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December 15, 2001 - December 22, 2001

12-22-01 Latest News

LOTR:FOTR Box Office - Day 3
Calisuri @ 5:50 pm EST

Brandon Gray

The Lord of the Rings drew in an estimated $14.3 million on Friday, up 47% over Thursday and raising its 3-day total to $42.2 million.

By comparison, Harry Potter did $90.3 million in its opening three-day weekend, however it bowed in a November, a month more conducive to huge starts than December. Rings has New Year's weekend to look forward to, so it should have longer legs than the boy wizard.

For the five-day Christmas weekend (Friday-Tuesday), Rings is on track to land in the vicinity of $65 million, handily shattering all December weekend records and raising its one-week total to over $90 million. With students off from school and many adults on vacation thanks to the holidays, brisk business will be seen on the weekdays and on through New Year's weekend, which could help Rings pull in around $150 million by the end of the year.

Stay tuned on Sunday for the studio weekend estimates, the Saturday estimate, and the latest international numbers. More]

LA TIMES' Kenneth Turan: LOTR #1
Xoanon @ 1:23 pm EST

Sarakin writes: I checked out oscarwatch.com and saw this:

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES Kenneth Turan, lead critic best films of 2001:

1. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"

2. "In the Bedroom"

3. "Memento"

4. "Black Hawk Down"

5. "The Deep End"

6. "Shrek"

7. "Divided We Fall" and "Together" (tie)

8. "Sexy Beast"

9. "Va Savoir"

10. "Lumumba"

Early Show Praises LOTR
Xoanon @ 1:08 pm EST

From: rosie

I was just watching the Early Show, and they had their "holiday movies" segment, and Lisa Shwarzbaum, who wrote the "A" Entertainment Weekly LOTR review, definately praised LOTR out of all the movies they talked about.

She said she thought Peter Jackson ("sort of a director nobody's heard about") had "made a classic out of a classic". She had this genuine glowing look about her while talking about the movie. She also said that she had never read a word of Tolkien, and yet she was mesmerized, and at the end, she once again returned to LOTR, and told everyone they should go see it!

Media Watch: VFXPro
Xoanon @ 1:33 am EST

Making Middle-Earth: 'The Lord of the Rings'
By Catherine Feeny

One of the most eagerly anticipated movies of recent years, "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings" will have to pack quite a punch to live up to the hype surrounding its release. Judging from the reviews of the film that are hitting newsstands across the country, it does. Drew McWeeny of Aint It Cool News, an underground industry site through which New Line has cleverly been marketing "Fellowship," went so far as to say that its brilliance will alter one's expectations of modern film. "The Age of Diminished Expectations is over," he writes. "We may not have even realized we were living in it…But after sitting through 'Fellowship,' it's impossible to keep up the charade."

Visual Effects Supervisor Jim Rygiel was pleased with the buzz he had heard so far, a week before the U.S. release. Speaking from his office at WETA FX in New Zealand, Rygiel reflected on the reviews he had read: "Nobody's mentioning the effects," he said. "That's a good thing." And it's no small feat when you are talking about a film that encompasses more than 500 effects shots.

Rygiel met 'Lord of the Rings' executive producer Barrie Osborne while working at Richard Edlund's Boss Film. Osborne was a freelance producer and Rygiel showed him what was going on in the company's digital effects department. When "Lord of the Rings" came up, Osborne thought that Rygiel might be the man for the job.

Did Rygiel jump at the opportunity when offered the job? "I insisted that they fly me down here for a week," he said. He was aware of the scope of the work that would be necessary for the show, and he wasn't sure that a small, far-flung studio could manage it. "I saw the reel of what they had done -- I could see right away that they had progressed far beyond where CG was at the time." His initial visit stretched to three weeks, and then he returned to the United States to pack.

When Rygiel got to WETA, several years (estimates vary between two and five) of pre-production came to an end. He returned from the United States and the facility was in high gear. An efficient pipeline began to form as real deadlines emerged; Director Peter Jackson originally foresaw 330 shots being done in 6-7 months. Full-length CG pre-visualizations of all three of the films in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy had already been completed. Adding to the core of employees that had been at WETA since Jackson's "The Frighteners," the company began to recruit skilled artists from all over the world.

"It was nice because they could look for the cream of the crop," Rygiel said. "But when you get the cream of the crop, you also get the cream of the crop's ego," he laughed. Everyone had a different solution to the problems that the production posed, and Rygiel had to figure out which ones would work. So, his first hurdle was integrating 100 great artists into one powerful team.

Rygiel had never worked on a film like "Lord of the Rings" before. He contrasted it with his most recent gig as supervisor on "102 Dalmatians." "Normally you sit down and analyze it. You can say, in this show we will have 300 spot removals and 30 digital dogs, 30 bluescreens, etc.," he said. But on this project the plan was not as easy to map -- there were effects of all types in almost every scene. "In one scene, you'll have 80 shots that are a mix of miniatures, live action, CG and practical, and you have to make it a continuous scene," Rygiel said. "It's scary and fun at the same time."

His introduction to 'the Fellowship' came through the screenplay adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's well-loved novel, written by Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson. He had never read the book. He read the script before going to New Zealand, and when he first saw what the various departments at WETA were creating, he recognized strong parallels with his own imaginings of Middle-Earth. Alan Lee and John Howe, who illustrated the Harper Collins editions of the novel, were on hand to help Rygiel with reconnaissance of the unfamiliar landcsape. "If I looked at a mountain, which looked like a mountain to me, Alan would explain that it was part of the misty mountains," Rygiel said. And, needless to say, the supervisor has read "Fellowship of the Rings" a few times, now.

One of Rygiel's major concerns when production began was the scale issue. Humans were playing hobbits, which are supposed to be 3'6", alongside humans who were playing humans. How to make the hobbits resemble their diminutive selves? Jackson had a number of tricks in his director's bag that helped transform human actors into pint-sized inhabitants of the forest.

"What's nice is, Peter Jackson has a real visual effects background himself. He knows the concepts," Rygiel said. Jackson shot some scenes using forced perspective. In a scene that has hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood) serving tea to human Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Gandalf would sit at one table and Frodo would sit at another that was larger and further away from the camera. The camera would be locked off, and the tables would be aligned so that they appear from one perspective to be a continuous table. The technique is decades old and the final shot does not require digital intervention.

Compositing supervisor John Nugent described a method that the crew used more frequently, called the scale composite. For these shots, Gandalf would be filmed, and then the camera move would be repeated from further away for the hobbit, using motion control. The hobbit was filmed on bluescreen, and composited into Gandalf's shot. "We had to make sure the lighting was dead-on for those," Nugent said. "Otherwise, it gives them away."

As an annex to the scale composite, production built two sets for Frodo's home, identical in every aspect but size. Depending on which character was featured most in a scene, the primary footage would be shot in either the large house, which made the hobbit look small, or the small house, which made the human look large. "We could do a lot of tricky mixing between one and the other, back and forth. Hopefully the movie-goer won't realize that they're seeing two sets," Nugent said. He also explained that there were body "doubles" of unusual size that simplified over-the-shoulder shots and 3/4 views. Gandalf's stand-in was seven feet tall, and there were three small people who stood in for the hobbits on some shots.

Nugent used mainly Shake for compositing, while Maya was the 3D weapon of choice. "It didn't take long for Maya users to create files that we could use quite easily in Shake," Nugent said. The technical directors who were using Maya for lighting scenarios used Shake to test composite their elements, so they had a preliminary idea of how the elements looked before they went to the compositing department. Tight composites are a must in a film that relies heavily upon well-integrated effects, and the department was busy throughout production and post; the most complex composites in the film contain up to 100 layers.

And scale was not by any means the only problem that Rygiel and his team were busy solving. One of Rygiel's favorite effects in the film was the Balrog. Described by Tolkien as a "creature of shadow and light," the Balrog is brought to life by the filmmakers as a cloaked body of fire and smoke. Rygiel initially considered making Balrog entirely CG, but he didn't like the look of CG fire. Then he tried puppeteering actual fire; "It failed miserably," he said. One of the original artists at WETA came up with the idea of attaching real fire elements to CG particles. So, if there are 50,000 particles in the creature's mowhawk of fire, there are 50,000 tiny movies of fire playing in a loop. The technique is called spriting, and because it makes use of real fire footage, the look is more organic than with CG fire. The particles pile up on each other, creating varying densities and allowing for transparency in some spots. The smoke was created in the same way. The fire and the particles and the smoke are all rendered separately, so there may be as many as ten layers in parts of the Balrog. "The first time I saw the test," Rygiel said, "I was blown away. It was one of those big sighs of relief."

The Orcs were another computing feat accomplished by the wizards at WETA. Engineers at the studio wrote a proprietary program called Massive to create the black army that advances eerily across the countryside in major battle sequences. The software takes crowd replication a few steps further than it has been taken before; while most like programs operate on collision detection -- the body in question stops when it hits something -- the CG monsters in 'Lord of the Rings' can see. "You can tell them, 'Whenever you see golden elvish armor, I want you to run towards it. If it's an elf, I want you to try to kill it'," Rygiel explained -- working with battles composed of pixels for months at a time has a way of desensitizing the artist to words like 'slash' and 'kill.' "When it got to an elf," continued Rygiel drily, "it would go into slash cylce, and start hacking into the elf."

The Orcs had 300 different motion cycles -- 20 walk cycles, 20 run cycles, 20 kill cycles, etc. WETA then used another software to further randomize the action by making certain Orcs taller or faster, for instance, and by adjusting the length of the cycle for the individual. These variants increased the number of cycles to 3,000, making it more difficult to spot repetition in a crowd of 10,000 Orcs.

Certain Orcs had a self-destructive streak that made working with them difficult. "You'd see these guys who would run up to a cliff and just run off of it," Rygiel said. The artist would then have to re-program the soldier, telling it to run around the cliff. However, some Orcs were stubborn. "They were built with internal call sheets, so you could say, 'Man #5058, don't come to work. You're the guy who keeps running off the cliff."

WETA created a companion renderer for Massive called Grunt that greatly reduced render times for the huge files that the studio was creating. The facility used between 600 and 800 CPUs --Linux boxes and a Renderwall from SGI -- and approximately 20 terabytes of diskspace. And after a few weeks of cool down, the machines are gradually heating up again for part two of the trilogy: "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."

Because most of the work stayed in-house, there wasn't much need for file sharing with Hollywood types. "I sent the folks at Animal Logic tests at one point. Other than that it was a self-contained operation," Nugent said. Rygiel echoed his sentiment, adding that New Line was surprisingly hands-off. "I talked to Bob Shaye at New Line," said Rygiel. "He said he had faith in Peter Jackson." That simplified the production, allowing Jackson to respond to the questions that arose daily with relative autonomy and clarity.

When asked about working with Jackson, Rygiel paused. "I always have to think about that," he said. "He's great. The best way to describe him is -- it's kind of that knife edge of insanity." The mark of a great director? Perhaps. Easy to work with? Well… "It's interesting, because he owns the facility," Rygiel said. "It's kind of like the George Lucas/ILM-style down here." Jackson added 30 shots to the film in the last two months of post. He can't exactly charge himself for overtime. Whereas a subcontractor would double the price of the shots to cover convenience costs, in this case, the production absorbs the extra cost. WETA hired another 75 artists who worked on a part-time basis for the last months, and the main staff worked 7 days a week.

Rygiel took a vacation in Fiji during the break between film one and two. "I took 'The Two Towers' with me. After about 20 pages, I put it down. I didn't want to work on vacation," he said. However, the whir of computers at WETA tells him that the time has come; "I'm starting on book two."

More Info From The Sydney Premiere Party
Xoanon @ 1:15 am EST

From: Mark

I was at the Sydney premiere last night. Unfortunately the audience got very impatient because the 7pm speeches were delayed until well after 8pm. The impatience was capped off by a lack of air conditioning, so it was fairly uncomfortable (its Summer down here!). That got fixed just before the guests arrived.

Anyhow, I was seated just above the entrance to the cinema so had a bird's eye view of Elijah, Dominic, Billy, Orlando and Hugo. Mark Ordesky said a bit, then Barrie Osborne, and then he introduced the cast. They didn't stay to watch the movie! I think they zipped across to another cinema in the complex which was also premiering the movie.

As for the movie ... too much to take in in one viewing. It certainly didn't feel like 3 hours, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I'm seeing it again with friends on Boxing Day. I can't wait!

The after show party was at the Sydney Town Hall ... The entrance was a massive gold ring guarded on each side by Black Riders ... very atmospheric but unfortunately our tickets were for the movie only.

12-21-01 Latest News

FOTR Bloopers Screened
Xoanon @ 10:58 pm EST

From: Gee

On the 20th, New Zealand viewers were treated with a set of classic bloopers from the Fellowship of the Ring (Has anyone seen these before?). Approximately 3 minutes of footage appeared on Holmes, comprising of a special introduction from a rather tipsy cave troll (who has never looked so adorable giving two thumbs up) as well as the following (in no particular order):

Gandalf giving a stirring introduction to the true Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson) who sits on Saruman's throne (like in the Official movie guide).

PJ then turns to the camera and roars.

Arwen attempting to sheath her sword- only stabbing herself (or was it her horse?) instead.

Frodo escaping from a horde of Orcs only to be ensnared by an unsuspecting shrub. Perhaps this was purposefully done for camouflage since the Orcs just kept running.

"Typical Elf work"- Legolas attempts to barricade the door to Balin's tomb with a flimsy spear (his work later criticised by Gandalf). One of his arrows snaps. Boromir drops his shield. On top of this, everyone looks like they are running into each other, which begs the question: what was the point on all those orcs when they already had perfect chaos?

Boromir crossing a mountain range only to realise that the helicopter was available that day as it rises from the gully.

The film crew demonstrating the main occupational hazard of working in Bags End, whacking themselves senseless on the ceiling.

Saruman having problems walking up stairs with his dress.

From Gandalf- "Orcs. And so far from Auckland/Orcland"

Merry and Pippin comparing the size of their...was it their feet? That would make sense, but they did have their pants down. Whatever it was, Pippin's was thinner but longer. After being spotted they try to cover everything up, including their blow up doll.

Gandalf getting tongue tied.

Sam trying to get a close up after not dropping any eaves. All the others had close ups while he was always in group shots. While all of Sam's hopes seem lost, as Gandalf (without his moustache) pushes him aside to gaze into the camera and sweep his hair away like some sultry super model, Sam suddenly jumps up to engage in a love scene with Gandalf.

And in the end the Cave troll falls backward into some abyss after too many wines...the poor dear.

TTT Trailers After FOTR?
Xoanon @ 10:48 pm EST

From: www.austin360.com

`Ring' may add preview of next year's sequel

Soon after the release of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," New Line Cinema is contemplating a novel distribution scheme to lure those who enjoy the film back into seeing it at least one more time.

As it stands now, the film ends as Tolkien's first volume ends, with a cliffhanger. But there is no notice on screen that the story will continue. Nor are there any scenes from either of the next installments, "The Two Towers," due in theaters at Christmas 2002, or "The Return of the King," due Christmas 2003.

The company said it shied away from putting the trailer in upon initial release because it thought it might be "tacky."

New Line said it's considering adding a trailer for the next film at some point deep in the film's theatrical run -- the studio expects it to be in theaters through March.

The company would recall all of the last reels and replace them with new ones featuring, after the closing credits, a new teaser for "The Two Towers."

LOTR Box Office - Day 2
Calisuri @ 4:49 pm EST

Brandon Gray

'The Lord of the Rings' fell 47% to $9.7 million in its second day of release, elevating its total to $27.9 million.

Though the drop may seem precipitous, keep in mind that 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace' dove 57% from its Wednesday bow to $12.3 million, yet went on to do $64.8 million for the following three-day weekend. Should 'Rings' follow a similar line, its looking at over $60 million for the five-day Christmas weekend, lifting its total to around $90 million.

Another fantasy film with a devoted fanbase (albeit only a fraction of 'Rings' and 'Star Wars'), 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' opened on a Wednesday last July to $5 million and tumbled 48% to $2.6 million on its second day en route to an $11.4 million weekend. Worst case scenario, 'Rings' follows that pattern and delivers over $50 million for the five-day weekend. More]

TV Watch: Oz TV
Xoanon @ 8:33 am EST

From: Trufflehunter

You might like to let our Australian fans know that there are TWO specials being aired on TV this weekend: The Quest for the Ring on Saturday night at 10:30pm and, on Sunday night at 9:30pm, SBS’s “Masterpiece” series will be showing “J.R.R. Tolkien—An Awfully Big Adventure”. Here’s what my TV guide says about the latter:

“With the much-anticipated release of the first instalment of director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy only days away, this documentary gives Tolkien fans a rare insight into the modest Oxford professor who created the rich and complex world of Middle Earth (sic). Featuring rare BBC interviews with Tolkien, as well as his biographer Humphrey Carpentet and members of the Tolkien Society (who provide a bit of light relief with their scary grasp of the Elfish (sic) tongue), An Awfully Big Adventure describes how an orphan from Birmingham adapted Celtic and Norse legends to produce one of the most enduring and popular novels in the English language”.

Review Central
Xoanon @ 1:05 am EST

I will be posting ALL the off-site reviews from all the major newspapers around the world on this page, so keep coming back often for updates!

Updated: December 25th



Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ledevoir.com I (French)

cyberpresse.ca II (French)

ledevoir.com (French)

Canoe.com (French)



The Oregonian

ABC News

Seattle Post-Intelligencer I

Seattle Post-Intelligencer II

The New Yorker

Focus on the Family

The LA Times

The Huston Chronical

Minneapolis Star Tribune

St. Paul Pioneer Press

USA Today

The Village Voice

The Washington Post

Roger Ebert's Review

Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Daily News

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The Boston Globe

The Chicago Tribune



Indianapolis Star

Milwaulkee Journal-Sential

The Star Ledger

New York Daily News

New York Newsday

The Onion

The New York Times

Orlando Sentinal

San Antonio Express-News

San Diego Union-Tribune

The Contra Costa Times

San Jose Mercury-News

Seattle Times

St Louis Post-Dispatch

Detroit Free Press

Pittsburgh Tribune

12-20-01 Latest News

Middle-earth delivers gold to VSA
Xoanon @ 11:52 pm EST

A copy of The Lord of the Rings signed by film-maker Peter Jackson and featuring an original sketch by the film's art advisor Alan Lee has raised more than $3000 for Volunteer Service Abroad.

The book was sold via the Internet auction site Ebay. The auction attracted 5599 visitors during its 7-day duration with a total of 42 bids from around the world.

VSA fundraiser Jo Prestwood says the final bid of $US1325 was a fantastic result for VSA. "It's a magic result, inspired by a magic film, and the money raised will support VSA's ongoing work in the Pacific, Asia and Africa."

"We would like to say thankyou to Peter Jackson and Alan Lee for taking time out of their hectic schedules to support VSA, and to the Internet sites Scoop and theonering for spreading the word among the world's many Tolkien fans."

VSA is a not-for-profit international development agency that has been placing New Zealand volunteers in developing countries since 1962. At present it has more than 80 volunteers working in the South Pacific, Asia and Africa.

John Rhys-Davies Chat On SciFi.com
Xoanon @ 11:43 pm EST

Karl from SciFi.com sent us this transcript from the John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) chat they had today.

JRD: Hi everyone out there, all of you who have been so loyal, inquisitive and busy on the Internet. Your interest has made the launch of the picture far more piquant. It's been a great joy to talk to so many people who have been waiting for this picture for so many years..

Hi everyone, thanks for joining us here. I'm Patrizia DiLucchio, welcome to SCIFI. Generations of readers have been captivated by the epic fantasy tales of writer J.R.R. Tolkien, a British University Professor who created the genre of Epic Fantasy from the seeds of classic european mythology. No other writer has come close to achieving the levels of complexity found in Tolkien's Middle Earth. For more than fifty years Tolkien readers have awaited a serious film adaptation of the Middle Earth classic The Lord of the Rings, and that wait is finally over! The first of a three film series The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring opened this week to universal critical praise here in the United States. Adapted for the screen by award winning director Peter Jackson, the creation of the Rings films was itself an epic undertaking shot in New Zealand and produced by New Line Cinema. Today we're thrilled to be chatting with veteran Bristish actor John Rhys-Davies, who plays the dwarf Gimli in the Lord of the Rings. John Rhys-Davies is one of the best-known actors in the science fiction and fantasy genres, having appeared in films including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, King Solomon's Mines and The Living Daylights. SCI FI fans remember Mr. Rhys-Davies thanks to his role of Prof. Maximillian P. Arturo on the SCIFI series Sliders. John, let's start with an easy question -- is it difficult taking the role of a character so well known and beloved in literature, but never before seen on the stage or screen? Are there risks involved?
By the way, have you seen that Lord of the Rings has already received Golden Globe nominations for best film?

JRD: I suppose there are risks that people will throw stones at you. But in truth, a character that is so well written as Gimli could probably be played by any competent actor..

SciFi.com: In the Tolkien stories the dwarf race plays a central role in The Hobbit, and Bilbo's discovery of the ring. For those not familiar with the books, who is Gimli and what's his connection to the hobbits and the ring?

JRD: There is quite a jump between the Hobbit and LOTR. Gimli doesn't appear in the Hobbit -- he's a newly introduced character. He's a dwarf aristocrat. His cousin is the lord of Moria. And he's very anxious to take everyone and impress them with the greatness of the Dwarf Halls. But rather like the earliest viking settlers in Greenland, nothing has been heard of the Dwarfs of Moria for a generation. Gimli believes that that's an index of their secrecy, because they've dug unimaginable riches out of the rock. Gandalf and the Elves suspect something more...sinister.

SciFi.com: Elijah Woods said in an interview that the fellowship all got elvish 9 tattoos...so if there's any truth to that wanna tell us where you got it?

JRD: "9 there were of the Fellowship. And 9 tattoos were made." This fiendish decision was taken in a drunken meeting in a pub in Queenstown. I was not present, but was presented with a fait acompli. The elvish tattoo was designed but, as I am a professional actor, whenever there's anything dangerous or that involves blood, I sent my stunt double to do it. So I'm proud to state that I sent my stunt double to do it. I can only guess, with horror, in what fiendish place it resides. (If I had a tattoo for every film I was in, I'd be a walking billboard by now!)

SciFi.com: The story that makes up the Lord of the Rings was written as a single novel, but was published as three seperate books of which The Fellowship of the Ring is the first. How closely do the films follow the three books in terms of action? Does the first film end where the first book ends? Does the film borrow material from The Hobbit to explain how Bilbo got the ring to begin with?

JRD: GO AND SEE THE DAMN MOVIE. Don't expect me to do your work for you. *sits back, smugly.* I will say, however, that those who have seen it feel that the film has been as faithful to Tolkien as can possibly be imagined. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

SciFi.com: John, I saw LOTR and thought you were wonderful, but I wanted to see more of you! Will Gimli's part be expanded in the next two movies?

JRD: LOTR has, I believe, 18 principle character. There's only about 3 hours per film. And, much as it breaks my heart, it's not a Dwarf's Story, it's a Hobbit's Story. But that said, barrage Peter Jackson and demand more Gimli material. *ACTION smiles.* What the public demands, it will get. (maybe)

SciFi.com: What was the deal with wearing the makeup? I heard that you were severely allergic to it.

JRD: I did develop a topical ecxema after about six months of being in it. So, essentially I lost the top layer of skin every time they put my upper and lower eyebags on. This became cumulatively worse, and made me like a sick, puffy-eyed panda with bloody eyes. This probably in turn affected the amount of screen time I got, because there were days when we could not shoot because there was no skin to stick the prosthetics too. I felt very sorry for myself!

SciFi.com: Hi John, This is Xoanon from TheOneRing.net, can you tell us how you think the internet helped hype the film?

JRD: The Internet makes it easy for fans to communicate to each other. And it reinforced the studio's awareness of just how much of a demand there was for this picture. That, in turn, made it very easy for Peter Jackson to insist on sticking to Tolkien's story. The enthusiasm of the fans -- and all you guys out there on the Internet -- has been HUGELY important to the makers of this film. And all of us actors, and everyone involved in the piece, is really so grateful to you guys. And we hope that we live up to your expectations.

SciFi.com: Gordon Pattison at New Line deserves some credit for the excellent job he's done over the last two years spreading the gospel as it were for Lord of the Rings. It was a very ambitious undertaking

SciFi.com: In an interview on SCIFI.COM, Peter Jackson stated that he has read the novel "hundred of times...literally." How many times have you read the book and did you ever picture yourself as a dwaf before getting the part.

JRD: I'm afraid I was one of the retards who didn't read the book before I was asked to play the part. Didn't much care for it the first time reading it. And now fully accept that this is the most remarkable piece of imaginative fiction that I know of, in the 20th century. Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured myself as a dwarf. And now I expect I will picture myself as a dwarf for the rest of my wildest dreams. Thank you, Peter Jackson. And I think I may have to kill you. *ACTION laughs.*

SciFi.com: I was wondering if they are going to expore the relationship Gimli has with Legolas, and if it comes as a result of his admiration/infatuation of Galadriel in the second film more.

JRD: We shot those wonderful sequences where Gimli sees Galadriel, and instantly falls under her spell. I think you are going to see them next year. They were in originally, but we had to cut to get it down to a reasonable 3 hours, and that was one of the things that went. As for the relationship with Legolas, it is there fully in the story, and I think you'll see more of that in the next two films.

SciFi.com: How long did the cast spend in New Zealand shooting the three films that make up Lord of the Rings? What was it like working for a long period of time so far from home?

JRD: Most of us spent 14 months working on the picture iin New Zealand. I think some people found it very hard. I got an idea that Liv Tyler in particular felt it was a long long way from where her family and friends and love was. But I could be wrong and you'd better check with her. For most of us, it was a god-given opportunity to explore this most beautiful of countries. The New Zealanders are the most generous and friendly people. There's very little crime, and not too many people. In my top six list of places I would most like to live, three are now in New Zealand.

SciFi.com: First- I thought your performance as Gimli was fantastic. Q: Did you go through a great deal of training in using your axe?

JRD: wait...Go and see the place for yourself. It is bewitching. I think it's the most beautiful country in the world. (now on to the next question) Yes, I did. And the moment I had 70 lbs of costume and armor and arms on me, and got down on my knees and started swinging my axe... ...I ended up face down in the ground. So it was back to the drawing board. We had to think around how to shoot me when it became obvious I couldn't actually fight, just on my knees. I suppose I could've bitten some orc ankles. But we found lots of ways around every problem that occured. (I'm sorry Tom Bobbadil wasn't in the picture, but we had to select the material and the writers and Peter thought quite fairly that the line that we had to take was Frodo's tale.)

SciFi.com: Hello John, thanks for spending your time to chat with us, have you heard anything about the Sliders movie project that Robert K. Weiss is scripting,

JRD: No, I haven't.

SciFi.com: As an actor, at least here in the US you've become closely identified with genre roles in science fiction, fantasy, and adventure. Weere those the kinds of roles that appealed to you when you entered the profession?

JRD: A friend of mine reminded me the other day that when I was at university I swore I would only do Shakespeare, and had not the slightest interest in going to Hollywood and working on films. I was also 100 lbs lighter then. *ACTION laughs*

SciFi.com: In that case, we HAVE to ask...which Shakespeare role is your favorite?

JRD: Othello and Falstaff were both favorites. I would love to play Henry IV in parts one and two, and Bolingbroke in Richard II.

SciFi.com: Hi, who do you think has the better scottish accent, you or Pippin ? :)

JRD: Pippin is a genunie Scottish Hobbit, but he should have a shire's accent. If he doesn't, he's a bad Hobbit and I will smack him next time I see him. (what a marvelous performance he gives, too, but then I don't believe there is a weak performance in this film.)

SciFi.com: Tolkien invented whole languages in creating Middle Earth. How much time did the actors in the film spend with coaches learning to pronounce Elvish of Dwarvish words?

JRD: They were on the set every day for every scene. They were brilliant, all of us have an immense debt to Ian, Jack and his beautiful assistant. We really tried to give all the characters an accent that donated a different part of the pre-historic Britain that they came from.

SciFi.com: to : I do not know much about movie making. Could you explain how the shooting schedule worked? How many hours a day did you work? Do you get days off? How much time before shooting do actors begin working?

JRD:Typically a film day is a minimum of 12 hours. It is generally 6 days a week. A film is scheduled around the availability of locations, actors and weather. You schedule what are called "cover sets," ie. something that you can do under shelter in case outside is pouring with rain. This generally means that you shoot out of sequence. Depending on how much make-up, an actor may be called earlier than the rest of the crew so that he is ready by the time they set up the camera. ie. if they were intending to shoot at 7am, somebody like me would be called in at 3am, and several of the hobbits would be called in as well, because sometimes the make-up takes longer than you would think. obviously, when things go wrong you have to swap the schedule around. when we filmed in a flooded location in Te Anau, we had the marvelous observation on the call sheet that went: "we cannot shoot tomorrow because the lake is underwater." In Queenstown, I had to climb into my bedroom window by stepladder because the town was underwater. There was a major landslide, which cut off our production office from the main road into town that turned a 2-minute drive into an hour and a half drive. All these things, a schedule has to cope with. And it did. I got more days off towards the end because my face was so raw. So I had a few days off, and then we would go back and put my make-up on again until it was raw again.

SciFi.com: What does the mirror of Galadriel hold for you? What comes *after* a project on the scale of The Lord of The Rings?

JRD: *ACTION laughs.* For 32 years, I have tried to become a recognizable face. How dumb do you have to be to do three major films in a row that condemn you into wearing a full prosthetic mask? My career is over. I am doomed, I tell you. DOOMED.

SciFi.com: I would love to know what you thought of the film when you first saw it in its entirity?

JRD: I had been the first (to my knowledge) to say that we were making a masterpiece. I think I stared saying this after two weeks of working on the film. When I saw the film, I was overwhelmed by the epic size of it. I always suspected it was unlike any film I had ever seen before. and it was so different, it stunned me. I must confess that I liked it even more on the 2nd viewing, and I've begun to feel more comfortable with it on a 3rd and 4th viewing. It's easy to overlook the structure because of the overwhelming epic vision it presents. Let me say what I started to say 2 years ago in New Zealand: I believe we are making a film that will be bigger than Star Wars. I believe we are making one of the great, classic pieces of film for all time. I think that in 20 years, when we look back on our personal top ten films of our lifetime, perhaps of all time, Lord of the Rings will be there. Now that may seem pretty damned ambitious. All I can say is: if you were impressed with part one... you ain't seen nothing yet!

SciFi.com: John, I should tell you that we have many Sliders fans here today. You are much admired here on SCIFI where Sliders is genuinely LOVED...Next question
SciFi.com: to : If the right idea came along, would you consider doing series television again?

JRD: Yes, of course. But it is too demanding to do a show that you cannot fully commit to. I have found it very hard to talk nonsense when, with a bit of intelligent writing, you can talk of profound thing that matter that are based in plausible science. I love science. And I love reason. And I hate scientists being constantly stereotyped. More than that, the average American child spends 14 hours a week watching television. I'd like to do a show that not only entertained in the most brilliant way but exposed their young minds to the wonders of the universe, the glory of man's inquisitiveness... to a sense that intellectual enthusiasm is a worthwhile passion, and to give them a dream of what heroism and adventure can really be about.

SciFi.com: Hey let me just say you were incredible and i cut school to watch the movie. Anyway I wanted to know how the shooting with the computer animated monsters worked. Would you simply perform the choreographed move and then later they added the monster or what? Amazing job!! Already one of my favorite movies.

JRD: Well, thanks. There are lots of tricks filmmakers use to get you fighting monsters. Peter Jackson uses all of them. And, yes, there were times when we swung our axes in bluescreen at a blue pole with a blue rag tied to its tip. Do you understand how bluescreen works? Everything except the images you want to preserve are in blue (or green). So the actors would wear no blue or no green. Then you subtract all the background blue (or green) and you can then paste the image that you have into another background. It's very tiring, and very boring. And it involves an awful lot of very clever people who know about computers, motion control cameras, lighting in special circumstances, artists, graphic designers... it's a hugely technical area of filmmaking. And something that has a great future, too. So if any of you guys (and girls) are looking for an exciting career with a wonderful future, think technical.

SciFi.com: what was the most exciting scene to act out in the first film?

JRD: The most exciting scene, I think, is.... hmm, I better not say, for those who haven't seen the picture yet. As far as I was concerned, the great drama in Moria was about as exciting as it got for me.

SciFi.com: Have you seen the action figures for Gimli ? What's it like to be an action figure?

JRD: A disgruntled ex-girlfriend of mine once sent me an action figure of Sallah, a character I play in Raders of the Lost Arc. "Read the description," she said. I read it: "Poseable: flexes at the knees, waste and arms." "Sounds like a comprehensive description of your acting," she said. *ACTION laughs very loudly.* Now you can see why she's an ex. It's wonderful to be an action doll.

SciFi.com: John, I love your work in the Indiana Jones movies. Would you (or will you) be involved in the rumored Indy IV movie?

JRD: There are always rumors of a fourth Indiana movie. The go-ahead depends on the enthusiasm of Steven Speilberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford. These guys have GREAT careers and they don't want to do anything that is less than enhancing to their careers. So any script that's good enough has to be really remarkable to pass their scrutiny. There is no mileage in it for them to compromise to make just another film, and make Paramount richer. So, my guess is that if nothing exceptional ever comes along, there won't be a fourth film. And you may equally regard it as a certainty that if one does come along, and they are behind it, then you are set for the hottest "E" ticket in town!

SciFi.com: I loved the movie! It's the best movie I've seen in the short 13 years of my life. Excellent, and I was so excited I was shaking, having a panic attack almost! Anyway, what is it like, when you finished filming such a great movie? Do you miss it at all after working together for so long and so hard?

JRD: How I envy you, to be 13 and seeing this film. You know, when you work with good people for a long period of time, you become very attached to them. And at the end, you always feel a great wave of nostalgia and sadness. We haven't actually felt this yet, because we've still got two more films to finish. We will probably shoot some additional material for part 2, now that we know how part 1 has cut together. It's not really re-shoots, it's more "connective tissue," if you understand what I mean. And we are all committed to making sure that part 2 and part 3 are even better than part 1 is. So we are going to be meeting each other and gossiping and renewing friendships for the next two years. And I should think that when we finally, FINALLY have to let go, we will all be in quite a state of shock. But thank you anyway for coming to see our film. PS. You do realize that your generation is going to live to be, probably, a 150 years of age. Find out about something called "stem cell technology," and don't fry your brain using drugs. Ever.

SciFi.com: What do you think your acting career will be like now that you have acted in what may be the biggest movie of the decade? Will your role as Gimli change it at all?

JRD: I really don't know. By and large, everyone associated with a mega-hit tends to get some career lift. I am not so sure that it's going to do *me* any good because I am quite unrecognizable in this film. I have discovered one great secret, though: if you are in a film that young people love and enjoy, 15 years later when they're young and upcoming film directors they give you parts in their films. So all you young directors out there who are at the moment only 10 or 12 or 13... REMEMBER THE DWARF!

SciFi.com: John, a final question. And thanks so much for taking the time to join us -- we know that you are incredibly busy. Epic story talling goes back to our days in the caves, and in literature certainly to Beowulf. Is there anything that you hope, (or think) we may learn about ourselves as we watch the sage of the Ring unfold in this first film and in the films that follow?

JRD: Beowulf was written probably 1200 years after the Ilyad and the Odyssey was composed, and they in turn were after something called the Epic of Gilgemesh. I think great literature generally asks certain questions: how should we live? how should we act morally? is there good and evil? and how do we stand for good in our lifetimes? Now Tolkien fought in the first World War. He was at the first Battle of the Somme where the British army lost 20,000 men in the first day of the battle. In some ways, the death toll from the first World War was greater than that of the second World War. It wiped out a generation of young men. And yet, Tolkien doesn't write about that war specifically. What he says is there are times when you have to stand up and fight for what you believe in, and what your civilization stands for. In some ways, the Ring represents all the power of evil in the universe. and it will certainly destroy all the races of men, unless it is opposed. And his lesson is that greatness is to be found in carrying the light of reason and the fight against evil, even in the jaws of certain death and destruction. Great literature gives us great dreams to dream.

SciFi.com: Our time up. Thanks John for a great chat. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is now playing everywhere. And a reminder...Visit http://www.scifi.com/passage is see our website devoted to the making of the Lord of the Rings. Also, a transcript of this chat will be available in about twenty minutes, so stay logged on to SCIFI.
SciFi.com: Good afternoon everybody.

JRD: Thank you for your patience. I'm sorry if my thoughts appear rambling and incohate, but I've been to premieres in London, Rotterdam, New York, Toronto, LA and Dublin in the last seven days (!) and I am brain dead. A lot of intelligent questions. My special love to all my friends in New Zealand.

Media Watch: The Boston Herald
Xoanon @ 11:23 pm EST

Math sends in this article from The Boston Herald. Take a look!

LOTR By the Numbers!
Pippin_Took @ 10:54 pm EST

Now that The Fellowship of the Ring has been playing to audiences across the world for a couple of days, it is becoming apparent that the film is every bit as much a success as we always knew it would be! The critics are unanimous, the box office numbers speak for themselves, the award nominations are beginning to roll in, and reactions from Tolkien fans as well as the previously uninitiated are through the roof! Check out these numbers:

Filming 'Lord' trilogy a lesson in dedication
Xoanon @ 10:44 pm EST

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- In 1998, we were in pre-preproduction. Film-speak for limbo. Pre-preproduction is the tenuous time before a project is green lighted; before the studio commits to spending real money. This is the most vulnerable period for any film, because it's the time when your project is most likely to be put into turnaround. That's film-speak for killed-off.

The phone rang. It was Richard Taylor, friend, partner and longtime collaborator. Richard said there was a paint factory in Miramar for sale. A huge space. It would make a fantastic studio, it could be a drive-on lot, there was room enough for two, maybe three stages.

Despite the fact that we couldn't afford it, we went to have a look. The site was impressive; we immediately thought of what we could do -- how we could best use the space to build sound stages, props stores, wardrobe and make-up rooms. It was perfect for our needs. There was only one problem -- we had no idea if we were making a movie.

What if we went into debt up to our eyeballs, bought the site and the film fell over? It was a scenario too horrible to contemplate, but then this was a building too good to let go.

What to do? We climbed the stairs that led to the empty cafeteria. No chairs, just tables, clean counters, a worn and yellowing linoleum floor. Wait! There was one thing -- sitting on the table nearest the door, a book, turned over as if someone had just put it down and didn't want to lose his place.

We walked over, and as we drew closer, things started to feel a little strange because I could now read the title -- I could see the words " 'The Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien" on the battered front cover, and for a moment we all just stood there. I looked at Richard. I knew now we would buy the factory and that somehow the film would be made.

I first read "The Lord of the Rings" as an adolescent. It's a dense novel, a sprawling, complex monster of a book populated with a prolific number of characters caught up in a narrative structure that, frankly, does not lend itself to conventional storytelling. Imaginatively, this story is a filmmaker's dream, but translating it to the screen is quite another matter.

Nine major characters vying for screen time in a story that has not one key villain, but two (each with different agendas) who have almost identical sounding names, is by no means an ideal screen story scenario. Setting aside for a moment the challenge of distinguishing Saruman from Sauron (both of whom reside in eerily similar tall, dark towers), you are faced with the larger problem of how to be faithful to the world of the story and somehow not send an uninitiated audience into information overload.

Not to mention that we were embarking on something never before attempted: making three films at once on a 274-day shooting schedule that required filming 6 days a week in more than 100 locations with more than 20 major speaking roles.

"The Lord of the Rings," published in the mid-1950s, was intended as a prehistory to our own world. It was perceived by Tolkien to be a small but significant episode in a vast alternate mythology constructed entirely out of his own imagination. A British scholar of language, Tolkien drew upon his formidable imaginative and intellectual powers to create a fabric of mythic history spanning many thousands of years. And that became our problem: What to include? And what to leave out? For the telling of this story seemed to offer up endless possibility. As Tolkien says, "The road goes ever on and on," a reference not only to the path we take through life but also, it seems, to the nature of storytelling itself.

It is late 1999 in Queenstown, New Zealand, two days after record rainfall caused the worst flooding in the history of the district. We have suffered some setbacks; the weather has stuffed the schedule. Two of the actors, Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom, have been caught between two landslides and are now trapped in a tiny town in the middle of the South Island. They have been taken in by a kindly woman who has offered them food and a bed. They were last reported to be cooking spaghetti and cracking into a bottle of red wine.

We have no choice but to reschedule their scenes. The decision has been made to shoot the lake-shore scenes instead. The location manager shakes his head: "We can't do that." All eyes in the room swivel in his direction as he finishes somewhat apologetically: "The lake is under water."

There were 1,300 people employed on the crew. At the height of this insanity we had seven units shooting multiple elements simultaneously for the three different movies that make up "Lord of the Rings": "The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King." The "video village" was my constant companion on the set. This consisted of a bank of monitors relaying flickering images of indifferent quality, from second units scattered all around the country. Most of our shoot was spent on location in wildly isolated places, and we were completely at the mercy of New Zealand's temperamental weather. There were days when we could not get to a location because of unseasonal snow. There were other days when roads were washed away and sets simply disappeared in overnight floods.

It became a sort of dark expectation that whenever we turned up on a new location the weather would turn bad -- and sure enough, the locals would announce: "Hasn't rained like this in 16 years!"

There is something inherently comic about spending all day in the company of people wearing false noses, flowing hair and ridiculously long beards. It was not uncommon to see as many as four Gandalfs in wizard regalia roaming around the studio at any one time; Gandalf stunt double, Gandalf stunt rider, Big Gandalf (a seven-foot-plus actor who was used to make our hobbits look three-and-a-half feet tall) and even -- on occasion -- Ian McKellen himself. This is not taking into account the Gandalf digital double, who took on tasks in the Mines of Moria that mere humans could not expect to survive. Ian was not the only actor to find himself with a virtual "other." All the main cast had their faces scanned and body movements captured by Weta Digital, our New Zealand-based special-effects company, which grew from a staff of 30 to more than 250 during the course of production.

The 14 months it took to film the trilogy could accurately be described as a protracted bout of willful madness. Those who weren't mad going in were close to being certifiable by the end. The sheer length of the shoot and the grinding tiredness that enveloped everyone in those last weeks was a form of suffering akin to that of Frodo, the Hobbit, staggering up the lower slopes of Mount Doom. Dailies would sometimes be four hours long -- only the most stoic sat through them. On more than one occasion the pathos of a moving scene would be interrupted by the honking snores of an exhausted crew member who had failed to stay awake.

Throughout all this insanity, the feeling I had when I saw that book on the table in the abandoned paint factory never left me. No matter how close we got to the edge of the abyss (and we got pretty close sometimes), fate, it seems, would always show up. It showed up in the 11th hour after Miramax had put the films into turnaround and Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne at New Line Cinema made the jaw-dropping decision to take control of "Lord of the Rings" and make not two films but three. It showed up when the project landed on the desk of a New Line executive, Mark Ordesky, a longtime fan of the books. And, finally, it showed up when a dream team of actors, along with the veteran producer Barrie Osborne, all said yes, they'd come to New Zealand for 18 months.

If Tolkien wrote the book he wanted to read -- we got to make the movies we wanted to see. Fate, hard work, good will and yes -- madness -- saw us through.

Meet the Ring Leader - Frodo Baggins
Xoanon @ 10:23 pm EST

From: Christopher

There is always some little thing that becomes a big thing on a very long film shoot. For Elijah Wood it was the furry feet. The prosthetic hobbit feet took an hour to put on, at 5am every morning, six days a week, for the 14 months it took to shoot the three episodes of The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand. "Those furry feet became the bane of our existence," says Wood who plays Frodo Baggins.

"They meant we lost an hour of sleep each night. The problem was that so often the feet weren't filmed; they usually couldn't show us full-length because of size differences.

"Hobbits, as those who have read the J. R. R. Tolkien books will know, are just a few feet tall. So each time there'd be a scene like that, I'd say, 'We don't need feet. We're not going to see feet in these shots.' And they're like,'Well, there's a chance.' Nine times out of 10 I'd be right. Those feet became an issue."

But never a confrontation. Wood is not the kind of Hollywood brat who throws a hissy fit if the fridge in his trailer isn't stocked with Freshly strained soy milk. "I'm a pretty pas sive guy:' he admits, a little sheepishly.

Anyway, the mood on the set was hardly conducive to tantrum-throwing. Wood says director Peter Jackson created "an atmosphere where everyone shared this collective passion for what we were part of and everyone gave their heart and soul to the project, even when it was difficult".

Almost a year since filming finished, Wood is still overawed by the immensity of the Lord qf` the Rings experience. Still amazed that he was chosen to play Frodo, the most sought-after role for any young actor in recent years; still recovering from the long, extremely tough shoot; and now bracing himself for the huge fame bubble that's about to burst around him as the first film in the $270 million trilogy is set for release.

Wood's wide-eyed enthusiasm is even more appealing because, at the age of 20, he is already a veteran of the movie business. His film career began when he was just eight and he has already starred in 26 films. Yet he remains clear-eyed oddly pure.

Being a Hollywood child star has to be one of the most perilous professions in the world. Most are burnt out by the time they are 10, in rehab in their early teens, battling with rapacious parents, shovelling out all the money they made in their blighted youths to shrinks, lawyers and cocaine dealers.

Yet I'd be amazed if he has ever had more than a couple of beers, let alone smoked a joint. Wood has never featured in the gossip columns and even now, when he's about to become one of the most recognisable faces in the world he's too shy to ask girls out. He still lives with his mum and his younger sister, for God's sake.

The role of Frodo was the one, in hindsight, he seemed destined for. He had been a Tolkien fan since his early teens; in a 1994 interview, he declared The Hobbit his favourite book. So when the film was ready to go into production, Wood's agent told him to audition straight away.

Wood says he felt uncomfortable about doing a standard audition, in front of an anonymous casting director who would then send a videotape to Peter Jackson in New Zealand. "That felt kind of sterile, being put on tape, in an office, against a white background" Wood says. "It didn't feel the right way to convey my love for the character and my passion to do the movie."

So Wood made his own tape. "I got a dialogue coach to hone the accent," he recalls. "I got a book on hobbits to get a reference to what they look like. I went to a big costume store and picked up an outfit. Then I went up into the Hollywood hills with two friends and we shot a scene and cut it together."

The following day he dropped off the tape. Although Wood heard through the grapevine that Jackson liked the tape, he went off to shoot another film and tried to forget about it.

A few months later, Jackson came to LA and Wood finally met him and auditioned in person. "We talked about the implications of the journey," Wood says. "He said 'Are you prepared to give away more than a year of your life for this?' I told him, 'Absolutely, to be able to take ajourney like this would be amazing'."

A week later, at the beginning of July 1999, Jackson offered him the part. "I was overwhelmed" Wood admits. "Just ecstatic. I couldn't really speak. My sister was running through the house screaming. It was a great day."

Wood is proud he fought for the part, that it didn'tjust fall into his lap. Yet as I look over at this eager, intense young man, precariously perched on the edge of a big couch in a hotel lobby, it seems inconceivable that anyone else could have been considered.

Of course, Wood's size helps: he's barely 167cm (5ft 6in) and is delicately framed which lends him a hobbity kind of demeanour. He doesn't have the over-pumped arms and upper body of most young Hollywood actors. His teeth have not been homogenised by a Beverly Hills orthodontist: they are a little crooked, a bit jagged, there's that appealingly boyish gap at the front. And he's a fidgety kind of chap, buzzing with pent-up energy. He smokes, he bites his nails and he chews gum non-stop. But there's something more than that. Wood has this eerily pale, translucent skin out of which shine eyes so intensely blue that the effect is startling.

Elijah Jordan Wood was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Wood's mother, trying to find an outlet for her son's intense energy, entered him in a modelling competition in LA when he was seven. There they met a manager who suggested Elijah should also try acting. A week later, the Woods family mother Debbie, father Warren, older brother Zac and younger sister, Hannah moved to LA, where Elijah had his first taste of acting: a role in a Paula Abdul video, Forever Your Girl.

Soon he was picking up bit parts in movies such as Back to the Future II and InternalqfJhirs, gradwating to bigger roles in Avalon, directed by Barry Levinson, Forever Young opposite Mel Gibson and The War with Kevin Costner.

In 1993 he co-starred with Macaulay Culkin, the biggest child star of the modern era, in The Good Son. Culkin, who burst on to the scene in Home Alone, remains an instructive example of what can happen to a kid and his family, when he is thrust too quickly into the Hollywood limelight.

"My career has always been a slow build as opposed to being part of something that erupted" Wood says. "For me and my mother and agent, it was about the quality of the roles and about challenging myself as an actor."

They deliberately tried to choose roles for Wood in adult films, believing that would give his career greater longevity.

"I owe everything to my mom," Wood says. "She has helped me maintain a sense of reality and gave me the perspective that acting should just be something I enjoyed doing. And when I was not doing a film, I was just at home enjoying a normal life. My mom really kept my priorities straight. My family is so important; it has always kept me grounded."

There are, inevitably, some smears on this idyllic picture. Because Wood was working on films throughout his childhood he seldom went to school, but had tutors on his film sets or at home. In an interview he gave when he was 13, he talked about how difficult it was to form friendships. "IfI was out there with kids my own age, I fear they wouldn't like me, not because of who I am, but because I'm an actor," he said. "It's scary - like I can't trust anyone."

And there were troubles at home. For reasons Wood has never felt comfortable talking about, his parents separated some time after the move to LA, and it has been more than five years since he last saw his father. "It was just one of those cases of not having any emotional connection to my dad, so it wasn't a problem," is how he explains it.

Nor has he once returned to Cedar Rapids, where most of his extended family lives, since he left 13 years ago. "isn't that weird?' he says, as if the thought had never occurred to him before.

In many of his films - Radio Flyer, The Good Son, North, Forever Young and The Ice Storm - Wood has played kids whose innocence is challenged by their parents' problems or the dysfunction of the adults around him. The Ice Storm was particularly important in Wood's development as an actor. Until then he had never taken acting classes, worried that they might drain out of him whatever originality he had.

Yet when he won the part of the spacey Mikey Carver in Ang Lee's dissection of upper-middle-class New England families in the early '70s, Lee made Wood look more deeply at himself. All the actors, including Kevin Kline and Sigoumey Weaver, were asked to fill out questionnaires about their characters: their likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, sex lives, and so on. It was not something Wood felt comfortable with, but now he acknowledges that "having to think about my character and develop him started my move to being an adult actor"

From the very outset, Wood who was 18 when filming of The Lord qfthe Rings began, felt that in taking on the role of Frodo Baggins, he was being charged with a responsibility as awesome, in many ways, as Frodo's. He keenly felt the responsibility, to the director, to the books, to the millions ofTolkien fans who adored them, but above all to himself, to show that this trust had not been misplaced.

"It was an incredible effort of endurance. Towards the middle of filming, there would be weeks when you'd literally lose yourself in it. It's so easy to lose perspective when you get up at five in the morning every day and get home at seven in the evening, go to sleep, then do it all over again the next day, and the day after that, six days a week," he says. "But as a result, I've made some of the best friends I've ever had and garnered some of the most amazing life experiences."

Although Wood insists that The Lord qf'the Rings has not changed him, it has certainly changed his life and he never wants to forget it. Suddenly he stands up, yanks up his T-shirt and pulls down the waistband of his jeans. There, right over his appendix, is a tattoo, some two inches wide.

"It means nine in Elvish," he says. "It stands for the nine members of the fellowship. A week before the film was finished we decided to go to a tattoo parlour and set the experience permanently on our skin. All the members got this tattoo, including lan McKellen. It's a profound experience that needs to be marked."

But The Lord qf the Rings is most important to Wood because he feels he really became his own person during the 15 months it took to make it. He had never been away from home for so long and he had never spent so long away from his mother, who was always with him on location. "It was an interesting transition for her to make, kind of difficult, because she had literally travelled with me and supported me all the time," he says.

"But there comes a point where the water starts to shift and you're looking for your independence. It was another reason I decided to do the movie. It was me on my own for pretty much the first time in my life, and it was the perfect time for that to happen for me."

Now, with the release of the film, Wood faces his most profound challenge: stardom. But he insists he's not about to be overwhelmed by it all. "I have a theory," he says. "The people who go outside their house with the fear that they can't lead a normal life or who try to hide themselves away, or are afraid of what might happen to them, I think they ask for it by behaving that way. The more carefree and relaxed you are about your life, that will kill a lot of negative attention.

"The other thing I know is, if this movie does become really huge, I won't change and my perspective won't change. I want to continue living my life the way I live it, and I'm not going to let anything stop me from doing that. I value being able to go where I want and do what I want. Because, you know, it ain't all about acting. There's a lot more to life than Hollywood."

Tehanu's reveiw and grace note.
Tehanu @ 9:32 pm EST

Today after a week of being houseless I'm getting on a big jet plane...not the first time in the last two years, by any means, but this is by way of a more permanent move to San Francisco. More permanent means 'about a year, with trips back to NZ whenever anyone pays me to be there.'

So where does that leave the so-called 'Middle Earth Tours' aka Red Carpet Movie Tours? In safe hands, I believe. Last weekend in between packing up my house and my bags, I took part in a weekend training session for the prospective tour guides. I couldn't hope for a more exciting and motivated group of people. Listening to them pool their knowledge and spark ideas off each other, I felt that they were capable of great things and were committed to making our dream of providing tours of NZ for Tolkien fans come true.

As for the movie we have waited so long to see....well, I doubt I can add much that's new or fresh to the great things that have been said already, but I'll try.

I was lucky enough to see the film a few days early at the nearly-completed Embassy theatre in Wellington with the SFX crew. I couldn't have wished for better company. Richard Taylor, head of WetaFX, gave a thank-you speech to the assembly before the film started, and both there and at the low-key dinner beforehand it was clear how much loyalty he inspired. Like PJ, he seems to know everybody's name and what they are doing and more than that, who they are in themselves.

It was a priviledge to be in such an assembly of talent. In a radio interview Richard gave earlier in the day, he said that LOTR wasn't just a movie, it was one of the greatest gatherings of talented NZers we had ever seen, or something to that effect. Not just Kiwis though - people have come from all over the world to be part of this. It is, according to the Weta people I talked to, the greatest job in the world. Most of them also complained that they could be paid better elsewhere, but so far few people have found that sufficient incentive to leave.

Two predictions I made right at the beginning in my first Tehanu's Note: One came to pass, one did not. I predicted that film is where things are AT in terms of defining the art and culture of this century and the last. This is to us what Baroque music or Impressionism were in their time to the West. It is cinema that will sum up our times and our tastes for all posterity, just as the Tang bronzes or Easter Island statues tell us about those people in that time.

I have read more than one review that has echoed that thought since the 'Fellowship' came out, and it's because of this: making a film like this is a miraculous collaborative effort, and it can't happen without drawing in a whole lot of things that are unique to us and to the times in which we live and the technology that we have available. It's not that music and art and architecture are dying out but that they are less a reflection of ourselves than the very best in cinema. And Peter Jackson's film was pushing the envelope of what it is possible to do in that medium.

My second prediction was that such a collection of highly talented individuals would be impossible to direct - it would be like herding cats. I was wrong. I have met both Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson twice now (but I have NEVER had dinner with Barrie Osborne, one piece of journalistic license that's taken on a life of its own!) - anyway, seeing them in action it's clear that they have a kind of magic touch with people. As a result there was a very special warmth and excitement at the crew screening I attended. We stayed to the end of the credits and applauded everyone's name at the end, and later I heard how hard Richard and his partner Tania had fought to make sure that everyone in Weta was named and listed under their particular contribution. It's things like that that make them special: fighting for the people in their company who wouldn't otherwise have a voice! Insisting that everyone who took part be valued.

Richard and Tania were gracious to me, which I intrepreted as a sign of respect to all of you who are reading this, since I was there to represent you, the fans who have been followers and well-wishers of this production.

Anyway, the movie itself? To me it was like a great novel, so many-layered that I knew I couldn't take it all in. I wanted only to dwell on each actor's face and yet I also wanted to just look at the costumes, or bathe my eyes in the backgrounds. I can't tell you how odd it is to be able to recognise unique things about the place where I was born in a fantasy movie, and it's more poignant to me now since I don't know when I will next see those mountains, those green hills, those mossy forests of southern beech. So my own home becomes a fantasy of the past.

As I watched, I found myself chuckling with delight at the wit or grace with which certain things were handled - thinking 'Well done!' and so on. You do that when the people who did the work are around you!

I loved it all. The movie varied in tone and pace, and I think that's just one of the things about it that takes some getting used to. Sometimes it goes all heroic-epic and the music swells up into a big climax of trumpets and horns, the heroes fight off impossible odds and escape a terrific battering without even limping slightly afterwards. It's all a bit much, I start to think (especially the music) and then suddenly the movie's tone changes to something more intimate, focussing on a wonderfully subtle moment on an actor's face. I think some people will not like this. But Jackson is saying (as Tolkien did) 'You can do this. You can subvert the genre, you can move from stereotype to individual and back again, you can put in slapstick humour where it's not expected and still move back from there to absolute tension and seriousness. You can make the rules.'

Did I like the SFX? Yes. That is not so say that they are perfect. Rivendell (the backdrop) looked painted, little things like that. Though a sense of unreality might be expected of a place like Rivendell.

The compression of the story? It worked for me. I think that people who now go and read the books will find it a whole box of treasures when they learn about the things that the movie left out; to one who knows the book, well, it's different but interesting.

The book has two points of relaxation that the film changed so that they continued the build-up of tension. In the film, Bree is no resting-place. Everything looms over the hobbits, the people are large and threatening, the weather is vile, and they are propelled by events into leaving immediately without meeting any of the joviality of Barliman Butterbur and the Breefolk at the bar.

Similarly, there's no relief in Lothlorien. The elves remain tense, strange and threatening. I'm not sure of Cate Blanchett - she tips over from imperious to plain weird. I'd love to ask a LOTR newbie if they got what was going on there.

I liked the way the tension inherent in the situation between Strider and Boromir was played up. It's in the books, but it's subtle. It made for a dramatically interesting conflict. Others have complained that the relationship and characters of Gimli and Legolas are barely touched on; I thought it was necessary to make Strider and Boromir's story take the lead for a time and let Gimli and Legolas' story develop in the next movie, so there's another point of human interest to distinguish it.

Elijah Wood - great, I thought. After the beginning, he looks to be slightly in shock a lot of the time. That makes the moments when he relaxes and recovers his hobbitish ease (like with Sam, at the end) all the more telling. Or the moments where he's being decisive rather than reactive. It's hard for him - it's not in his nature to be a hero. Some people found him too passive, (he spends a lot of time boggling at the horror of it all) but I'm giving him time to change over the next two movies.

It's a hoot seeing with people who are HIGHLY critical of the details they designed, and highly appreciative of each others' work. Major applause for some of the great feats of FX work, of course. It was like being in an orchestra - to an outsider, it's pretty incomprehensible what the players choose to pick apart or commend and they themselves are not always in agreement about the success of a performance - it rather depends on how well their part went. But overall everyone's faces had a look of dazed joy after the film was over. Mine too.

Xoanon @ 3:25 pm EST

From: Ice Hobbit

LOTR:FOTR got a lot of play in a morning segment of CNBC Squawk Box. Some discussion of the risk that AOL Time Warner took in filming all 3 movies at once. Generally a lot of positive discussion. Also intereesting was a discussion of the financing, including licensing fees.

Apparently New Zealand provided significant tax breaks to get the film located there. This was the first time I ever heard any reasoning beyond the "New Zealand is Middle Earth" party line that has been repeated endlessly in all the "making of" TV shows and interviews. Anyway, Joe Kernan, Stocks Editor, said he hasn't been to a movie in years, but was considering going as he read and loved the books as a youth. Mark "I Can't Remember His Last Name" proceeded to call him a Geek.

Media Watch: 8 Days Magazine
Xoanon @ 3:06 pm EST

Ringer Spy Milaya sends along these scans from the latest issue of '8 Days Magazine'.

'Ring'-ing in the day
Xoanon @ 2:41 pm EST

Midnight screenings cast early B.O. spell

The bell has rung and "Rings" has come out swinging. Actual box office data for first-day ticket sales to New Line's "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" won't be available until today, but by Wednesday afternoon it was clear that any concerns the distrib might have nursed about soft opening-day biz were for naught.

"It's safe to say that there is a huge groundswell out there that even we did not expect to find," distrib prexy David Tuckerman said. "That's clear from the excitement the exhibitors have shown, the reviews that we've seen and the fact that we're on as many screens as we are during this play period."

New Line, which bowed "Lord of the Rings" on a distrib-record 5,700 screens Wednesday, said many midnight screenings and other showtimes had sold out.

New Line also opened the film day-and-date in 13 foreign territories, which rang up box office to the tune of $11.6 million. Some of the biggest numbers came from Germany, with $3.5 million, and France, with $1.8 million.

That could portend boffo weekend box office for the effects-laden fantasy, which unspooled in 3,359 theaters in North America -- many offering "Rings" on at least two screens.

On the other hand, only bigger-market venues booked midnight shows or even matinees for the nearly three-hour pic.

On Tuesday, distrib projected pic would gross at least $60 million in its first five days through Sunday (Daily Variety, Dec. 19).

Eye on overnights

"Our numbers are huge in Manhattan and all of the matinee cities," Tuckerman said Wednesday. "But I think that tonight will tell us where we're going to go this weekend. It's almost a three-hour running time, so it's hard to tell what it's going to do in the smaller theaters and smaller towns with only one showtime."

AMC Entertainment spokesman Rick King said the Kansas City, Mo.-based exhib skedded midnight shows in 59 theaters in various markets.

"We enjoyed exceptional attendance, including sellouts in some major markets and college towns," King said.

Meanwhile, though nobody expects "Rings" to deliver anything like the recent $90.3 million record bow of Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," it appears New Line is managing to one-up its corporate kin's family fantasy in one way: " 'Harry didn't do much in midnight screenings," King noted.

AMC's strongest midnight markets for "Rings" were San Jose, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; and San Antonio, he said.

Midnight madness

Brian Callaghan, marketing director at Chestnut Hill, Mass.-based General Cinemas, said exhibs are happy for any opportunity to mount midnight screenings. "It adds a whole set of showtimes that they normally don't have."

GC offered midnight "Rings" showtimes in 30 different locations, producing several sellouts.

Some exhibs argue that long running times don't translate into more popcorn, candy and beverage sales per showtime. But Callaghan said he believes "Rings" will prove to be "a great concession movie."

A significant number of patrons will show up early to secure seats, thus raising the prospects for double dipping at the concession stand, he argued.

Shake Used on "The Lord Of The Rings"
Xoanon @ 11:24 am EST

Nothing Real, a compositing software provider to the digital content creation market, announces that WETA Digital, a New Zealand-based visual effects facility, is using its Shake software as the primary film compositing system to handle the enormous visual effects requirements for New Line Cinema's and Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy. WETA is producing all three films in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, simultaneously. To date, Shake has helped WETA tackle more than 1,000 compositing intensive effects shots on the projects.

WETA has installed more than 52 GUI and 100 render-only Shake software licenses since it began building its new state-of-the-art studio and model postproduction environment, nearly three years ago. Shake now serves as the cornerstone of the facility's compositing pipeline.

"WETA's massive undertaking in bringing to cinematic life three of the world's literary masterpieces, demanded, and continues to demand, technological innovation at every step of the postproduction process," says Allen Edwards, president of Nothing Real. "Nothing Real is especially thrilled that they have selected Shake as a foundation application to support its digital post production pipeline and successfully create cutting-edge visual effects that will serve these hugely visual and epic stories."

WETA faced a number of compositing challenges in the creation of more than 570 shots for the first film in the trilogy. The casting of actors of normal stature as hobbits and dwarves required the development of scale compositing techniques to seamlessly integrate them with the larger races on the screen. Thousands of CG elements, including crowds, creatures, environments, digital matte paintings, and digital stunt doubles were also created by WETA for integration by the 27 members of the compositing team. Motion control photography was used extensively on both the live action and miniature stages. A typical shot might depend on twin backgrounds, a digital matte object, multiple blue/greenscreen and CG smoke and creature elements, and miniatures. The most complex shot had over 300 input layers of various types, thousands of operations in the final compositing script, and was nearly 1500 frames in length.

"Integrating Shake facility-wide as our primary compositing system was mission-critical to our production efforts on these monumental projects.

Shake's speed, flexibility, and scalability make it unquestionably the best compositing tool for complex imagery creation and manipulation," says Jon Labrie, CTO at WETA. "Simply put, we couldn't have completed The Fellowship of the Rings without it.

"The production-proven experience of Nothing Real's development team coupled with its superior understanding of film compositing technology has been invaluable to our efforts to jointly develop and customize aspects of Shake to our particular production needs," added Labrie. "Our relationship with Nothing Real remains essential as we move forward to complete the following two films."

"Working closely with WETA and having access to 'real-world feedback' allows us to exchange ideas and information so that we can continue to deliver superior quality and innovative compositing technologies that helps our customers raise the standard by which special effects for high-end film applications are realized," says Arnaud Hervas CFO at Nothing Real.

12-18-01 Latest News

MORE Nominations For LOTR:FOTR
Xoanon @ 11:38 pm EST

From: Miss Underhill

Just thought I'd tell you that LOTR is up for MORE nominations in various awards.

The 1st is the Broadcast Film Association Awards, LOTR is up for 4 : LOTR is up for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Song (May It Be), and Best Composer.

Next is the Golden Satelite Awards, LOTR is up for 10!!! : LOTR is up for Best Picture (Animated/Mixed Media), Actor in a supporting role - Drama (Ian McKellen), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Production Design, Original song (May It Be again), Sound and Visual Effects.

(Oscar...here we come, Elijah, can I come with you to the show? -Xo)

National Geographic LOTR Special Air Dates
Xoanon @ 11:30 pm EST

From: Heather

Here are the dates and times for the National Geographic show on MSNBC from the tvguide website

Sunday, Dec 23 8 PM
Monday, Dec 24 12 AM
Friday, Dec 28 9 PM
Saturday, Dec 29 1 AM
Sunday, Dec 30 6 PM

NZers Hope Elves Can Do The Same As Crocks
Xoanon @ 11:24 pm EST

From: Jason

I have just listened to an interview with the CEO of New Zealand Tourism on Australia's ABC Radio on the subject of the impact of the Lord of the Rings on NZ. The interview, conducted via telephone, went for about ten minutes and the interviewee (I'm sorry, his name eludes me presently) spoke quite frankly about how NZ fully intends to cash-in on the phenomenon stating that it was a unique opportunity for them.

"If NZ could do half as well as Australia did from the Crocodile Dundee franchise," he said, "they would be extremely happy." And reports so far, particularly from Europe, show that people are already keen to visit their country having only seen snippets of the movie(s).

He also spoke briefly about the Premiere tonight in Wellington, saying that the city was going Middle-earth mad. There was a buzz around the city and that many of the place/product names had been changed for the occasion, including streets and a major newspaper.

Media Watch: Hot Tickets Magazine
Xoanon @ 10:40 pm EST

Mark S sends us these scans from 'Hot Tickets' Magazine. Featuring Orlando Bloom (Legolas)

Tehanu's Report from Wellington: The Day of the Premiere
Tehanu @ 6:22 pm EST

I've been in Wellington for a day or two and I have to tell you, the town is in a Rings uproar. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now. The streets are hung with LOTR banners, everything from the Town Hall to the Evening Post's headquarters is renamed 'Middle Earth' (as is the airport, I believe, though I haven't seen that myself.) The Rings is on every newspaper,every phone bill, every electricity company billboard, on the ads for Mastercard. There are funny billboards harping on LOTR themes everywhere ("Wellington: Full of orcs, hobbits and elves. ...But enough about Parliament....."). The monster cave troll dominates Courtenay Place from its perch on the awning of the Embassy Theatre, where the plasterers are working round the clock to finish the theatre in time for the Premiere.

Ah, the premiere. The town is abuzz with little else. Pity the poor Tolkien-haters, who have had to band into their own anti-TORN website. As for Peter Jackson's success, it's wound some people up into a frenzy of letters to the Editor calling Peter Jackson a maker of 'third-rate splatter movies'and 'idiotic spoofs.' In NZ we usually reward high achievers with what is known as the 'tall poppy syndrome;' i.e. we have a compelling need to cut people down to a more manageable size. Though in PJ's case it's more of a short poppy syndrome, as one of my friends quipped.

So, how's it looking for the street party and the parade down the red carpet? Well, it's blowing a foul southerly (so the wind is coming to us straight from the Antarctic, how delightful.) From where I am I can see endless grey combers samshing themselves on the jagged rocks of the Wellington coast. The horizontal rain has died down but the wind is so high that all ferry sailings have been cancelled for the day. Bummer if you were planning to sail over from the South Island for the premiere.

Well, look on the bright side - only die-hard LOTR fans are going to line the streets on a day like this, so most of us will have a better chance of actually seeing anything of the stars when they walk down that red carpet. I've bought a bottle of silicon spray and waterproofed my Elven cloak. See you all at the Grand at 10pm after the ruckus. And then roll on that midnight screening!

My LOTR:FOTR Review!!
Xoanon @ 2:43 pm EST

If you want to skip the 'history of TORN and where I stand at this moment' part...scroll down until you see The Review.

You can thank ICQ for the existence of TheOneRing.net

Well, I say 'YOU', but I guess I should really say 'I', with the myriad of Tolkien sites out there, and the handful that do a really good job at reporting all the news, you folks really have allot of places to go for your Tolkien fix if TORN wasn't around. However in my soul I truly believe that we are the best at what we do, and we're only getting better as time roles on.

So, back to my story.

I can thank ICQ for changing my life...

Back in Christmas of '98 I was at a dinner with my family when my aunts started talking instant messaging and ICQ, I asked about it. They told me ICQ was an instant messaging program you can get for free on the internet. You can chat with people from around the world.

'Cool,' I thought 'maybe I'll download it'

After getting the program and working out the settings and configuration, I set my online status to 'Random chat', and started buzzing the millions of ICQ folks around the world to find interesting people to talk to.

Random search: *click*: Erica Challis (New Zealand)

Erica Challis (Tehanu) Co-Founder and most level headed TORN owner

That's how it started; Erica and I met online and chatted about this and that. At the time I was working on a 007 fan page, EON/MGM were then in the middle of shooting 'The World Is Not Enough' and I was following all the major players in the 007 online news game. I was learning how they gathered news, how to find locals, how to get photos taken from anywhere around the world. Little did I know how useful that information would be.

'Do you like books?' Erica asked me once

'Yeah, I'm a pretty avid reader'

We discovered we had a few similar tastes in fiction; we were both HUGE fans of Kim Stanley Robinson's RED/GREEN/BLUE MARS trilogy. We found ourselves talking late into the night about John Boone, Maya Toitovna, and Frank Chalmers, three of the major characters in the space drama about the first colonies to inhabit Mars.

'How cool would that be if they made it into a movie' I once commented.

'You know,' she said one day 'they're filming The Lord Of The Rings here in New Zealand'

Needless to say I was more than a little excited about that. The idea formed in my mind to basically do the same thing I had been doing with LOTR as I was doing with 007, follow the production, find all the information I could, snap a few photos and tell people about it. It was as simple a beginning as that.

Erica was a big Tolkien fan, and was very eager to partner up with me and work on the site. We found some free space on the now defunct 'Xoom.com' and set up shop.

'From The Pages To The Screen' is what we called it. It was green in color and as basic and simple as I could make it. Web design wasn't, and still isn't, my major stock in trade. We had basic info about the characters, and a message board. I later added a weekly poll, and of course, the customary fan-boy hit counter.

The first image we ever posted was a newspaper clipping from one of the local papers that Erica found. The Hobbiton set was being built, this was before anyone was cast in any roles, almost a whole year before filming would ever begin. We hoped for a good response from the internet community. Our hit counter was at 16 when I went to bed that night, and that was due to Erica and I checking out the site to see if the HTML code worked properly...I retired for the evening.

The next morning I woke up to over 900 hits, I can actually remember looking at that number in sheer shock..900+? Where did they come from?! Aint it cool news picked up on our story and first image of the Hobbiton construction, and linked to us..which naturally caused a tidal wave of hits to the site...we were an instant hit in our first attempt.

Absolute joy, Erica and I were happy beyond belief, people were very interested in us! From that we managed to find more and more information, we used ICQ, email and good old fashioned detective work to get all the news we could. The hits kept on coming in bigger and better numbers, we were making a name for ourselves.

Bill Thomas and Chris Pirrotta had known each other a while before they introduced themselves to us, they were two Americans who were interested in Tolkien and had an idea to float to us: What if they created a professional looking website, on a dedicated server with our own unique domain, where we can post all the LOTR news we wanted, as long as they partnered up with us.

Chris Pirrotta & Bill Thomas, my brothers in arms on this jounery we've had

I can still recall Erica and I having a meeting to talk this over, who were these guys? What can they do? Should we do this? I cannot tell you how many times in the past 2 and 1/2 years I've thanked my lucky stars that we decided to partner up with them. There are not 2 better people to have doing your web design and network administration than Bill and Chris.

TORN accolades through the years

So the four of us formally shook cyber-hands and teamed up. Now all we needed was a domain name, a whole lot of money, and completely new designed site that was easy to navigate, had all the things we needed, and looked good!

Weeks of work went into the initial design of the site, many of you would be surprised to know that the look of the site has not really changed much over the years, but it was not the only design we had in mind! There were plenty of other designs we mulled over, Chris really has a canvas in his head, and knows how to design and mix colors, shapes and graphics.

We chose the domain TheOneRing.net from a few others we had in mind. We liked the '.net' because we found that '.com' is very corporate and didn't give of the 'community' feel that we wanted to represent.

The site has certainly grown from it's initial plans, we eventually added a gaming section, the green books, the fan section, all the community sites, and Peter Jackson's Official Fan Club is has even found a home here. There are so many hard working people from all over the world who donate their free time to work on the site. It truly has changed my life, and certainly the lives of many people whom I work with.

This is the REAL TORN, all these great folks

I’d like to take the time to thank all of them, very single person who has helped with the site since day one. They all deserve a million rewards for the hard work and generosity through the years, this site truly is forged by and for fans of JRR Tolkien.

I actually had a chance to see this film in late November, but unfortunately there wasn't enough room for me after all the Alliance Atlantis and Famous Players big wigs and their families were done getting tickets, so I had to wait until the 13th...so I waited...

The 13th...December 13th, the day I was actually going to see THE movie...THE movie I've been talking about for almost 3 years...the movie I lived with everyday for the past 3 years..the movie I was involved with from day 1, from the casting, to the production, every set, every scene...we were 'there' during the entire process...then, when we started getting involved...Tehanu going to the set, dinner with Barrie Osborne, hearing from the cast and crew...emails from a few of them...set pics, news reports...all of it...it was all going to come down to the 3 hours of film I was going to see on December 13th...the day was NEVER going to arrive soon enough.

I'm a nervous person by nature...I have what is called anticipatory anxiety..I get nervous ABOUT getting nervous...it has held me back from doing a few things in life..trips away from home..(and the Cannes film festival), and other things. In my mind I make a big deal out of things that most other people would have no problem with.

It's an issue that has been with me since I was about 17...and will be with me for a long while...so imagine my dilemma when I get a call from the folks at Alliance Atlantis that the press screening will be held at the gigantic Paramount theatre in Downtown Montreal...to a person with my anxiety issues it may have well been held on the moon.

For some reason I knew I was going to be there, I knew nothing save the apocalypse could keep me away from seeing this film, this piece of work that we at TORN have worked on for so long and hard, hard enough in fact, that all of the cast and crew have adopted us as 'honorary crew members', our part being little, but an important part to the whole.

So there I was, 8:30 in the am, sitting by my computer waiting another 5 minutes before my long (and in my mind tortuous) drive downtown to catch this film at 10 am.

I hoped in my car and said to it 'ok car, it's just you and me, so get me down there, with no panic attacks please’, it's a long way to the ground when you drive off the onramp at the turcott yards interchange.

I headed out and began to slowly feel better as I made my way into the city...I deserved to see this film, TORN and I worked so hard to tell the entire world about it! And I'm going to make it!!

My anxiety lifted (as it always does) and I found myself singing to the Beastie Boys instead of seeing stars and almost passing out. It was truly an amazing experience...no anxiety..only anticipation of seeing THE MOVIE!! I'm going to see it sooooon!!

9:45 am I arrive at the Paramount, it's closed except for invitation only.

'Hi, I'm here for the Lord of the Rings' (happy nerd dance-of-joy in my head)

'Yes, it's cinema 7, third floor'

As I'm walking towards the first of three escalators I would eventually take I can hear a young woman behind me say 'I'm here for Lord of the Ring', she gets the same directions and soon we were talking about the film. She asks me if I'm looking foreword to seeing it.

Hrm...let me think about that..

We arrive at cinema 7 to a long line or reporters, writers, local Montreal celebrities and many others waiting in line. You can tell who the movie critics are right away because they insist on being let into the theatre immediately (why do I have to wait in line bah, I'm a newspaper movie critic! who cares! -xo)

I eventually get to the head of the line and give them my name, I was very happy to finally meet Gabby from Alliance, we have spoken on the phone so many times in the past, the woman was so sweet, but extremely frazzled...it seems she cannot stand movie critics either...I like her even more :)

I get padded down, searched...and questioned (do you have any recording devices on you?). I jokingly make a comment that my hidden camera is in my water bottle (which the bodyguard seemed to laugh..or snort an answer) and eventually make my way into the cinema...this was it...this will be the cinema I see LOTR in...right here...right now.

Little did I know I'd have to wait another 45 minutes to get all the latecomers inside (latecomers!! heresy!)

A man gets on the mic and thanks us all for making it, I hear a few groans and moans as he mentions the film will be 3 hours in length. He then thanks us all for coming today, and the film will start in a few moments.

A few moments..that is all the separated me from Xoanon pre-movie and Xoanon post-movie...my god...this time has come...

I suddenly realize my palms are sweaty...my hands are shaking..and my mouth is as dry as the Sahara...no, this isn't a panic attack..I'm genuinely nervous about this film, I want all these people to love it, I want them all to experience it the way I will, oh GOD hurry up and dim the lights!!!

The lights slowly dim...the THX logo pops up...then...the New Line Cinema Logo followed by

New Line Cinema Presents

A Wingnut Films Production

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

This is it...I'm in Middle-earth for 3 hours....

Hit me Peter....

The Review

This review will be as spoiler filled as possible, however I will skip over some sections to talk about the interesting stuff, but I will also skip over the REALLY good stuff that you shouldn’t be reading, but experiencing for yourself!..so if you don't want to know any details...you'd better click away right now.

The film starts with Cate Blanchett’s voice over of the history of the ring. It does indeed begin with the forging of the ring. A very basic overview of the rings of power, 3 for the elves, 7 for the Dwarves and 9 for men, who above all else...craved power the most.

Cut to a map of middle earth...closely focusing on Mordor with Cate talking...

(None of these quotes I will give you are 100% accurate..)

'But one thing they all didn't know, was that Sauron made 1 ring, 1 ring with the power to rule them all, and in that ring he put all his malice and rage and hatred...he forged the One ring to rule over all the free-peoples, and with that ring a darkness fell opon the land.'

The story goes onto tell the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, a vast landscape with thousands upon thousands of men and orcs fighting, this really gives us our first taste of the power of MASSIVE, the software program used to create these CGI warriors. The Elves line themselves up in a row, and attack in unison upon command by Elrond...a truly amazing sight to see.

We see the Elves and Men making headway...slowly pushing back their Orc enemy...when suddenly Sauron appears..full battle regalia, with the Ring of Power on his finger...one stroke of his sword and tens of men and elves fly back 100 yards and are killed instantly...another swipe at the throng of men opposing him, they fly off to his right, arms and legs flailing...Elendil stands to face him, and is struck down by Sauron...Isildur runs to his fathers fallen side...and cries in anger and fear at the brooding giant before him, he takes his father's sword and swings..the sword shatters...falling to the ground..Isildur is left with the blunted end of the hilt...Sauron reaches out for Isildur...falling back...Isildur takes one last desperate swing and slices all the fingers off of Sauron's hand...the finger and the ring fall to the ground...Sauron throws his head back in rage and pain, the camera pulls back to a very wide shot...a light begins to grow and explodes all around the battlefield..all the orcs fall to the ground and die...Sauron's body turns to ash and dust...he is dead.

Isildur, recovering from the 'explosion', sees the ring, lying near him on the ground...he picks it up, and stares at it in wonder....

Cate Blanchett's voice fills our ears again as she recounts how the ring brings evil tidings to those who possess it, and Isildur is no different. We are shown the fall of Isildur, as he is attacked by a rogue band of Orcs...killed and dumped into the river...the ring falls to the riverbed...

Cate goes on to tell us about how Gollum found the ring, and how it possessed him, how he wound up a sniveling lanky reptilian creature, living in caves for years and years..

And then, we SEE him!! Gollum! He's far away and cast in shadow..but it's Gollum!! we finally hear 'My preciousssssss'....

Cate's narration continues to tell the story of Bilbo finding the ring, and making his way back home...to the Shire....

Fade out...

Fade In...

The Shire....60 Years Later

A young Hobbit is sitting by a tree reading a book, what a lovely tribute to Tolkien this is, a book...reminding us all where the roots of this movie is based in. The young Hobbit is Frodo, he hears a wagon pulling up.

Elijah Wood as Frodo is one of Jackson's great casting achievements among many in this film. Elijah's wild eyed innocence is used to perfection by Jackson, the sincerity in this character is 100% through and through, this really is Elijah Wood in a wig and fake feet, no acting needed. He is touching in his kindness and bravery, and we can see every emotion in those light blue eyes, Elijah carries his role in this film to perfection, the burden is his, yet we are made to share it with him.

Frodo races along a garden path to meet Gandalf on his cart, Gandalf is smoking a pipe and singing a song.

Ian McKellen as Gandalf...what more can be said..you want to see Gandalf? Look at Ian's work weathered hands, they ARE Gandalf...we get to see some truly great work here from Ian. I felt as though Gandalf was pulled from the pages of the book and made real. I truly don't think I'll be able to read the books again and not think of Ian McKellen as Gandalf.

Hobbiton is every bit as good as it looks in all the photos we've seen and behind-the-scenes shots on the web. It really is this rural wonderland with happy young hobbit children farmers, animals and a marketplace. One could not avoid the earthy feel of the whole set, it was really 'one' with nature. Fabulous set designing from the folks at WETA, truly amazing stuff.

Bag End was exactly as I had pictured it to be, small, round and very antiquated. The details in the set design are extremely evident here, more so than say Moria or Orthanc, you really get the chance to look around Bilbo's kitchen or living area during the fabulous scene between Bilbo and Gandalf.

Ian Holm as Bilbo, what can you say? He's an absolute charmer, Ian Holm, I've loved him since The 5th Element, but I never really saw his acting chops until I rented The Sweet Hereafter (A film you should ALL see). Holm is brilliant as Bilbo, mind you, I could not get his voice out of my head from the BBC radio series where he played Frodo, and so It took a little getting used to.

Shrinkage, at this point in the film there were a few small examples of the digital and not-so-digital effects used to shrink the Hobbits down to size, this became extremely evident the moment Gandalf arrives at Bilbo's door. Bilbo answers the door and the gigantic wizard bends his head and makes his way in, he hands his hat and staff to Bilbo, who can hardly carry them, this was ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS!! How they did it is beyond me, I almost shouted aloud for them to rewind it and let me see that fabulous shot again. The entire Bag End sequence was shot separately, apparently, and both Ians were never in the same room at the same time..I've no idea how this was done..but it's rather remarkable..and no, it wasn't distracting.

Bilbo's party is a rather splendid affair, many dancing Hobbits, we are first introduced to Sam, who is forced into dancing with the rather striking Rosie Cotton. And then we meet Merry and Pippin.

These two little Hobbits get themselves into trouble in a great scene devised by Jackson, they manage to steal one of Gandalf's large fireworks, and light it on fire...inside a tent... which ignites the tent and sends it skyrocketing into the air..to explode into a large dragon! The dragon swoops down towards the terrified Hobbits as they all scatter and hit the ground! The Dragon then bursts into separate fireworks and all the hobbits cheer, except for Gandalf, who places the young Hobbits on pots and pans for the rest of the night.

Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan as Pippin and Merry, are my only concern through the entire film, not the actors per se, they were fantastic in their roles. It was the motivation, the character motivation, there is none. This was a problem for me. They meet up with Sam and Frodo, who now knows about the ring and knows he must go to Bree, and is being chased by the evil black riders. Yet the two young hobbits simply follow him without question or concern, and Frodo lets them. I really think there should have been more of a scene establishing their roles. Perhaps a scene where Frodo tells them to go home, or where the young Hobbits decide to follow Frodo all the way and help him out, I've no doubt these were filmed but removed during the paring down process. You have to realize these films were cut DOWN to 3 hours..Peter's original cut must have been near the 4-hour range. Some things were lost in the process of saving our bums.

Backtracking a bit, I've really got to hand it to Sean Astin as Sam Gamgee, he really GETS Sam, the mix of undying devotion, dim-witted innocence, and humor were there. The scene where he's caught snooping by Gandalf was hilarious! I mean if you can get a room full of crusty movie critics to laugh, you know it's funny.

There’s a great little homage to the chapter title ‘A Short Cut To Mushrooms’ during this scene, you know all the Tolkien lovers will have a chuckle here. Then we see our first wraith up close..these things are nasty. Bad ass is not the word for them, they make Darth Maul look like a pokemon. The wraiths effect everything around them, so when they’re around the sky gets darker, they effect birds, beasts and creatures. The Hobbits narrowly get away from this wraith by hiding in the roots of a huge tree (one of the very first scenes they filmed by the way).

If you're to compare the books to the film directly this is where is really changes. The Hobbits make it to Bree rather quickly, and in doing so I felt like Bree was simply another part of Hobbiton, rather than being on the very far fringe of the Shire. However the establishment of the Hobbits being in unfamiliar territory was done very well, with the gatekeeper exclaiming 'Hobbits! And four of them no less!', this is where we first see the Hobbits in the world of 'men'.

Peter Jackson's cameo was extremely quick...this was one of the shortest cameo's I've seen in any of his films.

In Bree the Hobbits learn that Gandalf is not there to meet him, and they now ponder what to do.

Gandalf, meanwhile has gone to Orthanc to discuss matters with Saruman, Orthanc is in the plush realm north of Rohan, beautiful trees and forests surround this large dark tower. Gandalf fills Saruman in on all the details, only to slowly learn that Saruman has turned sides and is in league with Sauron.

It is pure delight to see Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee play this scene together, you can totally see them both munching into their characters and have a total love and respect for the work. Christopher Lee is really venomous as Saruman, another great casting coup by ANY means. The battle between wizards is much more elaborate than in the book, you see them fighting in only a way wizards can, with magic and spells. However, I love how PJ is extremely subtle about the magic element, just like Tolkien, we don’t see and glowing rods or magic dust or anything, just an element of power, the IDEA of power.

Gandalf is taken prisoner at the top of Orthanc. Saruman seeks council from Sauron as to his next move. He then instructs his orcs to tare out the trees and forests around orthanc and dig deep into the pits and turn the lush green countryside into a dank, acid filled open mine, complete with ropes, pulleys and SPIKEY WHEELS!!

Gandalf does indeed use the help of a passing moth, very much in a ‘Samurai warrior’ type of way, moving quick to capture the moth and give it instructions. When Gwaihir arrives to take Gandalf away it is an amazing scene, I love how he swoops down and Gandalf jumps on, right before Sauman's eyes. Gwaihir does not talk.

I remember when they were filming on the Bree set, it was one of the first major set pieces to be used during principal photography. The set seemed to be only one long street, and Bree seemed a tad claustrophobic, in the film PJ has managed to open the town up, and Bree is this great old English looking town with all sorts of swarthy looking characters in it.

The Hobbits find themselves at the Prancing pony, as per Gandalfs instructions, and this is where the trouble starts, we see this amazing shot of Frodo, surrounded by all these big men, just wanting to place the ring on his finger and disappear, he can hear something calling his name…Baggins Baggins….

‘Baggins! Frodo Baggins,’ Pippin exclaims ‘He’s my cousin, he’s sitting right over there he is…’

Frodo jumps out of his chair and makes his way over to the intoxicated Hobbit and grabs his arm, Pippin pushes himself away and Frodo trips…the ring he was holding onto in his pocket flips into the air and as Frodo tries to catch it, it slips onto his finger and all of the Pony’s patrons watch Frodo disappear!

The other world we are transported to is pure genius, it is simply amazing, I mean HOW to you interpret the land of shadow and evil? It’s this amazing wind filled shadow realm, where all the people in the ‘real’ world are silhouetted and moving in slow motion. Here Frodo sees the EYE for the first time, this gigantic lidless monster, seeming to set fire to the Prancing Pony inn…it’s gigantic and menacing…and it’s hunting, hunting for Frodo. He makes his way into the corner of the room and removes the ring, suddenly he is grabbed by a stranger and hauled into another room, this is Strider, the mysterious figure who had his eye on the Hobbits since they entered the Pony.

‘You call too much attention to yourself….Mr. ‘Underhill’’

‘Who are you?’

‘I can remain unseen if need be, but to disappear all together, that is a neat trick, be careful, I know what you carry’

‘I carry nothing’

‘Are you frightened?’


‘Not nearly frightened enough, I know what hunts you’

What an amazing introduction to Strider the ranger! Viggo is absolutely stunning as Strider, the mysterious stranger who seems to know a lot about Frodo and his business.

The Hobbits come charging in and Sam, fists up in the air, warns Strider not to harm Frodo, ever-faithful Sam.

Meanwhile the Dark Riders, having known Frodo’s whereabouts the second he placed the ring on his finger, smash the Bree gates down and head for their sleeping quarters. We see the Hobbits sleeping soundly..as the Riders enter their rooms and brandish their swords and hack the beds to pieces! They are enraged to find the beds are filled with pillows and the Hobbits are nowhere to be found!

Strider is smoking a pipe in a room across the street and can see their movements, the Hobbits are awoken by the noise, and Strider tells Frodo what they are…and that they must follow him if they want to be safe.

Again the story seems condensed here as the Hobbits are walking along following Strider, Merry asks Frodo if they should trust him, and ‘how do we know if he is a friend’. Unfortunately it is not cut like that great shot in the trailer, and Merry’s voice is now only a voice over, I would have liked to see the young Hobbits taking a little more responsibility and show that on screen.

I was rather saddened to see them suddenly reach Weathertop (I know there’s so much more to tell, but I wanted MORE time with Strider before the action starts). The group hunkers down for the night, and when Frodo awakens he is shocked to discover that the Hobbits have built a cooking fire.

‘What are you doing! Put it out! Put it out!’

The shot pulls back and we can see why Frodo is so eager for the fire to go out, we see a distant shot of Weathertop and even from this distance you can easily see the cooking fire. Their position is now known to all the birds, beasts, and other spies in this land.

With the fire out, the Hobbits are more frightened than ever, Strider returns to tell them that the Dark Riders are not far behind, they climb to the top of Weathertop and prepare for battle.

The dark riders attack them from all sides..Merry and Pippin are easily dispensed with, and Strider begins some impressive swordplay and Sam’s attempts to protect Frodo are useless with these massive wraiths…Frodo falls to the floor and crawls back further and further as the witch-king makes his way towards him…Frodo panics and places the ring on his finger!

We are suddenly in the land of shadow and fear again, the wraiths are no longer these black figures, but they are now luminous, shining white ghastly looking ghost men…the king, with his sick looking crown, creeps ever closer to Frodo, just as he is about to reach for the ring, Frodo moves..the King uses his sword to pin Frodo down, searing him right through his shoulder, Frodo screams! But in this shadow world there is no sound but the sound of winds and rain. Suddenly a shadow passes between Frodo and the wraith, we see in the ‘real’ world that Aragorn has taken him down! Frodo removes the ring and suddenly his screams are heard, Sam and Merry rush to his side..

Aragorn kicking wraith butt is marvelous here! He sets fire to a few of them, and scares the rest off, really good fighting skills in this scene, and a great introduction to the more action filled scenes to follow.

Frodo is wounded badly by the wraith weapon, which Aragorn holds in his hands as it turns to dust. They leave the hilly broken down watch tower of Weathertop and make their way into the forest. They stop at a giant statue of three trolls in the woods. (very cute little Hobbit reference, nothing is even mentioned of the statues, they are just there). Frodo’s eyes are beginning to look extremely pale..

‘He is passing into the land of Shadow, there is not much I can do, he needs Elf healing’

Aragorn enlists Sam to help him find a certain flower…as they split up Aragorn is bent over looking for this flower when suddenly a sword tip is at his neck…

We hear a woman’s voice say

‘What’s this? A ranger caught off guard?’

Back at Frodo’s bedside…we can plainly see he is very ill, his eyes are slowly turning pale…his skin is almost white…he is shaking and sweating…suddenly horses hooves are heard in the distance, the Hobbits prepare to hide when a beautiful white horse with and Elven lady rides into the clearing..Frodo looks at her…

We suddenly see from his point of view Arwen, with a wonderful halo effect around her entire body, she’s glowing white…beautiful.

They decide to let Arwen ride as fast as she can with the Hobbit to Rivendell, where the Elrond the Elf can use his medicines to help heal his wound. Aragorn insists he should go with Frodo, Arwen tells him that she is the faster rider and that she must take him.

This entire conversation is in Elvish, it is a wondrous sight to see. Both Liv and Viggo appear at ease with the language and seem to know it through and through.

We ride along with Arwen and Frodo when suddenly they are pressed upon by the 9! They zig and zag and they their best to stop her in her tracks, the camera races along at a dizzying pace trying to keep up with this deadly race. Asfaloth splashes across the ford, the dark riders are wary about crossing the water, but slowly begin to make their way across.

Liv brandishes her sword and exclaims ‘if you want him, come and claim him!’, as the dark riders make their way across, Arwen begins to recite something in Elvish…suddenly the waters begin to rise, and we see a gigantic tidal wave heading towards the riders as an amazing speed! The wave crests are horses heads! They crash into the riders and sweep they away down river.

Frodo lets out a yell and falls off the horse, Arwen hovers over him just long enough to see him pass out, Arwen tears up as Frodo passes out, or perhaps he dies…

Frodo awakens to see Gandalf sitting before him smoking a pipe in Rivendell. He has been healed by the Elf Elrond and is now in his home.

Rivendell is a wondrous place, in all honesty it was not how I pictured Rivendell to be, it was much more open than the idea of it in my mind, it was really in tune with nature. With it’s large open archways, vast balconies, and terraces. I pictured Rivendell as this giant house of white marble and gold, but when you think about it, where else would an elf live? If he wanted a home why wouldn’t it be open to the forest where they feel comfortable?

The Council of Elrond scene was one of the highlights of the film, we are introduced to Boromir in this scene, and there is no illusion as to his wishes. There is a long debate about the ring, what must be done, and how it would be achieved. When Boromir raises the idea of using the ring, Aragorn opposes it, Boromir asks ‘what does a ranger know of such things’ with such a distaste in his mouth you can see the tension in the air.

Legolas leaps to his feet to defend Aragorn, giving him his full name and birth right, and Boromir looks at him in wonder, and a new light ‘YOU are Isildur’s heir? And the rightful king of Gondor…Gondor needs no king, the Stewarts have taken care of its people for hundreds of years’.

The real tension between Boromir and Aragorn is, in my opinion MORE fleshed out in the movie than the book, I really felt the conflict between these two characters. How would you feel if suddenly you came face to face with the person who is destined to replace you as the heir to a land that your father, grandfather and great-grandfather ruled? To know that you will not have that honor, and to know that your family’s reign is over? You’d naturally hate that other person. And Aragorn knows it, he tells Legolas to calm himself and sit down (in elvish! Gotta love it!).

Gimli makes his case for not keeping the ring in Rivendell, why trust the elves? What good are they? Legolas again stands and insists that dwarves would fare no better with the ring, and indeed, would most likely be more tempted to use it. Boromir again tries to convince them to give the ring to Gondor…and suddenly there is pandemonium…all are shouting, screaming and debating…amid the chaos..Frodo stands..

‘I will take the ring..’

No one hears him


Total silence…

‘Though….(long pause, this is an AMAZING PAUSE!!!)..I do not know the way’

It is of course decided that Frodo would bare this ring, and take it to mount Doom, and destroy it. Sam insists on joining him in this quest, Gimli and Legolas will represent their people as well, Aragorn pledges his allegiance, and Boromir will go to represent the people in the south, Gandalf will lead them, Merry and Pippin insist on going, all are agreed.

‘Right,’ says Pippin ‘Where are we going?’

The Fellowship move out, here we finally see the long road ahead of them, they travel for many miles and see many different landscapes, and there is a brush with a large flock of birds, in a great scene.

Saruman, through his many spies and foul creatures, learns of the company’s plan to go by Red Horn Pass, Saruman travels to the top of Orthanc and summons all the winds and lightening he can to bury the company in mountains of snow. We see a great shot of Legolas walking on the snow, with the rest of the company left neck deep in it.

The company makes its way back down and into moria (I’m not going to give EVERYTHING away to you am I!) suffice it to say the watcher in the water scene is magnificent. When they enter Moria and see the dead dwarf bodies all around, Boromir exclaims ‘This isn’t a mine…it’s tomb’.

Moria…how can you explain perfection? It was amazing! In one set you get a feeling of claustrophobia and a sense of the grand vastness that was dug into the mountains as well. The large halls were enormous! The sounds, look and feel of Moria was impressive. The only complaint is that it goes by way too fast! They are supposed to be there for 4 days, yet the pace makes it feel as if they are there for only 1 day. I would have preferred a small scene where they are huddled together in rest, and Gimli would tell them a tale of Moria of old, during it’s grand height, when Elves and Dwarves are friendly and Moria was a wonderful city.

We are given great glimpses into this mine/city…and we soon find Balin’s tomb..Gimli is devastated to find it..and the company pays its respects, when Gandalf finds the journal detailing the battle with the Orcs..

This is where we see that scene from the TV special, with the Orcs and the Cave Troll…This scene is really well done, the battle lasts a lot longer that the scene from the TV clip, they battle all the orcs and goblins that make their way into the room, and the Cave troll is this giant menacing creature with his eyes on Frodo. The Troll manages to knock Aragorn out for a moment and lunges his spear at Frodo, impaling him, here is another scene where we think Frodo is dead. Merry and Pippin loose all their fear of the creature and jump on it’s back in anger. Legolas lets off a round of extremely well placed arrows and the creature falls to the ground dead.

Frodo slowly opens his eyes to the amazement of his companions, and he reveals the mithril shirt that Bilbo gave to him in Rivendell.

More orcs are on their way, it’s time to run! The company makes it close to the Bridge of Khazad-Dun, but they are too high to reach it, they need to climb down a series of extremely steep steps to get to it. And something is coming that is so huge it shakes the entire mine, and the stairs start to crumble and fall beneath their feet!

After an amazing leap by Aragorn carrying Frodo, they make it to the bridge…but it is too late, whatever this giant thing is, it is coming for them. Gandalf makes them all cross the bridge, as he prepares for battle.

The Balrog…the balrog…THE FREAKING BALROG!!! I’ve seen it before, I must admit to you now…some folks at WETA Workshop handed me these photos of the Balrog and close-up of the Balrog’s face a while back. But this was the REAL Balrog…his skin was lava..cooling on the surface with red-hot lava breaking through beneath it…it lumbered down the large hall…and wings or no wings?

It had wings! But they seemed small and underused…almost burnt..or something like Tyrannosaurus Rex’s arms. They are there but serve very little purpose.

But it’s eyes! It’s horns and mouth! It lets out a mammoth roar! And the heat from it’s mouth what tangible in the theatre! I swear to god I lost some eyebrow hair during that shot.

Gandalf takes his deathly fall…and the next clip just had me going…

Elijah Wood you acting bastard genius you!!!

The look, body language and yell let out by this 20 year old is enough to bring your soul to a standstill..Frodo Baggins just saw one of his best friends die right before his eyes…it truly is one of the best scenes in the film, you just need to SEE it, if only just for that!!

The next scene just outside moria really tugs at your heartstrings, all the hobbits are crying, they’re devastated, Shores score really shines at this moment, the lament for Gandalf is tangible here, this isn’t a ‘maybe he’ll return’ death scene, we know he’s gone, it’s over, Gandalf is dead.

Aragorn is the first to come out of his reverie and tells the Hobbits to get up and start walking

Boromir, showing a love for the haflings begs for pity on the Hobbits, and let them grieve…but they must move on, and to Lothlorien, Aragorn thinks the lady of the Golden wood may help them.

Lorien, everything I pictured it to be, some of it was lacking and some of it was very different that how I pictured it, but yet again I liked it. The scenes in Lorien are rather short, again I know this is for time. I know that they filmed the scenes where Galadriel gives her gifts to each of the fellowship, we’ve seen it in trailers and in some pictures. But it was missing from the film, a victim of time. We do see, however, Galadriel giving Frodo his gift, this is obviously because it is used in a large degree in future films.

What was different was PJ’s take on Galadriel, we know that many people in Middle-earth fear her, and that she is truly beautiful yet horrible at the same time. Jackson and Blanchett really play on this theme, Galadriel seems to know she is feared by many, and uses that to some degree…the tone and manner of her speak is of a person who knows all and is only holding back her terrible powers out of her own free will.

The mirror of Galadriel scene has a new take that I seemed to enjoy, yet others I speak to did not seem to like it. So try and look out for that.

The Fellowship make their way down to Anduin to the pillars of the kings, what an amazing site…these gigantic stone pillars, truly amazing, you really get the sense that this is something awesome! I loved it.

I’m not going to review the end of the film, because I want you to experience it for yourselves. I know we all KNOW how it’s going to end, but you haven’t seen it yet, and this is where the real joy of watching this film, is the fact that you are WATCHING the whole thing take place. It truly is amazing. And yes…there is Orc dismemberment..and even decapitation…Highlander style…

How much did I love this movie? Well my butt was numb at the end of it, I was tired, hungry and my neck was sore…but I wanted to stick around and watch it again! It truly is a wonder to behold, I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life. And I’ve lived, breathed, eaten and slept this film for almost 3 years, so you cannot get any higher expectations than that!

I will be writing a whole lot more about this soon, and I do apologize for the delay, it takes me a long time to form all my thoughts, emotions and love for this piece of work, the books and the film into text.

Thanks you PJ, WETA, New Line and everyone for this amazing piece of cinema history.

my room is a LOTR shrine

Middle-earth spreads to four corners of the planet
DarthCaeser @ 1:49 pm EST

Middle-earth spreads to four corners of the planet

~ The Lord of the Rings set to reach over 150 million-strong mobile community ~

Helsinki, 11th December, 2001: Mobile phone users worldwide now have direct access to the fantasy world of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ via their handsets.

In the final count down to New Line Cinema’s eagerly-awaited December 19 film launch, Riot Entertainment (RIOT-E, www.riot-e.com), the global leader in wireless entertainment, has joined forces with some of the world's largest mobile operators with exclusive deals to deliver the range of services.

RIOT-E's mobile ‘The Lord of the Rings’ services will be available to subscribers across the four continents of Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The unique mobile services bring alive the mysteries of Middle-earth and the characters' journeys in an innovative, entertaining way. Fans of the trilogy can play single or multi-player games and test their ‘The Lord of the Rings’ knowledge using SMS and WAP. They can also personalise their handsets with a variety of original ‘The Lord of the Rings’ picture messages, logos, ringtones and phonecovers.

"The global appeal of ‘The Lord of The Rings’ mobile services has proven that wireless entertainment based on well-loved, traditional forms of media can attract operators to offer value-added services for their customers. In addition, content owners are presented with a new promotional tool that reaches target segments at a low cost while the consumer themselves receive compelling services they really want based on brands, characters and events they already love, " said Jan Wellmann, CEO at RIOT-E.

"In this way we can tap into the communities of dedicated ‘The Lord of the Rings’ followers, as well as helping to create a whole new fan base. The various deals we have signed mean we can now offer our services to over 150 million people. By providing interactive ‘The Lord of The Rings’ mobile entertainment services, we can help to ensure that a whole new generation can now enjoy this classic creation," he continued.

About Riot Entertainment Ltd (www.riot-e.com)
Founded in February 2000, Riot Entertainment immediately established itself as the most innovative publisher, creator and distributor of entertainment in the wireless sector. RIOT-E provides wireless entertainment, communication and commerce to mobile users worldwide. Games created by RIOT-E are promoted and co-branded in parallel with highly visible international media releases such as movies, TV shows and sports events. RIOT-E has successfully launched its Bridget Jones's Diary and X-Men mobile services with operators in Europe and Asia and has secured exclusive rights to mobile content based on Guinness World Records and New Line Cinema's The Lord of The Rings film trilogy. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, RIOT-E employs 70 people worldwide.

About New Line Cinema (www.newline.com)
Founded in 1967, New Line Cinema is the entertainment industry's leading independent producer and distributor of theatrical motion pictures. New Line licenses its films to ancillary markets including cable and broadcast television as well as to international venues. The company, which is a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner Inc., operates several divisions including in-house theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, television, acquisitions, production, licensing and merchandising units.

PJ On The Big Breakfast
Xoanon @ 11:43 am EST

From: Aelinwen

Today was Peter's turn to be seen on the Big Breakfast. I guess all the interviews were on the same day(filmed at the London premier maybe?) but screened one at a time.

He came and sat down, he looked tired, actually, poor lamb, as if he'd had an evening of interviews already.

Then they showed the film clip with the burning envelope and Gandalf's insistance that Frodo should take the ring from the tongs.

Ed Wood told him not to worry, this wasn't going to be like all the other interviews, Peter was going to play 'Board of the Rings' to prevent him from getting bored rigid. Peter looked a bit wary, but the game, when explained, is harmless enough ( A big board, with rings attached that operate doors to reveal a question. )

Peter picks a ring, pulls it. His first question is, 'Orc all about it' A film rumour topic. A lot of rumours had been circulation before production began and after filming got started, but which, in Peter's opinion, had been the craziest?

He said that the most bizarre, by a long shot had been the 'Sam as a girl' story. People had thought it was odd to make a film where there were men with men..wasn't that..a bit...yanno? ( I'm quoting here)

No, said Peter, the film is about friendship. He explained hat this theme came from Tolkien's experience in the WWI where most of his classmates died, only two friends still alive at the end of the war. He said the film looks at male relationships based on friendships and stress.

He then pulled another ring, chose, 'What's up the wizard's sleeve.' He wasn't asked a question but was allowed to choose a prize out of the sack. He yelped, saying something bit him and then fished out a Gandalf. A big, 12" Gandalf. 'Oh' he exclaimed, and began stroking the doll, sorry, action figure's hair. 'I've got an Ian McKellen, Look at his little Shakespearian face!' He was clearly delighted, all tiredness gone.

Like a hobbit, really, ready to bounce back...

Media Watch: Sunday Morning Herald
Xoanon @ 11:35 am EST

Matt O sent us these scans from the Sunday Morning Herald.

Media Watch: Fangoria Magazine
Xoanon @ 11:07 am EST

Ranger of the North sends us this Viggo Mortensen interview.

Media Watch: Fangoria Magazine
Xoanon @ 10:55 am EST

Ranger of the North sends us these scans from 'Fangoria Magazine'.

John Rhys-Davies Chat On AOL
Xoanon @ 12:42 am EST

Question: Can you give us a brief background of your character Gimli?

JRDI play Gimli the dwarf who is fierce loyal, brave, and he is about four feet in height!

Question: Has Gimli rubbed off on you in any way?

JRD: Yes of course. I found the inner dwarve and he lives with me all the time!

Question: What was it like working with Peter Jackson?

JRD: Peter Jackson is a director of genis and he has made a masterpeice after being in New Zealand in two weeks I am proud to say I was the first person to say that we are making a masterpeice, a film bigger than Star Wars. When you look back in time this film will be in your list of top ten of all times!

LIVEJessicaMae: Wow! I can't wait to see it! Did any antics or pranks go on behind the scenes?

JRD: Ha Ha Ha! In 14 months with high spirited hobbits of course there were pranks. Of course we worked very hard, days were always 12 hours and generally 13 to 15 hours. That does leave some time for play, but largely you are preparing the next day. That said, we all had time to go bungy jumping and parachuting! I bought five boots myself and I can't wait to go back!

LIVEJessicaMae: Sounds like fun! How would you describe Middle-Earth?

JRD: Middle Earth is New Zealand and New Zealand is Middle Earth. I urge all viewers to go to New Zealand. It is a fabulous place.

LIVEJessicaMae: RonZ28 would like to know, Which of your co-stars was your favorite to work with?

JRD: They were all magical. Every single one was just superb! I learnt from my old friend Chis Lee, who is now 79. and from my new friend, Elijah Wood, who is now 20. All of them are fabulous people!

LIVEJessicaMae: Here's the question that everyone seems to be asking, I've heard that the fellowship all got matching tattoos. Where are they located and what's the meaning behind them?

JRD: The fellowship decided after a drunken evening in Queenstown which I was not present for. It was designed around the elfen symbol for mine. Wise actors always let their stunt double be involved with blood. Nine tattoos were made, however, you will have to ask my stunt double where it is! :)

LIVEJessicaMae: LOL RowBot40 is wondering, Have you read all of the books?

JRD: I hadn't before I started doing the film, but I did read them a couple of times during the course of making the films. I agree now that Tolkiens work is a remarkable peice of fiction for the later half of the 20 Century.

LIVEJessicaMae: Yes, I have to agree with you John. I love the books. I'm curious to know, Which scene from the movie is your favorite? In this movie, it would be Boromir’s death. Do you have a favorite line and character?

JRD: You mean what is the line I am going to be deviled with? "Nobody tosses a dwarf!" I think all the characters are so magical, I love Frodo and Gandolf and Liv Tyler is just so great in her role! And Chistopher Lee's performance is just staggering! He has all the energy he had at age 25 and it is just a tour de force performance!

LIVEJessicaMae: CraNKs asks, What can we expect from the sequels?

JRD: Well, as I like to say, if you are impressed by this one, you haven't seen anything yet. Peter Jackson is a great director working in absolutely perfect conditions and in top form! By the time these three movies are put together you will realize that these are one of the best works of film of all time!

LIVEJessicaMae: Here's an interesting question from Ring9Lord, If you could keep one prop from the movie, what would you pic?

JRD: I have the most valuable prop, the memories. I guess I would take one of the double headed axes! Those from Balins Tomb. But you know since we will have a lot of reshooting to do all the props will have to be there. I understand that on EBay there is a Ring from the production there (supposedly).

LIVEJessicaMae: Elijah has the true ring right?

JRD: I can tell you that this is NOT true! If Elijah said it then it is true. I know that the EBay ring is not true.

LIVEJessicaMae: Here's a few personal questions from our adoring audience, Do you believe in true love?

JRD: Frequently!

Question: What's your worst habit?

JRD: It would be hard to pick my worst habit from so many. Uh, but ... ha ha ha ... my worst habit ... All our lives are habits in a way :) My worst habit is never actually learning how to catch fish properly. I have always intended to put time aside to learn how to do that properly.

LIVEJessicaMae: Scooty would like to know, Do you have any other projects coming up?

JRD: Well I do actually, I was talking to a director about a project in Bolgaria. But I hate talking about projects that are not signed and sealed and then they don't happen for some reason and then you look like a liar. I believe I will be destined to play dwarves for the rest of my life! So I should be a shoo in for the next Snow White.

LIVEJessicaMae: lol, haha Here's another great question from one of our members, What has been the defining moment in your career? Was probably being cast in Shogun. By a marvolous casting director, Mort Spector. Was the filming of 'LOTR' somewhat of a personal journey for you at all?

JRD: No I am a professional actor I learn to play what I am to play. When it is over I leave it behind.

Question: If you weren't acting, what would you be doing?

JRD: I would be writing. If I wasn't writing, I would be directing. If I wasn't any of those three I would be a mechanic engineer.

LIVEJessicaMae: Thornsonarose13 asks, How did it feel to move to New Zealend for 16 months, and adapt to a totally new life style?

JRD: Liberating! I cannot emphasize how beautiful New Zealand is and how wonderful the people are. Go see the country for yourselves. I think that 3 of 5 households have a boat. Their actual standard of living is lower than Britain today. Their quality of life surpasses that of any country I have ever worked in. Wonderful country, wonderful people, I can't wait to get back!

LIVEJessicaMae: wizardgenius427 asks, how was it being in the movie and all the weird makeup?

JRD: Well you have to understand seeing Hobits get their makeup on was not riviting. It was rather silly seeing their big hairy feet. I had a full prothetic face so much of me can't be seen. For those interested, the beard was made a yak hair, which I believe came from the behind! My makeup people were brilliant but it took much time to put it on. Months into it I developed a reaction to the makeup and could have the makeup put on for at least three days. (Couldn't have the makeup put on). I don't look forward to that again.

LIVEJessicaMae: Yak hair, that sounds like a lot of fun ;-) JHawkinsB would like to know: Does the movie have most of the contents of the book or did it leave some scenes out?

JRD: It is hard to make even three films, which is nearly 9 hours, maybe over 9 hours, from 1000 pages. Lots of good stuff had to be left out. But the writers decided that the core was Frodo's journey with the Ring and that is what we stuck with. I think fans are going to miss a preferred moment from the book, but the response I've heard so far that the film is remarkable and definitely Tolkien!

LIVEJessicaMae: Here's a question from Tigre042, How close did you get to the other cast members?

JRD: The great thing about being an actor is being on the set and getting to know the people on the set. I missed out on much of that because I spent half my working day in makeup and touch ups and sitting very still in my trailer until the time I was needed. So I missed out on that camaradre. That was rather sad. Once I really started developing a reaction to the makeup, it made me gun shy so I kept to myself and didn't go to dinner much. Spent time by myself, trying to heal. The time I did spend with the cast was absolutely enjoyful!

LIVEJessicaMae: John you are such a hard worker! We all appreciate your sacrifice for the film! Darkwater26 is wondering, What do you like best about Gimli, what drew you to the roll?

JRD: Nothing drew me to the role! Peter Jackson saw me as Gimli. I was astonished when he offered to me and I didn't really want to play it. My eldest son said I was nuts if I turned this down. He is a fan of Tolkien. He tried to tell me of the potential audience for the film. It is hard for an actor to get his face known and you are going to do a movie under a ton of makeup. That is tough. Nothing really drew me to Gimli. However, having done it I find him to be a marvelous character.

LIVEJessicaMae: I'm sad to say that we are out of time.! Thanks for stopping by to chat with us John.

JRD: Thank you for your great support for all of us in the making of this film. It is a labor of love for us all. I think this will be the biggest film of all time. Go and see the movie, at least twice! I think you will need it the second time so you can concentrate on the detail. If you are in the cinima and there is no great cheer at the end, it will be because people are stunned! But I guarantee this, 99% of that audience will come back and see the movie of again. Regards and Best wishes to you all and Merry Christmas to you all!

LIVEJessicaMae: We can't wait to see the movie on the 19th! Come back and see us soon!

City Embraces Hobbit Habit
Xoanon @ 12:22 am EST

Ringer Spy JS sends us this article from 'The Middle-earth Times', NZ :)

12-17-01 Latest News

TV Watch: The Daily Show
Xoanon @ 11:55 pm EST

Elijah Wood (Frodo) was on 'The Daily Show With John Stewart' tonight. John went of on a tangent even before Elijah was on the couch, mentioning how he and Elijah were both short, and that Elijah was in fact in his pocket right now. Check out these pics.

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 9:51 pm EST

Decipher Goes To The Movies!
There is a good chance that the first time you experience The Lord of the Rings™: The Fellowship of the Ring™ on the big screen, you will get some free The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game cards. [More]

Six new LOTR TCG card images added, all centering around Orcs and the Sauron culture. [More]

The Lord of the Rings™ TCG Help Clinic
Part 2 - Assignment
: There are many strategic elements to Decipher's The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game. Possibly the most important happens in the assignment phase. [More]

The Lord of the Rings™ TCG Expanded Rulebook [More]

A new note on strategy concerning the Elven deck of death Lord of the Rings design. [More]

LA Tolkien Fans Unite!
Calisuri @ 5:58 pm EST

TolkienOnline and TheOneRing.net would like to invite all Los Angeles Tolkien fans to join us for a day of fun and enjoyment as we line up for the worldwide release of Fellowship of the Ring.

Our two websites are combining resources to bring the Los Angeles fans some amazing prizes and special guests. Among the highlights:

Sideshow/WETA Collectibles will be sending a special messenger throughout the day to bring the line party participants special prizes. Among the rumoured prizes are Sideshow/WETA busts, helms, statues and other surprise items.

Decipher Gaming will also be in attendance with special offers. Win copies of the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, posters, postcards and much more! There will also be a demonstration on how to play throughout the day.

The party starts at 8am Tuesday morning on CityWalk at Universal Studios, so don't be late. You will need to be in attendance and get a raffle ticket to be eligible for the prizes.

See you in line!

LA Tolkien fans Unite!
Calisuri @ 5:35 pm EST

TolkienOnline and TheOneRing.net would like to invite all Los Angeles Tolkien fans to join us for a day of fun and enjoyment as we line up for the worldwide release of Fellowship of the Ring.

Our two websites are combining resources to bring the Los Angeles fans some amazing prizes and special guests. Among the highlights:

Sideshow/WETA Collectibles will be sending a special messanger throughout the day, bearing loads of gifts. Among the prizes given to those in attendence will be Sideshow/WETA buts, helms, statues and other special prizes.

Decipher Gaming will also be in attendence with special offers. Check out at demo of the Lord of the Rings Trading Card game, prizes, posters, postcards, books and loads of information.

The party starts at 8am Tuesday morning on CityWalk, so don't be late. You will need to be in attendence and get a raffle ticket to be elligible for the prizes.

See you there!

WETA Exhibit In Wellington (AKA Middle-earth)
Xoanon @ 8:40 am EST

From: Soathus

I live in Wellington and just came back from the exhibit featuring props, outfits, swords, helmets, shields and the set miniature of Orthanc at the St. James Theatre in Wellington.

I don't know if you have featured this at all on the site, but I can tell you that I was in total awe of the incredible detail and phenomenal elegance of the props for this film. The exhibit is free and open to the public until the 20th of December. I must have studied Sting for 20 minutes alone. Sting; THE STING there for all to see.

What a privilege to see this amazing display, and to chat with the guys from Weta Workshop who made them! I hope that they tour this exhibit around the world.

Weekend Round-Up
Xoanon @ 1:14 am EST

TV Watch: John Rhys-Davies On 'Mike Bullard'

TV Watch: PJ on 'Mike Bullard'

LOTR: FOTR Top Fantasy Movie say IMDB users

Sweden's Expressen Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Real Life Comic Strip Does Lord Of The Rings

Europolitan Vodafone Lord Of The Rings Subsite

Jim Rygiel Interview From Espy Magazine

Slant Magazine Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

Advanced Mexican Screenings For Public

Rolling Stone Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

Tolkien's Readings Of Books Available Streamed

News From The Philippines

Media Watch: PAX TV

LOTR:FOTR Premiere in Singapore

Hall of Fire Chats for December 15th & 16th

A Night To Remember

Canadian LOTR Premiere Report

More London Premiere Pics!

McKellen Updates 'Grey Book'

NetApp trumpets "Lord of the Rings" work

MuchMusic LOTR Event Cancelled

TV Watch: MTV's TRL Review

Viggo Mortensen: A method actor in Middle-earth

One Film To Rule Them All


Latest Newsletter is Away!

Ravenskeep LARPs at The Netherlands Premiere

Göteborgs Posten Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

Norwegian Screening Report

Norway's Dagbladet Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

Norway's TV2 Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

ESmas and Cinepolis Lord Of The Rings Competition

FOTR Mention On Saturday Night Live

Skaters Use Soundtrack On The Ice

Official Site: Dwarves Guide & Making Of Moria

Enya's May It Be Available In WinMedia And Quicktime

Atari 2600 Lord Of The Rings Discovered

BSkyB Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

Petition For Peter Jackson To Produce Episode III

Waterstone Glasgow Fellowship of the Ring Event

PBS Shows Tolkien Documentary

Media Watch: Entertainment Weekly

Filming Three Tales at Once? A Little Madness Helps

One ring to rule them all

Sir Ian Holm 'in cancer scare'

Chocolate Easter Frodo?

Best Score: LOTR:FOTR

AFI Benefit Screening in LA Today

Tolkien Humor Section Wants Your Input!

Gandalf Rules, AOL Drools?

Mad TV Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

Denmark's Bogart Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

One Man's Travels In The Land Of Mordor

Lord Of The Rings Special On ITV Tonight

Mock Tolkien Interview From The Afterlife

LotR Jewelry Maker Website

Tolkien Trail Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring

How Star Wars Made Possible Marketing Middle-Earth

AWESOME Cave Troll Pics From Wellington

Jasmine Watson: Jeweler For Middle-earth

TheStar.com & Canoe.ca Go LOTR Mad

Media Watch: The Evening Post

Awww...Aint That Sweet

Film Sparks Behind-The-Scenes Fan-Demonium

NYC LOTR Premiere Pics!

New Zealand: Gorgeous movie co-star

What what? No Takers?

Media Watch: The NZ Listener

Wellington becomes Middle Earth

Ian McKellen Talks New Zealand

Weekly Cast Watch

Weekly Ebay Items

12-16-01 Latest News

Weekly Cast Watch
Xoanon @ 11:09 pm EST

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)

28 Days (2000) UK
Walk on the Moon, A (1999) UK
Vanishing Point (1997) (TV)
Portrait of a Lady, The (1996) UK
Prophecy, The (1995)
Young Americans, The (1993)
Ruby Cairo (1993)
Young Guns II (1990)
Witness (1985)

Liv Tyler (Arwen)

One Night at McCool's (2001)
Plunkett & Macleane (1999) UK
Onegin (1999) UK
Can't Hardly Wait (1998) UK
U Turn (1997) UK
Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
Stealing Beauty (1996)
That Thing You Do! (1996)

Ian Holm (Bilbo)

Joe Gould's Secret (2000)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998) (TV)
Night Falls on Manhattan (1997) UK
King Lear (1997) (TV) UK
Loch Ness (1995) UK
Another Woman (1988)
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) UK
All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) (TV)
Alien (1979) UK
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) UK
Fixer, The (1968) UK

Sean Bean (Boromir)

Essex Boys (2000)
Ronin (1998) UK
Black Beauty (1994) UK
Stormy Monday (1988)

Martyn Sanderson (Bree Gatekeeper)

Ned Kelly (1970)

John Noble (Denethor)

Airtight (1999) (TV) UK

Peter Mackenzie (Elendil)

Chill Factor (1999) UK
Off Limits (1988)

Hugo Weaving (Elrond)

Matrix, The (1999) UK
Interview, The (1998)
Babe: Pig in the City (1998) UK
Babe (1995) UK
Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994) UK

Miranda Otto (Eowyn)

What Lies Beneath (2000) UK
Doing Time for Patsy Cline (1997)

Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Faculty, The (1998) UK
Good Son, The (1993)
Forever Young (1992) UK
Radio Flyer (1992)
Paradise (1991)
Internal Affairs (1990) UK
Back to the Future Part II (1989) UK

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)

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

Ian McKellen (Gandalf)

X-Men (2000)
Apt Pupil (1998) UK
Gods and Monsters (1998) UK
Bent (1997)
Jack and Sarah (1995)
Restoration (1995)
To Die for (1994) UK
Last Action Hero (1993)
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
And the Band Played On (1993) (TV)
Scandal (1989)
Keep, The (1983) UK
Touch of Love, A (1969) UK
Alfred the Great (1969) UK

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Cats Don't Dance (1997) UK
Great White Hype, The (1996)
Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996) (V) UK
Stargate (1994) UK
Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter, The (1993)
Tusks (1990)
Gifted One, The (1989) (TV)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) UK
Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) (TV)
Victor/Victoria (1982) UK
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) UK
Sphinx (1981) UK
Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, A (1979)

Andy Serkis (Gollum)

Topsy-Turvy (1999) UK
Stella Does Tricks (1997)

Harry Sinclair (Isildur)

Braindead (1992) UK

Bruce Spence (Mouth of Sauron)

Munsters' Scary Little Christmas, The (1996) (TV)
Sweet Talker (1991)
Rikky and Pete (1988)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) UK
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) UK

Sean Astin (Sam)

Kimberly (1999)
Icebreaker (1999)
Deterrence (1999) UK
Dish Dogs (1998)
Low Life, The (1994/I)
Encino Man (1992) UK
Toy Soldiers (1991) UK
Memphis Belle (1990)
War of the Roses, The (1989) UK
Staying Together (1989)
Like Father, Like Son (1987)
Goonies, The (1985)

Christopher Lee (Saruman)

Sleepy Hollow (1999) UK
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Last Unicorn, The (1982)
Serial (1980)
1941 (1979)
Arabian Adventure (1979) UK
Return from Witch Mountain (1978) UK
Three Musketeers, The (1973)
Creeping Flesh, The (1973) UK
Death Line (1972) UK
Horror Express (1972) UK
Julius Caesar (1970) UK
One More Time (1970)
Theatre of Death (1967)
Gorgon, The (1964) UK
Hound of the Baskervilles, The (1959) UK
Traitor, The (1957) UK
Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) UK
Scott of the Antarctic (1948)

Brian Sergent (Ted Sandyman)

Braindead (1992) UK
Meet the Feebles (1989) UK

Bernard Hill (Theoden)

True Crime (1999) UK
Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1999) UK
Loss of Sexual Innocence, The (1999) UK
Titanic (1997)
Shirley Valentine (1989)
Gandhi (1982) UK

Brad Dourif (Wormtongue)

Ghost, The (2000)
Shadow Hours (2000)
Storytellers, The (1999) UK
Bride of Chucky (1998) UK
Color of Night (1994)
Amos & Andrew (1993)
Child's Play 3 (1991)
Jungle Fever (1991)
Body Parts (1991)
Mississippi Burning (1988) UK

Jim Rygiel (SFX)

Anna and the King (1999)
Cliffhanger (1993)
Last Action Hero (1993)
Batman Returns (1992)
Alien³ (1992)
Ghost (1990)
Last Starfighter, The (1984)

Howard Shore (Composer)

High Fidelity (2000)
Cell, The (2000)
Dogma (1999)
Analyze This (1999)
Game, The (1997)
Cop Land (1997)
That Thing You Do! (1996)
Se7en (1995)
Moonlight and Valentino (1995)
M. Butterfly (1993)
Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
Postcards from the Edge (1990)
She-Devil (1989)
Big (1988)
Moving (1988)
Nadine (1987)
Fly, The (1986)
After Hours (1985)
Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)
Places in the Heart (1984)
Brood, The (1979)

Peter Jackson (Director)

Braindead (1992)
Meet the Feebles (1989)

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

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

Media Watch: The NZ Listener
Xoanon @ 10:27 pm EST

Ringer Spy Delwyn sends in these scans from the latest issue of The NZ Listener.

Media Watch: The Evening Post
Xoanon @ 7:44 pm EST

Ringer Spy John sends us these scans from The Evening Post:

TheStar.com & Canoe.ca Go LOTR Mad
Xoanon @ 7:19 pm EST

Delekhan sends in these links from TheStar.com and Canoe.ca, the entire world seems obsessed by LOTR madness!!

Fighting men [great article on Viggo Mortenson and Sean Bean]

Director immersed in hobbit world

Elijah Wood feels lucky as Frodo Baggins

The canoe.ca site has a boatload of new articles on its LOTR section:

How the trilogy came to life

Elijah Wood held to high standard as Frodo

Lord of the Rings by the numbers

Harry Who?

'LOTR' role was a thrill for Ian McKellen

Denmark's Bogart Reviews Fellowship Of The Ring
Strider @ 2:45 pm EST

Haarfager sends in this report on the Bogart television program that was on Danish television.

The other night there was a 'Bogart'-special (Bogart is a show about new films whwre they don't rate the films by giving thm stars. They get hats! (Like Bogart's hat in 'Casablanca'). They had a critic from a newspaper who was a sceptic before he saw the film. They had the chairman of the Danish Tolkien Society and they had a 'film expert' (the former critic on 'Bogart' who can be quite a tough reviewer). The newspaper guy loved the film as a supplement to the books. He gave Harry Potter a hard time when he compared the two. The Tolkien Society guy (who seemed a bit nerdish) liked the film but missed the peace that is found in the books (Rivendell, Lorien etc). The 'expert' absolutely loved the films.

They showed the clips of Frodo and Gandalf in Moria, Strider in Bree, Boromir on Caradhras, Gandalf and Frodo in Bag End, Frodo's 'leap for life' to the ferry and the trailer as we know it + a few interviews. It was a well made show, though the Tolkien Society guy really didn't give the impression that fans of LOTR are anything but nerds. Generally the reviews have been five thumbs up for LOTR:FOTR!!! (And I've got tickets for the 19th...)

Holiday Greetings From TheOneRing.net
Strider @ 1:15 pm EST

With the release of the Fellowship of the Ring, it's easy to forget about the more important things in life like friends, family and loved ones. If anything, the events that took place near the end of this year reminded everyone just how important it is to love and be loved by the cherished people around you while you still can, something which the spirit of the Holiday is about. This season, TheOneRing.net hopes that no matter what religion you believe in or what race you are, that you have a happy holiday and find joy not only in Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring, but with life and the people you spend your Holiday with. Seasons Greetings to each and every human being out there, and many happy returns.

TheOneRing.net Staff

[ TheOneRing.net Staff ]

Sir Ian Holm 'in cancer scare'
Xoanon @ 12:10 pm EST

Sir Ian Holm, one of Britain's most-respected actors, has flown to America for urgent treatment after a cancer scare, according to reports.

The 70-year-old, who appears in the forthcoming Lord of the Rings film as the hobbit Bilbo, is undergoing treatment for a prostate condition, according to The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

The paper reports that he underwent an operation in the summer.

His agent, Tor Belfridge, told the newspaper: "He is not in the country. He is currently in America receiving treatment. It is a personal matter."

We at TheOneRing.net wish him and his family all the best in these hard times.

Filming Three Tales at Once? A Little Madness Helps
Xoanon @ 12:04 pm EST


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — In 1998 we were in pre-preproduction. Film-speak for limbo. Pre-preproduction is the tenuous time before a project is greenlit; before the studio commits to spending real money. This is the most vulnerable period for any film because it's the time when your project is most likely to be put into turnaround. That's film-speak for killed off.

The phone rang. It was Richard Taylor, friend, partner and longtime collaborator. Richard said there was a paint factory in Miramar for sale. A huge space. It would make a fantastic studio, it could be a drive-on lot, there was room enough for two, maybe three stages. In spite of the fact that we couldn't afford it, we went to have a look. The site was impressive; we immediately thought of what we could do — how we could best use the space to build sound stages, props stores, wardrobe and make-up rooms. It was perfect for our needs. There was only one problem — we had no idea if we were making a movie.

What if we went into debt up to our eyeballs, bought the site and the film fell over? It was a scenario too horrible to contemplate, but then this was a building too good to let go. What to do? We climbed the stairs that led to the empty cafeteria. No chairs, just tables, clean counters, a worn and yellowing linoleum floor. Wait! There was one thing — sitting on the table nearest the door, a book, turned over as if someone had just put it down and didn't want to lose his place. We walked over and as we drew closer, things started to feel a little strange because I could now read the title — I could see the words "'The Lord of the Rings' by J. R. R. Tolkien" on the battered front cover, and for a moment we all just stood there. I looked at Richard. I knew now we would buy the factory and that somehow the film would be made.

I first read "The Lord of the Rings" as an adolescent. It's a dense novel, a sprawling, complex monster of a book populated with a prolific number of characters caught up in a narrative structure that, frankly, does not lend itself to conventional storytelling.

Imaginatively, this story is a filmmaker's dream, but translating it to the screen is quite another matter. Nine major characters vying for screen time in a story that has not one key villain, but two (each with different agendas) who have almost identical sounding names, is by no means an ideal screen story scenario. Setting aside for a moment the challenge of distinguishing Saruman from Sauron (both of whom reside in eerily similar tall, dark towers), you are faced with the larger problem of how to be faithful to the world of the story and somehow not send an unitiated audience into information overload.

Not to mention that we were embarking on something never before attempted: making three films at once on a 274-day shooting schedule that required filming 6 days a week in more than 100 locations with more than 20 major speaking roles.

"The Lord of the Rings," published in the mid-1950's, was intended as a prehistory to our own world. It was perceived by Tolkien to be a small but significant episode in a vast alternate mythology constructed entirely out of his own imagination. A British scholar of language, Tolkien drew upon his formidable imaginative and intellectual powers to create a fabric of mythic history spanning many thousands of years. And that became our problem: What to include? And what to leave out? For the telling of this story seemed to offer up endless possibility. As Tolkien says, "The road goes ever on and on," a reference not only to the path we take through life but also, it seems, to the nature of storytelling itself.

It is late 1999 in Queenstown, N.Z., two days after record rainfall caused the worst flooding in the history of the district. We have suffered some setbacks; the weather has stuffed the schedule. Two of the actors, Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom, have been caught between two landslides and are now trapped in a tiny town in the middle of the South Island. They have been taken in by a kindly woman who has offered them food and a bed. They were last reported to be cooking spaghetti and cracking into a bottle of red wine.

We have no choice but to reschedule their scenes. The decision has been made to shoot the lake-shore scenes instead. The location manager shakes his head: "We can't do that." All eyes in the room swivel in his direction as he finishes somewhat apologetically: "The lake is under water."

There were 1,300 people employed on the crew. At the height of this insanity we had seven units shooting multiple elements simultaneously for the three different movies that make up "Lord of the Rings": "The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King." The "video village" was my constant companion on the set. This consisted of a bank of monitors relaying flickering images of indifferent quality, from second units scattered all around the country. Most of our shoot was spent on location in wildly isolated places, and we were completely at the mercy of New Zealand's temperamental weather. There were days when we could not get to a location because of unseasonal snow. There were other days when roads were washed away and sets simply disappeared in overnight floods.

It became a sort of dark expectation that whenever we turned up on a new location the weather would turn bad — and sure enough, the locals would announce: "Hasn't rained like this in 16 years!"

There were moments of absurdity that will stay with me forever. The sight of a velveteen La-Z-Boy armchair suspended in mid-air against a backdrop of towering mountains. Watching as it is slowly lowered on to plush green grass — a field in the middle of nowhere — and John Rhys Davies, lurching gratefully toward it between takes: the only chair wide enough to seat him in full Gimli costume. Or making the long drive back to our accommodations after a hard day of filming on an isolated lake. It is freezing cold, we are all exhausted, night is falling, when suddenly a figure darts across the road in front of us! I could swear that that was Aragorn, or rather Viggo Mortensen, still dressed as the warrior Aragorn, clutching a fishing rod! The figure disappears into some bush. Hours later he returns to the hotel, triumphant with his catch. And then there was the memorable conversation one of our actors had with Geoff Murphy, one of our second-unit directors, when upon asking for some clues as to his character's motivation he was told: "I don't know — just run like a bastard!"

It was always a relief to get inside a studio where shooting conditions were much more controllable, if not always comfortable. Air-conditioning, a vital component on any set for people in heavy costume, arrived in the form of long, snaking hoses that would blast out cool air at ground level. It was, at best, a makeshift measure designed to keep escalating temperatures at bearable levels. Walking behind the Rivendell set one day — the Elven refuge where the fellowship of the ring is actually formed — I was taken aback to find an extra, dressed as a dwarf, with an air-conditioning hose stuck up his tunic. The look of profound relief on his face rapidly changed into one of horror when he realized he was not alone and he quickly extracted himself, blurting out, "It's not what you think!" before making a hasty exit.

There is something inherently comic about spending all day in the company of people wearing false noses, flowing hair and ridiculously long beards. It was not uncommon to see as many as four Gandalfs in wizard regalia roaming around the studio at any one time; Gandalf stunt double, Gandalf stunt rider, Big Gandalf (a seven-foot-plus actor who was used to make our hobbits look three and a half feet tall) and even — on occasion — Ian McKellen himself. This is not taking into account the Gandalf digital double, who took on tasks in the Mines of Moria that mere humans could not expect to survive. Ian was not the only actor to find himself with a virtual "other." All the main cast had their faces scanned and body movements captured by Weta Digital, our New Zealand-based special-effects company, which grew from a staff of 30 to more than 250 during the course of production.

The 14 months it took to film the trilogy could accurately be described as a protracted bout of willful madness. Those who weren't mad going in were close to being certifiable by the end. The sheer length of the shoot and the grinding tiredness that enveloped everyone in those last weeks was a form of suffering akin to that of Frodo, the Hobbit, staggering up the lower slopes of Mount Doom. Dailies would sometimes be four hours long — only the most stoic sat through them. On more than one occasion the pathos of a moving scene would be interrupted by the honking snores of an exhausted crew member who had failed to stay awake.

Throughout all this insanity, the feeling I had when I saw that book on the table in the abandoned paint factory never left me. No matter how close we got to the edge of the abyss (and we got pretty close sometimes), fate, it seems, would always show up. It showed up in the 11th hour after Miramax had put the films into turnaround and Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne at New Line Cinema made the jaw-dropping decision to take control of "Lord of the Rings" and make not two films but three. It showed up when the project landed on the desk of a New Line executive, Mark Ordesky, a longtime fan of the books. And, finally, it showed up when a dream team of actors, along with the veteran producer Barrie Osborne, all said yes, they'd come to New Zealand for 18 months.

If Professor Tolkien wrote the book he wanted to read —we got to make the movies we wanted to see. Fate, hard work, good will and yes — madness — saw us through.

The New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson is the director of "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and is co-writer of the screenplay with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.

Media Watch: Entertainment Weekly
Xoanon @ 11:59 am EST

Cleolinda sends us these two scans from the latest issue of 'Entertainment Weekly'. Check out the Viggo Mortensen Article!

Ravenskeep LARPs at The Netherlands Premiere
Jincey @ 1:47 am EST

Harvester brought news to Barliman's last night of his LARP's good fortune over the past week. His Live Action Role Playing society, [Ravenskeep] (based in The Netherlands), wanted to rent a theater for a showing of FOTR, so they spoke to the local distributor about arrangements. When the distributor found out the group's interests, she got in touch with the overall contact for the movies in The Netherlands, who offered Ravenskeep a gig at the Rotterdam premiere on Tuesday, Dec. 11, as well as an appearance at a Tolkienforum screening in Eden the following day. Costumed members of Ravenskeep met actor John Rhys-Davies at the screening in Rotterdam.

Harvester was ebullient in his praise for FOTR, saying, "This one (movie) will eat you up and spit you out to (see) it over again and again and again...even though you know what will happen...somehow it simply takes you into the realms of beyond." He and his best friend worked very hard to make their costumes, "Lots of latex and work... yet it is so worth it. It's devastating for the body... the costume that is...yet it is so worth it to contribute to the event of all times."

Ravenskeep has 250 players and 30 active crewmembers, according to Harvester. This week members will also appear on Tuesday in Nijmegen and Wednesday (The Day We've All Been Waiting For) in Amsterdam. The LARP society will also be on hand for the premiere of TT in 2002 and ROTK in 2003. When asked if the group was being paid, Harvester replied, "No...we get to see the movie and get some cool goodies... and tons of beer *grin*" Check out these pictures: Harvester as an [orc] and Harvester(r) the orc meets John Rhys-Davies(c) in the bottom picture [here]. Congratulations to Ravenskeep on a job well done!

12-15-01 Latest News

TV Watch: MTV's TRL Review
Xoanon @ 8:32 pm EST

Oregoonie writes: I'm not sure if anyone's talked about some of the cast being on TRL yesterday, so here's my run-down, if you're interested:

Opening scene: Carson Daly standing around looking completely average in every way.

Elijah and Liv came out to Pat Benetar's "The Warrior," Elijah shaking his fists with glee. They talk about NZ and Carson asked them if they ever ate "roo" and Elijah looked stunned and said, "NO!...that's Australia!" Carson asks Liv about her working with all boys and Elijah put his head on her shoulder and she said, "Oh, they're very sweet, I was spoiled rotten!" then they cut to commercial as Liv and Elijah bop each other on the head with their mics.

Back from commercial, bring out the rest of them (Dom pokes audience member in the eye), etc. etc. Carson asks more about New Zealand and Liv says how great the food is. Carson asks, "Eat a lot of sheep?" And Sean says, "33 million sheep in New Zealand, three million people. So it's all about sheep."
Carson: "What does it taste like?"
Sean: "Eh...like chicken!" Then Carson says something about sheep jerky and Sean laughs, "No, no, you don't say jerky. That means something else over there!"

Talked about filming and how close they all got and Sean put his arm through Dom's, very sweet. Elijah said they were all brothers, etc..... I'm glossing over the bits we've heard before. Then Dom apologizes to the girl, "I'd like to apologize to that girl over there, the one in the 'I love NY' shirt..is that NY? Oh, The Calling. Very lovely girl, I poked her in the eye when I came out BANG! oh, sorry!" Then they go down the line, describing their characters (sean, dom, billy, orlando, liv and elijah). Carson starts talking to liv about being the only girl and Orlando says, "But you're a boy-girl," to which she agrees but then says, "But then they would pinch my butt and lift up my dress and do rude things," and laughed. Oh, and Orlando says he has a crush on the Elven princess. And Dom says Merry is the gayest of all hobbits, according to Tolkien, to which Carson asks, "happy or gay?" and Dom says, "Just very happy." Or something along those lines, lol. Then they do the Buckleberry ferry clip.

Back from commercial (and here's where I snipped off a bit, but nothing much) and they do the "how well do you know each other" game. Sean gets the first question ("who's favorite movie is 'Rushmore'?"), which Orlando answers and Dom scolds him, "He said SEAN!" Orlando, "Oh! Oh,did he?" So Sean got that one. Then Billy gets, "Who's favorite food is a Subway meatball sandwich?" To which he answers (in an American accent), "Subway meatball...would that be....Sean Astin?" Right! And Liv goes, "Gee, that was hard!" and Dom goes, "and like...twenty five of them," and Sean says "at a time." Next he asks Elijah who's favorite band is the Beatles, which he answered correctly.

Orlando is next with who's favorite band is the Smashing Pumpkins, which he answered correctly. And last, Dom gets "Who spent most of their time golfing when they weren't filming?" "Sean Astin." Correct! Then Sean says something about how it went well with all the meatball sandwiches.

Back from commercial, they're all standing, Sean in front, Billy, Elijah, Dom, Orlando and Liv behind him, arms around each other. Carson says they get fifteen seconds to talk about the movie, and the honor goes to (who else) Sean. And whilst poor Sean is trying to enlighten the pop-culturally dulled souls of the audience members to the wonders of all that is the Lord of the Rings, his dear friends go mad. Elijah and Dom immediately begin dancing, Orlando mimes shooting his bow, I can't really see what Billy's up to, but you can be sure it's no good. Orlando starts molesting Liv, who dances away back to the safety of the couch. Dom starts strutting around and in front of Sean and bounds back to the couch and jumps on it. Time's up and poor Seanwise is cut off. And there was much rejoicing.

End of interview, the hobbits and elves wave to the audience, hug each other, and wave to the camera.

Media Watch: PAX TV
Xoanon @ 12:29 pm EST

From: Rugby Gimli

At 7pm/6 Central, PAX TV will be bradcasting a show called Good Entertainment, in which they examine family films released this holiday season and whether or not they really are appropriate for the whole family. The Lord of the Rings trailer was featured prominently on the TV spot.

Also, TV Guide has been running an advert on its website saying the following: "Meet the Stars of the Lord of the Rings...Watch Hollywood Insider at the Top of the Hour."

TV Watch: PJ on 'Mike Bullard'
Xoanon @ 2:15 am EST

Peter Jackson was a guest on 'Open Mic with Mike Bullard' tonight. He was of course promoting LOTR:FOTR. Sporting some chaki slacks and an orange polo top, you can basically call that 'dressed up' for the man. I love his clothes sense! :)

Peter was intelligent, candid and witty...the crowd loved him, any mention of his previous works was received with a loud round of applause.

Peter spoke about his journey making these films, and told Mike that there were times where he indeed was frassled by the pressure of the whole thing.

The host joked with him and told him he looks a bit like Harry Potter...and that he has a running bet with his music man on which film will make more money, PJ assured him that LOTR will 'win the bet'.

Peter recounted the casting of Elijah, and how they spent 3 weeks in England looking for the right non-hollywood actor, when a package arrived with a video of Elijah, whom Peter had never heard of, decked out in a 'cheesy' Hobbit suit and a cockney english accent. In that video Peter said he found his Frodo.

Peter also told the tale of Viggo Mortensen and his surfing fiasco. As we all know, the Hobbit boys all became interested in surfing while filming the movies. One day, during the Moria shoot, they convinced Viggo Mortensen to try it, Viggo got a surf board to the face...and Peter was forced to film him from his left side for a few days...look for that during the Moria sequence!!

Here are a few pics:

TV Watch: John Rhys-Davies On 'Mike Bullard'
Xoanon @ 1:48 am EST

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) was on 'Open Mic with Mike Bullard' tonight. John was as lively and sarcastic as ever. He mentioned that the airline hostess mistaked him for Pavarotti, and that he was once mistaken for Mr. T. He also mentioned how he loved New Zealand, and that New Zealand salmon was almost as good as its Canadian counterpart.

He demonstrated how he was on his knees plenty of time during the production. And how he fell flat on his face a few times while fighting. He also spoke about his time on Indiana Jones, and how he adores Pter Jackson.

Here are a few pics for you:

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