

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