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February 27, 2001 - March 07, 2001

3-07-01 Latest News

Who IS Karl Urban?
Tehanu @ 10:28 pm EST

The February/March edition of New Zealand’s leading fashion and lifestyle magazine ‘Pavement’ contained one of the best interviews available with Karl Urban, soon to star as Eomer. Pavement magazine has kindly allowed me to quote from them; all unattributed quotes are the words of Melanie Cooper, who wrote the story for Pavement.

'Rings' fans have spent a lot of energy discussing the merits of the film trilogy's casting and it must be slightly frustrating for TORN's visitors to form a picture of the lesser-known actors who only have a local track-record. Although he’s about to be seen internationally in Harry Sinclair’s farmer fairytale ‘The Price of Milk,’ outside of NZ Karl Urban is a relatively unknown actor up until now. Those actors may be enjoying their last year of relative anonymity, knowing that once 'The Fellowship of the Ring' comes out, they won't be able to walk down any street in the world without being hailed.

Pavement's interview with Urban coincides with the international release of two New Zealand films that Urban stars in, Harry Sinclair's "The Price of Milk" and Glenn Standring's "The Irrefutable Truth about Demons." However Urban has been well-known in NZ for the past ten years. He grew up around film, with a mother who worked in a Wellington production company during the first flare-up of the NZ film industry. He entered the profession seriously at 18 doing the almost-inevitable apprenticeship on Kiwi soap Shortland St. ("...not the place to pick up the finer points of acting.."), then Xena and Hercules,before moving on to more challenging roles. We quoted an earlier article where Urban said 'I'm basically lazy,' and indeed he only works when he wants to. But what makes him want to work is the desire to communicate, to tell a story, and he's now in a position to turn down roles that don't have the depth that he wants. For instance, he turned down a fat offer from Aaraon Spelling for one of his TV projects. Said Urban, "It might have been all right if the character had some devious motives or evil intent but it was just the 'hunk' role. And with those acting roles, what you see is what you get." Urban's agent Graham Dunster puts it this way: "He would just like to do good things. He's very sure that he doesn't want to do crap."

Now in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose his work, he seems to keep a sense of who he is and what matters to him - his partner Natalie and newborn son Hunter, and having time to take the dog to the beach, to surf, to go camping, or fishing, or indulge a passion for music. Life's not all play for Urban though. He loves learning and recently he's been taking classes for his technique with Sandford Meisner, an American teacher. " The technique gives you tools in case your instinct fails you. Acting for screen is a combination of two factors - the technical aspect and the instinctive aspect - and this technique was really helping me focus on being true to my instinct." That may have come in really handy with "The Price of Milk" which was filmed in weekly bursts of three days each, with constant script revisions that meant the actors often saw their lines just before shooting started for the day. In fact the story itself was nowhere set in concrete, which must have been hard for Urban, who 'likens discovering his characters' traits to the work of a detective.' At first Urban hated working in that way, but eventually concluded "When you're acting, the most you can hope for is that you respond truthfully moment to moment. You need to cut the strings of preconception and by doing it with Harry you don't have a chance to create the preconceptions that could make a performance stale." All of which was great preparation for Urban's role in The Lord of the Rings. Urban found Peter Jackson's directorial style quite similar, even though the vast epic of the Rings could hardly be more different to Sinclair's quirky home-grown fairytale-on-a-farm story. "Pete's like Harry, in many ways" (they're good friends in fact) -" I mean, the script's all there but ultimately [Jackson's] got the picture in his head. He's hands-on and he plays fast and loose. If a scenes's not quite right, he'll change it. If the actor isn't getting it right, he'll come in and tell you to make one small change and that'll be it. He's got his eye on the detail."

Jackson says of Urban "Karl has one of the best screen personas of any New Zealand actor. When we were casting for Eomer, we offered it to Karl. We didn't really audition widely for the role. We thought he was the perfect fit." We probably won't see Urban as Eomer for a long time, but "The Price of Milk" has received critical acclaim at various festivals and was snapped up by distibutors. No sign that he'll be wooed away to an international career as a result. He's passionate about the local film industry, and hopes that it will continue to make films that celebrate our own identity - for there is a fear that the 'Rings' may point us in the direction of 'a more product-oriented output' - i.e. following the Hollywood model of making genre-specific films that are made with both eyes on the dollar. But Urban still values the fact that Jackson chose to stay in NZ too. "I really respect Peter for choosing to apply his craft in thiscountry,because doing that gives our film crews the chance to work at the peak of the film industry and it trains new talent. It creates more interest in our films and it clears the way for new projects."

It may just be selfish of me to say this, but with any luck Karl Urban will be part of New Zealand culture for some time to come.

The full article in Pavement has some fine photos of Urban, and since they are also planning to run some interviews with other ‘Rings’ actors in upcoming issues, it may be worth getting your own copies, which are available by contacting pavement@pavement.co.nz

3-06-01 Latest News

BreeMoot 5 Information!
Xoanon @ 9:57 am EST


TOLKIEN SCHOLARS AND HOBBIT FANS CONVERGE Tolkien scholars and hobbit fans will gather at two conferences at The University of St. Thomas over April 27-29, 2001.

CONCERNING HOBBITS AND OTHER MATTERS: Tolkien Across the Disciplines, on

Thursday, April 27, will feature a number of formal presentations by scholars from around the country, under sponsorship of the St. Thomas English Department.

[If you'd like to see a full press release, including a listing of the dozen-plus presentations, and costs of meals, etc,, let me know and I'll forwrad that to you--or visit the Concerning Hobbits web-page at http://www.stthomas.edu/engl/English/tolkien.htm

NOTE: There is a deadlline of March 15 for the advance $20 rate on this one-day conference.

BREE MOOT 5, over the following two days (4/28-29), will celebrate the works and worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien in more reader-oriented activities, including both individual and group presentations and informal interactions. The Bree Moot theme is "The Fellowship of Tolkien," broadly interpreted to include approaches to fantasy literature inspired or modeled by Tolkien in his fabulously popular fantasy works, including The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings (now being filmed for a major film release next December by New Line Cinema) and in his scholarly works and teaching. The local Rivendell Group of The Mythopoeic Society is devoted to the example of Tolkien's discussion group in the 30s and 40s, The Inklings (which also included noted writer/scholar/professor C.S. Lewis), which met regularly to discuss books and the great literary tradition as well as to workshop the members' own works-in-progress.

Margaret Howes, Bree Moot guest of honor, exemplifies this approach: She published a "fan" article in the mid-60s Tolkien Journal, at the height of the Tolkien campus craze, and went on to derive inspiration from Tolkien in writing (and later performing) her "Tales Told by the Lonely Mountain," some of which were published in The Tolkien Scrapbook. After helping found and participating in the Rivendell discussion group for many years, she last year published her first novel, The Wrong World, and this year is publishing Autumn World, a novel jointly written by five current and former members of the Rivendell Group.

Other program features at Bree Moot will include author/critic Ruth Berman presenting slides on dragon illustration, presentations by Canadian scholar-professor William Sargent (a.k.a. fantasy author "Antony Swithen") on "Farming in the Shire" and "Geology of Middle-earth," local musician David Emerson on the Tolkien-Donald Swann collaboration, "The Road Goes Ever On" song cycle, and on the Children's Theatre Company dramatizations of The Hobbit and on the forthcoming New Line Cinema films.

Other activities include panel discussions, filk-singing, and some displays of fan publications and memorabilia. This is the second time that Bree Moot has come to Minnesota. Previously, Bree Moot 3 was held at the University of Minnesota in 1997.

For more information, contact (612)292-8887, 293 Selby Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102-1811 or d-lena@umn.edu. The Rivendell Group, which is co-sponsoring the conference, along with the Tolkien fan newsletter, Beyond Bree, is a chartered discussion group of The Mythopoeic Society and has also been a recognized student organization at the University for the past two decades, studying and discussing fantasy in the Tolkien tradition each month. Cost for this two day reader-oriented conference is $20 advance at least through March, probably more at the door.


Leading up to Minicon and Bree Moot 5/Concerning Hobbits will be a series of programs held around the Twin Cities approaching our themes on a smaller scale.

The first of these will be on April 7, at the Southdale Public Library, at 1:30 p.m. This will be a panel discussion featuring experts on and writers of children's fantasy. Confirmed panelist as of this writing is Caroline Stevermer, author of _River Rats_ and several other novels, including her latest book, _When the King Comes Home_.

Bree Moot was started by readers of Beyond Bree, a monthly newsletter for Tolkien fans.

contact d-lena@umn.edu
or visit www.tc.umn.edu/~d-lena/BreeMoot.html

David Lenander
293 Selby Ave. work: (612)626-3375
St. Paul, MN 55102-1811 home: (651)292-8887
fax: (612)626-2454
e-mail: d-lena@tc.umn.edu

Mythopoeic Society Rivendell Group web-page:

3-05-01 Latest News

Chicago Ringers - check out the Hobbit Garden.
Tehanu @ 2:35 pm EST

I'm jealous. Amy typed this up sent this in - thank you!

"J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 tale catapulted a short furry-footed homebody hobbit into a journey through the wonders and dangers of a mystical made-up land. With Tolkien's text in mind, Bryce Bandstra, general foreman of the Chicago Park District conservatories, put pencil to paper and set out on an adventure.

Bandstra sent his fancy flying to mythical Middle-earth, piecing together plants and hardscapes for this year's Hobbit Garden at the 2001 Chicago Flower and Garden Show. The 2,800-square-foot exhibit--a serendipitous prequel to the movie adaptation of Tolkien's further Middle-earth novel, "The Fellowship of the Ring," that is to be released in December--recreates homebody Baggins' hobbit-hole and the surrounding Shire.

"Everyone knows 'The Hobbit,'" says Bandstra. "It was an opportunity to do something entirely imaginary and to entertain more members of the family...."
A horticultural tie-in to the upcoming film, the garden is a Middle-earth illusion blending from-the-book settings with details drawn from Bandstra's imagination and Old English garden designs.

In Bandstra's fairy-tale countryside, there is, of course, the hobbit-hole, complete with door, chimneys and windows, nestled into a verdant hillside. A man-made stream--standing in for Tolkien's The Water--flows past a birch grove and a meadow composed of turf grass, primrose and dame's rocket. A winding brick path leads to the hobbit's door and his cottage gardens, spilling over with scented geraniums, rosemary, thyme, scented viburnums, foxgloves, bleeding hearts and forget-me-nots. Quotations from "The Hobbit," written on signs throughout the display, guide those unfamiliar with Tolkien's story down both the literary and the garden path."

Chicago Tribune, Sunday March 4, 2001 Section 17- Chicago Flower andGarden Show Page 13

3-04-01 Latest News

Weekly Cast Watch
Xoanon @ 2:34 pm EST

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)

Walk on the Moon, A (1999)
The Thin Red Line (1998) UK
A Perfect Murder (1998) UK
Albino Alligator (1996)
Daylight (1996) UK
The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995)
The Prophecy (1995)
American Yakuza (1994)
Boiling Point (1993)
Young Guns II (1990)
Fresh Horses (1988) UK

Liv Tyler (Arwen)

Cookie's Fortune (1999)
Plunkett & Macleane (1999) UK
Can't Hardly Wait (1998)
Armageddon (1998) UK
U Turn (1997) UK
Empire Records (1995)

Ian Holm (Bilbo)

eXistenZ (1999)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1999) (TV)
The Sweet Hereafter (1997) UK
Time Bandits (1981) UK
Alien (1979)
Shout at the Devil (1976)
Juggernaut (1974)
A Severed Head (1971) UK
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)
The Fixer (1968) UK

Sean Bean (Boromir)

Black Beauty (1994) UK
Stormy Monday (1988)

Elijah Wood (Frodo)

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway (2000)
The Faculty (1998) UK
Internal Affairs (1990) UK
Avalon (1990) UK

Hugo Weaving (Elrond)

The Matrix (1999) UK
Bedrooms & Hallways (1998)
The Interview (1998)
Babe (1995) UK

Miranda Otto (Eowyn)

The Jack Bull (1999) (TV) UK
The Thin Red Line (1998) UK

David Wenham (Faramir)

Dark City (1998) UK

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) UK
Pushing Tin (1999)
Elizabeth (1998) UK
Oscar and Lucinda (1997)
Paradise Road (1997)

Ian McKellen (Gandalf)

X-Men (2000)
Gods and Monsters (1998)
Apt Pupil (1998) UK
Jack and Sarah (1995)
The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) UK
Scandal (1989) UK
Plenty (1985) UK
Alfred the Great (1969) UK

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Secret of the Andes (1998) UK
The Great White Hype (1996) UK
Bloodsport 3 (1996)
The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing (1992) (TV)
The Seventh Coin (1992)
Waxwork (1988)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) (TV)
Firewalker (1986) UK
Victor/Victoria (1982)

Andy Serkis (Gollum)

Topsy-Turvy (1999)
Among Giants (1998) UK
The Tale of Sweety Barrett (1998) UK
Career Girls (1997)

Bruce Spence (Mouth of Sauron)

Dark City (1998) UK
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) UK

Sean Astin (Sam)

Icebreaker (1999)
Kimberly (1999)
Bulworth (1998) UK
Courage Under Fire (1996) UK
Encino Man (1992) UK
Where the Day Takes You (1992) UK
Toy Soldiers (1991) UK
The War of the Roses (1989) UK
White Water Summer (1987)

Christopher Lee (Saruman)

Tale of the Mummy (1998) UK
Death Train (1993) (TV) UK
Treasure Island (1990) (TV)
Mio min Mio (1987) UK
The Last Unicorn (1982)
Safari 3000 (1982)
1941 (1979) UK
Bear Island (1979) UK
Arabian Adventure (1979)
Return from Witch Mountain (1978) UK
The Three Musketeers (1973) UK
The Creeping Flesh (1973)
Nothing But the Night (1972)
Hannie Caulder (1971) UK
The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) UK
Theatre of Death (1967) UK
Psycho-Circus (1966)
The City of the Dead (1960)
The Mummy (1959)
Dracula (1958)
The Truth About Women (1958)
The Crimson Pirate (1952) UK

Bernard Hill (Theoden)

The Loss of Sexual Innocence (1999) UK
True Crime (1999) UK
Mountains of the Moon (1990) UK

Brad Dourif (Wormtongue)

The Progeny(1999) UK
Urban Legend (1998) UK
Senseless (1998) UK
Bride of Chucky (1998) UK
Best Men (1997)
Death Machine (1995) UK
Color of Night (1994)
Amos & Andrew (1993)
Trauma (1993)
Cerro Torre: Schrei aus Stein (1991)
Hidden Agenda (1990)
The Exorcist III (1990)
Graveyard Shift (1990)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Ragtime (1981)
Wise Blood (1979) UK
Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) UK

3-03-01 Latest News

Total Movie Magazine Covers LotR
Jincey @ 9:58 pm EST

Hey, found this article in my newly delivered (April 2001, Josie and the PussyCats on the cover) Total Movie magazine. You remember, the evil minions who deceived us all into thinking the LOTR internet teaser would be on their premier edition DVD? :) Well it's actually a pretty good magazine, even if there is nothing new in this article. And the pics are not new either, despite how it sounds. -Pipe Smoke

2001 is going to be the Year of the Ring, and what better way to kick things off than with the first official pics of Peter Jackson's epic three-part Tolkien-fest?

Forget about those blurry, indistinct set pics you've seen online and wrap your eyes around these babies - the first official shots from the New Line Cinema's upcoming live action adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien's weighty fantasy classic The Lord of the Rings. Shortly before the holidays, after 15 months of extensive shooting in New Zealand, the last scene of director Peter Jackson's cinematic trilogy was finally shot and a 2,000-person cast, crew and VIP wrap party was thrown in the capital city of Wellington. Now the production has another mountain to climb: assembling the footage into three films, with the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, already booked for release this coming December 19. Can Jackson meet his deadline?

Work on the film's special effects was already well underway while filming was occurring. Jackson's FX company, WETA Limited, is producing all of the digital effects for the trilogy (currently estimated to be around 1,200 shots), ranging in complexity from creating two armies of more than 100,000 soldiers each battling one another to digitally altering the height of the actors portraying the diminutive Hobbits (played by Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian Holm, et al). Still, we do know that at least two Middle-Earth entities - the tree-like beings called Ents and the sinister and cunning Gollum - will be entirely computer generated. There's also been lots of Internet speculation about what kind of effects surprises the WETA team has in store for the design of the films' major villain, Sauron, but so far no images of this guy (or the horrific Balrog creature that menaces our heroes) have leaked out.

Still, the shift to post-production has caused some downsizing to occur. WETA Workshops, the movies' weapon-making and miniatures department, scaled back its workforce as the production began to wind down, from more than 100 employees to fewer than 50. There was one big setback when Rings lost a key member of its team in January - when WETA Limited's visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson left the production, rumors abounded that that Stetson and Jackson had major creative differences over the execution of the film's effects. Stetson, Oscar-nominated for his work on The Fifth Element, was hired in mid-1999 and was expected to remain on until at least mid-2002. His replacement has yet to be announced. Actually, this was the second high-profile loss for the project: while still in the casting stage, actor Stuart Townsend was let go over creative differences with Jackson. Viggo Mortensen eventually replaced Townsend in the role of Aragorn.

Assisting Jackson as he makes his rough cut of Fellowship are three different film editors. Once assembled, Jackson will then find out if he needs to go back and shoot any additional footage. As completed effects are added to the ever-changing cut, composer Howard Shore (The Silence of the Lambs, Seven) will be working on scoring the first of the three films. Rings fans are already speculating that Celtic singer/songwriters like Enya or Loreena McKennitt might also be used in the film's soundtrack, although it's still too early to tell if this is really in the cards.

By the time you read this, you've probably already drooled over the first teaser trailer that New Line premiered with the release of Thirteen Days in January. A second trailer, this one centered on fellowship, is expected to be out sometime this summer. By that time, Jackson should be finishing up his work on the first picture and should be thinking: one down, two to go.
-Patrick Sauriol

2-28-01 Latest News

CastWatch: Liv in Biography Magazine
Calisuri @ 11:58 pm EST

Thanks to Ringer fan Ken for sending us this scan:

SOURCE: Biography Magazine
March 2001

\[ Liv Tyler in Biography Magazine - Click for Larger Version \]

CLAIM TO FAME Ingenue known for aura of grace and innocence, and often compared with European actresses. Frequently cast as the object of obsessive desire.

CURRENTLY STARRING IN the black comedy ONe Night at McCool's as the appropriately named Jewel Valentine, enigmatic ideal of three different men.

RECENT ROLES Lesbian lover of the title character's daughter (Kate Hudson) in Robert Altman's Dr. T and the Women(2000); played a sweet but rebellious small town girl in Altman's dark comedy Cookie's Fortune(1999).

BEGINNINGS Born July 1, 1977, in New York City, the daughter of model/groupie/musician Bebe Buell and (she was told) innovative rocker Todd Rundgren. At 11, learned her real father was Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler. (Earlier told he was a "family friend," she developed a crush and put his poster on her wall.) Spent a conventional, idyllic youth with relatives in Portland, Maine, and Virginia, later moving with her mom to New York. After a brief but successful teen-modeling career, decided to try acting. Landed an agent who'd read about her in an article on kids of the famous. Soon won the role of a bused girl in Silent Fall(1994); gained acclaim as a virgin who discovers her father's true identity in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty(1996).

NEXT UP Plays Arwen, an elf warrior princess, in the movie trilogy Lord of the Rings, based on the Tolkien fantasy novels.

MUSICAL TASTES Favors country and blues -- and Aerosmith.

LIFESTYLE The prep-school grad is a vegetarian who thinks clubbing is "kind of slimy" and shudders at drugs (Okay...she smokes).

DID YOU KNOW? Loves all things Italian -- her father's original family name was Tallarico.

QUOTE "I think the point of getting into a character is to separate yourself from yourself as much as you can. It's sort of like an out-of-body experience."

2-27-01 Latest News

Licensing Wizardry : LOTR and others in 2001
Calisuri @ 4:24 pm EST

Ringer fan Brego alerted us to a Playthings.com article concerning product licensing for Fellowship of the Ring and other expected blockbuster movies for 2001.

Licensing Wizardry
by Lauren Kellachan
Playthings -- 2/1/01

"The same excitement surrounds The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings fantasy book series. New Line Cinema has been filming the three movies simultaneously in New Zealand with a star-studded cast and, reportedly, out of this world special effects. Translated into 40 languages over the past 50 years, Tolkien's tale of Middle Earth will reach even more people in movie form, says Kathryn Maciel, Toy Biz's vice president of marketing.

Toy Biz is manufacturing a line of action figures and accessories based on the film trilogy that will be in theatres every holiday season for the next three years. "Starting off with a built-in fan base of over 100 million people, the movies are going to renew interest and generate new fans," she explains.

Tolkien's universal story makes it appealing to a licensee, adds Sideshow Toy President Greg Anzalone, and the combination of the books and movie trilogy will keep the property in the public eye for at least the next four years. In a unique licensing and business partnership, Sideshow and the special effects group involved with the making of The Fellowship of the Ring, Weta Workshop, have developed Lord of the Rings collectible figures that authentically replicate the film's characters.

"We've found a way to bridge the expertise from both sides and meld the film with the product," says Anzalone, "which is a very interesting way for things to happen. If there is to be one property that rises above the fray, Lord of the Rings is the one."

[Full Article]

Christopher Lee talks LOTR!
leo @ 4:03 am EST

In an interview he recently held with the English newspaper The Guardian Christopher Lee (Saruman) briefly mentions Lord of the Rings...

"..Lee is not at liberty to say much about The Lord of the Rings, a three-film adaptation of the Tolkein trilogy; but since he has read the books every year since they were published (1954-55), playing the character of Saruman is the realisation of a long-held ambition. "The book is such a work of brilliance and majesty - Tolkein wrote an epic on the scale of The Iliad or The Odyssey. He even created a language, Elfish, which you can read, write and speak. Despite having seen absolutely nothing of the film, I still think it's going to create cinema history. Peter Jackson's instincts are extraordinary, as is his stamina. My God, it would have to be, to film solidly for 15 months."

The full story can be found at Guardian Unlimited.

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