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May 12, 2007 - June 01, 2007

6-01-07 Latest News

Actors join to sue New Line over LOTR merchandising
MrCere @ 2:28 pm EST

Variety is reporting that New Line is getting sued again over Lord of the Rings profits, this time by a group of Kiwi actors. The actors feel that some questionable accounting has made it impossible to ever get paid a "5 percent of net revenue" clause outlined in contracts from merchandising based on characters they portrayed. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday.

This sounds similar to the contentions of Peter Jackson that New Line is participating in unfair accounting practices that keep talent from getting paid. Jackson and New Line are famously litigating over money on that front, although a New Line official said last week at the Cannes film festival that he thinks it will be settled. Lots of news stories are circulating that New Line's new fantasy film "The Golden Compass" is being marketed as LOTR IV.

Those filing the lawsuit aren't Hollywood stars but the names will be familiar to TORnados: Noel Appleby, Jed Brophy, Mark Ferguson, Ray Henwood, Bruce Hopkins, William Johnson, Nathaniel Lees, Sarah McLeod, Ian Mune, Paul Norell, Craig Parker, Robert Pollock, Martyn Sanderson, Peter Tait and Stephan Ure.

The full Variety story can be found right here.

5-31-07 Latest News

Cheltenham Science Festival Promises to Tell All...
Xoanon @ 10:04 pm EST

Iain writes: Spotted an article in my local paper (Evening Advertiser) that caught my eye immediately:

"A top scientist is to reveal the secrets behind the magic of Harry Potter. At the Cheltenham Science Festival;, in June, fans of both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings will have the opportunity to find out how computer technology created the films' special efforts.

At the festival presentation, sponsored by the Swindon-based British Computer Society, Andrew Fitzgibbon, the winner of the 2006 BCS Needham Award, will present Screen Magic, about the use of computer vision in creating 3D special effects for the film industry. He will illustrate how he uses technology to bend the audiences' perception of what they are watching.

He is a senior researcher at the Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK and researches the intersection of computer vision and computer graphics, with excursions into neuroscience, which have allowed him to work on the special effects for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings among other films.

He will be joined by Andrew Daffy, who will explain the secrets behind the magic of his work which includes the James Bond opening titles and BBC2 tags."

Link to specific event: cheltenhamfestivals.com

Details on Andrew Fitzgibbon

Details on Andrew Daffy (imdb)

5-30-07 Latest News

Chat with Weta Designer Stephen Crowe Tomorrow!
Xoanon @ 8:29 pm EST

From WETANZ.com: Weta Designer Stephen Crowe returns to the forums to answer as many questions as he can on NZ Thurs 31 May. Here are some of the highlights from last week's blitz...

Here's a snippet:

What was your first project with Weta and what was your best?

Stephen: "I was originally brought in to work on the Neon Genesis Evangelion live action movie - which was good fun, and a very steep learning curve for me. The BEST one is probably what I'm working on right now - which of course I can't talk about!"

Stephen hard at work on answering questions!

How do you find managing the often competing demands of a full work week, extra-hours freelance work, family, socialising and personal projects?

Stephen: "It's really incredibly difficult to fit it all in, and to say that I'm 'managing' these aspects of my life would be grossly unfair to that word!

"Progressing some personal projects is becoming more and more important to me ... in particular a graphic novel concept that I've been kicking around for a wee while now.. the book takes place somewhere else, or sometime else (is that specific enough?), or probably BOTH, and the main character is a freelancing engineer who is offered a lucrative and attractive contract to go and work on a nearby island that is populated by a mysterious but benevolent race of beings who have largely kept to themselves since their arrival quite some time ago. The engineer ends up becoming involved in a SINISTER PLOT, no less!

Stephen's work on Kong

"So lots of fun sci-fi design opportunities to keep me happy, and some action/drama to pull it all together. The challenging part will be writing the thing - so maybe a collaboration is in order, as I've never written fiction. So utilising my spare half hour per month to it's fullest, I should be done by about 2047! Keep an eye out..."

Weta Designer Daniel Falconer and a mystery designer also jumped onto the Forums to join in, too!

Congratulations to Weta Forum members Ulrik_fC, hsaunderson, Targos, oldduffer and Arranz, who won a King Kong poster signed by Stephen himself.

Stephen will be hopping on again tomorrow NZ Thurs 31 May (that's Weds to those of you in North America), so make sure if you haven't already, you sign up and create an account (free!) to chat to Stephen and the crew.

TV Watch: Orlando Bloom on 'Ellen' Clips
Xoanon @ 11:06 am EST

Fresh off his visit from 'The Tonight Show', Orlando Bloom headed over to the 'Ellen Degeneres Show' to promote 'Pirates III'. Take a look at the clips below!

Orlando Bloom on 'Ellen' Part 1

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Orlando Bloom on 'Ellen' Part 2

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TV Watch: Orlando Bloom on 'Leno' Clips
Xoanon @ 10:59 am EST

This may be too little too late, however I now have the clips from Orlando Bloom's visit to 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' from earlier this month. Take a look!

Orlando Bloom on 'Jay Leno' Part 1

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Orlando Bloom on 'Jay Leno' Part 2

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5-29-07 Latest News

Visiting Shadowfax
Xoanon @ 10:42 pm EST

Visiting Shadowfax

Nuradar writes: This past Sunday, May 27 I went to a horse exhibition in Truro, Nova Scotia to see Blanco, the beautiful white Andalusian that played Gandalf's horse, Shadowfax, in the The Lord of the Rings movies, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. It was a great exhibition with many horses and lots to learn about riding and grooming, but I must admit, Blanco was the main reason went. I was not disappointed. He's not exactly a large horse, but boy was he beautiful. His owner is Cynthia Royal, who acquired him immediately after filming was completed for all three movies. She gave the audience some interesting facts about his involvement with the movies. For example, Blanco's nose and lips turned progressively more pink as filming went on. Therefore, they are more pink in The Return of the King than in The Two Towers. Another interesting tidbit is that Blanco was gelded (neutered) after the movies were finished so that nobody would profit from his offspring due to his association with The Lord of the Rings. Also, Blanco's specialties include riding bare back and rearing on his hind legs. Blanco did have a double for some of the fast riding shots, but he is the horse we see in most scenes. And, of course, Sir Ian McKellen had a stunt double for the fast riding shots.

Cynthia Royal was at the exhibition not only to show Blanco to the public, but also to promote her style of horse training and her DVD. She uses a non-aggressive way to train horses that involves an innate understanding of a horse's body language. Knowing the horse's body language allows her to understand and respect the horse's needs and intentions, and therefore, she doesn't need to use force or aggression in her training. For more information on Cynthia's training, visit her website, www.imagine-discoverthemagic.com.

It really was a thrill to see the horse that portrayed Shadowfax in the Lord of the Rings movies. Cynthia's website indicates that there are some tentative U.S. tour dates for this fall and winter and for 2008. Check to see if she and Blanco are coming to your city.

Very Cool RINGERS Props & Oscar Party Memorabilia!
Xoanon @ 10:14 pm EST

Very Cool RINGERS Props & Oscar Party Memorabilia!

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 NENYA Galadriel's Ring, collectible Lithos from Comic-Con, and more.

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 exclusive odd bits 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:

FORREY ACKERMAN Sci-Fi Photo RARE (seen in film)
TTT MERRY & PIPPIN Comic-Con Litho
Sideshow ORCS OF MORIA Medallion RARE
Lot of 3 Tshirts including the WELLINGTON PREMIERE, the LINE PARTY 3 and the RETURN OF THE ONE PARTY

5-16-07 Latest News

London LOTR Musical Review & Images!
Xoanon @ 4:43 pm EST

London LOTR Musical Images

Mark writes: Last night I went to see The Lord of the Rings Musical in London at the Theatre Royal and thought I'd share with you a quick review:

I must admit, I was very sceptical that something like The Lord of the Rings could be adapted as a musical and fit into a 3 hour stage show and after hearing poor reviews about the Toronto show I was reluctant to spend £50 on a ticket. I'm glad I did.
The first thing you notice when you enter the theatre is that you are suddenly surrounded by the creeping branches of Fangorn Forrest:

About 30 minutes before curtain up a group of Hobbits emerged and started frolicking around on stage trying to capture fireflies and chatting to the audience in character.

So how do you transform Middle Earth and put it all on a single stage – well with the help of what must be the most sophisticated stage technology in existence they have done a remarkable job. A turntable moves the stage in both directions at once and several platforms on hydraulics rise up and down creating the illusion of climbing etc.

But what about the story? Of course there have to be massive sacrifices. The whole Weathertop scene is cut and Frodo is stabbed at the Prancing Pony instead. The character of Denethor and Theoden are fused together as one and in fact I don't think there was a single mention of the words Rohan or Gondor throughout the entire show. Bizarrely there is a (albeit a brief) mention of Tom Bombadil, maybe in an attempt to stick two fingers up at the film producers who never satisfied fans lust to see Tom in the movies!

London LOTR Musical Images

The Balrog scene blew me away, literally! Make sure you are sitting in the front centre of the stalls to feel the full force of the Balrog as you become completely immersed in ash and smoke, it was incredible and you will never feel anything quite like it by reading the books or watching the films! Similarly when Shelob emerged from the depths of the stage there was a real sense of fright in the audience.

One thing that amused me were the Ents. They are basically people on very long stilts however it was Treebeard that made me chuckle the most. For some reason they've given him a thick Lancashire accent!

The Orcs are terrifying! During the short period between act II and act III they come out and pester the audience and all I could hear were girls screaming. When they are onstage they perform all sorts of neat acrobatic moves making the battle scenes very dramatic. Similarly Gollum looks fantastic and the performance from the actor playing him is great – he's got his movements off to a fine art.

But what about the music? This is a musical after all! This was my only disappointment really, for such an epic performance the songs didn't really meet the same standards – the lyrics weren't very impressive and the vocals from the performers aren't great either. I think a lot of the songs have been cut as a massive overhaul of the production to cut the run time from the 4 hours it was at Toronto to a traditional 3 hours.

All in all, I'd definitely recommend the show to anyone but would advise people to pay full price and get the best tickets in the stalls for the complete Middle Earth experience!

TV Watch: Monaghan on 'Leno' Clips
Xoanon @ 8:52 am EST

Dominic Monaghan was a guest on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' on Monday, May 14th. He was there to promote the last few episodes of 'Lost' season 3. They also chatted about makeup, bugs and the paparazzi. Take a look at the clips below (moved to my MySpace account..thanks for nothing YouTube!)

Dominic Monaghan on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'

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Dominic Monaghan on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' Part 2

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5-15-07 Latest News

Massive Weta sale in London
Xoanon @ 6:09 pm EST

To celebrate their return to London’s biggest and baddest movie, comic and media convention, Weta Limited are selling 1,200 collectibles from their King Kong range at the bargain price of £1! Sounding a little too good to be true? Well, it isn’t!

Weta Limited will be attending the London MCM Expo on 26-27 May, and for convention attendees only, will be offering 1,200 Kong Fighting V-Rex statues at just £1.That’s right, the first 1,200 punters to approach the Weta stand at the convention and ask for a Kong Fighting V-Rex statue will be promptly sold one on the spot for one golden pound.

This piece usually retails in Weta’s online store for at least £30! Never before has Weta done a giveaway on this scale, (and it is likely that it won’t happen again).

This will also mark the first time that Weta’s pieces from their Hellgate: London and Weta Originals ranges have appeared on European soil, making more reasons than one for those UK collectors to make the MCM London Expo their first port of call next weekend.

Punters are encouraged to come early to ensure they receive their £1 King Kong piece.


5-12-07 Latest News

Xoanon @ 12:22 pm EST

WESTWOOD, MA and CHICAGO, IL – May 10, 2007 - Today, Turbine, Inc., Midway Games Inc. and Codemasters Online Gaming announced that The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ is the #1 selling PC title across North America and Europe based on the most recent industry reports. The Lord of the Rings Online has outsold all other PC games across North America, Germany, United Kingdom and France according to data from NPD (NA), Chart-Track (UK), GfK (France) and Media Control (Germany).

In addition to soaring sales, The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) has been enthusiastically received by gaming critics around the globe:

"This outstanding start sets the stage for a bright future," said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “This is only the beginning as we embark on an incredible journey with our players to expand the world of Middle-earth with the release of regular content updates.”

"Following the most successful North American pre-order program in Midway’s history, The Lord of the Rings Online is off to a great start," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. “As the positive reports and reviews continue to come in, gamers are settling into the game and experiencing Middle-earth as never before.”

“The fabulous response from consumers and the media has been overwhelming,” said David Solari, Vice President and General Manager of Codemasters Online Gaming. “It's been a great launch, but it's only the beginning for us. We look forward to rapid growth and welcoming thousands more to Middle-earth!”

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

Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of best-selling interactive entertainment products for a global audience on current and future gaming platforms and channels. Established in 1986, the company’s dominant brands include Colin McRae Rally, TOCA Race Driver, LMA Manager, Brian Lara Cricket and Operation Flashpoint. The company is headquartered in Southam, Warwickshire UK and maintains operations in the US, Germany, France, Spain, and Benelux. More information about the company and its products is available online at www.codemasters.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.

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