Go back to Special Reports Archives

May 27, 2001 - June 03, 2001

6-03-01 Latest News

Marketing 'Narnia' Without a Christian Lion
Xoanon @ 10:31 pm EST


or more than a half century, "The Chronicles of Narnia" captivated children with tales of Aslan, a tawny lion who ruled a wintry Narnian kingdom of dwarfs, fauns and occasionally errant English schoolchildren.

Mixing fantasy with Christian allegories and imagery, the author C. S. Lewis, one of the 20th century's most influential interpreters of Christianity, created a saga that spanned seven novels, beginning in 1950 with "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which have sold more than 65 million copies in more than 30 languages.

Now, borrowing a page from a literary upstart named Harry Potter, the Lewis estate and its publishers have started shaping a marketing makeover of Aslan and assorted Narnian habitués to expand readership and extend the brand.

They have struck deals to license plush Narnian toys. The series publisher, HarperCollins, revealed plans to create new Narnia novels by unidentified authors, to the outrage of some devoted readers. (What next? "Narnia Barbie in a school uniform?" asked one fan in a Lewis electronic forum.)

Most striking of all, they have developed a discreet strategy to avoid direct links to the Christian imagery and theology that suffused the Narnia novels and inspired Lewis.

"They're turning Narnia into a British version of Mickey Mouse," said John G. West, co-editor of The C. S. Lewis Readers Encyclopedia and an associate professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University. "What they've figured out is that Harry Potter is a cash cow. And here's a way they can decompartmentalize the children's novels from the rest of Lewis. That's what is so troubling. Narnia is a personal creation, and they're turning it into a corporate creation."

The publishing strategy surfaced in a HarperCollins memo. "Obviously this is the biggie as far as the estate and our publishing interests are concerned," wrote an executive from HarperSanFranciso, an imprint of HarperCollins involved in the Lewis publishing program. "We'll need to be able to give emphatic assurances that no attempt will be made to correlate the stories to Christian imagery/theology."

The memo was written in connection with the development of a public television documentary about the life of Lewis. The producer, Carol Dean Hatcher, had negotiated contracts to create an illustrated companion book and teaching video for Zondervan Publishing House, the Christian publishing arm of HarperCollins. Zondervan was also poised to donate about $150,000 for the production.

HarperCollins and its publishing arms were in the midst of ambitious expansion plans for Lewis's works. They repackaged nine classic titles, organized two Web sites (www .cslewisclassics.com and www .narnia.com), developed an essay contest and asked contemporary authors to write new forewords. By the fall of 2003 they expected to publish simpler picture books for younger children and a new Narnia novel.

The negotiations over the documentary unraveled, Ms. Hatcher said, amid pressures from the publisher and the estate to eliminate references in the script to Christian imagery in the Narnia series.

"I was appalled," said Ms. Hatcher, who is still trying to produce the documentary, "C. S. Lewis: An Examined Life," with Oregon Public Broadcasting as the presenting station. "I think there are ways to approach C. S. Lewis and Narnia that have nothing to do with religious background. However, it is astounding to minimize that part of this; it's like doing a video biography of Hank Aaron and refusing to acknowledge he was a baseball player."

For its part, the Lewis estate insists that there is no calculated plan to reshape the author's image. Simon Adley, managing director of the C. S. Lewis Company, noted that the publishers had successfully increased sales of Lewis's "Mere Christianity," an adult title that explains and defends Christianity.

"It's fatuous to suggest that we're trying to take the Christian out of C. S. Lewis," Mr. Adley said. "We wouldn't have made the effort that we have with `Mere Christianity' if we felt that way. It's just crazy. I suppose you could get a little depressed by this. I'm trying to get more people to read."

But the response from Harper Collins was more ambiguous. Lisa Herling, a spokeswoman, issued a written statement noting that Ms. Hatcher had revealed "confidential in-house correspondence that was part of the incomplete process" involving Ms. Hatcher's projects.

"One of the issues the correspondence addressed was whether the project would appeal to the secular as well as the evangelical market," Ms. Herling wrote. "The goal of HarperCollins is to publish the works of C. S. Lewis to the broadest possible audience and leave any interpretation of the works to the reader."

As a series, the Narnia books are valuable property for HarperCollins, which recently acquired the rights to publish all of Lewis's works.

Lately, the Narnia series has flourished anew because of the Harry Potter halo effect on young readers searching for something else to read. In the last two years, sales have increased 20 percent annually.

That renewed attention brought new focus on an author untouched by marketing and image-making. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Clive Staples Lewis was a professor of medieval and Renaissance English whose Oxford literary circle, the Inklings, included J. R. R. Tolkien.

In Lewis's imaginary kingdom, the inhabitants are fauns, talking animals and children who find their way into a secret land by means of a hidden door in a wardrobe. Some plot lines are allegories for Christian themes. Aslan is the Christ figure, the "Son of the Great Emperor Across the Sea," who defeats the devil figure — the White Witch — through his death and resurrection.

Since Lewis's death, two movies, both called "Shadowlands," have explored his life. One starred Anthony Hopkins as the writer and examined his late-blooming relationship with and marriage to Joy Davidman Gresham, an American poet and Jewish atheist who converted to Christianity. Her sons, David and Douglas, ultimately inherited the copyrights to their stepfather's works after the 1973 death of Lewis's brother, Warren.

A blunt-spoken, nondenominational Christian preacher, Douglas Gresham lives in Ireland, where he runs Rathvinden Ministries, a country home on 20 acres near Dublin. His brother, David, has played a less active role in the estate and, according to Mr. Gresham, lives in India and has embraced Judaism.

With Mr. Gresham as an adviser, the estate for years generally rejected requests to create sequels or spinoffs to the Narnia series. But that policy shifted as the C. S. Lewis Company took a more active role in managing the copyrights. The company is led by Mr. Adley, formerly a marketing executive at Scholastic, which publishes J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series in the United States.

In May Mr. Gresham posted a message in an electronic forum for Lewis fans.

"What is wrong with trying to get people outside of Christianity to read the Narnian chronicles?" he asked, adding, "The Christian audience is less in need of Narnia than the secular audience, and in today's world the surest way to prevent secularists and their children from reading it is to keep it in the Christian or Religious section of the bookstores or to firmly link Narnia with modern evangelical Christianity."

HarperCollins is still developing the new Narnia novels and has not announced potential authors. Mr. Adley, of the C. S. Lewis Company, said they would not publish an eighth volume in the series. But they will "fill in the gaps" with the reappearance of some existing characters.

"Increasingly, we've found that working in the marketplace we're competing against new stuff," he said. "The whole children's market is geared toward anything new. You can only keep rejacketing something a certain number of times, and in the end you have to produce something new."

Weekly Cast Watch
Xoanon @ 10:17 pm EST

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)

28 Days (2000)
Walk on the Moon, A (1999) UK
Psycho (1998) UK
Perfect Murder, A (1998) UK
Thin Red Line, The (1998) UK
G.I. Jane (1997) UK
Portrait of a Lady, The (1996) UK
American Yakuza (1994)
Boiling Point (1993)
Ruby Cairo (1993)
Young Guns II (1990)
Witness (1985)

Liv Tyler (Arwen)

Plunkett & Macleane (1999) UK
Cookie's Fortune (1999) UK
Heavy (1995) UK

Ian Holm (Bilbo)

eXistenZ (1999)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1999) (TV)
Sweet Hereafter, The (1997) UK
Fifth Element, The (1997) UK
Frankenstein (1994) UK
Henry V (1989) UK
Brazil (1985) UK
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)
Return of the Soldier, The (1982)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) (TV)
Alien (1979) UK
S.O.S. Titanic (1979) (TV)
Shout at the Devil (1976)
Severed Head, A (1971) UK
Fixer, The (1968) UK

Sean Bean (Boromir)

How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) UK

Hugo Weaving (Elrond)

Strange Planet (1999)
Matrix, The (1999) UK
Interview, The (1998)
Babe (1995) UK
Exile (1994) UK
Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994)
For Love Alone (1986)

Karl Urban (Eomer)

Heaven (1998)

Miranda Otto (Eowyn)

What Lies Beneath (2000)
Jack Bull, The (1999) (TV)
Thin Red Line, The (1998) UK
Last Days of Chez Nous, The (1992)

Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Faculty, The (1998) UK
Ice Storm, The (1997)
North (1994)
Good Son, The (1993)
Forever Young (1992) UK
Avalon (1990) UK
Internal Affairs (1990)
Back to the Future Part II (1989) UK

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)

Ideal Husband, An (1999) UK
Pushing Tin (1999) UK
Thank God He Met Lizzie (1997) UK

Ian McKellen (Gandalf)

X-Men (2000)
Apt Pupil (1998) UK
Gods and Monsters (1998) UK
Cold Comfort Farm (1995) (TV)

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Au Pair (1999) (TV)
Secret of the Andes (1998) UK
Bloodsport 3 (1996)
Great White Hype, The (1996)
Cyborg Cop (1994)
Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter, The (1993)
King Solomon's Mines (1985)
Victor/Victoria (1982) UK

Andy Serkis (Gollum)

Topsy-Turvy (1999)
Among Giants (1998) UK

John Leigh (Hama)

Frighteners, The (1996)

Harry Sinclair (Isildur)

Braindead (1992)

Dominic Monaghan (Merry)

Hostile Waters (1997) (TV)

Bruce Spence (Mouth of Sauron)

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)
Sweet Talker (1991)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Mad Dog Morgan (1976)

Sean Astin (Sam)

Icebreaker (1999)
Kimberly (1999)
Deterrence (1999) UK
Bulworth (1998) UK
Low Life, The (1994/I)
Where the Day Takes You (1992) UK
Encino Man (1992) UK
Toy Soldiers (1991) UK
Memphis Belle (1990)
War of the Roses, The (1989)
Staying Together (1989) UK
White Water Summer (1987) UK

Christopher Lee (Saruman)

Tale of the Mummy (1998) UK
Jinnah (1998) UK
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Safari 3000 (1982)
Return from Witch Mountain (1978) UK
Three Musketeers, The (1973) UK
Nothing But the Night (1972)
Julius Caesar (1970)
One More Time (1970)
Devil Rides Out, The (1968)
Longest Day, The (1962)
City of the Dead, The (1960)
Dark Avenger, The (1955)
They Were Not Divided (1950) UK

Bian Sergent (Ted Sandyman)

Braindead (1992)

Bernard Hill (Theoden)

Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1999) UK
True Crime (1999) UK
Shirley Valentine (1989) UK

Brad Dourif (Wormtongue)

Shadow Hours (2000)
Ghost, The (2000)
Progeny, The (1999) UK
Urban Legend (1998) UK
Bride of Chucky (1998) UK
Murder in the First (1995)
Death Machine (1995)
Color of Night (1994)
Amos & Andrew (1993)
Body Parts (1991) UK
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Blue Velvet (1986) UK
Heaven's Gate (1980) UK
Wise Blood (1979) UK

Jim Rygiel (SFX)

102 Dalmatians (2000)
Anna and the King (1999) UK
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) UK
Last of the Mohicans, The (1992)
Ghost (1990)
Solar Crisis (1990)
Last Starfighter, The (1984)

Howard Shore (Composer)

eXistenZ (1999) UK
Dogma (1999) UK
Analyze This (1999)
Game, The (1997) UK
Se7en (1995) UK
Ed Wood (1994) UK
Philadelphia (1993) UK
Sliver (1993)
Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
Single White Female (1992) UK
Postcards from the Edge (1990)
She-Devil (1989)
Dead Ringers (1988) UK
Nadine (1987)
Fire with Fire (1986) UK
After Hours (1985) UK
Places in the Heart (1984) UK
Silkwood (1983) UK
Videodrome (1983) UK

Peter Jackson (Director)

Frighteners, The (1996)
Braindead (1992) UK

To get more information, use the sites I use like:

mydigiguide.com, tv-now.com and IMDB.com

6-01-01 Latest News

Lord of the Rings? More like *Bored* of the Rings..
Xoanon @ 4:24 pm EST

From: Michael

Just so you know, I also caught a Tolkein reference on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire two weeks ago. If memory serves, the question was for $64,000 and was along the lines of:

This author's work was the target of a parady entitled "Bored of the Rings"

The contestant did get the answer correct, after telling the audience that he had read both "Bored" and "Lord of the Rings". Regis said that even he had read both and knew that the Harvard Lampoon wrote "Bored"!

The the way, if anyone has not read "Bored of the Rings" , they should. It is one of the most brilliant satires I have ever read.

Intelligent X links to LOTR trailer plus blurb
Xoanon @ 4:19 pm EST

Larisa sends in word on what you'll see when you click on the Intelligent X Links regarding LOTR:

This came up on my morning entertinment news email.

Movie Trailer - Lord Of The Rings

There is a lot of anticipation for the J.R.R. Tolkien "Lord Of The Rings" stories coming to the big screen. A brand new trailer for first movie in the trilogy, "The Fellowship Of The Ring," is now available for you to check out!

Lord Of The Rings - The Fellowship Of The Ring stars Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, Kevin Conway(WRONG! -xo), Hugo Weaving, Brad Dourif, Marton Csokas, Bernard Hill, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, John Noble, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Karl Urban.

What's It About?

The book of the 20th Century is about to become the motion picture event of the 21st Century. J. R. R. Tolkien's groundbreaking epic of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror will be presented in a trilogy of feature films.

The Fellowship of the Ring - December 19, 2001
The Two Towers - Holiday 2002
The Return of the King - Holiday 2003

New Line Cinema's production of The Lord of the Rings marks the first time an entire feature film trilogy is being filmed concurrently with the same director and cast, making it one of the longest, most massive and most unique productions in Hollywood history.

The Fellowship Of The Ring opens December 19, 2001.

Lord Of The Rings Movie Trailer:

Real Video - Streaming Video
Click to watch, or right click and choose "Save Target As" to download the trailer. You need the free RealPlayer to view these movies - Download it.

5-31-01 Latest News

Tolkien on Jepardy
Xoanon @ 9:12 pm EST

Well it seems that Tolkien-mania is starting to spread more and more in the wake of the new movies. While watching Jeopardy today, the $500 question in the category "Elves Sightings" was something along the lines of:

This author told of the struggle between the Dark Lord Morgoth, and the Eldarin of in the lands of Beleriand.

And Alex Trebek actually got the pronouciations of everything correct. I think the guy who got the question right is gonna win too. Just thought you guys might find this interesting. I know I thought it was cool.

Return of the Burger King?
Xoanon @ 9:53 am EST

Press Release

SOURCE: New Line Cinema

Burger King(R) and New Line Cinema Sign Unprecedented Worldwide Deal To Support Theatrical Launch Of 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
LOS ANGELES, May 31 /PRNewswire/ --

New Line Cinema has signed a groundbreaking agreement with fast-food giant Burger King Corporation to launch an unprecedented worldwide promotional program supporting the December 19, 2001 debut of the epic adventure trilogy ``The Lord of the Rings.'' The partnership was announced today by Rolf Mittweg, President and Chief Operating Officer of Worldwide Distribution and Marketing for New Line Cinema, and Richard Taylor, Vice President, USA Marketing for Burger King Corporation.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010328/LAW046LOGO-b http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010109/LATU059-a )
The deal represents the single largest promotional arrangement New Line has ever reached with a strategic partner, and one of the largest programs ever launched by Burger King Corporation. This program will span more than 10,000 restaurant locations worldwide and parallel all of the groundbreaking elements of the movie itself. The pact between the two companies will also be integrated with the potential to expand beyond the traditional theatrical window of the movie.

``Burger King® is a family-friendly brand with high recognition and significant reach around the world. They are the perfect promotional partner for us as we launch 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring' in December worldwide,'' said Mittweg.

Following overwhelming worldwide media coverage of ``The Lord of the Rings,'' the demand for more content is staggering. To help satisfy that demand, Burger King Corporation has placed a link to the much anticipated new film trailer on its website, www.burgerking.com.

In conjunction with New Line's plans to keep the movie under wraps, plans for the Burger King® promotion will also remain under wraps until later this year.

``Burger King Corporation and New Line Cinema have put together the total picture partnership, one that emerged through shared objectives, open dialogue, creativity and image immersion,'' said Rose Polidoro, Executive Vice-President of Promotions for New Line Cinema, who brokered the Burger King deal along with Rob Remley, Vice President of International Promotions, and Dave Imhoff, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Licensing and Merchandising for New Line.

``The imagination and vision with which Burger King Corporation has embraced 'The Lord of the Rings' is mirrored in the picture and the promotional plans!'' said Polidoro.

``The literary significance of this property coupled with its superior entertainment value and tremendous built-in fan base, make it a smart fit for our global brand. New Line is delivering an epic film that truly delivers what made 'The Lord of the Rings' the phenomenon it is today. Burger King Corporation's approach to blockbuster promotions will make this partnership one of the most significant entertainment events of the holiday season,'' said Richard Taylor.

Founded in 1967, New Line Cinema is the entertainment industry's leading independent producer and distributor of theatrical motion pictures. New Line licenses its films to ancillary markets including cable and broadcast television as well as to international venues. The company, which is a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner Inc., operates several divisions including in-house theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, television, acquisitions, production, licensing and merchandising units.

Burger King Corporation created the American icon, the HOME OF THE WHOPPER®, in 1957. The company and its franchisees operate more than 11,300 restaurants in all 50 states and 58 countries and international territories around the world, with more than 92% of BURGER KING® restaurants owned and operated by independent franchisees. Since the company's founding in Miami in 1954, the BURGER KING® brand has become recognized for great flame-broiled taste and HAVE IT YOUR WAY® food customization. In fiscal year 2000, the BURGER KING® system had system-wide sales of $11.4 billion. Burger King Corporation is a part of Diageo (NYSE: DEO - news), the international food and drinks company. To learn more about the BURGER KING® system, please visit the company's website at www.burgerking.com.

SOURCE: New Line Cinema

5-30-01 Latest News

Frodo Causes Whiplash
Xoanon @ 8:35 pm EST

From: Dargon

I was walking down the hallway in my school the other day when something gave me whiplash. The Fellowship movie poster with Frodo holding the ring was on a bulletin board in the school. The library must have put it up. I go to a public high school in Montgomery County Maryland. It would be cool if this was happening all over the country. I know that about 1/2 of the student population that I have talked to actually knows about the movies in one way or another. It would be cool to get a census and see if this trend continues nation wide.

Ringer Spy Paul sends along something similar from Oz.

A school here in Brisbane Australia that my younger brother attends, St Jospehs College Gregory Terrace has a Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings section. With posters from both films and print-outs of pictures from fan sites such as TORN. they have multiple copies of the millennium edition for borrowing and copies of just about every Aussie mag with an article on the two films. Seems like the trend is world-wide!

MediaWatch: NationalPost Online
Calisuri @ 11:36 am EST

With the release of the FOTR trailer this weekend, a lot of people have been introduced to their first look of the production. The National Post writer, Aida Edemariam, was one of them. In a recent article, Aida is a little worried about what we saw in front of Pearl Harbor this weekend. After reading the full article, I can understand why. Its a simple case of not enough information. [Read Article]

I hope I can put Aida's, and your, doubts to rest. During my time at the Cannes Film Festival this year, I found out that the trailer release this weekend was produced to appeal to a young male audience. The 13-30ish year olds of the world, who love action, guts and special effects. This is how this stuff works. The movie studios release many trailers targeted to specific audiences to ensure (or try to ensure) that a lot of people will see their movie. A great example is how the Phantom Menace was marketed. First we see an amazing trailer online with lots of action and then we see TV ad spots that show the emotion of the story (Anakin and His Mom, etc). Keep this in mind when you view the current FOTR trailer. For the female audience, I also found out that there will be another trailer released near the end of the summer that showcases the drama and love story aspects of the films.

Aida was perplexed about the reaction to the footage screened at Cannes and why so many reporters simply loved it. Well, its because what we saw at Cannes was a lot more then just a plain action/special effects trailer. We saw footage that showcased the whole emotion, drama, and yes, action of the film. To be quite honest, the drama is what grabs you. The realism and humanity of the story is what makes you drool. Not the CG Cave Troll. (Detailed Report on Footage)

So, Aida, I understand where you are coming from, but unfortunately you don't have all the information yet. So hold off on a real analysis quite yet. I would suggest , if you can, have someone show you the Cannes footage. Then you'll be visiting TORn daily just to get the fix again...

5-29-01 Latest News

Weekend Round-up
Xoanon @ 11:44 am EST

What? You missed all the action this weekend? My god man! Where are your priorities! Check out the weekend round up!

Saturday, May 26

Looking for the trailer, but a little something different?

More! New Coolio Pics

New Coolio Pics

Trailer News: Montreal -Update-

Wanna Go to Christopher Lee's Birthday Party?!

Bilbo Baggins...the Horse

Voiceovers and DVD News

elfenomeno.com returns!

Trailer Music

Sunday, May 27

LOTR helps boost NZ film industry

'Lord of the Rings' spoof made in Wellington

Christopher Lee RealVideo

Cast Watch: Billy Boyd film

Cannes LotR stuff for sale at ebay!

Media Watch: E! does a little more Cannes

SHOP: Arwen and Frodo Posters Available at ALA Online

Christopher Lee's Birthday!

Trailer Music: Sneeze and you'll miss it

Cast News: John Rhys-Davies Next

Media Watch: Entertainment Weekly

Access Hollywood talks LOTR.net

Media Watch: MTV for Italian fans!

Trailer News and Film Release News.

Polls, polls, polls.

News from the Set - Beren is interviewed by Der Spiegel

Monday, May 28


Pearl Harbor Rakes in the Cash

New Line Executive Shuffle

Live Tolkien Chats June 2 & 3

LOTR and Danish Pastries

Trailer: Frame-by-Frame Update

Glass Hammer Update

Amazing New Pics! Moria!

TORN Digital is coming....

5-28-01 Latest News

Too Much of a Good Thing?
Xoanon @ 10:26 am EST

I think too much of a good thing can be fatal, while we at the website have little choice in the amount of spoilers and advanced footage and whatnot we see daily, you the fan have the right to refuse to see things that will eventually ruin the film for you. And you should use that control!

These latest pics that we have a link to on the front page are my number one concern, why? Well while they are truly amazing to look at, they show Balin's Tomb, but it's just a STILL photograph, dead to the eye, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, these are films, and no matter how nice a shot from the films looks, it is still only a SHOT from the films, there is alot missing there, no sound, no musical score, no voices from the charcters, and most of all no movement!

Some things even I get angry at having seen ahead of time, such as Balin's Tomb, I just wish I could have been sitting in the theatre, with the Shore score in my ears, as we follow John Rhys-Davies into that tomb, and we see his sadness and anger...but now it's ruined, because now I KNOW what it will look like, yet I still don't know what it will FULLY look like, and if we can't see it 100% compete then we should not see it at all!

But fear not, those that need all-spoilers-all-the-time, we will deliver the goods, like I said, we have a duty to bring you everything Tolkien, I just wanted a moment to rant. :)

Thoughts and opinions presented here are Xoanon's and Xoanon's alone, but my mommy checked the spelling

5-27-01 Latest News

Christopher Lee RealVideo
Xoanon @ 7:41 pm EST

A RealVideo clip on the Official Christopher Lee Website shows our good birthday boy giving thanks to all the gifts he received, he also talks a bit about LOTR:

'Someone asked me at Cannes what my greatest ambition in life is, I told him it is to see 'The Return of the King' in movie theatres in 2003.'

'...Most recently you may have seen footage from Cannes, we were all there...when I say we I mean the cast of LOTR, with the exception of Cate Blanchett, Bernard Hill, and Hugo Weaving, we were all there. The 5 hobbits, 2 Wizards, the Dwarf, and the men.'

Lee goes on to say all the cast members (with the love for the characters and the actors as any hardcore TORNadoe I've ever seen!)

'Most important of all, from my point of view, were the people who came from New Zealand. There were those that came from the US, some from Canada, some from Europe, and the UK, but for me the high point was, besides the party that was excellent, the high point was the fact that Richard Taylor the special effects wizard, was there with his partner. They really have created magic with these three films, and the word is magic, he was there he had come from New Zealand, two of the production secretaries also came from New Zealand, and quite right too, considering the amount of work they've been involved in over a very long period of time. Phillipa Boyens, came with her daughter, Sean Astin came with his wife and daughter, who is 4 years old and quite remarkably clever.'

Lee goes on to discuss the producers like Barrie Osbourne and the other producers.

'But most important of all, Peter Jackson. And I was looking at the german video ages ago, from the party Sunday night, and all of us were talking about how proud we were of this wonderful achievement. But I would like to add to that, because I didn't then, but have many other times, that it is all due to the genius, stamina, stability, and the vision of Peter Jackson, who really is one of a kind, they broke the mold, and his fair wife, and co-producer, and co-writer Fran, who was also there. They must have been exhausted, they've both just come from New Zealand. Peter got out of the car, doesn't speak french, had driven for 2 days, from somewhere near Paris, right down to Cannes, without getting lost, that gives you an idea of what a remarkable person he is. I can't pay too high a praise to him, he is responsable, well so are others, but giving him the opportunity, New Line, and they were there, because without them these films would not be made. Bob Shaye, of New Line and Michael Lynn, but the one person from New Line who had the most faith in the production from day one was Mark Ordesky, Mark was there, he was the guiding hand, he was helping us do what we were doing, during our time at Cannes.'

Check out the rest of Christopher Lee's comments right here! (RealPlayer needed)

Go back to Special Reports Archives