Go back to Special Reports Archives

May 15, 2004 - May 24, 2004

5-24-04 Latest News

Howard Shore UK Concert Reviews
Xoanon @ 3:12 pm EST


Just thought I’d share the events of the last two days with everybody, as they were among the best experiences I have had. Some people may know this, some may not, but I am a passionate fan of orchestral music, and a huge film fan. Combine the two…and you have a good idea of how enthusiastic I was when I heard Howard Shore was coming to town. Please bear in mind that this is a personal report from a personal site, and reflects my views ONLY....and pictures will follow soon!!!

Thanks to the TORn site, I was able to secure myself both the opportunity to attend a question and answer session in the presence of Howard Shore, and the privilege of experiencing a live performance of the LOTR score, as performed by most of the original musicians and vocalists.


Saturday’s Q&A (organised by Music from the Movies magazine) provided a wonderful insight into the way in which Howard Shore approached the mammoth task of scoring what would be a huge motion picture. Although brief (questions were asked within a 30 minute slot), the questions asked revealed much about the films and the music. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my question answered, but what was answered summarised what I wanted to know anyway.

So, in brief, and by no means a transcript, this was what the wonderful composer had to say:

On the score: Howard Shore viewed the score not as a piece in three parts, but instead he aimed to reflect each of the six books when composing the music for the films. The full length version of the score totalled 11 hours (which will eventually/hopefully become an 8 cd/1 dvd box set), with Howard requiring an editor to ensure the right parts of the score were chosen to complement the scenes of each film. Inspiration came from the locations for each part of the film, which he visited several times and always provided him with a wealth of ideas. Unsurprisingly, the score took the best part of three months to record….at least 14 hours a day, 7 days a week….for 3 months. Now *that’s* dedication!!! Howard was also questioned on his conducting technique, and he spoke of a new technique that he had been introduced to while working on the score. When it came to the recording of the Return of the King, he abandoned the baton in favour of conducting with both arms instead. The reason? Using the baton meant that the energy used while conducting was not always equally balanced. By not using a baton at all, he felt that he was achieving a balance of energy and was able to control the performance better on both sides of the orchestra.

On choice of instruments: In regards to the use of instruments, Howard commented that he wanted to show evolvement in the type of instrument used in relation to the way the story evolved. For instance, the tin whistle was used in the earlier movements of the score, to represent the hobbits, but was later substituted by the richer sound of the flute to mirror their increasing depth in character.

On Peter Jackson: Howard Shore was full of praise for Peter Jackson, likening him to a “great leader” who really held everything together. When asked if he could ever envisage another version of the Lord of the Rings being made in the future, he joked that Peter was looking forward to seeing other versions, before saying that he could not in reality imagine a version of LOTR other than Jackson’s, commenting upon the impact that the three films have had over the last three years.

Quick fire questions...

Favourite part of the score? Sam and Frodo 'friendship' pieces

Which character do you liken yourself to most? Frodo….the bearer of a great task!

Will the Hobbit happen? Everybody, including himself and Peter Jackson, want the Hobbit to happen, but they are awaiting rights issues to be resolved…

Do you miss working on the film? Howard answered that it was strange to not be doing something on the film score when it took up almost four years of his life, and it was something that he was still adjusting to.

Then it was all over….other than for Howard to stay and sign cd’s and other LOTR related items...but there was still Sunday's performance.....


Well...what a show!! The Royal Festival Hall was home to the performance of the score, with the set list as follows...

Movement 1: (Fellowship of the Ring) The Prophecy, Concerning Hobbits, The Shadow of the Past, A Short Cut to Mushrooms, The Old Forest, A Knife In The Dark.

Movement 2: Many Meetings, The Ring Goes South, A Journey In The Dark, The Bridge of Khazad-Dum, Lothlorien, Gandalf's Lament, Farewell To Lorien, The Great River, The Breaking Of The Fellowship.

Movement 3: (The Two Towers) Foundations Of Stone, The Taming Of Smeagol, The Riders Of Rohan, The Black Gate Is Closed, Evenstar, The White Rider, Treebeard, The Forbidden Pool.

Movement 4: The Hornburg, Forth Eorlingas, Isengard Unleashed, Gollum's Song (a nice surprise…for some reason I wasn’t expecting this one to be included).

Movement 5: (Return of the King) Hope And Memory, The White Tree, The Steward Of Gondor, Cirith Ungol, Anduril.

Movement 6: The End Of All Things, The Return Of The King, The Grey Havens, Into The West.

....and each part of each movement did not fail to make my spine tingle or bring a tear to my eye. I had an impressive view of the orchestra from one of the boxes, and seeing the orchestra perform live drew attention to small details that may not have been picked up on when listening to the recorded versions. For instance, the percussionist who took to wearing a large glove to create the *exact* tone of the drum beat!

The score was beautifully performed, voices and instruments alike were seamless, although I would say that the male voice choir were sometimes a little on the quiet side. Hearing the score being performed live enabled me to hear the music in a new degree of clarity that could not be possible any other way - I was able to 'focus' on one particular instrument and hear note for note what that instrument was contributing to the overall piece.

Interestingly, Howard Shore did not conduct with a baton at all during the performance, and his energy seemed to be boundless, putting his entire heart and mind into directing the movement of each piece...truly magical. Sketches by Alan Lee helped keep track of the score in relation to the plot...not that I needed it!! The overwhelming and well deserved standing ovation only proved what a wonderful occasion this had been...one that will live in all of our minds for a very long time!


Caroline W

I went to the concert conducted by Howard Shore and it was wonderful!!!!!!

The London Philharmonic are a seriously good orchestra (well, you'll know that from listening to them on the CD's ), as are the choirs. Full marks to the London Oratory boy soprano's, who brought a wonderful purity to their solo and group pieces.

The female soloist Sissal, did some very good interpretations, but her voice was a touch too warm and earthly to do Gollum's song perfectly. Not a criticism, I promise, just that I prefer the more unearthly version. The illustrations were mostly Alan Lee's although there were some of John Howe's so they were lovely to look at, but the main pleasure was just sitting there listening to the music I love being played live. If you get the chance to go, wherever in the world Mr Shore is conducting, go, and don't wait to lock the house, it will be there when you get back, but you'll be richer for the experience.



What can I say! 3pm Sunday afternoon. The Royal festival Hall London was packed as we waited in anticiaption for Mr Shore to appear. He arrived to thunderous applause and cheers. The orchestra tuned up and by this time we were on the edge of our seats. The music started and we were not disappointed , Mr Shore took and the pictures of Alan Leetransporting us to middle earth as if we were living and breathing it in. What a show Shore showed all his talent and brilliance in that one performance. Certainly worth the wait and just can't wait for him to do it again. Well done all involved what a show!!


Heather B

I know you have had reports from other renditions of the LoTR symphony but I have just returned from todays concert conducted by Howard Shore at the Royal Festival Hall, London, UK and I just have to say it was the most fabulous experience. The orchestra was the London Philharmonic, the Choir were the London Voices and The London Oratory School all of whom performed the music for the original film soundtracks. You could tell that they knew the score inside out and back to front, they were note perfect. The female soloist who sang Gollums song and the most haunting rendition of Into the West - amongst others - was a scandinavian vocalist called Sissel. She had the most beautiful voice and during Into the West there was a lot of stifled crying going on in the seats around me!. Howard Shore is a fabulous conductor, very expressionate and full of energy and his audience loved him!, he took two bows before the interval and had to come back for two encores at the end of the concert to tumultous cheers and whoops from the usually rather reserved English audience. All in all it was an amazing experience and anyone going to the rendition at the Royal Albert Hall in honour of Bilbo and Frodo's birthdays on 22nd September 2004 are in for a real treat.

Sean Astin is Seeing 'Orange'
Xoanon @ 12:13 pm EST

Cybersyd writes: I went to see 'Troy' at the weekend. Here in the UK, many films are preceded in the cinemas by ads from the mobile phone company Orange. One such range of ads warns 'don't let a mobile phone ruin your movie.'

One of these ads has already been floating around, featuring Spike Lee - but who should appear in the latest Orange ad but the very lovely Sean Astin!

Sean was trying to sell his movie, a 'romantic comedy' set in New York, to a group of Orange executives. The Orange men seemed keen on the idea, but were anxious to swap New York for Middle Earth, and instead of making a romantic comedy, they opted for 'Lord of the Rings 4!", set in the future, all about mobile phones. Pissed at their attitude, Sean slips off his chair and storms off - only to reveal his 'real' height, about four foot!

Very funny. Made the whole audience giggle, anyway (and gave us more entertainment than Troy, strangely...)

5-23-04 Latest News

REVIEW: Sting Sword FX Collectible - Master Replicas
Calisuri @ 6:54 pm EST

Master ReplicasSting Sword FX Collectible

Manufacturer: Master Replicas (http://www.masterreplicas.com)
Release: July 2004
Price: $119

Frodo with StingFounded in 2001, Master Replicas has made some of the highest-quality, officially licensed prop replicas for the two largest film properties ever: Star Wars and Star Trek. Among collectors, the items they have made are considered some of the best in the industry. So there is no surprise that a company of this caliber would choose to pick up, what we Ringers would consider the 'best' film property in history: The Lord of the Rings.

This review will focus on Master Replicas' first offering to the general public; the 'Sting Sword FX Collectible.'

I think I can safely assume if you are reading this review, you know of the sword 'Sting,' or at least have heard of it. But for those of you who might not, I thought a VERY brief history would be in order.

Bilbo BagginsIf you are only familiar with the film version of The Lord of the Rings, it is important to know the history of this sword does not simply start with Bilbo giving it to Frodo in Rivendell. In fact, Sting plays a rather large part in Bilbo Baggins adventures during 'The Hobbit.' (And if we want to get really technical, there is most assuredly another whole history of the sword from the destruction of Gondolin in the First Age)

Bilbo, a generally lucky Hobbit, found a special 'knife in a leather sheath' while scrounging among the spoils of a Troll's cave. As a interesting aside, Thorin Oakenshield found Orcrist and Gandalf found Glamdring at the same time. Bilbo gave the sword the name of 'Sting' after he managed to rescue Thorin and his fellow dwarves from the tangled webs of the Spiders of Mirkwood.

Bilbo kept Sting, along with The One Ring and a mithril shirt, as momentoes of his great adventure. As we have seen and read, Bilbo then bequeaths these items to Frodo in Rivendell.

So enough with the history...lets get to the review!

I will be ranking this product on the 5 Ring system. 5 Rings is excellent while 1 Ring is poor.

PackagingPACKAGING: (4.5)
One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

If you are an avid collector of New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings, then you have seen this design before. There is nothing especially novel about the layout, except the box color is brown and there are some small design elements (Sauron's eye) that form borders on the front and back panels. The standard Middle-earth map underlays the entire box.

The front and back panels feature duplicate information: A beautiful shot of Sting in 'Orc Mode', a large LOTR logo, the product name and the Master Replicas logo.

The side panels showcase the product in the 'off' position and a line drawing of the display stand. (Read below for more on the stand)

The lack of creativity with the design is not the fault of Master Replicas. From what we gather, all LOTR licensors are required to confine their designs to a guide provided by the studio. In my opinion, the Lord of the Rings product designs are in desperate need of an overhaul. The loss of a 1/2 RING was solely because I've seen this before on a slew of other LOTR items.

One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

Click for Larger VersionClick for Larger VersionClick for Larger Version

Not much to say here, except that Sting was extremely easy to remove from its packaging. The styrofoam casing easily slides out of the exterior box. The display stand is not secured to the styrofoam, so if you happen to open the box upside down, the stand will drop out onto the floor. Since the stand is not made of any valuable or particularly fragile material, this is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. The sword is easily removed from the styrofoam via two place holders, and the removal of a few layers of cellophane.

One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

Behold Sting! First impressions are just as important in collecting as they are on a date. It is a good thing then that the Sting Sword FX Collectible is immediately appealing. As I will describe below, the paint, construction and function of the item far exceeded my expectations.

One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

The BladeThe blade is polycarbonate with a real metal coating. The flat sides of the blade are covered in what looks like embossed plastic, but it is really hard to tell. I must emphasis that it does NOT look cheap in the least. The layered effect of the plastic on the metal is flawless and only under close inspection do you realize the sides are clear plastic.

The RunesThe runes embossed on the hilt and blade match exactly what we have seen in the films. Since the mold for this collectible was cast directly from the mold used in the films, the accuracy is to be expected.

The cross-guard and the pommel feel like heavy steel, and give an impressive weight to the sword. It simply feels like a real weapon. While the instructions specifically mention not using it for sword play, you probably could get away with a few defensive maneuvers before the sword broke. Not that I'm suggesting the sword be so used, but simply that the construction could withstand some activity.

The PommelThe paint on the hilt is expertly applied with few, if any, imperfections. The paint used has small silvery flakes to give the impression of brushed metal.

The battery installation is explained in detail in the instruction booklet and was not at all difficult to accomplish. I think the only hesitation I had in performing this function was the worry that I would break the sword. Once you have the pommel off however, you'll see the worries are not justified.

SpeakerI should note the pommel is ever so slightly loose. Because the battery installation requires you to turn it 45 degrees, I imagine this was a design decision that could not be avoided.

There is a small, extremely well hidden, speaker slit directly below the cross-guard. As I'll discuss later, this is where the audio emits from the sword.

One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

The BladeThe operation of this collectible could not be easier. There is a small three-stage switch located under the cross-guard on the handle. The switch matches the color of the hilt and as a result is not readily apparent when holding the sword. The switch has three stages:

OFF (Bottom Setting) - The sword is completely deactivated and none of the sounds or glow will function.

ON (Middle Setting) - The sword now has battle sounds enabled.

ORC MODE (Top Setting) - In this mode, when you encounter a random orc, the sword will glow blue...okay...it doesn't exactly work that way, but Orc Mode activates the battle sounds, a consistent low hum and the blue iridescence of the blade.

Mouse Over
Mouse Over to see Glow
One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

ORC MODE could have been created as a cheap electronic trick. When I first read about the sword, and even after viewing it on the Master Replicas website, I figured the effect would simply turn off and on like a light switch. This is definitely not the case.

When switched to ORC MODE, the hum of the blade starts low and then grows in intensity as the blade fades from silvery steel to a magical blue. The whole mode change takes about a second and a half.

When you switch to OFF, the reverse takes place but seems to take just a little longer.

The only complaint I have would be to see the fading be just a little more delayed. 2-3 seconds might have done the trick.

Click for Larger VersionClick for Larger Version

As for the glow itself, it is nearly perfect. As you can see in the pictures I took, the blade really does appear to be glowing. I do not know the technology involved, but Master Replicas has definitely pulled off some techno-magic here.

SOUND: (4.5)
One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

The battle sounds consist of a series of four clangs and clashes simulating sword play. The noise for this audio comes out through that hidden slit below the cross-guard. The speaker quality is relatively high and the sound is realistic. You can activate the audio to play by lightly hitting the sword against an object or by swinging with some force in the air. I found that hitting objects with the flat portion of the blade will yield the best results.

Horizontal DisplayDISPLAY STAND: (3)
One RingOne RingOne Ring

The only part of my Sting Sword FX Collectible experience that did not live up to expectations was the display stand included with the product. In sharp contrast to the expertly designed sword, the display stand is made of a cheap plastic that quite simply does not do the sword justice. In a way, displaying Sting on this plastic stand cheapens the perceived value.

Horizontal DisplayGranted, from a distance, you can't tell the display stand is made out of plastic, but upon closer inspection it is readily evident. I can't help but think a faux wood texture or something similar would have greatly improved the stand in some capacity.

The saving grace of the display stand, bringing up to a 3 RING rating, is its functionality. It is well designed, allowing for either horizontal or vertical display.

Click for Larger VersionOVERALL: (4.5)
One RingOne RingOne RingOne RingOne Ring

It goes without saying that the Sting Sword FX Collectible is something that all fans will want to own. It is a very well made and designed item, which is definitely a bargain at the suggested $119 price tag. If Sting is any type of indication of what we can expect from Master Replicas in the future, then the future, for Lord of the Rings collectors, is bright indeed.

If you would like to place your pre-order for Sting or any of the other items they will be releasing this year, check out the Master Replicas.com website.

Bogans: an LotR-inspired Short Film
Tookish @ 1:07 pm EST

How many of us around the globe wanted to be in, or even part of, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies? How many of us were actually in them? This funny, quirky short film is about exactly that: a few average Joes – ok, maybe not so average Joes—who heard about the films, got off their duffs and out of their garage, went hunting for the Man himself, and actually made it into the movies.

From the first scene, in which our principal actors, Peter Tait (Shagrat in TTT), Paul Glover & Ian Hughes (Irolas in RotK) hear about Jackson’s LotR movie enterprise on a car stereo rigged up in a cardboard box, to the last line, “Swap!” Bogans is just plain fun. It’s a raucous tale of a road trip to find cash, fame, and PJ. Those of you who must have everything LotR-movie related can’t live without this in your collection, even though it’s not for young children or the more conservative viewer (parents are STRONGLY advised to preview this movie before purchasing for youth as it contains plenty of lawbreaking, hooliganisms (boganisms??) & orcish language).

If you’re hungry for more Middle-earth, don’t buy Bogans. But if you’re craving more NZ LotR-themed film footage, want to see what some real Kiwis look like, sound like, and (gasp!) possibly act like (well, some of them anyway...), then Bogans is for you.

Who needs money? Who needs a car battery? Who needs lettuce on their hamburgers? Who needs books (“There’s nothing wrong with ‘em!”)? Heck, who needs a cell phone? You’ll find answers to these and more in Bogans. If you value a set of 1950’s hardback LotR over a bottle of Jack Daniels, then spend your pence elsewhere, but if you want one more taste of New Zealand (and there are some nice landscape shots) with that LotR-influenced flavor, Bogans might just make your day. I know it made mine!

You can learn more about what bogans are, who made this film, and even get your copy right here: Bogans website. Enjoy!

5-21-04 Latest News

Mythic Journeys Offers Coupon to Ringers
weetanya @ 6:21 pm EST

Anya writes:

The reasons for Ringers to come to Atlanta the first weekend of June keep multiplying. Being a sponsor of TheOneParty was not only fun for mega-conference and performance fest Mythic Journeys, but managed to attract one more exciting guest-"Last Unicorn" author Peter S. Beagle—who heard about us during the party. Alan Lee, Virginia Lee and renowned Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger are confirmed, as well as many top fantasy authors and artists such as Brian Froud, Charles Vess, Charles de Lint, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terri Windling.

Then there's Emerald Rose performing and LOTR game designer Daniel Greenberg. Plus, Howard Shore will be conducting "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" the same weekend with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. They'd also like to offer all OneRing readers a special $25 discount on memberships.

Register online at www.mythicjourneys.org and enter the word MERLIN in the "Other" block under "How did you hear about the Mythic Journeys conference?" to receive your discount. PLEASE NOTE: the discount will be reflected in your confirmation email, NOT in the Web browser.


Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Frode @ 5:03 am EST

Relationships in Tolkien:
Frodo and Sam, Turin and Beleg, Aldarion and Erendis, Cirion and Eorl, Gondor and Rohan, Feanor and his Silmarils, Melkor and Manwe, Gollum and the Ring. Which relationships expresses the epitome of love, loyalty and sacrifice? And which, the epitome of jeaolousy, hate and obsession?

Some of the most interesting elements of Tolkien's works are the complex relationships between his characters. Some relationships express nearly a biblical purity and love while others tragically demonstrate the opposites of hate, jealousy, obsession and revenge. And are all Tolkien's fascinating relationships between people, or are the most fascinating ones between his characters and objects? What are some of the most common attributes in Tolkien's famous relationships? Do these attributes increase or decrease the realistic quality in Tolkien's works?

Come join us this weekend in #halloffire as we discuss the light and dark within some of the most famous and infamous relationships in Tolkien.

Saturday Chat:
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 9:30am Sunday (09:30) AET]

Sunday Chat:
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 5:00am (05:00) Monday morning AET]

ET = Eastern Time, USA's East Coast
CET = Central European Time, Central Europe
AET = Australian East Coast

Do you have a possible topic for Hall of Fire? Drop us a line at

5-20-04 Latest News

TolCon Reports
Xoanon @ 2:27 pm EST

TolCon 2004


It was such an honour to meet Jasmine Watson, jewelry artist for the LotR movies, and hear her talk about her pieces for the movies and her experience there. It was also very cool to hear Greg Tozer from WETA tell us his anecdotes about the WETA folks and the actors during the filming. All the other panels I attended were interesting and well presented - I thought the ConCom did a great job, and will definitely go to this con next year!

Attached is a picture of me with Greg Tozer from WETA.


Johanna Washington

TolCon was an amazing experience and I have to attribute much of that to our amazing Guests of Honor. Greg Tozer was an absolute gem. If any of you went to ComiCon last year, he spoke for Weta. He was so happy to hear we were a small con and enjoyed his time so much with us and mingling with the guests that he donated his autograph fees to our charity, People for Puget Sound. He is honestly one of the kindest, generous-of-spirit persons I have had the privilege to know. Weta gave us a wonderful gift when they asked Greg to join us for TolCon.

Jasmine Watson brought grace to the con (and Jewelry!) Her grace is reflected in her jewelry...absolutely gorgeous! I didn't have the opportunity to see either her or Greg's presentations (such is the life of the Hotel Liaison) but from the rave reviews I heard about them, they were impressive. Greg brought samples from the Weta workshop of feet, ears, orc armor, etc. and Jasmine had a lovely power point presentation highlighting the jewelry she's created for various productions throughout the years.

We were also honored to have Luke Ski, who sings parody songs similar to Weird Al, which focus on Fanboys, but has a particular song which earned him and his wife a free trip to Seattle, "Stealing like a hobbit" to the tune of Em and Em's, "Cleaning Out my Closet." Absolutely hysterical. As well as "KeanuMan" to the song "Piano Man."

People seemed to enjoy the wide array of programming we had ranging from language classes and costuming to gardening in Middle Earth and cake decorating, and also including special events such as, "Who Drank My Half-Pint, a Hobbit's Guide to Beer Sampling" and our TolFilm fanfilm festival. Raining Men is still the "raining" (harhar)champion.

What was most astounding, however were the items we received for the silent auction for People for Puget Sound. Viggo's generosity was overwhelming, with 2 signed books (Miyelo and The Horse is Good) and 3 signed photographs. Weta sent a bust of Gandalf signed by Richard Taylor and the sculpturist. And 3ft6 sent (get ready for a new pair of shorts) Elijah Wood! (Just kidding...haha..ha..ahem) But I literally did need a new pair of shorts...they sent an Art of the Two towers SIGNED by the entire fellowship! AND two (2) two towers shirts with gollum embroidered on them...AND (and this is where I changed my shorts) a Fellowship poster signed by nearly every major actor in LOTR and Peter, Fran, and Philipa. The poster still had tapemarks on it...3ft6 had taken it off their walls and sent it to us.*cries* Among other items donated for the auction, we were able to gather over $1700 for People for Puget Sound.

Greg gives TolCon 5 stars and two thumbs up and told us he'd have to fight to get to go to TolCon again because everyone will want to take a turn with the ladies of TolCon. Almost every picture Greg has with us, he's surrounded by women because we have 3 members of a 20 person Convention Committee that are men. The rest of us are proud Tolkien women.

So that's a bit of my report. I'm looking forward to TolCon 2005. I hope I get to see more of you there next year!

Johanna Washington
Hotel and Guest Liaison
NW Tolkien Society

5-18-04 Latest News

Another Decipher/WETA Cards Report
Xoanon @ 1:55 pm EST

Daniel Falconer from WETA Workshop writes:

Just to clear up this Decipher Weta Card confusion once and for all, here's the deal. The person who wrote to you called HumbleSauron appears to be a little confused as well, and is certainly not someone from Weta, so, with all these rumours flying around, I felt compelled to write and straighten things out.

There is no secret behind the origin of these cards. Decipher have been very up front about them from the beginning, so I'll simply repeat and clarify what they have already said publicly about them on their website. The images are not depicting scenes from the Extended Edition of ROTK. They feature scenes, objects and characters from the books that didn't appear in the movies but did appear in the books. They have been especially complied for these cards. Weta Workshop and Decipher Inc have collaborated in this process. Decipher hold the rights to produce extra material derived from the books and, wanting to maintain the spirit and flavour of the films, they hired Weta Workshop as collaborators on the project. Where necessary we have made new items, but in most cases we have creatively reused props and costumes already made for the movie in new ways to create new images.

Several of the cards involved very little or no Weta input because they required no new material to be created or were simple image montages. Some (mostly characters) required heavier collaboration between the two companies. Others were all Weta's work. The latter two categories feature Weta "bug" icons on their cards as a kind of signature (in reference to the native New Zealand insect from which the company derives its name). Decipher have done this as a kind gesture of thanks to Weta for their involvement. On cards that had little or no Weta involvement, the bug doesn't appear. The absence of a bug does not indicate that the image is from the Extended Edition of ROTK- none of these cards are.

It is true that for the most part the cards feature cameos of Weta or Three Foot Six folks. It made sense because these people were available and it afforded us all a chance to get our moment in the spotlight and be a part of Middle-earth. With respect to Glorfindel, the actor who portrayed that character in the cards was an Elven extra and double during the entire three-movie shoot, but never had his stand-out moment in the films, so we felt it was only right he should get first dibs at being everyone's favourite missing Elf. There was a costume selected for Radagast at one point when it was possible he was going to appear in the films, but that was nixed quite early on. Weta Workshop's own John Harding was lined up to play the part if it happened, so when these cards came along he was once again the logical choice.

Some of these new cards have debuted already. Others will appear in the coming months. Please feel free to post this e-mail with my name on it. There is no secrecy here and this is not a spy report or anything unprofessional like that or I would not be writing. I hope that helps explain where these new images have come from. It has been a great fun project for us and I think the final images look really cool. We hope you all enjoy them,

Daniel Falconer,
Designer- Weta Workshop.

5-17-04 Latest News

Monaghan Lined Up For 'Ringers'
Xoanon @ 10:44 pm EST



HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2004 -- Actor Dominic Monaghan granted an exclusive interview to the producers of the upcoming feature documentary, RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS. Mr. Monaghan revealed how the bonds of love and family brought him to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, “The Lord of the Rings,” long before he was cast in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning film trilogy adapted from the book.

Mr. Monaghan gained worldwide fame for playing the fun-loving hobbit Merry Brandybuck in the “Rings” Trilogy, which has won a total of 17 Academy Awards, including a Best Picture win for the final installment, “The Return of the King.” Mr. Monaghan is a recipient of the Screen Actor’s Guild Award (Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture) for his work in the “Rings” Trilogy. He recently played a successful con artist in the British gangster film “Spivs,” starring Ken Stott (“Shallow Grave”) and Nick Moran (“Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”). Mr. Monaghan’s most recent project is ABC’s new drama series “Lost,” starring Ian Somerhalder (“Smallville”), Jorge Garcia (“Becker”), and Matthew Fox (“Party of Five”). With the most expensive pilot ever made for television, “Lost” follows a group of people stranded on a Pacific island who are forced to build a new society after surviving a plane crash.

The “Ringers” documentary filmmakers have secured interviews with many actors and entertainers, exploring how the works of J.R.R. Tolkien influenced them at the dawn of their careers. After 16 months of location shooting on three continents, and speaking with dozens of actors, filmmakers, rock musicians, authors, and academics, “Ringers” stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing Tolkien phenomenon.

About the documentary:

Very funny and often moving, “Ringers: Lord of the Fans” shows the hidden power behind Tolkien’s books -- and how after 50 years a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions, across cultures and across time. “Ringers” explores the real foundations of Middle-earth; a community of true fans who share a common bond. Moving beyond “cult classic” and over several different generations, the film unearths academics, musicians, authors, filmmakers, and a plethora of pop junkies -- the people gathered under the banner of ‘Ringer.’

“Ringers” Official Website:


Current “Ringers” Interviewees include:

Actor - Dominic Monaghan, Author/Filmmaker - Clive Barker, Writer/Director/Producer - Cameron Crowe, Actor - David Carradine, Comics Illustrator - Colleen Doran, Author - Terry Pratchett, Author - Peter S. Beagle, Author - Terry Brooks, Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Jane Chance, Chairperson of the Tolkien Society - Christine Crawshaw, Author - Colin Duriez, Filmmaker/Critic - Chris Gore, Screenwriter/Publisher - Forrest J. Ackerman, Actor - Bill Mumy, Author/Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Tom Shippey, Author/Broadcaster - Brian Sibley, Great-Grandson - Royd Tolkien, and hundreds of Tolkien fans!

For additional information, contact:
Melanie Marquez, Publicist
9220 Sunset Blvd Suite 220
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Office: +1 323-669-1173
Cell: +1 626-833-6790

5-15-04 Latest News

LOTR Symphony in Houston
Xoanon @ 10:18 pm EST

Jeff Duncan, Assistant Manager of Media Relations for the Houston Symphony writes:

Houstonians will be able to experience a two-hour journey into the magical world of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth on July 1 and 2, when there will be two performances of Howard Shore's monumental composition The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Six Movements, performed by the Houston Symphony, four singers, the Houston Symphony Chorus, and the Houston Children's Chorus, conducted by Alexander Mickelthwate.

This symphonic adventure has sold out in every city where it has played since its premiere in March. The choruses will sing in "Elvish," and musicians will play such instruments as Norwegian fiddles, Japanese drums, African flutes and Tibetan gongs.

More than 250 musical performers, enhanced by enormous Lord of the Rings images, will make for a truly breathtaking musical experience. The performances will feature original concept and storyboard artwork from the films by artists Alan Lee and John Howe. The images will be projected on a gigantic screen hung above the orchestra and will chronologically align with the music as the story of the hobbits' journey from the peaceful Shire to the dreaded land of Mordor unfolds.

Shore has based this two-hour symphonic adventure on selections from his multi-Oscar and Grammy-award winning scores from the recent Lord of the Rings films.

"This Lord of the Rings Symphony is a two-hour piece based on the 12 hours of music I wrote for the three films," says Howard Shore. "Each film was a four-hour composition. And this new symphony takes a concert audience through the story of the Lord of the Rings in a narrative way, using the choirs, using the singing."

Howard Shore is one of Hollywood's most prolific composers. With more than 60 movie scores, including The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Ed Wood, The Fly, and Naked Lunch, Shore's compositions are well recognized. His work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy earned "Best Score" and "Best Song" at this year's Academy Awards Ceremony.

Thursday, July 1, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 2, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
Alexander Mickelthwate, Conductor
Houston Symphony Chorus
Charles Hausmann, Director
Houston Symphony Children's Chorus
Stephen Roddy, Founder and Director

Concert ticket prices are $20 - $55. Tickets are available at the Jones Hall box office, by phone at 713-224-7575 ($2.75 per ticket handling fee applies) and online at www.houstonsymphony.org. Tickets can also be purchased online through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com.

Monaghan's 'Lost' is Found on ABC
Xoanon @ 9:55 pm EST

Carlene Cordova, director of "Ringers: Lord of the Fans" writes: A certain Hobbit wanted me to let everyone know that his new show "Lost" has just been picked up by ABC for 13 episodes.

"Lost" is a new drama from ABC TV that follows a group of castaways stranded on a Pacific Island. Instead of wacky shenanigans with the Skipper and everyone's favorite "little buddy," this show is a drama about the group creating a new society a la "Lord of the Flies." (That's "Lord of the FLIES" a book by William Golding, which has absolutely nothing to do with 'Rings' in case you were wondering. )

Dominic Monaghan's character is a rock musician. No word on whether or not a movie star, professor or millionaire round out the troupe. The show's pilot was the most expensive ever produced and also stars Matthew Fox (Party of Five), Jorge Garcia, Maggie Grace, Josh Holloway, Malcolm David Kelly, Daniel Dae Kim, Evangeline Lilly, Harold Perrineau Jr. and Ian Somerhalder.

Rumors have this as a mid-season replacement, but I'll let you know for sure when we get an official press release from ABC. Sounds like a great show!

Go back to Special Reports Archives