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April 14, 2007 - May 09, 2007

5-09-07 Latest News

'Children of Hurin' Review Roundup
Xoanon @ 7:39 pm EST

Anon-a-mouse sends along these links to the many many many reviews of 'Children of Hurin' over the past few weeks:

Weta Workshop 3D modeller named Supreme Winner
Xoanon @ 2:38 pm EST

Weta Workshop 3D modeller named Supreme Winner

Weta Workshop 3D Modeller Lucy Cant won the Supreme Award at last night’s Zonta Awards. The event, held at Massey University, celebrates the top female graduates from the Massey School of Design.

The awards are sponsored by Zonta, an international club of business women who recognize women who have shown potential in design. Zonta rewards the aspiring designers with a cash prize of $1000 for the four runners up, and a $5000 cash prize for the Supreme Winner.

Each contestant was required to exhibit pieces of their own work. Lucy displayed her range of public furniture, made using recycled tyre rubber as one of the key elements.

Lucy says the win came as a complete surprise. “I was nervous as hell beforehand because I had to give a speech”, she laughs. “When I heard my name being called I just couldn’t believe it. The organisers had told us to prepare an acceptance speech, but of course I hadn’t!”

Lucy’s fellow nominees were Nina Wells, visual communication design, sponsored by Saatchi and Saatchi; Rachel Higham, fashion and textile design, sponsored by Rembrandt Suits; Rosemary Horn, Photographic design, sponsored by Image Lab and Hannah Ferens interior design sponsored by Limited Editions interior design.

Lucy is currently working in our Miniatures and 3D department at Weta Workshop. She is interested in sustainable design, which aims to reduce the amount of materials used to create a design and considers the effect it has on the environment.

5-07-07 Latest News

Vote Eowyn for 'Miss Entertainment'!
Xoanon @ 7:46 pm EST

Daniel writes: I'm writing to let you know about a chance for your readers to vote for Eowyn in the Miss Entertainment online pageant.

I was hired as a freelance editor to put together a campaign ad for Eowyn, and I think it came out looking pretty good---whether or not you want to vote, I think you'd appreciate it as a fan video. I had a really good time cutting together footage from Two Towers and Return of the King to really tell the story of who Eowyn is and how she grows in the course of the movies---it's a good time to watch (I hope).

You can check it out at versus.ugo.com just click on Eowyn to see the video and cast your vote.

I've pasted more information about the Miss Entertainment Pageant below. I hope you enjoy the video, and that you pass it on to your readers:

UGO's Miss Entertainment is the beauty pageant for the twenty-first century. No more sleazy judges. No more crusty old men serenading the winner. No more Donald Trump. Only you can crown Miss Entertainment!

In our pageant's first round, you will vote for the hottest woman in the worlds of television, movies, video games, and comics. In our second and final round, you'll choose Miss Entertainment from amongst the four category winners from round one. Round one is underway and twenty lovely contestants are vying for your vote.

Pageant Dates:
Round 1: 4/25 - 5/23
Round 2: 5/23 - 6/6

5-06-07 Latest News

Tolkien Society Seminar News
Xoanon @ 11:27 am EST

Ian Collier sends this along: In response to calls for more events around the world the Tolkien Society Seminar for 2007 is happening in two parts, one “up here” and the other “downunder”. The seminars are being arranged by the Tolkien Society in partnership with The Cambridge Tolkien Society and Tol Harndor: The Australian Tolkien Society.

The Northern Hemisphere Tolkien Society Seminar

Women in Tolkien, Saturday, 16th June

Wolfson Court, Girton, Cambridge

The 'northern' seminar in Cambridge has the theme of “Women in Tolkien” and the weekend will also include an evening mead tasting (for those who are over eighteen years of age) and a punt-moot on the Sunday to Grantchester complete with a picnic lunch.

Interested in Giving a Paper?

Papers should be either 20 or 45 minutes long to fit into half-hour or hour slots with time for questions or discussion. There may also be scope to accommodate a number of short 10-minute presentations. Please send the title, a short summary/abstract and the intended length to the Seminar organiser:

Helen Cousins e-mail

Registration Costs: Tolkien Society members: £28.00 & Non-members: £30.00

The registration fee covers attendance at the seminar, a light lunch and morning and afternoon tea and coffee. The mead tasting is £5.00 per head for members and £7.00 per head for non-members.

The Punt moot will be £15-£20 for punt-hire depending on numbers.

The closing date for registration is 6th June, however spaces are limited so to secure your place please book early.

The Southern Hemisphere Tolkien Society Seminar

The Art and Science of Magic in Middle-earth

Saturday, 25th August, NSW Writers' Centre, Sydney, Australia

This significant annual event in the Tolkien calendar is being held overseas for the first time in Sydney, Australia. With attendees travelling from around the world this will have an international festive feel. The magic of Middle-earth is wide-ranging in scope and can cover not only all aspects of magic in the works of Tolkien but also the enchantment that Tolkien's writings have instilled in Tolkien fans far and wide. The seminar will be held at the NSW Writers' Centre, the Centre was established to promote writing-based culture and the rights and interests of writers and offers literary resources and professional information to established and aspiring writers of all kinds.

Interested in Giving a Paper?

Some potential topics for consideration might be:

Papers should be either 20 or 45 minutes long to fit into half-hour or hour slots with time for questions/discussion. There may also be scope to accommodate a number of short 10-minute presentations. Please send the title, a short summary/abstract and the intended length to the Seminar organiser:

Michael Kennedy, e-mail

Registration Costs:

Registration costs for Tolkien Society members are: Aus$25.00, or GBP £10.00, or US$20.00.

Non-members rates are Aus$30.00, or GBP £12.00, or US$24.00.

Lunch and refreshments are included in the registration fee. There is an option of a Sydney Harbour cruise on Sunday if there is sufficient interest.

The closing date for registration is 25th July, however, spaces are limited so to secure your place please book early.

To register please bear in mind Cambridge by 6th June & Sydney by 25th July

All enquiries about bookings for these events should be directed to The Booking Officer:

The Booking Officer, 7 Rievaulx Drive, Morton-on-Swale, Northallerton, DL7 9UE, UK.

E-mail: bookings@tolkiensociety.org

For the Sydney Seminar only, please contact Michael Kennedy if you live in Australia:

Michael Kennedy, 27 Hennessy Lane, Figtree, NSW, 2525, Australia.

E-mail: pacific@tolkiensociety.org

For the Sydney Seminar only, please contact Anne Riney if you live in the USA

Anne Riney, 5241 College View Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90041, USA

E-mail: usd.bookings@tolkiensociety.org

4-24-07 Latest News

LOTRO: A splended game and nice version of Middle-earth
MrCere @ 5:19 pm EST

BOSTON, MA - Plenty has been said on TheOneRing about the new online Middle-earth game, "The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadow of Angmar". It is a business story, a pop-culture story, a gaming story and an adaptation story. Finally at the dawn of the game's hard release date, it is about time for a real review of the game. So here you go.

The Lord of the Rings Online - Buy Now

For those asleep at the wheel a brief recap is in order. Turbine Inc. has developed (a long story all by itself) a massive multiplayer online game that takes place in Tolkien's Middle-earth during the time of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring." To those who haven't done this sort of thing (probably a lot of Tolkien readers) it means that a player, on a PC, enters an imagined Middle-earth, heavily influenced by Tolkien's text but also populated with conventions needed to pull of a successful game. The live experience involves completing quests for character advancement; perhaps with other players live at home on their own PC.

Everything points towards "LOTRO" being a strong horse out of the gate. In my visit to Turbine I felt a good bit of confidence behind everything the company was doing and saying. It even seems to be listening to customers, changing a policy that would have limited North American customers from interacting with European players.

Click for Larger ViewSo is the game fun? In a word, abso-freaking-lutely. It is fun to make up an avatar Dwarf, Elf, Hobbit or Man and explore more of a certain version of Tolkien's world. But "fun" isn't the final or only consideration here. Monopoly is fun and so is throwing snowballs at cars in the folly of youth, but is the fun worth the price? The price here is an incredible time sink and a monthly subscription for between $10 and $15 (Turbine rewards those who purchased early) and the game for a one-time $50. That formula has worked incredibly well for other online massive multiplayer games (MMOs) which consumes the free time of over 8 million monthly subscribers for the top-of-the-line game.

On a per-minute of fun basis, $15 a month is a bargain when compared to the cost of a two hour movie, a new CD, therapy or a massage. Like any of those options LOTRO is an escape from the stressful, sometimes mundane world. But enough with the rambles, let's get to the nitty-gritty.


Click for Larger VersionThe game looks amazing. Middle-earth has been alive in reader's imaginations for over 50 years and meeting expectations is a real challenge. Creating a game from scratch, with no preconceived notions or expectations, provides developers and programmers an open-ended mission to make the game look cool. But in LOTRO, the created world (perhaps the most celebrated in the history of fiction) must match - at least somewhat - the vision of millions who have already traveled through Middle-earth. So does the game pull it off?

One of J.R.R. Tolkien's great strengths was making Middle-earth feel real rather than fantastic to the reader. The online Middle-earth is best with its exteriors. Trees, clouds, grasses, forests, hills, dales and nature in general are the visual foundation of the game. Indoors the visuals falter a bit. Not because they don't still look "cool" but because the game feels more like a video game environment and less like an authentic experience. This isn't because of the skill used to render the images but more with the design of cultures inside the game. Still, this is a wonderful game to see and the complaint that the video game interiors look like a video game is indeed a minor quibble.


Click for Larger ViewYup, as previously stated, LOTRO is fun. Players must first create a character race and class which sets a locale and race and the foundation for the in-game tutorial that gets even new players off to a smooth start.

Middle-earth expands quickly as a player progresses levels with plenty of quests available from non-player characters sprinkled about the landscape. The idea is that characters will adventure, choosing quests of interest that provide in-game rewards such as improved armor or weapons or health. Meanwhile the player enjoys both the challenge of the quests and the satisfaction of leveling up while traveling through a computer version of Middle-earth.

In gamer slang I am a "noob" (new to the game or MMORPG in general) and I was occasionally frustrated with figuring out where to go to work on a quest. It was frustrating that a programmed character could want something, an item perhaps, but could only provide vague details on where to find it. Often other players provide tips but somehow I felt slightly stifled by the game. Once past the burden of navigation the quests are mostly well designed and quite fun. They can be tackled solo but often two players with different skill sets are better than one.

The richest moments of early game play happen when two players work together for common goals. Fighting a string of goblins alone can be a challenge for a starting player so when an archer and a brawler fall in together with a powerful long-range bow attack combined with mighty smash mouth blows with a sword, the goblins have short lives.

Ultimately, this shared experience is the key to enjoying the game. Killing cunning goblins or savage wolves solo, while mildly entertaining, isn't satisfying for long. Those are activities suited more for an Xbox 360 combat game while the whole point of the multiplayer online experience is to drink the depth the of world and interact with other players.

Turbine wisely, has mostly taken out the player versus player aspects of some MMORPGs. Some games are oriented to tap into players and teams of players' competitive instincts while LOTRO goes a different way.

There is an option for players who want to go toe-to-toe with other players. There is a section of the map where players can launch into monster roles and battle other players but borders prevent monster players from leading a band of Orcs into the Shire or a gaggle of Trolls from sacking Elrond's Rivendell.

There is also a duel feature which is competitive but not destructive.


Click for Larger VersionThe joy in, even the point of, a massive multiplayer game, is to experience the game with other players. LOTRO can be played solo, probably extensively, but it will virtually always be more enjoyable when its social aspects and Turbine has gone to great lengths to feature this as part of the core of the game play. For a game that gets high marks across the board, this is probably the most appealing aspect of the game.

For starters, www.LOTRO.com has a solid system of forums to help users in various aspects of the game.

But it is the in-game society that is the real draw. The smallest formal unit of group play is appropriately dubbed a "fellowship" (not to be confused with The Fellowship) and consists of six or more players. The larger kinship is more permanent and creates a more permanent pool for individuals to draw other players from to aid in adventuring. This is where the game goes from fun to on-line crack. When the game play becomes social the deep addiction kicks in, which can be both good and bad.

Players can and do visit landmark locations from the written "Fellowship of the Ring." If you want to hang at the Green Dragon, with your fellowship or kinship, feel free. And what is more, there are various ways to enjoy the company:


Click for Larger ViewThe launch of LOTRO was never intended to be the "final" release of the game. Turbine has a lot of tricks still up its sleeve but has delivered an extremely polished out-of-the-box game. Games like this often have a lot of challenges at launch. Turbine's own "Dungeons & Dragons" game has come a long way since the day it was first playable. The format with the constant patches, fixes and updates have massaged the game into something superior to its launch in every way.

LOTRO is already polished from its extensive development, big beta trials and its soft "try-out" launch three weeks ago. Today officially is the final product, but the game has been consumer ready for a long while with only tiny tweaks. The most heartening part of all of this is that the content of the game will evolve and improve. The emotes, for example, are a recent addition that enhanced the role play in just the last week. Kinships or individuals will likely be able to construct or buy dwellings in the future and the current playable map leaves a lot of Middle-earth yet to develop. In other words, even the finished game will never be finished.

The first grand update has already been announced. Last Friday the new content was introduced with, "Beginning in June, heroes can adventure to the Shores of Evendim, the first of many free updates to The Lord of the Rings Online."

While this is a review for the existing game, part of the reality of the existing game is that the developer (Turbine) excels at improving games. The prospect of the whole of Middle-earth as mapped by Christopher Tolkien for his father is real. In fact, Turbine is highly motivated to constantly improve and expand its content because its financial stake is tied up with retaining and growing its monthly subscription base.


Click for Larger VersionLOTRO is fun. While there has been an admirable attempt to balance a fun game with reverence to Tolkien's Middle-earth the translation isn't exact. Those expecting to find the book on-line will be disappointed. Those looking for a fun game inspired by Middle-earth will enjoy exploring. The novels cover only a rail through gigantic maps while the game fleshes out the rest with genuine fun. The game shines as a social interactive environment and a series of carefully planned features make this the best part of the experience. Time spent in Middle-earth was satisfying and fun but it is thoughts of pushing the borders of the current map that really induces salivation. Turbine has released a splendid game that is an acceptable version of Middle-earth.


  • You can purchase your copy of 'The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar' directly via www.LOTRO.com.

  • Players wishing to participate in TheOneRing.net's kinship should play on the Meneldor server
  • The TORn kinship name is "TheOneRing". Those interested in joining should visit our message boards in the "gaming" section here or contact "Farother" inside the game.

  • Turbine says this about the first expansion: "About 100 miles north of the Shire, in northern Eriador, lies Evendim, a vast region dominated by the Lake Nenuial; the 'Lake of the Twilight'. On the southern shore, the ancient abandoned city of Annuminas -the former capital of the kingdom of Arnor is well known amongst the Free Peoples. For according to the Legends, amidst its ruins lay a great wealth and powerful artifacts now threatened by evil creatures and the nefarious forces lurking in Angmar."
    • Players will contribute to the economy with skills and vocations
    • The game so far measures 50-million square meters
    • There are 400 points of interest
    • Players can encounter significant Tolkien characters like Gandalf, Aragorn, Gloin and many others
    • The game is virtually world wide including China
    • Players can create items such as arms and jewelry or participate in farming, mining or cooking
    • Titles are awarded to players for accomplishments or play style
    • Players can progress for 50 levels at launch
    • North America does not have a dedicated role playing server while Europe does

The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ Launches
Xoanon @ 3:44 pm EST

The Most Anticipated New MMO of the Year Now Available

WESTWOOD, MA and CHICAGO, IL – April 24, 2007 -- Turbine, Inc. and Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY) announced today that The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ is now available for purchase across North America. The game is the first and only massively-multiplayer online game based on the Books of J.R.R. Tolkien. In development for over four years, the game opens up the mystical world of Middle-earth and creates the opportunity for endless adventure.

Legions of fans have been waiting in great anticipation for the opportunity to start their adventure in Middle-earth and as of today, the wait is over! The Lord of the Rings Online delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most beloved fantasy adventure of all time. From the quaint surroundings of the Shire to Angmar, the vile kingdom of the Witch-king, players will experience the world of Middle-earth as never before.

"The release of The Lord of the Rings Online marks a momentous occasion for MMO gamers and Tolkien fans around the world,” said Jeff Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “Countless adventures await gamers eager to experience Middle-earth in an entirely new way and we’re confident that once they’ve visited this epic world, they’ll never want to leave.”

"The Lord of the Rings franchise, with its incredibly rich history and extensive fan base, lends itself perfectly to the MMO genre,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. “We’re thrilled to be able to partner with Turbine to bring The Lord of the Rings Online to North American gamers looking for a way to experience the world of Middle-earth like never before.”

Turbine also announced today the first update to The Lord of the Rings Online. This free update, called the Shores of Evendim, is scheduled to be released this coming June and will include an entirely new landscape region, over 60 additional quests, the Battle for Helegrod raid, nine new monsters and major enhancements to monster play and the music system.

The Lord of the Rings Online is now available for purchase at major retailers in both a Special and Standard Edition. The Special Edition of The Lord of the Rings Online includes the game on a single DVD, 30-days of free play, the official R16;Making of The Lord of the Rings Online’ DVD, the official game soundtrack and an exclusive in-game item. The Special Edition retails for a U.S. MSRP of $59.99, while the Standard Edition of the game is available for a U.S. MSRP of $49.99.

For more information about The Lord of the Rings Online, please visit www.lotro.com

About Turbine

Turbine, Inc. is a premier developer, publisher and operator of online entertainment and is headquartered in Westwood, Massachusetts. The company is one of the largest privately-held online games companies in North America. Turbine’s catalog includes some of the most famous online entertainment brands, including Asheron’s Call®, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE™: Stormreach™, and The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™. For more information on Turbine, its products and services please visit www.turbine.com.

About Midway

Midway Games Inc. (NYSE:MWY), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with offices throughout the world, is a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for major videogame systems and personal computers. More information about Midway and its products can be found at www.midway.com.

About Tolkien Enterprises

The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising, and other rights in J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary works The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien Enterprises has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on Tolkien’s works for almost 30 years. Its headquarters are in Berkeley, California, and its website may be found at www.tolkien-ent.com.

4-20-07 Latest News

Finally, the New York City Book Party report!
MrCere @ 7:49 pm EST

NEW YORK – Dimitri Bannikov traveled from Russia to be first in line at the New York City Barnes & Noble where copies of “The Children of Hurin” autographed by Christopher Tolkien and Alan Lee went on sale.

Welllllllllll, almost. Bannikov did travel from Russia to New York, but for vacation and it just happened that he was in “The City” for the Tolkien book event of the last 30 years. But, since he was in town, the hearty J.R.R. Tolkien fan was the first in line at 555 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan and for that honor he had to show up at 4 a.m. New York native Yekaterina Shineleva was next in line, later replaced by her husband Mr. Yekaterina Shineleva (okay you got me, I forgot his name) and the Russians were pleased to be the first to get the signed books.

Shawn Lindsley, a few spots down, did fly in for the event and almost immediately flew back to Houston after it was over.

“The chances of getting something signed by him (Christopher Tolkien) are pretty . . . it’s cool,” he said while waiting in line for the noon sale to begin. “Tolkien is definitely a passion of mine. I love the beauty, depth, language, places . . .”

Lindsley delivered some entertainment as well, reciting the “Earendil” poem from “Lord of the Rings” from memory. The sidewalk mavens gathered around to hear the words and applaud while Thorongil checked him against the official text.

Collin Tanner traveled from Toronto by car, a measly nine-hour drive, bringing his daughter Shannon and her friend Laura Harris, but the two teens were more interested in shopping. Still, they managed to buy a few copies of the book.

TheOneRing.net was on hand in the form of Long Island native Thorongil and yours truly. We were pleased to help entertain those in line with prizes, donuts, trivia and general frivolity and fellowship. Sideshow Collectibles was kind enough to donate $20 gift cards for each and every person who showed up for the line. Beyond that, a dozen trivia masters landed a “Crown of the King of the Dead” helm replica. Another dozen trivia hounds scored one of twelve try-out discs of “The Lord of the Rings Online: The Rise of the Witch King”. The super-duper lucky ducks won various TheOneRing.net t-shirts of various styles and sizes and before we knew it, we were allowed inside the three level B&N store.

The NYC rain was only very occasionally a minor factor in the days’ wait and as happy souls snaked through the line, nobody seemed to remember or mind a few drops of rain.

Scads of official TORn pictures exist but a connection problem has stranded them in a camera, for a few days at least. Sorry! We shall provide when we can.

Photographer exhibits Tolkien imagery in 'Hobbiton'
Xoanon @ 1:17 pm EST

An English photographer is holding the first ever exhibition of digital imaging at a childhood haunt of author J.R.R. Tolkien in Hall Green, Birmingham, England.

Sarehole Mill, the last functioning watermill in Birmingham, is now a museum and place of international pilgrimage for fans of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings', and hosts the annual Tolkien Weekend (next on 19-20 May, 2007)

Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien lived nearby as a child, and often visited the Mill, which features in his all-time bestselling fantasy books as 'The Old Mill' at Hobbiton, the home town of hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. He also explored nearby Moseley Bog nature reserve and later lived near 'The Two Towers' in Edgbaston.

Stuart Williams, whose home is in Bloxwich - part of The Black Country, which inspired the dark land of Mordor - was invited by the museum to display his spectacular photographic art there for the entire season until October 28.

Stuart said "The exhibition offers a selection of images from my project 'On the Trail of Tolkien', using computers to transform real world places which inspired the author into his legendary fantasy world of Middle-earth. This year is the 70th anniversary of the publication of 'The Hobbit', and I am delighted that Sarehole Mill Museum has kindly framed 10 special prints and an explanatory panel in the Mill's new tea room, which opened at the end of March."

Sarehole Mill is in Cole Bank Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, England. Tel: 0121 777 6612 for opening hours.

For more information on the exhibition and the work of Stuart Williams, see his website www.stuartwilliams.net

4-16-07 Latest News

Rare RINGERS and Oscar Party Items at Auction!
Xoanon @ 7:27 pm EST

Rare RINGERS and Oscar Party Items at Auction!

Clean, used, or MINT - these items are like none you'll find or collect anywhere!

Here you will find crazy items we dug up from the RINGERS "Prop Museum" including collectible action figures, rare edition dolls, etc.

You will also find an exclusive keepsake form our three OSCAR PARTIES!

Thank you for celebrating our award-winning indie documentary RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS. If you can imagine it, we probably filmed it for our B-roll! Here is your chance to acquire some rare and exclusive items available nowhere else.

Check out the film clips (Quicktime required) and throw down your bids to own a piece of indie film history.

Check out these sequences from the film (Quicktime required) and join the auctions!

The "Mariachi Sing-Along":

Small file [100kps]

Large file [800kps]

The infamous "Very Secret Diaries" Segment:

Large file [800kps]

Visit our Official Site at the RINGERS Store: [Click here]

The newest series of RINGERS eBay auctions are here:

Toy Biz HELM’S DEEP ARAGORN Action Figure
Toy Biz MERRY Action Figure
ORIGINAL Movie Costume Vintage 60s Shawl
ARAGORN “Special Edition Collector Series” Doll
LEGOLAS “Special Edition Collector Series” Doll
Brian Sibley & John Howe's MAPS of MIDDLE-EARTH NEW MINT
Superb! Sauron MiniMates Toy

4-14-07 Latest News

LOTR Musical Press Release
Xoanon @ 6:23 pm EST

“THE LORD OF THE RINGS”, the first major stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy, will receive its British and European Premiere when it opens in London this Summer. “THE LORD OF THE RINGS” will open in the West End at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Tuesday 19 June, following previews from 9 May. This follows the 70th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien starting to write the trilogy and the 50th anniversary of the publication of the complete trilogy, “The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King”.

Malcolm Storry, best known for his many seasons at the RSC and who recently starred in “The Royal Hunt of the Sun” at the National Theatre, will play ‘Gandalf’. James Loye will recreate the role of ‘Frodo Baggins’, which he played in Toronto last year. Laura Michelle Kelly, who won an Olivier Award for originating the title role in “Mary Poppins” in London, will play ‘Galadriel’. Michael Therriault will play ‘Gollum’, the role he originated in Toronto, winning the Dora Award for ‘Best Actor’. Peter Howe will recreate his role as ‘Sam’, for which he received a Dora Award nomination. Jerome Pradon, who has starred in many West End musicals including “Les Misérables” and “Martin Guerre”, will play ‘Aragorn’. Brian Protheroe, who will play ‘Saruman’ has successfully managed to combine both acting and music careers, having released a number of pop records in the 1970’s and having starred in many West End productions including “Leave Him to Heaven” and “Pump Boys and Dinettes”. Richard Henders, who has recently starred in “Caroline or Change” at the National Theatre and received an Olivier Award nomination for the Donmar’s production of “Pacific Overtures”, will play ‘Merry’. Owen Sharpe will recreate the role of ‘Pippin’, which he played in Toronto last year. Michael Rouse, recently seen starring in “The Boyfriend” at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, will play ’Legolas’. Sévan Stephan, who created the role of ‘Big Jule’ in the production of “Guys and Dolls” at the Piccadilly Theatre, will play ‘Gimli’. Steven Miller, recently seen in “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Sheffield Crucible, will play ‘Boromir’. Rosalie Craig, seen in the recent BBC productions of “My Family and other Animals” and “Casanova”, will play ‘Arwen’.

Andrew Jarvis will play ‘Elrond’, Terence Frisch ‘Bilbo’, Tim Morgan ‘Théoden’ and Kirsty Malpass ‘Rosie’. The cast of fifty also includes Alexandra Bonnet, Greg Bradley, James Byng, Darren Carnall, Lee Clayden, Jennie Dale, Claire Doyle, Stephen Emery, Ben Evans, Josh Feldshuh, Alma Ferovic, Wayne Fitzsimmons, Chris Gage, David Grant, Shaun Henson, Michael Hobbs, Christopher D. Hunt, Luke Johnson, Corrie Mac, Stuart Neal, Scott Owen, Tim Parker, Richard Roe, Andrew Rothwell, Adam Salter, Robbie Scotcher, Nick Searle, Stevie Tate-Bauer, Jon Tsouras, Gavin Wilkinson, Glenn Wilkinson, Sam Wilmot and Kirk Zammit.

The production has book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna & Matthew Warchus and music by A.R. Rahman & Värttinä with Christopher Nightingale. The show will be directed by Matthew Warchus, with choreography by Peter Darling and set and costume design by Rob Howell.

The show will have lighting by Paul Pyant, sound design by Simon Baker for Autograph, moving image direction by The Gray Circle, literary consultancy by Laurie Battle, special effects design by Gregory Meeh, illusions and magic effects by Paul Kieve, circus skills by Alex Frith and musical direction by Richard Brown.

Director Matthew Warchus says of the production, “We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of Musical Theatre, but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien’s material. As a result, we will be presenting a hybrid of Text, Physical Theatre, Music and Spectacle never previously seen on this scale. To read the novel is to experience the events of Middle-earth in the mind’s eye; only in the theatre are we actually plunged into the events as they happen. The environment surrounds us. We participate. We are in Middle-earth.”

The Kevin Wallace Limited production of “THE LORD OF THE RINGS” will be presented in London by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz.

Performance times at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for “THE LORD OF THE RINGS”, which runs at 3 hours including interval, will be Mondays at 7.00pm and Tuesdays-Saturdays at 7.30pm, with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.00pm. Tickets, priced from £15.00 - £60.00, are available from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Box Office on 0870 890 6002.

Full rehearsals begin on Monday 5 February.


Premier Magazine Talks 'Alatriste'
Xoanon @ 4:47 pm EST



22 million Euros, more than 4 months of filming, 10,000 extras and a star like Viggo Mortensen. Arturo Perez-Reverte’s anti-hero adaptation has given us the biggest Spanish-cinema project. Alatriste now lands in Mexico after alluring more than 3 million viewers in Spain.

“He wasn’t the most honest man, nor the most compassionate, but he was a brave man”, with these words writer Arturo Perez-Reverte opens more than a decade ago the Captain Alatriste saga, an authentic literary phenomenon in the Spanish speaking world with his just released sixth book, Corsarios de Levante (Levante’s Corsairs). Those same words are the ones that put an end to Alatriste, the movie directed by Agustin Diaz Yanez (Bendito Infierno, 2001), conceived with the idea of achieving an impact similar to the novels that inspires it, because “we are almost 400 millions of Hispanic-speakers in the world,, and we’re still being included into the Anglo-Saxon culture, so the best answer to that is to make movies that stand up to the technical level they have, but at the same time be furiously Hispanic in their content.”

In Spain, Alatriste opened on September 1st 2006, beating James Bond, Eragon, Superman and the X-Men, positioning itself as the fourth most viewed movie of 2006, just behind Pirates of the Caribbean 2, The DaVinci Code and The Ice Age 2.

Just Like a Hero

When the time came to put together a super production like this one, and be able to compete with the big Made in Hollywood productions, the people responsible for the project did not think about expenses, starting with a big A-level star, Viggo Mortensen, still fresh from the memory of The Lord of the Rings’ Aragorn.

“We had two names, Viggo Mortensen and Benicio Del Toro –Agustin Diaz Yanes explains-, but the later barely spoke Spanish, and Viggo showed great enthusiasm for the project, and was very committed since the start. He rejected other offers just to be able to have time to prepare his character; he’s a methodic performer, always ready to give himself entirely. He’s a luxury as an actor and person. The only condition he made was that we couldn’t even consider the option of making this an English-speaking movie just to give it a more international acceptance, but I assured him that was out of the question.”

During the press conference before the shooting of the film, Mortensen explained some of the reasons he found the script -which concentrates the five books published at the time- appealing. “It’s a very deep story, in it you can find the crumbling of an empire that lost strength and presence do to it’s war excesses, something that even though takes place in the 17th century Spain, it’s also applicable now days”, he said in open reference to the American empire.

Apart from Viggo, they also thought of Gael Garcia Bernal (Babel) for the part of Inigo de Balboa- Alatriste’s friend and narrator in the books-, about him the director Diaz Yanez said: “I’m passionate about him as an actor, but he had a very tight agenda and the producers had already changed the due dates lots of times in order to have Viggo, and it was impossible to match them with Gael’s dates.”

A Blockbuster that it is not.

One of the biggest complaints the movie has received is the fact that it concentrates the five novels, instead of making a saga, but this is something that bothers the director: “If we spent 2 million Euros, and it’s the biggest film budget ever spent in a Spanish film, Is there really someone that thinks we are in conditions to start a series of movies which costs would be over 100 million Euros? That’s idle talk…”.

And the fact is that, contrary to what we may think, Alatriste’s not an action-adventure movie, at least not in the strict sense of the term: “Some say there’s very little action inn it for an adventure movie- Agustin Diaz Yanes says-, but that it’s because they don’t get our approach, we never attempted to make a Spanish version of Pirates of the Caribbean, the books’ background and story have too much depth from the historical and political point of view to make it a cape and spade film”. The same way it’s leading character is more an antihero than a hero, the movie gives preeminence to the story of an empire’s fall throughout 30 years of history, than to it’s splendor.

We are in presence of an anti-epic movie, with spectacular sequences, and yes, a dose of royal intrigue, sword fights, and massive use of extras, but where introspection is more important than action itself. A suicidal approach that has disappointed more than one spectator, but one that at the same time has conquered many applauses, because what really transcends is the effort of showing the Spanish society that had in people like Cervantes, Quevedo or Velazquez, it’s mayor founders, artists that in their works reflected the beginning of decay, the end of a dream, the resigned awakening to the misery of an empire.

Because of all this, Alatriste is much more than a simple movie is a passionate journey to the origins of a sentiment in which identity is at last achieved.

Article by Jaime Iglesias, Madrid
Premier Magazine, Mexico
Issue 151, April 2007

Translated by Nimthiriel for TheOneRing.net

Viggo Mortensen in Mexico's 'Premier Magazine'
Xoanon @ 3:54 pm EST

The Elusive Mr. Mortensen
Translated by Nimthiriel for TheOnering.net

Mortensen in Mexico's 'Premier Magazine'

“Now we have the American Empire falling, and making war, and us be ashamed of it”

The air of mystery that surrounds Diego Alatriste seems to move also around the person who brings him life and voice in the movie, Viggo Mortensen. For reasons only known to him, the interview kept being changed, confusing reporters and publicists, and started to become an obsession for me. Finally the day came, and Viggo’s answers, given in a very formal Spanish, gave me even more questions. The images of Alatriste and Mortensen seem to want to stay: mysterious, in shadow and with frank lucidity. Maybe it’s better this way.

What similarities do you find between Imperial Spain’s Golden Age and today?

The Spanish Empire was the biggest world power of the time, but it was falling. Soldiers barely could live under a system that offered very little possibilities of improving one’s life, and none to individual expression or free speech. Now we have the American empire, also falling, making war, and making us be ashamed of it.

How do you think the movie will do in the US, taking into account it comes from a less developed film industry than Hollywood?

I’m worried about the people promoting the film outside Spain, because they haven’t done a good job so far. If we are allowed to visit the countries where the movie is being screened, and to the places where I and others from the production are known, I think we could get an unprecedented success.

Do you consider that a movie has to be faithful to the novel which is based on, or it can be a reinterpretation?

It has to be faithful to the original, and as meticulous as possible of the language used and to the storyline.

Did you consider the novel’s fans when creating your character?

Not much. I respect the fact that everyone has their own ideas and images about the book, but I think an actor has to be faithful to his own investigation and personal knowledge in order to create and play a character.

In four or five words, how would you describe your experience in Alatriste?

Could not have been better.

Interview by Paulette Jonguitud Acosta
Primetime Magazine April 2007 issue nº 151.

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