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November 23, 2001 - November 29, 2001

11-29-01 Latest News

Media Watch: Empire Magazine
Xoanon @ 9:47 pm EST

From: Mark S

New Empire magazine published in the UK today. It's a special 2 cover collectors edition with 40 pages dedicated to the film! Not many new pics, but lots of fascinating articles. I'll try sending a few scans in tomorrow. One snippet of news for now that will make you drool. In an article about Weta is the following paragraph.

In April, the footage at the Cannes film festival featured an astonishing CG cave-troll. Which, remarkably, has since been overhauled. "For Cannes, it was 'OK, we've got 80 cave-troll shots, and they seem to be working perfectly nicely.' But we went back and redid all those, and they're just amazing now, " reveals Rygiel. (Jim Rygiel, Visual Effects Supervisor)

UK TV To Air Special 'Launch Party'
Xoanon @ 9:34 pm EST

From: Mark S

Film 2001 in the UK tonight spent 5 minutes looking at LOTR, with host Jonathan Ross saying it would be fair to say that the film was causing 'a bit of a stir.'

Apparently in two weeks there will be a special show from the launch party itself!!

They showed the usual trailer footage and some interviews from Cannes. Can't quote exactly as the program took me by surprise, but comments included:

Ian Mckellen saying something along the lines of 'you think this is hype, you should see the fans reactions. They are almost ill with excitement.'

Peter Jackson saying he wished he could be hypnotised so he could go to see the film with a 'blank mind' and enjoy it like everyone else.

Christopher Lee saying he could imagine J.R.R Tolkien watching the film, standing behind Jackson and patting him on the shoulder saying "Well done my boy!"

Billy Boyd On The Big Breakfast
Xoanon @ 9:53 am EST

Billy Boyd appeared on The Big Breakfast on UK TV as part of their build-up to The Fellowship of the Ring. He was introduced as one of the hobbits and persuaded to sing a song, which he did, a few lines of I belong to Glasgow' which was appropriate enough.

Later, the actual interview took place on the show's bed, with Amanda Byram.

Lord of the Rings was described as the 'next big thing' and Billy was introduced as Peregrine Took, aka Pippin.

He was asked how he got the part, said that he had just gone through the process of auditions, met Peter Jackson in London who asked him if he'd like to be a hobbit, but that he didn't know what is was about him that made the director cast Billy in particular.

He was asked if he thought that, with the amount of hype, people might be disappointed with the film because it would fail to match up to their expectations. Billy didn't seem to think so.

Then there was a short extract from the trailer, Amanda was hoping for a new clip from the film,but it was the Moria section, I imagine because it shows Billy Boyd in a pure Pippin moment, knocking armour down a well (Fool of a Took...)

Billy was asked to explain how it was they were made to seem short, suggested it was a variety of SFX combined to give the total effect.

On the role of Pippin, he said the hobbit was the youngest of the four, the most naive and inquisitive and that's where the humour/action comes from.

He confirmed what Orlando Bloom had said last week about the hobbits (+elf) hanging about together. Specifically, he said that after about a year of filming, when you would expect everyone to be sick of each other, the hobbits went off on holiday together for a week.

Referring to the film's intense secrecy when shooting began , he said that the hobbits had to wear enveloping cloaks over their costumes, with deep hoods to hide their make-up and that their hobbit feet were concealed in big boots.

The Harry Potter debate? Billy Boyd said he'd seen the HP film, said it was really good but that FOTR was a different kind of film, suggested there was room for both.

He was asked, directly, if he'd actually read the book before casting and admitted he hadn't. But he did add, rather charmingly that when he did read it he read it as the 'Story of Peregrine Took'.

As to his being voted Second Most Elegible Person in Scotland Billy claimed he was very surprised. (First? Prince William.) It just appeared in the paper. He said they must have found out he wasn't seeing anyone. Still wasn't...claimed to be open to offers....

A footnote, there are suggestions that the film has nothing to offer women. Amanda Byram seemed very keen to see it, hopes to go to the premier, was most disappointed there were no new clips to show. ( C'mon New Line, tease us a bit) I think a film that has both Sean Bean and Viggo has plenty to offer women.

More On The LOTR Benefit Screening
Xoanon @ 9:36 am EST

From: Garfeimao

I haven't sent in a spy report before, but I've been spending a lot of time on theonering.net site lately, since I started up a line party. Anyhow, I live in Los Angeles and belong to the AFI. I got a newsletter from them about a week ago and something caught my eye. They were having a benefit premiere screening of The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. So, I called them up and asked about it. They sent me an invitation, which I just got and sent right back to them to order the tickets. I'm not sure yet if I'll get them, but here is what the invitation looks like.

First off, it's a nice card, with the poster picture of the Fellowship in the Lothlorien boats as they approach the two giant statues on the river. When you open it up, there is an image of the ring and the details.

On the left side it mentions the Honorary Co-Chairs and lists Robert Shaye, Jean Picker Firstenberg, Michael Lynne and Peter Jackson. Under their names is a list of the Host Committee, which includes: Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Philippa Boyens, Tony Emmerich, Ian Holm, Chrisopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Rolf Mittweg, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, Mark Ordesky, Barrie M. Osborne, John Rhys-Davies, Russell Schwartz, Adny Serkis, David Tuckerman, Liv Tyler, Fran Walsh, Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood. I do not know if that means all these people will be there, but you never can tell in Hollywood.

The right side states that this is in association with AFI Associates, which is the fundraising arm of AFI, for both preservation and creative and educational programs. Anyhow, the invitation then goes on to state that the benefit will be held on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2001 at 6:00pm, and that a Gala reception is to follow.

I'm not entirely sure if you need to be an AFI member to get the invitation. If I wasn't a member, I never would have gotten this information, and I didn't receive the initial mailing of the invitations because I'm just a basic member, I had to ask for it. Anyhow, hope this info helps you out, and that other TORN members can possibly take advantage of this.

A Man`s Fantasy
Xoanon @ 9:28 am EST

or why The Lord Of The Rings, the upcoming cinema
attraction is the perfect gentlemen`s triology.

From: The German GQ Magazine (thanks to Marcus H)

In every man you can find a hobbit. What is a hobbit? A human-like creature from the Lord of the Rings triology, who likes a good meal, beer and tobbaco, celebrates excessive parties, can handle tools and is ready for everything funny.

Hobbits also obtain the art of "disappearing fast without a sound". A talent most men would love to use "post coitum". So J.R.R Tolkien`s fantasy-cult-triology is not simply about the adventures of fellow hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, it is the classical novel for men. (Especially most of the protagonists are from the so called "strong" gender.)

The setting: The Hobbits`safe party-zone is getting out of bounds, when the evil emperor is striving for the final victory. But our four heroes are in possession of the "ring of power", to stop the scoundrels and save the world. Just like every man´s dream, not only George W. Bush´s.

Having that in mind, the four are starting for the ultimate adventure-trip. Beginning like any ordinary outdoor vacation, it soon turns into an endorphine sweating triathlon: running, climbing, horse riding.

To compensate all the efforts they are able to use all kinds of status symbols for the fantasy-lifestyle: highspeed-horses, jet-eagles, trendy wardrobe -ranging from camouflage combinations to cool knight-outfits, - energy saving power-food, communication-crystals with live video broadcasting and finally every man´s most beloved toys: weapons. One of the main characters uses a legendary sword with a broken blade, which will be renewed in progress of the story. Mister Freud, your mission. Take over, please.

The completion of their mission is the perfect career jump for the four hobbits: Sam, Merry and Pippin are climbing to top leading positions. Frodo is shipping westwards on his yacht to the land of the immortal. Can it be Hollywood?

But the Lord of the Rings is not only about superficial success. The psychological progress has also its importance. Even men need to go through that. That´s why our heroes all have their role-models, ready to push their process of maturing.

First there is Gandaf the Wizzard – modern: The Guru. He explores the saviour-potential of the hobbits and sends them on a journey to find themselves. But then most of the time he glistens through absence. They have got to get along on their own.

Another key figure is the human Aragorn, the classical protagonist in best Bogart-like tradition: rough on the outside, but a king within. He shows the hobbits what a real winner needs. On the other side there is Boromir, just striving for his own success, he is the booh-man. Our heroes have just to learn the opposit of what he embodies: Get lost of everything, and you will win everything. In other words: May the force be with you.

And women? They barely bring any inspiration. When men are out to save the world, there is no place for female beings. All but one princess, fighting in mens wear, are waiting for the successful heroes to come home: Sam and Pippin are both getting married; Aragorn is getting his princess. Only one female is steeling the show: Lady Galadriel of the Elves. She represents the greatest authority of all: Mom. In secret even the strongest man is hanging on her skirt.

Sean Astin LOTR Event -Update-
Xoanon @ 9:15 am EST


Offers First Look at Film and Q&A with Star Sean Astin
Los Angeles, CA (November 15, 2001) – Fans of the long-awaited epic adventure, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” will get an inside look at the film on Saturday, December 1st from 4-6 p.m.

Storyopolis and New Line Cinema will host a special celebration for the first installment of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy. The event is free with a suggested age for participants of 11-years-old and up.
Patrons at the event will be treated to a screening of the 15-minute “Making Of…” DVD. Following the screening, actor Sean Astin will answer questions about the film and sign mini-posters while they last. Astin portrays Samwise Gamgee in the movie. New Line also provided Storyopolis with props from the New Zealand set for display. And, there will be a raffle and give-aways for qualified participants.

The film opens on December 19th in 10,000 theatres worldwide. A groundbreaking epic of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror, it has been told to 100 million people around the globe, in 25 different languages. It has recently been named the #1 most popular book of the century but it has never been told in its entirety on the screen. Beginning this year, New Line will present a grand trilogy of live-action feature films --

The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King -- that will take audiences inside Tolkien’s living, breathing mythology, the world that is Middle-earth.

The film features (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood.

Storyopolis Art Gallery and Bookstore is located at 116 N. Robertson Blvd., Plaza A, Los Angeles, California 90048. Hours are from Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Sundays from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. RSVP to the event to (310) 358-2512.

Hobbit huzzah
Xoanon @ 9:10 am EST

Buzz greets 'Ring' as New Line begins blitz

New Line Cinema breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday as the Internet went on overload with positive buzz for "The Lord of the Rings" after an exhibitor screening this week, which also got thumbs up from theater owners.

"We've had our fingers crossed for two years," said New Line distribution prexy David Tuckerman. "(The exhibitors) are as happy with the film as we are."

This is great news for a movie that, until now, has to be considered an underdog -- despite the fact that it's a $270 million, star-laden project based on an all-time bestseller with a rabid global following.

But that's the perception of New Line's "Rings" trilogy in the wake of extraordinary promotional hoopla and record-breaking B.O. for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" from sister company Warner Bros.

The worldwide launch Dec. 19 of the trilogy's first installment, "The Fellowship of the Ring," will be an acid test of New Line's ability to pull its weight within the AOL Time Warner empire -- and to justify its continued existence as a quasi-independent unit.

However, the mega-project still faces numerous trials on its quest for mega-success.

New Line has skedded a day-and-date release (except Japan and Italy) overseas via a network of independent distribs, each with its own strengths and vulnerabilities. This is a formula that's been used more with action films than "event" pictures, so it's uncharted territory for all involved.

While it has sold more than 100 million copies, "Rings" has a demographic appeal that's broader and older than that of "Harry," meaning it will take a lot of education to make the setting and characters familiar to the core youth audience.

New Line has embarked on this project of unprecedented size and ambition at the exact moment that the company itself is at its most vulnerable. NL has released more than its share of flops in recent years, and AOL is not likely to be impressed by anything less than a blockbuster.
While both "Harry" and "Rings" are both massive projects sprung from the same corporate parent, there is a world of difference between them -- for starters, they are from the respective directors of "Home Alone" and "Heavenly Creatures."

"Harry" is the engine of a vast merchandising empire, intended to embody the vision of the book's author J.K. Rowling as literally as possible.

"Rings," by contrast, is pitched as the work of a visionary filmmaker, the end-product of more than six years of obsession by Peter Jackson.

On a business level, Warners' decision to greenlight the first installment of the "Harry Potter" franchise was made after the AOL-TW merger in January 2000, but the conglom inherited New Line's greenlight of "Rings."

And while "Harry" is AOL-TW's baby worldwide, New Line president and chief operating officer of worldwide distribution and marketing Rolf Mittweg paid for 65% of "Rings" through foreign pre-sales. That means the parent has much less risk, but also less upside.

Still, AOL-TW is putting its synergistic muscle to use: The trailer for "Fellowship" ran at the end of series "Angel" on the WB, AOL is sporting the brand on everything from chat rooms to sweepstakes, and Warner Bros. Records will release the soundtrack.

It won't fail for any lack of passion or money from New Line and its foreign partners. While New Line would not confirm the P&A spend on "Fellowship," New Line domestic marketing prexy Russell Schwartz said it was on the scale of other major holiday films such as "Harry Potter" and "Ocean's Eleven."

Tie-ins abound

In addition to aiding the bottom line, New Line sees tie-ins as a good way to introduce the characters to an audience beyond the "true believers," as hardcore Tolkien fanatics are known.

"Rings" is attached to more than 40 licensed products, including videogames, toys, collectibles, trading cards, even swords. The partnerships extend to tie-ins with Burger King, JVC, Barnes & Noble and General Mills.

"You have to practice prudent aggression," Schwartz says -- an approach that also extends to Mittweg's international distribution strategy.

In late 1999, Mittweg convinced 25 distributors that in order to have a blockbuster, they would have to pony up some $160 million -- in advance. Now Mittweg is coordinating his merry band of distributors to create a worldwide day-and-date release.

For all their logistical challenges, foreign indies may be New Line's secret weapon. The marketing and distribution of "Rings" is more akin to a guerrilla campaign fought by a loose network of local tribes with an unrivaled knowledge of the terrain -- and a hell of a lot more at personal stake than Warners' colonial officers.

"I think we have the best companies out there," Mittweg says. "They will do everything possible not to pale against the big (distributors)."

Powerful locals

In some countries, such as Italy, with Medusa, the films' local distrib is more powerful than any major. In Australia, "Rings" distrib Village Roadshow also releases Warners pics.

"It has involved three times as much work as any other film we've released" says Metropolitan's Victor Hadida. The Gallic distrib has committed $5 million on P&A, twice as much as the company spent on its B.O. smash "Brotherhood of the Wolf."

New Line also gets a dose of synergy via Warner Bros. Intl., which is releasing "Ring" in Latin America, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Eastern Europe and Russia.

Early indications are good, with Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers rating the pic as the best of the year, and Swedes shivering in line for five days to get advance tickets, but New Line won't know for almost another month if the underdog will come out on top.

"You can't worry about what they're going to do to you," Schwartz says. "Our people are hungrier, they have a lot to prove, and they have to find a way to make this work."

After all, Frodo Baggins is the ultimate underdog, but he triumphs in the end. New Line is hoping to follow in his hobbit footsteps.

(Don Groves in Sydney, John Hopewell in Madrid, Alison James in Paris, Ed Meza in Berlin and David Rooney in Rome contributed to this report. )

11-28-01 Latest News

Event Celebrating the Tolkien Art of Ted Nasmith and Sir Edward Beard, Jr.
Xoanon @ 11:13 pm EST

“The Fantastic World of Myths and Legends”
Lord of the Rings Celebration An Event Celebrating the Tolkien Art of Ted Nasmith and Sir Edward Beard, Jr.
December 2nd, 2001 - January 31st, 2002

“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them”

Following the unprecedented success of our previous four sell-out exhibitions at the Chalk Farm Gallery in London, England, the Chalk Farm Gallery of Santa Fe is pleased to announce the long-awaited exhibition of the work of world renowned J.R.R.Tolkien artist, TED NASMITH.

The fantasy book of the 20th century is about to become the motion picture event of the 21st Century. J.R.R. Tolkien’s groundbreaking epic of heroes, monstrous creatures and dark armies of terror will be presented in a trilogy of feature films. New Line Cinema’s production of The Lord of the Rings marks the first time an entire feature film trilogy is being filmed concurrently, making it one of the longest, most massive productions in Hollywood history. The first release, The Fellowship of the Ring, is scheduled for December 19th, 2001. In anticipation of these films, Ted Nasmith has created a new body of marvelously fantastical work to inspire the world.

Ted Nasmith has worked on many Tolkien publications, including “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and has had several annual calendars of his artwork published by Harper Collins, with worldwide distribution. He is the sole illustrator of the recently released book, Silmarillion, and his 2002 calendar, “The Fellowship of the Ring” is in full release worldwide. The original paintings as seen in this publication are the basis of our most recent London and Santa Fe gallery exhibitions.

Perhaps Mr. Nasmith’s greatest accolade was the approval given to his work by Tolkien himself. Tolkien expressed his admiration of Mr. Nasmith’s interpretations of his characters before his death, and this encouragement led him to model his life around Tolkien art. Ted Nasmith’s mastery at visualizing Tolkien’s prose has captivated an audience far greater than could ever have been imagined. His paintings have inherited the book’s dynamics, power and mythological intent, which has led to his established career as a Tolkien interpreter.

“When I interpret Tolkien, I feel genuinely at home with it and derive great satisfaction from exploring all potential aspects of Middle- earth. With each new illustration, I feel a little bit more of it is captured: characters, locales, atmosphere and drama. It is always interesting to discover the ways that a picture can add new layers of meaning to a scene when the various elements of the composition come together, and how unconscious associations find their way into the work. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to the possibilities and as far as l can tell, l will be exploring them for some time to come.”

Ted Nasmith lives and works in Canada. As an illustrator, he divides his time between architectural renderings and a variety of other forms of illustration, particularly the Tolkien paintings, for which he has become most recognized.

Fantasy artist SIR EDWARD BEARD, JR. has been creating dragons, wizards, fairies and every mythical character that lore provides for the last 22 years. Recognition came at an early age when he was commissioned by Pope Paul VI in 1978 to represent the United States as a delegate to the arts. From this commission came many more years of religious works including spectacular seventy-foot tall cathedral walls. More recently, he has become well loved and respected for his beautiful Tolkien-inspired work.

In addition to the exhibition, Mr. Nasmith and Mr. Beard are sponsoring a local art competition for students aged 6-11 and 12-18. Santa Fe school students are invited to submit a piece of artwork depicting their favorite Tolkien character or scene. Up to six pieces of artwork will be chosen from each school to be entered into the final competition (3 pieces from each age group). The artists will judge the competition and the winners will be exhibited at the Chalk Farm Gallery alongside Ted Nasmith and Ed Beard, Jr. during the opening reception on Sunday, December 2nd, 2001, from 3pm – 7pm. (Please see schedule of events). During the opening, Ted Nasmith will team up with Casper Reiff of the Denmark-based Tolkien Ensemble to present a collection of songs inspired by the author. The Gallery shall also present a prize for the Best Tolkien Costume. We invite everyone to dress up as his or her favorite Tolkien character. Hobbits, Wizards, Elves, Lords and Ladies… all are welcome.

Camera-ready artwork is available upon request.
Interviews with the artist(s) may be scheduled through the gallery.

Contact information:
Angela Cummings Kasso
The Chalk Farm Gallery - Santa Fe
Phone: 505-983-7125
Fax: 505-983-7128
E-mail: chalkfarm@newmexico.com

Media Watch: GQ Magazine
Xoanon @ 10:59 pm EST

A big thanks to Marie and Kris of Bloomin' Marvelous for letting us know these photos were in the latest GQ edition.

LOTR Soundtrack Sales
Xoanon @ 12:49 pm EST

Lindulan grinds the numbers for us and sends us the soundscan sales for the Howard Shore Score!

First week sales figures for LOTR soundtrack are in, as tracked by SoundScan. LOTR sold just over 22,000 units, putting it at #116 on the album chart, #7 on the soundtrack chart. Internet sales were about 700 units, good for #36 on that chart.

May not seem very impressive, but it's important to remember most soundtracks don't sell very well until after the movie is released.

B5 Trailer Before LOTR:FOTR?
Xoanon @ 8:45 am EST

From: Cinescape.com

J. Michael Straczynski has revealed that a trailer for the coming Sci Fi Channel telefilm BABYLON 5: LEGEND OF THE RANGERS will be hitting theater screens.

While posting to a B5 newsgroup, JMS revealed, "For those going to [THE LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING] when it opens up, there will be a LEGEND OF THE RANGERS trailer shown in most of the theaters carrying that film."

11-27-01 Latest News

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 4:47 pm EST

Six new cards were added to the Decipher site today, most concerning the Gondor culture. [More]

Still on the fence about buying the game, need more reviews?

Staying true to the spirit of the story is critical to any presentation involving the tale. Because so many fans know the tale intimately, any game that doesn't directly deal with this issue will likely be unacceptable to game purchasers. Decipher's approach is to structure the trading card game around advancing your fellowship group from location to location. [More]

"Sling and Arrows" Another LOTR deck design to draw ideas from. [More]

More On Turkish FOTR Dubbing
Strider @ 2:05 pm EST

From Emre:

I went to the cinema a couple of weeks back, and a FoTR was being shown - dubbed. Horror! I wrote (exploded?) to the cinema chain, and got back this reply on 14th November.

Sayin Emre,
Lord of the Rings 21.12.2001 tarihinde bütün dünya ile ayni anda AFM de gösterime giriyor.
Dagitici Film sirketi, Filme olan ilgiyi dahada artirmak ve Türk seyircisine bir alternatif yaratmak açisindan bazi sinemalarda bu filmi Türkçe dublajli göstermeyi planliyor ama yalnizca bir kaç sinemada..

AFM ye ait sinemalarimizda altyazili orijinal gösterilecek bu filmden zevk alacaginiza inaniyoruz.

In brief, AFM - the largest cinema chain in Turkey - will show FoTR in Istanbul in the English (subtitled) version with the exception of two screens. Moreover, the chap says that the distributor merely "wishes to offer Turkish movie-goers an alternative."

'Avant' FOTR In Netherlands On Dec 15th
Strider @ 1:52 pm EST

From Greenleaf:

I want to inform you that Shell in assosiation with the National Theater Bon, Afilm Distribution and Skyradio, started to give away free tickets to the avant Premiere of Fellowship of the Ring in the Netherlands. Its five days before the worldwide release, namely on the 15th of December.

LOTR Screened For Oscar
Xoanon @ 10:11 am EST

From: dbgreenriver

You may know this already but I saw today's Daily Variety (New York 11/26) and there was a listing of several films scheduled for small screening rooms specifically for members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (the Oscars). LOTR was one of them. I don't have scannin capabilities and should have thought to try to find an online link before posting this. I only have a minute before I have to go out but I will e-mail you tomorrow from work with the list of times. The cities were NYC, LA, London and San Francisco and there were four separate dates in NYC.

Xoanon @ 10:08 am EST

From: Stacey

I was just flipping through the channels and came upon MTV News (you know...ten to the hour, every hour) and they were talking about the "sci-fi/fantasy invasion of the movies" ... starting with Harry Potter, then Spider Man and the new Star Wars ... but then they said something like "But sooner than that, a movie with anticipation 40 years in the making ... LORD OF THE RINGS!" They talked a bit about the movie and the risks involved in making it and the huge avid fan following, and THEN they showed an interview they had with Elijah Wood! He talked about getting to visit the Star Wars set with Orlando Bloom (I assume so, he said "a hobbit and an elf") and how pristine and scarily-clean and tightly regulated it was in comparison to the sort of motley, dirty, rag-tag Rings set. Also, apparently MTV is starting some sort of weekly show about soon-to-be-released movies, which Fellowship will be featured on.

11-26-01 Latest News

Sean Astin LOTR Event
Xoanon @ 10:19 pm EST

Offers First Look at Film and Q&A with Star Sean Astin

Los Angeles, CA Fans of the long-awaited epic adventure, “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” will get an exclusive first look at the film on Saturday, December 1 from 4-6 p.m. Storyopolis and New Line Cinema will host a special celebration for the first installment of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy. Tickets to the event are $6 with a suggested age for participants of 11-years-old and up.

Patrons at the event will be treated to the debut screening of the 15-minute “Making Of…” DVD. Following the screening, actor Sean Astin will answer questions about the film and sign mini-posters while they last. Astin portrays Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee in the movie. New Line also provided Storyopolis with props from the New Zealand set for display. And, there will be a raffle and give-aways for qualified participants.

The film opens on December 19th in 10,000 theatres worldwide. A groundbreaking epic of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror, it has been told to 100 million people around the globe, in 25 different languages. It has recently been named the #1 most popular book of the century but it has never been told in its entirety on the screen. Beginning this year, New Line will present a grand trilogy of live-action feature films --

The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King -- that will take audiences inside Tolkien’s living, breathing mythology, the world that is Middle-earth.

The film features (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davis, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood.

Storyopolis Art Gallery and Bookstore is located at 116 N. Robertson Blvd., Plaza A, Los Angeles, California 90048. Hours are from Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Sundays from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. RSVP to the event to (310) 358-2512.

Tolkien Doco On BBC1
Xoanon @ 10:05 pm EST

From: John

I thought I'd let you know that tomorrow (27th November) at 19:30 GMT on BBC1 in the Midlands region is a documentary entitled "Tolkien's Middle Earth" as part of the program Midlands Report, the blurb from the Radio Times goes thus:

"As Hollywood prepares to release a film of JRR Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings, Toyah Wilcox, a fan of the trilogy, meets some of the author's relatives and afficianados to uncover key stories from Tolkien's life in the Midlands".

I'm not sure if you've heard of Toyah Wilcox on that side of the pond, she is an actress, TV presenter and some time punk singer. The midlands region is made up of the counties surrounding Birmingham, where Tolkien's family still live.

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 1:50 pm EST

Six new card images straight from the Shire! [More]

Reports are STILL flooding in from Decipher's first LOTR TCG tournament weekend. [More]

"Cleave and Cleave Alike" A fan sends in his deck design, check it out for ideas on your own deck.

11-25-01 Latest News

Weekly Cast Watch
Xoanon @ 11:46 pm EST

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)

28 Days (2000)
Crimson Tide (1995)
Prophecy, The (1995)
American Yakuza (1994)
Young Americans, The (1993)
Ruby Cairo (1993)
Young Guns II (1990)
Fresh Horses (1988) UK
Witness (1985)

Liv Tyler (Arwen)

Plunkett & Macleane (1999) UK
Onegin (1999) UK
Can't Hardly Wait (1998) UK
Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
That Thing You Do! (1996)

Ian Holm (Bilbo)

Bless the Child (2000)
Joe Gould's Secret (2000)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998) (TV)
Sweet Hereafter, The (1997)
King Lear (1997) (TV) UK
Loch Ness (1995)
Madness of King George, The (1994) UK
Dance with a Stranger (1985)
Brazil (1985) UK
S.O.S. Titanic (1979) (TV)
Alien (1979) UK
Juggernaut (1974) UK
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) UK
Fixer, The (1968) UK

Sean Bean (Boromir)

Ronin (1998) UK
Black Beauty (1994) UK

Martyn Sanderson (Bree Gatekeeper)

Angel at My Table, An (1990) UK
Ned Kelly (1970)

David Weatherley (Barliman Butterbur)

"Potato Factory, The" (2000) (mini) UK

John Noble (Denethor)

Airtight (1999) (TV) UK

Peter Mackenzie (Elendil)

Chill Factor (1999)
Nick of Time (1995)
Lorenzo's Oil (1992) UK
Off Limits (1988)

Karl Urban (Eomer)

Heaven (1998)

Hugo Weaving (Elrond)

Matrix, The (1999) UK
Bedrooms and Hallways (1998)
Interview, The (1998)
True Love and Chaos (1997) UK
Babe (1995) UK

Miranda Otto (Eowyn)

What Lies Beneath (2000) UK
True Love and Chaos (1997) UK

Ian Mune (unknown)

Piano, The (1993)

Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Faculty, The (1998) UK
Good Son, The (1993)
Radio Flyer (1992)
Forever Young (1992) UK
Paradise (1991)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)

Ideal Husband, An (1999)
Talented Mr. Ripley, The (1999) UK
Elizabeth (1998) UK
Paradise Road (1997) UK
Oscar and Lucinda (1997) UK

Ian McKellen (Gandalf)

X-Men (2000)
Restoration (1995)
And the Band Played On (1993) (TV)
Last Action Hero (1993)
Keep, The (1983) UK

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Secret of the Andes (1998) UK
Cats Don't Dance (1997)
Cyborg Cop (1994)
Tusks (1990)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) (TV)
Nairobi Affair (1984) (TV) UK
Victor/Victoria (1982)

Andy Serkis (Gollum)

Topsy-Turvy (1999) UK

Dominic Monaghan (Merry)

Hostile Waters (1997) (TV)

Bruce Spence (Mouth of Sauron)

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) UK
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) UK

Sean Astin (Sam)

Sky Is Falling, The (2000)
Kimberly (1999)
Deterrence (1999) UK
Icebreaker (1999)
Low Life, The (1994/I)
Safe Passage (1994)
Rudy (1993)
Encino Man (1992) UK
Where the Day Takes You (1992) UK
Toy Soldiers (1991) UK
War of the Roses, The (1989) UK
Goonies, The (1985)

Christopher Lee (Saruman)

Sleepy Hollow (1999) UK
Odyssey, The (1997) (TV)
Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994) UK
Return of the Musketeers, The (1989) UK
Safari 3000 (1982)
Last Unicorn, The (1982)
Serial (1980)
Arabian Adventure (1979) UK
1941 (1979)
Four Musketeers, The (1974) UK
Three Musketeers, The (1973) UK
Creeping Flesh, The (1973)
Death Line (1972) UK
Blood of Fu Manchu, The (1968) UK
Gorgon, The (1964) UK
City of the Dead, The (1960)
Beat Girl (1960)
Hound of the Baskervilles, The (1959) UK
Crimson Pirate, The (1952)
Valley of Eagles (1951) UK
My Brother's Keeper (1948) UK

Bernard Hill (Theoden)

Loss of Sexual Innocence, The (1999) UK
Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1999) UK
True Crime (1999) UK
Wind in the Willows, The (1996/I) UK
Gandhi (1982) UK

Brad Dourif (Wormtongue)

Shadow Hours (2000)
Storytellers, The (1999) UK
Urban Legend (1998) UK
Bride of Chucky (1998) UK
Death Machine (1995)
Color of Night (1994)
Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story (1994) (TV)
Trauma (1993)
Amos & Andrew (1993)
Body Parts (1991) UK
Child's Play 3 (1991) UK
Child's Play 2 (1990) UK
Exorcist III, The (1990)
Graveyard Shift (1990)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Blue Velvet (1986) UK
Ragtime (1981)
Wise Blood (1979) UK

Jim Rygiel (SFX)

Anna and the King (1999)
Desperate Measures (1998)
Last Action Hero (1993)
Last of the Mohicans, The (1992)
Batman Returns (1992)
Ghost (1990)
Last Starfighter, The (1984)

Howard Shore (Composer)

Yards, The (2000)
High Fidelity (2000)
Dogma (1999)
That Thing You Do! (1996)
White Man's Burden (1995)
Moonlight and Valentino (1995)
Ed Wood (1994)
Guilty as Sin (1993)
Single White Female (1992)
Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
Lemon Sisters, The (1990)
Innocent Man, An (1989)
She-Devil (1989)
Big (1988)
Fly, The (1986)
After Hours (1985)
Places in the Heart (1984)
Silkwood (1983)

To get more information, use the sites I use like:

mydigiguide.com, tv-now.com and IMDB.com

Special Radio Documentary on Radio NZ
Tehanu @ 10:18 pm EST

The Lord of The Rings on Radio New Zealand.

A few months ago RNZ journalist Camilla Maling set out to make a couple of quick documentaries about the LOTR phenomenon in NZ. Within weeks it became obvious that the subject led down stranger roads and further afield than she had imagined. The programme expanded to fill two in depth 40-minute documentaries and they promise to be outstanding.

Outside of NZ people should be able to hear the broadcasts directly online on www.radionz.co.nz We are also seeing if the interviews can be posted up in a more permanent format.

"So who hasn’t heard of The Lord of The Rings, come on be honest… with a film crew well into the thousands, a book considered second to the Bible, creatures of all shapes and sizes, a medieval world with it’s own language, texts and genealogies, a setting in our own backyard and tales of bravery, tolerance and renunciation, how could you not? It’s almost fifty years since an Oxford don published stories of a fantasy world that would capture the imaginations of people all over the world, now it’s good old kiwi ingenuity that’s bringing Middle Earth to life! But there are stories and experiences that go far beyond the screen for those who have ever read that one line, "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit."..."

Part One: A Long- Expected Party Creating the World of the Lord of The Rings; prosthetic feet, helicopters, drunken dates, stunt men, waiters, harps and sex.

Part One airs on Sunday 9 December 4.04pm & Tuesday 11 December 12.06am, National Radio
[Saturday 8 December 10:04pm EST and Monday 11 December 6:06am EST]

Part Two
For twenty five years Bill has flown over the mountainous regions of New Zealand, but early one morning he came across a site that took his breath away. Within a month Peter Jackson was flying in the port-a-loos. She was in the back garden hanging out her washing when he leans over the fence, "hey babe fancy a ticket to the Lord of The Rings Wrap Party?" Before she knew it she was stepping from a limo into a glittering mass of photographers and walking the red carpet to the biggest party she’d ever been to. Watching her clock the chief medic counts out the seconds before she signals to ‘Cut’ and her team rushes to relieve Orc’s of their enormous heads, pour water down their rubber suits and check the vital signs of all on set.

Part Two: A Short Cut to Mushrooms What Middle Earth means to us and the rest of the world; fanaticism, theology, economics, imaginations and privacy. Tuesday 11 December 8.06pm & Tuesday 18 December 12.06am, National Radio [Tuesday 10 December 2:06am EST and Monday 17th Dec. 6:06am EST]

Three years ago, mother and daughter duo Kate and Karen packed their life’s possessions into a caravan, left their home in Timaru and began an epic journey of their own in search of adventure and magic, with a little LOTR location spotting along the way. In Tolkien’s novels Karen found a sense of belonging, a purpose to her life that had eluded her for so long. Back in the fifties, Douglas used to attend Tolkien’s lectures, "He wasn’t the worlds most exhilarating lecturer but he was a very impressive figure at the lectern in his gown, looking rather like a bard or a wizard, he seemed to know the derivation of every word in the English language." Every morning Erica gets up, makes a cup of coffee and checks her emails which come in from Iran, Japan, London – her Ringer Spies are hard at work…"Good morning, look I just heard that Merry and Pippin steal carrots and not mushrooms in the film- I can’t believe they would change that!"

NB: Programmes produced by Camilla Maling for Radio New Zealand.

Turkish FOTR Gets Dubbing
Strider @ 4:45 pm EST

From Ibrahim:

My name is Ibrahim and I am from Turkey. I have just learnt that Turkish dubbing will be made to The Fellowship of the Ring in Turkey. This is the biggest nonsense that could be done and I know most Turkish people hated this Turkish dubbing when they heard about it. I heard that they are also making English subtitles. I would like this situation to be known by everyone from all around the world. They will destroy the movie's originality. This is a SHAME. If this will be done in most countries, it is very certain that the movie will get damage in the Box Office. I hope they change this decision soon.

Media Watch: Focus On The Family
Xoanon @ 3:58 pm EST

Bombadilicious sends us these scans from the December issue of "Focus On The Family". Take a look.

UK Sunday Times Images
Xoanon @ 3:43 pm EST

Noggin the Nog sends us these great scans from the UK Sunday Times special edition. Take a look!

Media Watch: Movieline Magazine
Xoanon @ 2:03 pm EST

Ursula sends us an article from Movieline Magazine featuring Orlando Bloom (Legolas).

Crunch Cereals Go LOTR
Strider @ 6:21 am EST

From Freagol:

I've bought 2 boxes of "Crunch" cereals Wednesday in Auchan Luxemburg (but it is french packaging so I suppose it will be available soon in France too). They features a bonus : 2 different CD-rom about the film, including letterheads, screensavers, wallpapers... 1 CD for one point (i.e. one box), 2 for 2 points (i.e. for 2 boxes). I'll send scans of the box as soon as possible.

Old Farmiliar Tune In FOTR Score: Continued
Strider @ 6:03 am EST

It seems that Karen's post prompted a flood of mail, some requesting to know more, some packed-full of information. For those who are wondering what exactly the song is, just read on!

Tim F:

Hey, Strider. Tell Karen that I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that! "This is my Father's World" is the hymn, and I REALLY have to work hard NOT to think about it when I'm listening to the soundtrack...

Red Giant:

Regarding the tune Karen posted about which sounds familiar, the song is This is "My Father’s World", based on "Terra Beata" (Blessed Earth), a traditional English melody, arranged by Franklin L. Sheppard in his Alleluia, 1915, A MIDI version will start playing when you hit this link. The very first few seconds will give it away.


The Multi-Talented Mighty Orc Hunter:

I also thought that the tune sounded a lot like that not-really very old American hymn, and due to not having to rack my brains to make the connection then found it hard to get the words out my head whenever I heard the theme. However, I guess someone should point out that Maltbie Davenport Babcock only wrote the words. He died in 1901 leaving behind a book of his poems. He never heard the hymn sung because the tune is a traditional English melody which was arranged for the hymn by Franklin Lawrence Sheppard for the Presbyterian song book he edited in 1915.

Being a traditional English melody, it is quite appropriate for Howard Shore to use it for the Hobbits' and/or the Fellowship themes (even if he did actually rip off the riff). Besides, even Sheppard's arrangement is now public domain.

So I hope that clears things up for all you folks out there...seems like a pretty interesting story! Want to discuss it some more? Well, why not wander over to TheOneRing.net's Message Boards by clicking the link below and talk about it some more with your fellow Tolkien fans!

Movie Discussion Board: Old Hymn Inspiration Behind Music Of FOTR

11-24-01 Latest News

The PG Certificate: What Does It Mean?
Strider @ 2:06 pm EST

From Noggin The Nog:

The post about the BBFC classification is fascinating. The following is the guideline from the BBFC web site which indicates what is permissible in a PG rating. It is interesting to note the specific references to "fantasy" as being a mitigating or acceptable reason for violence and horror. The type of violence which must surely form part of FOTR if shown in the context of a contemporary backdrop would almost certainly have earned a 12 classification.. Recently, the most likely scenario in the UK has been for cuts to made in films rated as PG-13 in the US in order to obtain a 12 classification in the UK. Alternatively the distributors have left the film uncut and accepted a 15 classification. Recent examples of this include Tomb Raider, Charlies Angels and Mission Impossible II. As FOTR is expected to have a PG-13 rating in the US I was ,if anything, expecting cuts. It can only be the fantasy context which has obtained this suprise decision.

'PG' General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for some children
Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A 'PG' film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger or more sensitive children.

Horror - Frightening sequences should not be prolonged or intense. Fantasy settings may be a mitigating factor.
Imitable Techniques - No glamorisation of realistic, contemporary weapons. No detail of fighting or other dangerous techniques.
Theme - More serious issues may be featured, eg crime, domestic violence, racism (providing nothing in their treatment condones them).
Violence - Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed - if justified by its setting (eg historic, comedy or fantasy).

The Science Behind Lord of the Rings
Strider @ 1:35 pm EST

From Jordan:

I caught a brief segment on swords and historical parallel in Tolkien's literature on the Canadian Discovery channel today, and afterwards they mentioned that starting December 13th they are going to air a 5-part series on the science behind Lord of the Rings, where they will talk about the languages, geography, evolution amongst the elves/dwarves/humans, and special effects in the movies; amongst other things. Just thought I'd give a head's up, it sounds interesting.

Old Farmiliar Tune In FOTR Score
Strider @ 1:18 pm EST

From Karen:

Has anybody else noticed that the song "In Dreams", which is a recurring theme throughout the LOTR score, sounds familiar? It drove me crazy for a few hours until I figured out where I'd heard it before. The tune is almost identical to an old familiar hymn that most of us learned in childhood. The first two measures are exactly identical, and the next two are the same only a third higher than the hymn tune. I'm sure that this was entirely unintentional on Walsh's and Shore's part. It's an easy thing to happen when you're writing music. And it didn't spoil the score for me; on the contrary it added a depth and connection with my childhood. I don't want to spoil it for anybody, so I'll just say that the hymn was written by Maltbie Babcock in 1901.

11-23-01 Latest News

Media Watch: The Irish Times
Xoanon @ 1:09 pm EST

Aiglos sends us the good word from The Irish Times:


Rarely has a movie generated such avid anticipation as The Fellowship of the Ring, the first instalment in Peter Jackson's epic mythic trilogy adapted from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The hype which has been building up since the project got the green light in Hollywood has been extraordinary, but matched by the level of international interest in the series.

As director Jackson took on the task of filming Tolkien's trilogy, which was voted Book of the Century in several polls two years ago, the challenge for him has been to turn it into the first great epic film of the 21st century, while simultaneously appeasing the worldwide army of Tolkien purists who can be guaranteed to pick over every detail of the three movies.

Each casting decision was scrupulously analysed on the film's various websites, which have attracted record numbers of hits for a movie. Inevitably, there has been controversy along the way, starting on the day before filming began when the Irish actor, Stuart Townsend - cast in the key role of the brave, rugged exile, Aragorn - was dropped by Jackson and replaced by the US actor, Viggo Mortensen.

"I spent two months working on it in pre-production in New Zealand," Townsend told The Irish Times earlier this year. "Then, the day before shooting started, I was off the picture without filming a single scene. It was a horrible experience."

More positively, after 20 minutes of footage from the film was screened to critics and exhibitors at Cannes in May, the reaction was uniformly enthusiastic when New Line Cinema hosted a lavish themed party for the film at the festival. Formerly one of the leading US independent producers and distributors, New Line, now owned by AOL Time Warner, has gambled $300 million on financing the trilogy, which will be released over the next three Christmases, beginning on December 19th with the global opening of The Fellowship of the Ring.

The bar is now set so high for the trilogy that it will have to sustain all the promise of its Cannes showreel and build on that if it is to come close to matching the great expectations it has aroused. Furthermore, it is opening at a time of so much political uncertainty around the world, and it faces fierce competition at the US box-office at a time when a wealth of prestige productions are released in time to qualify for the end-of-year Oscars deadline.

At the core of The Fellowship of the Ring are the nine different creatures and cultures which make up the world that is Middle Earth: Hobbits, Dwarves, Man, Elves, Trolls, Ents, Orcs, Ringwraiths and Uruk-Hais. Each culture has its own way of life, customs, myths, dress modes and style of fighting. Barrie Osborne, who is producing the trilogy with Peter Jackson, says that the films "required a commitment from our cast to learn how to swordfight, horseback ride, canoe, learn Elvish, climb mountain peaks and at the same time bring the magic and magnetism of Tolkien's characters to the screen." He adds: "They were up to the task."

That intriguingly chosen international cast is led by the young former child actor, Elijah Wood, as Frodo Baggins, the shy but forthright Hobbit who undertakes the quest to destroy The Ring. He is joined in the cast by some of Britain's most established actors, including Ian McKellen as Gandalf, the powerful wizard; Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit who bequeaths The Ring to his cousin, Frodo; and Christopher Lee as Saruman, the Wizard who has succumbed to the lure of power and evil. Cate Blanchett, the Australian actress nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Elizabeth - and set to play the murdered Irish journalist, Veronica Guerin in a movie to be made in Dublin next year - is cast as Galadriel, the Elf-Queen who is very powerful, and in her own way, dangerous.

In addition to Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, the principal cast also features Liv Tyler as Arwen, Sean Astin as Sam (aka Samwise Gamgee), Billy Boyd as Pippin, Dominic Monaghan as Merry, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Sean Bean as Boromir, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Marton Csokas as Celeborn. The project marks a massive undertaking for Peter Jackson, the 40-year-old New Zealander who has adapted the trilogy for the screen and has made all three films back-to-back in his home country. Some observers in the film industry have questioned the choice of a director as relatively inexperienced in epic film-making as Jackson is, to take on such a daunting production.

However, it is a measure of Jackson's tenacity that when he failed to get a job in the New Zealand film industry as he had hoped, he started work as a photo-engraving apprentice and used his own wages to provide the entire finance for his first feature film, the cultish and aptly titled Bad Taste (1988), a very low-budget science-fiction comedy which he wrote, produced, directed, starred in and edited - and even was responsible for the gory make-up.

After two more small pictures, Braindead and the adult puppet comedy, Meet the Feebles, Jackson made his mark internationally in 1994 with Heavenly Creatures, a stylish, richly atmospheric and factually based picture set in 1950s New Zealand and featuring Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey as two bright schoolgirl friends whose obsessive relationship led to the murder of one of their mothers. It received the runner-up prize, the Silver Lion, at the Venice Film Festival, and the screenplay by Jackson and Fran Walsh earned them an Oscar nomination. Less successful was Jackson's next film, the characteristically offbeat and dark-humoured paranormal picture, The Frighteners, starring Michael J. Fox.

In approaching the mammoth logistical operation that is The Lord of the Rings, Jackson felt that visual effects technology had just reached the point where it could tackle the legends and landscapes of which Tolkien dreamed - and do his brilliant imagination justice. "I started with one goal, to take movie-goers into the fantastical world of Middle Earth in a way that is believable and powerful," Jackson says. "I wanted to take all the great moments from the books and use modern technology to give audiences nights at the movies unlike anything they've experienced before."

He began by spending three years on adapting the trilogy for the screen in collaboration with writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. "I've spent seven years of my life on this project so far, pouring my heart into every single part of it," Jackson says. "But I think that's the least we owe to Tolkien and the legion of fans around the globe. They deserve our very best efforts.

"From the beginning I didn't want to make your standard fantasy film. I wanted to make something that felt much, much more real. Tolkien writes in a way that makes everything come alive, and we wanted to set that realistic feeling of an ancient world come to life right away with the first film, then continue to build it as the story unravels. We constantly referred to the book, not just in writing the screenplay, but also throughout the production. Every time we shot a scene, I re-read that part of the book right before, as did the cast. It was always worth it, always inspiring."

He adds: "That being said, it has been equally important for us that the films amaze, surprise and delight people who have never read the books or know nothing about Hobbits, Dwarves and Elves. Tolkien's world holds an appeal for anyone who comes ready to experience something special." Quite how special that experience proves to be on the screen is certain have websites and chatrooms buzzing incessantly after The Fellowship of the Ring is unveiled to the world on December 19th.

Go back to Special Reports Archives