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March 11, 2002 - March 19, 2002

3-19-02 Latest News

Media Watch: Cinefex Magazine
Xoanon @ 5:03 pm EST

The cool folks at Cinefex Magazine have sent us an advanced copy of the latest cover, featuring Sam and the Cave Troll! Take a look:

Be sure to check out the comprehensive Lord of the Rings coverage in the upcoming Spring issue of Cinefex, due out on March 25. The 56-page cover article contains an authoritative account of the special effects behind this extraordinary film, following its development from conceptual phase through production and postproduction. Culled from some forty in-depth interviews with key contributors -- including director Peter Jackson -- the story features detailed information on production design, makeups, costumes, props, model and miniature work, plus the cutting-edge digital effects responsible for so many of the film’s memorable images. Accompanying the spread are more than sixty color photos ranging from behind-the-scenes shots to never-before-published effects clips. Cinefex can be found in major bookstores, on newsstands and is also available through the Cinefex website at www.cinefex.com.

Decipher Club's LOTR fan trips in LA
Tehanu @ 12:12 pm EST

Two LOTR fan trips will take place this Saturday, March 23. Members from Decipher's Lord Of The Rings Fan Club have organized two outings to celebrate LOTR Oscar Nominations, meet TORN members and fellow party goers from the One Party To Rule Them All ! Fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to come!

Starting Saturday at 1:00pm join fans to see the Oscar Nominated Costumes of Lord Of The Rings at

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
919 South Grand Ave
(corner of ninth street)
Downtown Los Angeles
www.fidm.com for maps and info

This exhibit is free! There is street metered parking and a $3 parking garage on site.
Fellow organizer LadyOBloom says Sauron's armor is worth the trip alone.

Then at approximately 3:00pm we will be at Track 16 Gallery to see

Viggo Mortensen's Signlanguage Art and Photo Exhibit.
Track 16 Gallery
2525 Michigan ave Building C-1
(at the very end of the cul-de-sac)
Santa Monica, CA 90404
www.track16.com for more info

This exhibit is also free and parking is free, too. The show features many LOTR themed pieces and provides a wonderful insight into this beautiful film, and the filming process as experienced by the artist. Also Viggo's autographed Signlanguage book is usually available at the gallery, if you are intersted in purchasing one Saturday , please respond to the Signlanguage Book post on the Main Board here at theonering.net, and I will try to give the gallery an idea how many to have available.

Times are approximate, based on one hour to go through the exhibits, time for picture taking, and travel between as well. If you go to only one show, be patient if we are late arriving, LA traffic can be unpredictable.

We look forward to seeing everyone!

Baby Talk
Xoanon @ 10:50 am EST

Ringer Spy Ataahua sends along this article with a picture of Cate Blanchett and her new baby son Dashiell.

A 'Rings' Toss ; The Fellowship of the Ring is not going gently into Oscar night.
Xoanon @ 10:10 am EST

By: Gillian Flynn

These days, even cave-dwelling trolls can't escape the hoard of the Rings. Heading into this year's Oscars with the most nominations of any film, Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring continues its media assault on multiple fronts--from Academy voters to average filmgoers (who have plunked down $710 million worldwide so far).

While its 13 nods put it in the company of Oscar sweepers like Shakespeare in Love and Forrest Gump, there's no sure thing in Middle-earth. Fellowship's massive box office and otherworldly theme could plunk it among popcorn flicks like E.T. and Star Wars--Oscar's classic underachievers. The good news: "People don't think of The Lord of the Rings pejoratively as a fantasy," says Inside Oscar 2 author Damien Bona, noting that four of the last six Best Picture winners were epics.

Speaking of epic ambitions, New Line is extending its Rings campaign with plans for not one but two DVD packages for Fellowship.

According to Jackson, the theatrical version hits stores in August; fall brings a multidisc director's cut with 30 more minutes and new music from composer Howard Shore. Extra scenes include rockin' Hobbit tunes (if you can rock on the lute), back story on mangy mystery man Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), and an extended gift-giving scene of Cate Blanchett's Elf Queen. "In the movie, Galadriel is this frightening oracle," Jackson says. "This is her in a more gentle mode."

On March 29, New Line will tempt fans to see Fellowship one more time on the big screen. The lure: a three-and-a-half-minute, Jackson-edited trailer for December's The Two Towers at the film's end. "I went through finished F/X shots and plucked the ones that looked really good," Jackson says.

While Jackson and Co. are mum on specifics, here are some details EW gleaned about Towers--which will boast about 600 F/X shots (about 80 more than Fellowship). Warning: This may get kinda geeky.


One fave Towers creation is Gollum, former owner and current coveter of the One Ring, who is forced to march Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) to Mount Doom. But Gollum's anti-Hobbit plotting makes him a menace a trois. "It's an unholy trinity,"

Jackson says. "We play psychological games more intensely than the book does." In addition to providing the sticky rasp of the computer-animated Gollum, actor Andy Serkis played his scenes with Wood and Astin while wearing a black Lycra jumpsuit covered with hundreds of pinhead sensors. Serkis' movements were then replicated to become the CGI Gollum. "Andy's physicality is a big part of what Gollum will look like on screen," says exec producer Mark Ordesky.


Quel scandale! Shelob, the she-spider that battles Sam at the end of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers, has been booted to the third movie. "If we started Return of the King after Shelob--the way the books do--there'd be very little for Frodo and Sam to do," says Jackson. Right now, good guy Treebeard, the oldest being in Middle-earth, is getting the final CGI touches on his bark and leaves, with a voice by John Rhys-Davies (who also plays dwarf Gimli). And look for Brad Dourif as creepy Grima Wormtongue, double agent of Saruman (Christopher Lee). "[Brad] doesn't play him as a groveling creature," Lee says. "He kind of slithers along beside me with a soft, husky voice, whispering."


Jackson has between 15 and 20 hours of footage of the key battle of Helm's Deep, in which an army of elves and humans spar with 10,000 Uruk-hai (those uber-Orcs Saruman created). "Helm's Deep is one of Tolkien's most vivid pieces of prose," Jackson says. "You really feel his blood boiling." What does an army of crazed Uruk-hai sound like? A stadium of Kiwi cricket fans, turns out. In February, Jackson made a half-time appearance at a New Zealand-England match and asked the crowd to beat their chests, march in place, and even perform a tricky bit of dialect work. "There's this Black Speech battle cry the Uruk do," Ordesky says. "We wrote it out phonetically on the Diamond Vision screen and Peter directed 25,000 people going 'Rrwaaa harra farr rrara!"' Which just might translate to "Oscar, please."

3-18-02 Latest News

Weekend Round Up
Xoanon @ 10:51 am EST

Get TheOneRing.net Newsletter Today!

TV Watch: Ian McKellen on 'SNL'

The Secret Life of Elijah Wood

Fran Walsh Sues The Listener

Rings Movie Takes Top Slot

Media Watch: Orlando Bloom in US Weekend

A Magical Experience

SAG Awards On City TV

People Magazine: Vintage 1978

Media Watch: The NZ Listener

TTT Trailer: Canada

BBC LOTR Radio Drama Re-Released

Media Watch: Vanity Magazine

Trade body goes for the Rings to sell NZ

Pirated Oscar favorites up for bid on eBay

TTT Trailer: Denmark

McKellen Makes Brief Conan Appearance

Middle-Earth Looks Suprisingly Farmiliar

Brazil Begin Selling LOTR Telephone Cards

TV Watch: Ian McKellen on 'SNL'

The Universally Revered Hobbit

3-17-02 Latest News

TV Watch: Ian McKellen on 'SNL'
Xoanon @ 10:57 pm EST

A BIG thank you to Roheryn for her work on giving us the details on Ian McKellen's amazingly funny host job of Saturday Night Live. Take a look at almost 75 pics and all the great skits!

Saturday Night Live with Ian McKellen (IM from now on)

Start of show…IM enters stage dancing to SNL music, claps, waves to audience, very cheery. Audience cheering heartily. IM wearing button-up elveny bluegreen shirt, black pants.

IM monologue {standing on stage}:

Thank you, thank you, thank you ver much indeed. Well here we all are, and here am I hosting Saturday Night Live. Why, you might ask. I’m – and all thru these rehearsals I’ve been asking myself that same thing actually. Y’know, a classical actor used to doing Strinberg [?sorry I don’t know that one] and Chekov and Shakespeare – plays that have been around for centuries, and here I am performing work that’s only been around since yesterday afternoon.

No, honestly, they’re still writing some of the scripts right now. I just hope it’s not too obvious! People are always telling me I should do more comedy. Well this show will show them- they’ll never ask that again! {laughs} Well, you know…I mean…think: I could be sunning myself in Los Angeles waiting for the Oscars, or be at home in London seeing my 95-year old stepmother who I don’t get to see often enough, or I could be on holiday with my boyfriend in New Zealand – there’s a thought. But, no, I’m here, here in New York doing Saturday Night Live…basically, you know, it’s just vanity I suppose. But I love this troupe of players, this company, regulars, on SNL, especially that Jimmy Fallon – isn’t he cute {grins mischievously}?

Most hosts get around to thanking the casts at the end of the show – I think it’s worth thanking them right now because I need them on my side! {laughs} I’m not sure that they realize they’re a part of a very old theater tradition – it’s called Review. Did you know Maggie Smith, Dame Maggie, started off in Review when she was a kid? She’s still brilliant at one liners – if you’ve seen her in Gosford Park you know what I mean. And when Maggie and I were starting out, she dragged my hero, Laurence Olivier, to come and see me act in London, and subsequently he put me into his national theater company along with a young actor called Anthony Hopkins. And who would have thought that after all those years in the classics, Dame Maggie would end up being best know as the Harry Potter lady, Tony Hopkins known for eating people’s faces, and they’ve made me into an action figure! {laughs}

No no, I LOVE my action figures – I play with them all day long! {laughs} Anyway, it’s really really fun and great to be here, but I feel REALLY welcome. Unlike the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York City where they don’t exactly encourage openly gay men. They don’t seem to mind the priests though, do they, mmm? {deadpan look at camera} {hands on hips} Anyway, forget the parade, we’ve got a great show, and I’m going to have a ball showing you because my fav disco diva is here, Kilie Mignogue! Off we go, and we’ll be right back!

Did a number of skits; brief summary:

Versace skit: played Yves St Laurent (in fancy suit). Wanted to dance with the boys and watch the Oscars...played it very deadpan, was hilarious.

Irish cookbook author being interviewed on National Public Radio. Cookbook title: If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Hoosafadalawaladong [spelling?]

Hot Air Balloon Mystery Theater – played pipe-smoking Sherlock Holmes

The Ferey Muhtar Talk Show – played Mexican in red cowboy boots, cheesy mustache – looked like Burt Reynolds; subtly plays with crotch during entire skit

The Life and Times of Charles Dickens – beautiful skit – he puts on a one-man show while sitting at a table; wig/hat changes every few moments to portray 47 Dickens-related people.

The Comic Book Zone – plays the “local hero who’s the most successful Dr Who impersonator” – wears long scarf, hat, curly hair – really looks like Dr Who. At begging of “Give us your Gandalf!” he does the “Bilbo Baggins! Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks! I am not trying to rob you!” line, breaking off giggling. Audience near hysteria.

And finally the best skit:

Weekend Update With Jimmy Fallon (hereafter, J) and Tina Fey

J and T do lots of other news…then…:

J: {Jimmy sitting at desk; Tina not on camera} Well, the Oscar race is heating up and here to offer her predictions is Oscar nominee Dame Maggie Smith, everybody!

{IM enters in hot pink long sleeved loose dress, wearing hideous gaudy pearl necklace, heavy makeup; wrist is limp and kept that way for nearly entire skit. IM sits at desk next to J, simpers. IM really hams it up through the entire skit}

J: Thank you. Dame Maggie Smith, wow.

IM: Thank you, Jimmy, aren’t you a dahling {eyes J up and down, leans over and caresses J on cheek} Look at your little suit, just like a little schoolboy, mmm?

J: Okay…Dame Maggie…

IM: …call me Maggs.

J: …ok, Maggs, uh, let’s talk about the Oscars.

IM: Yes lets. {making faces at camera as if checking reflection in mirror}

J: Who do you think’s gonna win for best actor?

IM: Well the winner will be Denzel Washington…and Denzel if you have any interest in getting it on with an experienced old dame of experience, give me a call {big cheesy grin}

J: OK, what about best actress?

IM: {frowning mock disapproval, nose in air; stiffly} Judi Dench, little Judi Dench, such a clever little Judi Dench, little clever chubby Judi Dench…

J: {interrupting} All right, all right…best supporting actess, who’s that?

IM: {in “of course” sort of way} Oh me whether I win it or not.

J: Ok that’s good! Uh, best supporting actor?

IM: Oh without a doubt Ian McKellen, Saint Ian, mmm {grins} They’ve got to throw that old queen a bone sometime.

J: {laughing} Oh, is he…gay? I didn’t even…

IM: {eyeing J up and down with great, um, interest}

J: ,…I didn’t know that…

IM: {still eyeing J} You’re not gay, Jimmy, are you?

J:{slightly flustered} Well no, but I…best picture?

IM: Oh who cares. By that time I’ll be getting as high as a kite in the toilet with Helen Mirren.

J: Well, are you gonna go to the afterparty?

IM: After parties I’d rather drink [something]. But wish me luck {leaning cheek close to J’s face}, mmm, little Jimmy Fallon, mmm?

{J leans over to kiss IM on cheek. IM suddenly turns to face J full-on and kisses him smack on lips. J pulls away in shock, laughing, flustered, straightening tie and trying to maintain composure. Audience roars. IM looks extremely pleased with himself, simpering at camera. Tina leans over to wipe lipstick off Jimmy.}

J: {smiling, trying to hold it together; IM no longer on camera} {to Tina} Maggie Smith should shave! {clears throat} Does this mean I’m knighted? {laughs} Or did I just get queened? Wow…

TheOneRing.net's Oscar Cheat Sheet
Calisuri @ 10:20 pm EST

In preparation for the March 24th broadcast of the Academy Awards, here is a brief overview written by Ringer staffers Tookish, Gamgee and Leo.

2002 Oscar Categories and Nominees from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Best Picture
Peter Jackson, Barrie Osborne, and Fran Walsh

Peter Jackson’s start in feature film directing began in the 1980’s with his very own handcrafted gorefest spoof, Bad Taste. A native of New Zealand, Jackson now stands tall in the Kiwi film industry with his own companies Three Foot Six and Wingnut Studios. Jackson is the first director in movie history to envision and bring to life a three- film shoot. Jackson’s first Academy Award nomination came for Heavenly Creatures.

Barrie Osborne is a film industry veteran and hails from New York City. Producer of films such as The Matrix, Obsorne’s early industry training featured mentors the likes of Sydney Pollack and Francis Ford Coppola. This is Osborne’s first trip to the Academy Awards as a nominee.

Fran Walsh has been writing film screenplays for decades. Long time companion and colleague of Peter Jackson, Walsh’s credits include Forgotten Silver, The Frighteners, Meet the Feebles, and Braindead. Walsh was previously nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Screenplay category for Heavenly Creatures.

Best Director
Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson’s start in feature film directing began in the 1980’s with his very own handcrafted gorefest spoof, Bad Taste. A native of New Zealand, Jackson now stands tall in the Kiwi film industry with his own companies Three Foot Six and Wingnut Studios. Jackson is the first director in movie history to envision and bring to life a three-film shoot. Jackson’s first Academy Award nomination came for Heavenly Creatures.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Fran Walsh

Philippa Boyens has worn many hats in the performing arts industry, including teaching, writing, producing and editing. A Tolkien fan since childhood, Boyens first feature film screenplay is The Lord of the Rings. This is Boyen’s first Academy Award nomination.

Peter Jackson’s start in feature film directing began in the 1980’s with his very own handcrafted gorefest spoof, Bad Taste. A native of New Zealand, Jackson now stands tall in the Kiwi film industry with his own companies Three Foot Six and Wingnut Studios. Jackson is the first director in movie history to envision and bring to life a three-film shoot. Jackson’s first Academy Award nomination came for Heavenly Creatures.

Fran Walsh has been writing film screenplays for decades. Long time companion and colleague of Peter Jackson, Walsh’s credits include Forgotten Silver, The Frighteners, Meet the Feebles, and Braindead. Walsh was previously nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Screenplay category for Heavenly Creatures.

Best Supporting Actor
Ian McKellen as Gandalf

Actor par excellence on stage and in feature films, Sir Ian McKellen has graced the acting world with his talents for four decades. This is McKellen’s second Academy Award nomination; his first was for Best Actor in Gods and Monsters.

Film Editing
John Gilbert

Having worked postproduction on more that 20 films, Gilbert teamed up previously with director Peter Jackson on The Frighteners. Although a previous winner of accolades such as Best Editor Award for Via Satellite from the New Zealand Film and Television Awards, this is Gilbert’s first Academy Award nomination.

Christopher Boyes, Gethin Creagh, Hammond Peak, and Michael Semanick

Putting the sound together for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was an epic adventure in itself. Most dialogue and sound shot on location was unusable and had to be redone. This is the first Academy Award nomination for Semanick, Creach, and Peek, but the third for Boyes, who came away an Oscar winner for Sound Effects Editor on Titanic.

Original Song
"May It Be" Music and Lyrics by Enya, Nicky Ryan, and Roma Ryan

Recording artist Enya holds feature film credits as actress and composer since the 1980’s. A native of Ireland, her work on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings has garnered her first Academy Award nomination. This is also the first Academy Award nomination for Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan.

Original Score
Howard Shore

Howard Shore is no newcomer to the movie music business. Having scored numerous films over the past two decades, Shore was also the first musical director of Saturday Night Live. His work for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has garnered Shore’s first Academy Award nomination.

Art Direction
Dan Hennah (Set Decoration) and Grant Major (Art Direction)

Dan Hennah also hails from New Zealand. His art direction and design work have been seen in multiple films and television shows. Hennah teamed up previously with Peter Jackson on The Frighteners, and this is his first Academy Awards nomination.

A New Zealand native, Grant Major is a decorated veteran of film design. Awarded the New Zealand Film and Television’s Best Design title for Heavenly Creatures and The Ugly, this is Major’s first nomination from the Academy Awards.
Andrew Lesnie

Andrew Lesnie has been wining high profile awards for his film work cinematography since 1995. Declared Australia’s Cinematographer of the Year twice running, this is Lesnie’s first Academy Award nomination.

Costume Design
Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor

Nglia Dickson is a New Zealand native who began reaping high profile awards for her costume design work in 1997. Having worked with Peter Jackson on Heavenly Creatures, this is Dickson’s first Academy Award nomination.

Richard Taylor is the co-director of Weta Workshop, the New Zealand special effects company. Although this is his first Academy Award nomination, Taylor is nominated for Oscars in two other categories, and has recently added to his trophy shelf two BAFTAs, two Golden Satellites, the Sierra Award, and others.
Visual Effects
Jim Rygiel, Randall William Cook, Richard Taylor and Mark Stetson

Richard Taylor is the co-director of Weta Workshop, the New Zealand special effects company. Although this is his first Academy Award nomination, Taylor is nominated for Oscars in two other categories, and has recently added to his trophy shelf two BAFTAs, two Golden Satellites, the Sierra Award, and others.

Jim Rygiel’s background includes television, advertising, and film, brining computer animation to the forefront of visual effects. Guru Rygiel has been bestowed numerous awards for his work and this is his first Academy Award nomination.

Randall William Cook’s experience in feature films extends back to 1977. Cook has earned two awards for his work in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, a BAFTA and a Golden Satellite Award, in addition to this first nomination for an Oscar from the Academy Awards.

Mark Stetson is no stranger to the special effects movie business. A BAFTA Film Award winner for Special Effects for The Fifth Element, Stetson was also an Oscar contender in the mid-1980’s for his work on 2010. This year marks his second nomination by the Academy Awards for Visual Effects.

Richard Taylor, Peter Owens

Richard Taylor is the co-director of Weta Workshop, the New Zealand special effects company. Although this is his first Academy Award nomination, Taylor is nominated for Oscars in two other categories, and has recently added to his trophy shelf two BAFTAs, two Golden Satellites, the Sierra Award, and others.

Peter Owens’ background in makeup and the performing arts spans opera, theater, television, and film. With multiple feature film credits and a list of celebrity clientele, Owens is an industry giant. Previous winner of numerous awards, this is Owens' first time as an Academy Award nominee.

Media Watch: The NZ Listener
Xoanon @ 7:54 pm EST

Ringer Spy Silmarien sends along these scans from 'The NZ Listener' featuring some vintage pics of PJ!

BBC LOTR Radio Drama Re-Released
Xoanon @ 1:15 am EST

From Irascian:

The BBC radio dramatisation of “Lord of the Rings” has been reissued with new material, written by Brian Sibley and recorded by Ian Holm last year, added. This new version appears to only be available on CD. Note that the old version (identical to the broadcast repeats going out at the moment on BBC Radio 4 in the UK) is also still available in many stores.

The differences between this version and that issued previously on CD and cassette are as follows:

The recordings have been digitally cleaned up - tape hiss that was audible on the original (if you listened through headphones) has gone and some of the messier edits have been tidied up.

There are no hour-long episodes - instead there are 3 separate sets of CDS which can be purchased separately and which follow the books exactly. Each set comprises 4 CDs with no episode beginning and ending music other than at the start and end of each 4 CD set.

Each set features a new intro and outro (between 5 and 8 minutes per set) recorded last year by Ian Holm and written anew by Brian Sibley. The scenario is that Frodo is going through Bilbo's Red Book, reminiscing about his own adventures before leaving for The Grey Havens. Needless to say it is very nicely written (I loved the regretful reminiscing about Sam and the hardships he faced at the end of “The Two Towers” – it brought a real lump to my throat and a tear to my eye) and superbly acted by Ian Holm. You really can't tell that 20 years have passed between these new recordings and the original material.

The "Return of the King" set narrative really only covers 3 CDs. The 4th CD is Stephen Oliver's music but with the added "sung" version of Bilbo's Last Song which, for copyright reasons, they were not allowed to broadcast with the original serial (or indeed the current re-broadcasting on Radio 4). This was featured on the tie-in radio documentary for the radio repeats a couple of months ago, but that recording was played on a transistor radio - here it is much improved in quality and of course doesn't have people talking over the intro/outro. Personally I find this version more moving than the original spoken version, not least because John Le Mesurier, who plays Bilbo, can't really sing, making it somehow more "real" and even more melancholic.

Each of the three sets features a new booklet. The first set features writer Brian Sibley reminiscing about the radio series, the second features director Jane Morgan reminiscing, and the third features a short Tolkien biography and one sentence summary of each of the 19 music tracks on the last CD.

The set is NOT as lavishly presented as the original CD/cassette release which came in a handsome black cloth binder format with a fold-out map of Middle-Earth and a generous booklet. However, the original lavish packaging did mark rather easily and was a bit unexciting in visual appeal. The new sets each feature the rather standard "dual jewel case" format -a bit generic and rather ugly in my view. The sleeve design is a LOT more modern and colourful too. Although you now get the chance to buy a set at a time so you don't have to buy the whole thing in one expensive go (you can break it down into three separate purchases), the new edition also works out considerably more expensive if you're going to buy the whole set (at least if HMV in Oxford Street, London are anything to go by). In a shrewd (but unfair?) marketing move the first set (Fellowship of the Ring) costs £37, the other two sets £27 - despite having the same number of disks and running time (4 hours 35 minutes per set). I guess the BBC realise that many will buy the first set and may then decide they can't afford the follow-ons so they're maximising the revenue from those who just buy "The Fellowship of the Ring"!

Because the credits now appear at the end of each 4 and a half hour set (rather than every hour) they are a lot longer and have been newly recorded by Brian Sibley rather than the original radio announcer (whose name I forget).

I prefer this new version (although those who want to get nostalgic about the original broadcasts may prefer the original episodic format) because of the wonderful new prologues and outro's and cleaner sound (OK I notice things like hiss - many probably don't!) but these may not be obvious to many who will find the original version (still on sale) a much cheaper purchase.

And for those wondering what happened to the original 26 half hour episode format (only broadcast once and, I would argue, the best presentation of the radio series and the format it was originally written for) - they were lost when the BBC actually used the master tapes to edit the first repeat broadcast as one hour long episodes!

Also of interest and highly recommended is the double-CD (and cassette) from the BBC Radio Collection called "J.R.R. Tolkien - An Audio Portrait". narrated by Brian Sibley and made last year. This runs to 1 hour 50 minutes featuring Sibley's narration of Tolkien's life and the influences which came to bear when writing The Lord of the Rings. It features interviews with Tolkien's biographer Humphrey Carter, his original publisher Rayner Unwin, several of Tolien's colleagues and friends, and perhaps most important of all the man himself. This is all intespersed with relevant radio series extracts. This is a fascinating listen and a great way to find out about Tolkien - lively and very informative.

Media Watch: Vanity Magazine
Xoanon @ 1:03 am EST

Ringer Spy Jaimie sends us these articles from the latest issue of Variety Magazine.

3-15-02 Latest News

TV Watch: Ian McKellen On '60 Minutes II'
Xoanon @ 6:20 pm EST

A big thank you to Quinn for transcribing the 60 Minutes II segment. Take a look at the great pics as well!

CR = Charlie Rose, SIM = Sir Ian McKellen

CR – Sir Ian McKellen has been called the world’s greatest living Shakespearean actor. But his latest role is one you wont find in Shakespeare, it’s movie star. At 62, an age when many movie stars have faded, McKellen is just getting started. He could walk away with an Oscar for his role in The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s a fantasy about Wizards and Elves and Hobbits. The movie itself has been nominated for 13 Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture. It has left an indelible Mark on Sir Ian’s career, and, we discovered, on the man himself.

CR – You guys were such a team that you had tattoos printed all over your bodies.

SIM – We did.

CR – You’ve got a tattoo somewhere?

Sir Ian is wearing a denim shirt over a grey t-shirt. He pushes back the denim shirt and rolls up the right sleeve of his t-shirt.

SIM – I’ve never shown anybody this, to a stranger before

Reveals the tattoo, CR leans forward to look closely at it.

CR – What does it say?

SIM – Well, it’s nine, because there were nine in the fellowship, and that’s elvish for nine. Don’t ask me what the word is.

SIM – upside down…

CR – So this is the bonding that went on…

SIM – Upside down, which is how I see it, it says Gucci.

They laugh.

Show “Is it Secret, is it safe…” then burning the ring in the fireplace bit.

CR over the clip – In Lord of the Rings, McKellen plays Gandalf a seven thousand year old wizard. The movies is based on the classic fantasy by JRR Tolkien [note: Charlie Rose is getting better at pronouncing this but doesn’t quite have it yet!] and is loaded with special effects. Like a monster made of fire [clip showing the Balrog is playing] created entirely by computers.

SIM – When I, Gandalf, was facing off this monster on the Bridge of Khazad Dum, he wasn’t actually there, I saw him when everybody else saw him, in the cinema. I had to have an eyeline, there had to be a point at the center of this monster that I could talk to, shout at. And it was, yes, a yellow tennis ball stuck on a pole.

They show “You shall not pass!”

SIM – “You shall not bounce!” was a joke I made at the time.

CR (laughing) – you shall not bounce?? You shall not do what tennis balls do.

SIM – That’s the difference between acting in the theatre and the cinema. Well it’s moments like that they come very close together. An actor is a grown up kid using his imagination. Make believe, let’s pretend that this tennis ball is a monster.

Showing some behind the scenes shots.

CR – To film The Lord of The Rings McKellen had to move to New Zealand for a year and put the rest of his life on hold. It was a risky, expensive project, shot as 3 separate movies, each to be a year apart. The first installment has already earned nearly 300 million dollars.

SIM – This is one of the most successful films of all time, and I’m in the middle of it.

CR – But why you?

SIM – I know, why me? I think because I’m cheaper than other actors of my experience.

CR – No longer

SIM – Well, we’ll see about that.

Showing Sir Ian entering the Baftas, crowd is going bonkers for him.

CR – In rainy London a few weeks ago McKellen was the toast of the British film awards. Lord of the Rings was honoured as Best Picture.

Showing Sir Ian being fitted for a new tux. CR is with him

CR – And now he is getting ready for what could be an even bigger night, complete with a new tuxedo.

Sir Ian consults with the tailor (designer?) asking what he recommends regarding having the jacket buttoned or not. (he’s laughing at himself a bit here)

SIM – Americans love a party don’t they? They love a parade and it’s lovely to join in. I feel I’m an outsider who’s been allowed inside. It’s of course very alluring when your friends turn out to be Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. People you don’t normally think of yourself as being an equal of (looks kind of bashful saying this.)

CR – But you are now.

SIM – Do you think so? I don’t know.

Showing Sir Ian giving a talk somewhere, looks like a school maybe.

CR – It’s hard to imagine such uncertainty in one of Britain’s most honoured actors. Noted and knighted, for nearly 50 years in theatre. He’s played the lead in hundreds productions from modern plays to the classics. He learned by watching Lawrence Olivier, perhaps the greatest British actor of all, in performances like Richard the 3rd.

Olivier hired the young McKellen to play supporting parts at Britain’s National Theatre. McKellen idolized Olivier, but didn’t work with him for long. He wanted to play lead roles in Shakespeare.

Show clips of some Shakespearean roles and film clips.

SIM - Shakespeare’s the Himalayas and if you’re gonna be a mountain climber, you’ve got to try and get up there.

CR – And you have to bring some talent. A command of language.

SIM – Shakespeare’s all words, you know what I mean? The pictures are all in the words.

CR - McKellen became interested in movies seven years ago, after he starred in a controversial adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” set in a world that resembled Nazi Germany.

SIM - Once Richard III had been made and I judged it to be good - it doesn’t matter what other people thought, I thought it was good – I wanted to do more of it”

CR – Because?

SIM – Because it was a wonderful challenge to my professionalism.

CR – So in his mid-50’s he became a student, taking roles, in effect, to learn film acting. . He was in a suspense movie by Stephen King, acted the villain in “X-men,” based on the popular comic book, and received an Oscar nomination for his role as an aging film director in “Gods and Monsters.”

That movie brought him one step closer to what he really wanted: to act great parts on both stage and film, just like Lawrence Olivier. In fact, McKellen’s admiration for Olivier is so deep that when a briefcase that once belonged to the legendary actor came up for auction, McKellen had to have it.

SIM - I bid, at this charity auction, for this briefcase,because it said ‘L.O.’, Lawrence Olivier, on the outside. And I thought this would be a wonderful thing to have – to carry my own scripts in it. But bidding against me was the singer, Sting, and his wife, Trudi Styler. And so I had to give up bidding against them, as their resources were more considerable than mine. And they – they won. They got it.

The day after I didn’t win the Oscar for "Gods and Monsters," I was in my hotel in Hollywood, not feeling sorry for myself - I’d had a great evening. But a package arrived. And inside it was the briefcase. Saying, “We’d intended this for your 60th birthday, but we thought you might need cheering up today.”

CR – Great story, so all along they knew they were going to give it to you.

SIM - And they had added the initials ‘I.M.’ right next to the ‘L.O.’

CR - With “Lord of the Rings,” Hollywood has embraced McKellen and so have movie fans. There were lines around the block when he recently appeared at a bookstore in Los Angeles to sign autographs.

Show him signing etc.

SIM – You know I’ve had a little taste of fame and it’s fun.

CR – It says something about the power of movies.

SIM – Yeah, My only interest in that fame is that it will make producers believe that it’s all right to have me in their next movie. Of itself, it could be nothing but a nuisance, really, not to be able to go around the world privately.

Shows SIM and CR walking in a garden.

CR – But he willingly gave up that privacy in 1988 when he publicly announced that he was gay on a British radio program. Since then he says his acting has only gotten better.

CR – So why then I say, that before he came out and freed himself, we only saw Ian McLellen half as good as he could be?

SIM - You saw a wonderful technician There was something about his acting that was deceptive, deceitful, lying.

CR – A liar?

SIM - But then I was a liar. That’s what society had forced me to be.

CR – Have you thought about the fact that this Character, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings is now and idol to a lot of young people?

SIM – I know because the nearest I get to hate mail these days is “How can you play Gandalf, you’re gay and we don’t want a gay man to play Gandalf.” It’s silly and since it came out no one’s made that point because I’m an actor. I kept saying “Shut up, I’m an actor.”

Shows clip of “one ring..” scene and then him reading the same ring in the same wonderful voice to a group of children.

CR – For all his success, Sir Ian McKellen remains down to earth. While many movie stars yearn for theatre roles to prove themselves as actors, McKellen has done it the other way around. Movie roles have made his career complete.

SIM – I do hope most of all what happens is that those who have enjoyed me on the screen will go and seek me out in the theatre, because then I’ll really give them their money’s worth.

3-14-02 Latest News

Media Watch: Empire Magazine
Xoanon @ 1:51 pm EST

Ringer Spy Lee sends along these scans from the latest issue of Empire Magazine.

Mortensen has eye on crime for "Borgia" role
Xoanon @ 12:32 pm EST

Lord of the Rings" franchise star Viggo Mortensen is in negotiations to star in Myriad Pictures' "Borgia" for director Neil Jordan and Imagemovers. The project aims to go into production in the summer.

The historical drama, set in the 15th century, follows the corrupt Borgia family that includes siblings Lucretia and Cesare and their father Roderigo, who went on to become Pope Alexander VI and ran the 16th century Vatican as a crime syndicate. Mortensen will play Cesare, a hypocritical priest who plunders the nation to further his family's power.

Imagemovers' Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey are producing along with Jordan's producing partner Stephen Woolley. Myriad co-presidents Kirk D'Amico and Philip Von Alvensleben will executive produce with Myriad production president Lucas Foster.

Myriad, which is financing the $55 million picture through international sales, is retaining worldwide distribution rights to "Borgia." ICM, which reps Jordan, is handling North American distribution rights for Myriad.

Mortensen, repped by CAA and manager Lynn Rawlins, will star in the next two installments of New Line's "Lord of the Rings" franchise -- "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King." His credits include "28 Days," "A Walk on the Moon," "G.I. Jane" and "Portrait of a Lady."

Media Watch: Movieline
Xoanon @ 12:08 pm EST

There was a small blurb on Orlando Bloom in the April issue of Movieline. It was an article focusing on outstanding performances the previous year by young (up and coming) actors.

The Standouts

ORLANDO BLOOM in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Among the many smart choices director Peter Jackson made when casting the film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's vibrant Lord of the Rings trilogy, his gutsiest was to embellish a roster that included masters like Ian McKellen, gifted new stars like Cate Blanchett, underused lookers like Viggo Mortensen and hobbit dead-ringers like Elijah Wood with the addition ---in a crucial role--- of a complete unknown. Fresh from a three-year haul at drama school, the 25-year-old, felicitously named British actor Orlando Bloom was picked to play Elf warrior Legolas Greenleaf. Early stills of the film revealed a suspiciously Casper Van Dien-like presence that made one wonder. On-screen, Bloom was something else. He did have an almost unreal, cheekbone-bedecked handsomeness, but he also moved with crystalline resolve and athletic grace. Even when a million things are happening at once, Bloom grabs your attention and makes you feel everthing that depends on the great battle of good and evil. Fortunately for us, Bloom will play beefed-up roles in the final two films of the trilogy, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

Xoanon @ 11:15 am EST

Lord of the Rings "FoTR" TRIVIA

Harper Collins Canada Ltd -- in association with Dúnedain Multimedia, Toronto.com, Trivia Engine, and Virgin Music Canada -- is launching a three-week "FoTR" trivia quest on March 11th, 12:01 am (EST). The game will be accessible via the Toronto.com web site until March 31st, 2002.

"Fellowship of the Ring Trivia" is powered by Trivia Engine -- one of the four products Dúnedain Multimedia launched in the spring of 2001 -- and features challenging questions about the plot line, characters, places, and the author of this classic novel.

Prizes -- provided by Harper Collins and Virgin Music -- will be awarded to players with the highest scores after the contest closes. Official contest rules are accessible from the game (for more details about prizes, restrictions and regulations).

There are three different games to choose from -- each based on a specific segment of the book -- and you can play as many times as you like before the end of the month.

Visit http://www.toronto.com/section/arts to Join The Fellowship now!!

3-12-02 Latest News

Media Watch: Vanity Fair
Xoanon @ 10:48 pm EST

Quinn writes: Sean Astin is featured in a huge spread in Vanity Fair for Lincoln automobiles. It's a full page photo of him with a (his?) dog. in front of a Lincoln Navigator.

How he did it
Xoanon @ 12:52 pm EST

From: Kansas City Star:

Sir Ian McKellen told a gathering in Beverly Hills Monday that some of his Oscar-nominated acting as Gandalf in "The Fellowship of the ring" was pure imagination.

Take that scene where Gandalf confronts Balrog on the bridge and yells "You shall not pass!" McKellen said he was actually shouting at a green tennis ball that was standing in for a special effect to be added later. To get into mood, he thought of the worst monster he could imagine. Hitler.

Later, according to the L.A-based column Spywitness, when Gandalf tumbles into the abyss after defeating the demon, the wizard looks directly at Frodo, who's trying to come to his friend's aid. His blazing blue eyes are filled with love, sorrow and longing as he shouts, "Fly you fools!"

"In the movie, Gandalf is looking at Frodo, but I was looking at (a former lover he broke up with back in 1972)," McKellen said. "Is that method acting? I don't know. But I know it looks good on the screen."

McKellen will appear on "Saturday Night Live" this week.

3-10-02 Latest News

Weekend Round Up
Xoanon @ 12:31 am EST

Radio Free Decipher Talks To Richard Taylor

LOTR Wins C.A.S. Award

LOTR soundtrack to be discussed on Weekend Edition Sunday

LOTR Premiere: Japan

Variety Ads For LOTR

Star Wars Trailer: Chris Lee Spotted

Lord Of The Rings CD Cardz

SAG Awards: Gosford Park wins Best Cast

McKellen Wins Best Supporting Actor!

Lord of the Rings "FoTR" TRIVIA

Media Watch: In Style Magazine (Australia)

There and back again – a journey to middle earth Part X

TV Watch: Ian McKellen On '60 Minutes II' & 'SNL'

Adventures roll on for 'Star Wars,' 'Harry' and 'Rings'

Jackson's Locks Get In The Way

Lord of the Rings in Lego.

Fran Walsh, Christopher Lee on NY Observer

Name Confusion Riles Rings Writer

Sir Ian McKellen to host Saturday Night Live

The Two Towers Photo Archive

'Mind' Wins DGA Award

The DGA Winner is...

Hall Of Fire Chats For March 9th & 10th

GAMING: Screenshots

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