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June 24, 2000 - July 09, 2000

7-09-00 Latest News

Media Watch: Empire Magazine
Xoanon @ 2:32 pm EST

From: al

The latest Empire Magazine (with John Cusack on the cover) - The Fellowship Of The Ring is listed as the number one film in the top twenty "in production". Text reads:

01 The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowsip Of the Rings

Starring: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian Holm, Sir Ian McKellen, Billy Boyd, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler, Brad Dourif, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Hugo Weaving.

Director: Peter Jackson

What's it About?: Once upon a time, in a mythical world far, far, away, there was a ring, a very special one. And the rest is simply history...

ETA: Christmas 2001

The Original Episode 1? A childhood world of glorious wonder made real (well, almost, anyway)? Whatever your expectations for Peter Jackson's upcoming take on J.R.R Tolkien's epic - sort of a War And Peace of the nether world - tale of elves, orcs and, lest we forget, hobbits, the hype continues to swell at a rate that might make even the hardy Anakin quake. And it's still, at the very least, more than 18 months away from our shores.

All of which, of course, comes as no great surprise. Even putting to one side the original novel's quite planetary cult following, the reasons "for" the vast project become ever more apparent.

First off is a cast of simply the finest calibre. Next a director (likewise) who, over 13 years, has effectively flexed his directorial muscle with consistent flair. The sheer, unashamed displays of hedonistic gore - with a caustic moral undertone, mind - of Bad taste (1987), Meet The Feebles (1989), Braindead (1992) and The Frighteners (1996), combined with his assured grasp of the sinister (1994's Heavenly Creatures) quite possibly render him the perfect directorial choice.

And, at long last, the wonderful world of special effects is also at a stage where it can keep up with the material's intended pace - neither the woeful animated version (1978), nor the '80s' fleeting dalliance with similarly-toned legends of lore (Labyrinth, Willow, Legend et al) possessed the necessary visual clout to come remotely close to the mythical atmosphere required.

Consider also a budget said to be in the region of $190 million - although this is reputedly intended to be apportioned over the course of parts two (The Two towers) and parts three (the Return Of The King) as well - and that the sumptuous scenery of Jackson's native New Zealand is to act as the backdrop (filming has been underway since October last year), and all of the elements fall nicely into place.

A possible contender for the all-time franchise of franchises? Mr Lucas, the gauntlet is down.

7-05-00 Latest News

DragonCon 2000: Final Report
Calisuri @ 11:03 pm EST

If you missed our Friday report, check it out here.


Calisuri and Corvar spent another long day at DragonCon greeting fans, networking, rubbing our sore feet, and spreading the word about the Lord of the Rings movies. Scott Murdock stopped back by and was again a tremendous help. Scott had spent the night making us some excellent signs instead of Calisuri's poorly hand written ones. Thanks again to Scott and the many other people who have helped us out over the last few days.

Calisuri had the opportunity to attend the Brad Dourif and Karl Urban panel, where he found these Lord of the Rings cast members slightly reluctant to share any inside information on the films. While it was expected that we would not find out much new, what was not expected was the chemistry that Karl and Brad had with the crowd that gathered to ask them questions. Here are a few things that we did learn:

(PS - We aren't allowed to provide the pictures from this session per DragonCon request. No biggy, we have some other pictures from fans a little later on)

One of the highlights of the day was running into Jeff from TheForce.net. We talked quite a bit about Episode II and some of the secrets behind the production. TF.net is the site that started this whole online movie/rumor extravaganza. Sure they might not have been the first site, but they hooked Calisuri into checking their site out multiple times a day. Cal's original idea for TheOneRing.net was to be to LOTR what TF.net was to Star Wars. We can only hope we have achieved such excellence. As you can tell, we were pretty psyched to finally met Jeff and even more psyched when he gave us t-shirts. (Calisuri has been wearing it for the last 2 days...hey...come on...its Star Wars)

Oh, and remember Fiends Carnival of Souls from Friday's report? Well, we found a LOTR tie in for the band! Jason Moss the band's headman is a Auckland (New Zealand) native who has relocated to the Atlanta area! Small world!

While Calisuri, Corvar and Scott slaved away at the booth, Jincey once again put her heart and soul into the events at the Tolkien Track. Here's a quick review:

Turnout for the second session of LOTR Trivia Contest was a little low. However, Jincey persevered and managed to give 5 t-shirts to the lucky contestants that showed up. These folks were so good that Jincey didn't even need to give them the options! They would nail the answers on the first attempt!

"The Secrets of the LOTR Movies Revealed" session was packed as usual. Once again, we can't say too much about what was shown, but we wowed quite a few folks.

Brad Dourif showed up for his second session of "Grima Wormtongue Speaks," and everyone had a great time. He talked a bit about the costumes and how his wormtongue costume was the most elaborate he had ever worn. He said the details are so small that the movie going audience will probably never even notice them, but they are there. According to Brad, even the elvish script on props is real Elvish and not just eye candy. Brad also talked a good bit about his language coaching. He sits in a room for an hour each day with a language coach and practices his accent. Another interesting fact he let loose...Grima is not pronounced Grime-a but instead Grim-ma. Hey! We didn't know that..:) Overall, the session was great for Mr. Dourif and his fans.

All of us were thoroughly pooped by the time all the events for the day had ended, so we headed back to the hotel and ate like kings. (well, those of us who didn't get sick did!) Corvar headed off to check out The Changelings at 11 and Jincey and Calisuri headed to the happenings after the Grand Masquerade! We didn't plan on being right smack dab in the middle of the 'walkway' but somehow we managed to be front row for an amazing costume show. Besides the security guy that kept forcing us to show our cameras (I used a metallic pen to fool the genius) we had a great time hanging out with some folks from the CHUD table and ogling at the amazing costumes. Below you will find some of the more elaborate ones. (Hopefully Jincey will send me her negatives so we can show you the REALLy cool ones)

Thus ended the Saturday events at DragonCon.

Sunday Report:

The third full day of DragonCon started out as the rest. We rushed our large supply of t-shirts and multimedia up the 3 blocks from our hotel. Today our mission was to get rid of as many t-shirts as humanly possible. (Less to carry back) So what did we do? Who would have figured that showing "exclusive" footage would sell those things like hotcakes! Yes, we showed the "exclusive" footage to every passer-by in an attempt to make up for our presentation room being so small. Every single fan was blown away and completely amazed. Every jaw was on the floor. It was a great day. (PS - Half of the profits from the t-shirt sales are going to the Salvation Army, who had the unfortunate luck to have their world convention in Atlanta the same week as DragonCon. We have NEVER seen so many terrified people in our lives! LOL We figure a donation might help them deal with the trauma.)

The one cool fact we did find out on Sunday was that the theatrical trailer for FOTR would be out in November. Possibly before the latest offering from Adam Sandler, Little Nicky.

Corvar attended another sparsely populated "Tolkien Webmaster" meeting. Once again, proof that no matter what we think, WE aren't that important! :P

After we packed our booth up in record time, asked Jincey to go get the car, and ran out to the hotel entrance Calisuri noticed someone wearing a TORN t-shirt with a signature on the back! After yelling through a crowd of people, we met up with Chris LoPresto and JJ Kropp. Two lucky guys that had a chance to met Karl Urban and get his autograph! JJ sent along these couple of pics of the 'merchandise' and we have one of our own. Pretty cool to see a TORN shirt signed by Karl, I must admit! JJ also had a chance to snap a shot with Grima himself! (See below)

I want to take a sec to thank all the great people we met at this Con, and to mention just a few:

We look forward to attending next years DragonCon. DragonCon 2001, the year of Tolkien fandom!

"How much did this thing cost again?"

7-01-00 Latest News

Marvel's LOTR Press Release
Xoanon @ 11:54 am EST

Thanks to Hugo our from our buds at lordoftherings.nl

Deal With New Line Provides Toy Biz Extensive Product Rights to Movies Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendary Saga

NEW YORK -- JUNE 12,2000 --Toy Biz, a division of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), has landed one of the most coveted licenses in Hollywood as New Line Cinema today named the toy company the master toy licensee for the studio's eagerly awaited fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings. The multi-year agreement provides Toy Biz with extensive worldwide product rights to all three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's world-renowned literary phenomenon.

The broad range of categories covered include: action figures and accessories, dolls, radio control, remote control and infrared toy products, collectible marbles and accessories, electronic and non-electronic plush, flying toys and LCD watches. The initial products will hit stores coinciding with the release of the first film in the trilogy - The Fellowship of the Ring - scheduled to hit theaters Holiday 2001. The deal was announced by Avi Arad, Chief Creative Officer for Marvel Enterprises, Inc., Alan Fine, CEO of Toy Biz and David Imhoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and Merchandising, New Line Cinema.

"The Lord of the Rings trilogy is, without a doubt, one of the most immense and magnificent projects in the history of film," states Imhoff. "We have no doubt that this property will be the absolute highlight of Licensing 2000 with momentum only growing stronger in the months ahead. In choosing Toy Biz, New Line has selected one of the category innovators. We are thrilled to have them on board."

Fine added, "With its intricately detailed fantasy world, incredible range of highly-unique fantasy characters, and a story that has captivated kids and adults alike for more than 40 years, The Lord of the Rings has enormous potential in the marketplace. New Line's aggressive and innovative marketing plan for the trilogy is truly groundbreaking. Their commitment and complete dedication to the brand is already creating amazing excitement around the films. We are looking forward to working with New Line to create a compelling product line-up that captures the depth, spectacle and appeal of these highly-anticipated movies."

Widely heralded as the book series of the century, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy has sold more than 50 million copies to date and has been published in more than 25 languages. Set in a mythic pre-history world called Middle-Earth, The Lord of the Rings saga tells the story of an epic battle between good and evil, involving wizards, hobbits and elves, and a ring with mysterious powers. The adventure focuses on a young leisure-loving hobbit named Frodo who against his will is thrust into the perilous quest to save humanity when he inherits a seemingly innocent magic ring. Frodo soon learns that the ring's original maker, the Dark Lord Sauron, is desperately seeking it -- for it is a ring of great evil which will enable Sauron to enslave the people of Middle-Earth. With this knowledge, Frodo and his fellowship of mythical beings set out on a harrowing mission across Middle-Earth in an attempt to destroy the ring-- while avoiding the power of Sauron and the ring itself.

Tolkien's fantasy world will be brought to life through three, star-studded, special effects filled live-action adventures.

The all-star cast includes: Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Sir Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Sir Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood. All three films are being shot back-to-back and directed by Peter Jackson (The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures). Excitement for the movies is at a feverish pitch as evidenced by the frenzy surrounding the April Internet preview. In its first 24 hours, the exclusive, behind-the-scenes online preview at www.lordoftherings.net was viewed 1,671,000 times (over 600,000 more first day viewings than the initial Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace online trailer). By the end of the first week, The Lord of the Rings online preview had 6.6 million viewings.

Arad, commented, "Marvel is pleased to be extending its relationship with New Line. This movie franchise has the potential to be one of the biggest blockbusters of all-time. Since we have worked with New Line in the past with the Blade movie franchise, we know their marketing power and understand their goals. With that in mind, we feel that Toy Biz is well suited to deliver the types of innovative toy products expected to accompany a movie franchise of this stature."

Toy Biz is a division of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies with operations in five divisions: licensing, toys, comic book and trade publishing, entertainment and the Internet. Through the ownership of over 4,700 proprietary characters, Marvel licenses its characters in a wide range of consumer products, services and media such as feature films, television, the Internet, apparel, video games, collectibles, snack foods and promotions. Marvel's characters and plot lines are created and developed through the comic book publishing division, which maintains a leadership position in the U.S. and abroad.

For additional company information visit the Company's corporate Web site at http://www.marvel.com.

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 Time Warner Inc., operates several divisions including in-house theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, television, acquisitions, production, licensing and merchandising units. For more information on New Line and its subsidiaries, visit www.newline.com

Except for historical information contained herein, the statements in this news release regarding the Company's plans are forward-looking statements that are dependent upon certain risks and uncertainties, including the Company's potential inability to successfully implement its business strategy, a decrease in the level of media exposure or popularity of the Company's characters resulting in declining revenues from products based on those characters, the lack of commercial success of properties owned by major entertainment companies that have granted the Company toy licenses, the lack of consumer acceptance of new product introductions, the imposition of quotas or tariffs on toys manufactured in China as a result of a deterioration in trade relations between the U.S. and China, changing consumer preferences, production delays or shortfalls, continued pressure by certain of the Company's major retail customers to significantly reduce their toy inventory levels, the impact of competition and changes to the competitive environment on the Company's products and services, changes in technology and changes in governmental regulation. Those and other risks and uncertainties are described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K.

DragonCon 2000: Thur and Fri
Calisuri @ 2:29 am EST

After our ImagineCon experience, we didn't know what to expect from our next adventure into the world of Fandom. We arrived at DragonCon in Atlanta early Tuesday morning without incident, looking forward to a great time at the US's largest fan-based convention.

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Thursday's Highlights:

The highlight of the day was Karl Urban's appearance. (Eomer in the upcoming films) He had travelled 12 hours from NZ and then 4 hours to DragonCon only to have to wait around 2 hours for his luggage! However, by the time he came to do his chat, he was in good spirits and ready to please the crowd. Jincey (our Communications director, or better known as Head Op in Barliman's) tried to exchange her TheOneRing.net shirt for Karl's OFfICIAL Lord of the Rings vest. (Oooo...we were all drooling) Unfortunately, he wasn't too fancy on the idea. Karl was very careful not to say anything specific or too revealing about the filming. He did state that the production is paying great attention to detail and the books are actually on the set, being read and used, everyday. Karl also spoke at length about his new series "The Privateers." We'll hear more from Karl this coming Saturday.

Jincey had a chance to check out a rare Tolkien biographical video which included footage of his children and Tom Shippey. It was a great presentation and we will report more on the video later.

The rest of the day was filled with some lessons in Tolkien linguistics, checking out Michael Martinez's reconstructing Middle Earth, and manning our fan table.

Friday's Highlights:

We started off Friday with our "Secrets of the LOTR Movies Revealed" session. While we can't exactly tell you what we showed there, we will say, that it was really fun to watch the first time reaction of many Tolkien fans. We have never seen so many jaws drop.

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After our well attended first session, the room cleared out, just in time for the Tolkien Webmaster forum. Yeah, this is a slight rip on us, but really... are we that important? Needless to say, TolkienOnline, Xenite.org and even the folks from Coming Attractions hung out to chat about the internet and the many issues we webmasters face everyday.

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After the Tolkien webmaster track, we set up the table and prepared to met the fans. Corvar and Calisuri spent the bulk of the rest of the day discussing the internet preview with hordes of hardcore Tolkien fans. In the early afternoon, Ringer fan Scott Murdock stopped by to lend us a much needed hand. Notable guests at the table include Terry Brooks, Rogue (of Imaginecon fame), Lucas L. (the Apple Guy), CHUD, Glass Hammer, Web Druid (from Barlimans and Terry B's webmaster), Zealot.com, and Coming Attractions. With the much needed break Scott allowed us to take, Calisuri and Corvar were able to take a look around and meet some people.

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Our neighbors, at the fan table, are Fiends Carnival of Souls. Fiends is a hardcore band which preformed Thursday night, and from what we heard put on an excellent show, regrettably Calisuri and Corvar were recovering from a lack of sleep preparing for the convention.

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Meanwhile back at the Tolkien Track, among other Tolkien filled fun, Jincey and Leowyn (of Barliman's) ran the Tolkien Trivia contest where a few lucky people walked away with bright shiny white TheOneRing.net shirts. After the Tolkien Trivia contest was a chat with Brad Dourif. Brad was willing to say a little bit more about the movies than Karl, but did not reveal anything that was not general knowledge. Brad went on to discuss his role in Dune and his involvement in other films. Following Brad, Glass Hammer unveiled some music from their soon to be released new album, you can expect to hear more about Glass Hammer on the site as Fall approaches.

Closing out the evening, we gave away another copy of the boxed set of LOTR and the Hobbit to the lucky winner Michael Page, greeted many more Tolkien fans, explained more details, and eventually came back to the hotel to prepare this report.

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DragonCon continues through Sunday here in Atlanta Georgia; approximately 20,000 people are expected to attend the convention in its 5 day run. DragonCon is the largest fan run convention of its type in the United States.

Expect another report tomorrow when we will hopefully have more time to prepare it.

6-28-00 Latest News

Media Watch: Vogue Magazine
Xoanon @ 6:40 pm EST

The latest issue of Vogue has an article and full spread pics of Cate Blanchett (Galadriel). While the article only mentions LOTR in one brief paragraph, it is an informative piece. You can get a good look into the Aussie who will play our Elven Queen.

LOTR byte: The films (Blanchett is) currently shooting in New Zealand are very big-budget, indeed-J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy which Peter Jackson is directing. "I'm really looking foreward to it," she says, "because it's not a territory I've ever stepped into before technically." I search my memory for female roles and remember that it was a hombrekind of series. Gandalf? Frodo? Bilbo Bagins? Whom does she play? "Galadriel." I don't recall Galadriel. "Queen of the Elves," she says. "Smart but significant." Hmmm. Not nearly significant enough to break the $20 Million barrier, even if she has already been fitted for prosthetic elf's ears. "What do you want so much oney for?" She says.

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Tolkien Society's Publicity Officer sets the record straight.
Tehanu @ 5:11 pm EST

This relates to a rather unimpressive bit of journalism by the UK news earlier this week. Ian Collier, the Publicity Officer for the Tolkien Society, wrote to us with the following, which he stresses are his personal views and not necessarily those of the entire Tolkien Society:

Dear Harry & Tehanu
I'm e-mailing you both as I've been watching events unfurl on your websites for the last year or two and I gather that Peter Jackson and co.look around the web to keep up with fannish opinion on their efforts; so I'm assuming they'll look at your sites on a regular basis. As you may or may not know the UK's Sunday Times ran an article yesterday 25/6 entitled "Hollywood hobbits upset Tolkien fans (here) about the filming of Lord of the Rings. I knew it was coming as I'd been interviewed on the phone for it being the Publicity Officer for The Tolkien Society, what I didn't see coming (a tad naive of me) was the misquoting that would occur, especially as I had been asked forthe Tolkien Society's position on the film. I've emailed you because I don't want the society to be understood as being anti-film, an opinion which could be formed if certain pieces of orc-work are taken at face value. Especially with the comments that the Tolkien Society are worried by some developments and "are to discuss Tyler's role and that of Blanchett, who plays Galadriel, at their annual Oxonmoot, or meeting in Oxford, in September." as if to say that we are going to sit in some sort of Inquisition-like conclave.

Another example is the following series of misquotes about Liv Tyler:

"Ian Collier, spokesman for the Tolkien Society, said: "We have heard that Arwen is leading an elf army at one point and replacing one of the hobbits in the fellowship. I do hope Liv Tyler is not going to turn it into a sword-and-sorcery type role."

I didn't say that, in the interview I gave the society's position and as the interview went on Arwen's expanded role came up, my comments were that I
could see some expansion as necessary to explain her marriage to Aragorn,but that I also wondered what effect this would have on Eowyn's role, silly of me maybe but I know better now. Regarding "and replacing one of the hobbits in the fellowship" I specifically stated that this old rumour had been definitively dealt with on Sir Ian McKellen's website after someone posted a query based on a 'spy' report.

My personal opinion is that the cast & crew are doing a great job and are trying their hardest to stick as closely to Tolkien's texts as possible,this is based on rumours, interviews and question and answer sessions posted on your sites and on Sir Ian McKellen's. As I've said above I don't want the idiocies of the press to make the people concerned feel that the Tolkien Society holds a negative opinion about them. They don't!!


Ian Collier"

6-26-00 Latest News

The Dominion reports on the theft of film from LOTR
Tehanu @ 5:53 pm EST


A one-month investigation into claims of movie piracy on the set of the mega-trilogy TLOTR has ended with the arrest of an Auckland man. The 36-year-old has been charged with making a VHS copy of film footage, money laundering, fraudulently dealing with a film and theft as a servant of two video cassettes. The company producing the fantasy trilogy says it has boosted its security since the allegations surfaced. Police spokeswoman Kaye Calder said yesterday that an average of three Wellington police officers worked fulltime for a month before the man was arrested in Ak on Sat night. She refused to say how much money was alleged to have been laundered, and papers filed in Ak District Court yesterday during the man's first appearance gave scant details. But a source close to the investigation said there were 'obviously considerable sums' to be made from pirated copies of the film, which will have its first instalment released in Dec next year. The source said no footage was sent overseas before the man was arrested. Court papers alleged the man stole video cassettes from an employer called Newline Productions. But a spokesman for Newline Cinema, Steve Elzer, said from Los Angeles that the man was not a direct employee. Newline had been working closely with N Z police and had taken steps to ensure no footage would be pirated in future, he said. The man was remanded without plea for two weeks and was told to stay with his mother in Ak under a curfew. He was given name suppression til his next court appearance. The $260 million trilogy, based on three books by J R R T, is directed by NZer P J under strict secrecy, and has sparked a fanatical Internet following.

Thanks to Tiggy, gun typist, for that!

6-25-00 Latest News

Horse training - and insect management - on LOTR
Tehanu @ 8:39 pm EST

Alan Sampson of Wellington's Dominion newspaper was allowed to conduct a thorough investigation of the animal-training techniques used in The Lord of the Rings.

"To listen to LOTR horse trainer Dan Reynolds, you would think horse training was simple. It's just a case, he says, of walking them around the ring, then encouraging them toward the trainer with a tap on the backside or a crack of the whip. At least to start with. It has to be more complex, of course. But Reynolds can be forgiven for not giving away too many secrets. "Every horse is different," he says.
"Some need a gentle, some a firmer, hand. Stallions are the hardest because they have other horses on their mind." The precise tricks of the trade must remain secret, but after a public smear campaign alleging mistreatment by trainers, it is good to see Reynolds and the rest of the team at work.
Even assuming the worst, that a good front is being put on for a reporter, the horses on show seem well cared for and clearly respond to good treatment. An impressive team of experts is on hand. The owner of the stables at Te Horo is race-horse owner and pre-trainer Chris Rutten; horse coordinator is Stephen Old, who runs the annual 100 kilometre Extreme NZ Horse Ride, which raises money for multiple sclerosis; and wrangler is Dave Johnson, known for his stagecoach carnivals and his Clydesdales. But the man at the helm of the tricks training is Reynolds, a laconic hard-bitten Texan who looks like he's been doing his work forever.
"Dad was an animal trainer...I started riding when I was two," he drawls. "When I was older, I did rodeos from Texas to the northwest, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, California."
Reynolds wasn't a mainstream performer - he was the character doing the trick roping, the trick riding, the horse tricks. In the 1940's he confesses, he did some child work in the movies, alongside such luminaries as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Robert Mitchum, the first two at least, noted cowboys. The work that followed provided an impeccable background for his present position. Reynolds recalls having trained, among other things, giraffes, elands and elephants. He's run Wild West shows in the manner of Wild Bill Hickok. He's trained horses in numerous movies including DANCES WITH WOLVES, OUT OF AFRICA, GHOST AND THE DARKNESS and TALL TALE.
He's also practised his craft for seven years at Universal Studios. Watching him at the Te Horo stables, it's apparent that the key is persuasion: the horses are neither fed sugar nor punished. They are, however, clearly in good condition and have abundant pasture to play in. The horses are certainly not ill-at-ease and Reynolds says firmly that "tripping and hitting are a no-no." It seems unlikely that mistreated horses have been hidden from view; there are only about 70 of them at Te Horo.
At some big battle scenes yet to be filmed, more than 200 horses - to be transformed by computer into thousands - will be gatheredtogether at a South Island site. But the 200 will be found from hunt and riding clubs and the like, and put through their paces relatively close to filming. The ones going through the complex training now are the comparatively few "name" horses that will be identifiable when PJ's mammoth production hits the screen. A splendid white animal is identified as Sfax (Shadowfax), the grand steed of wizard Gandalf. At a light crack of a Reynolds's whip, it rears majestically. Next on view is warrior king Aragorn's horse, ridden on film by Viggo Mortensen, who is filling the shoes of axed Irish actor Stuart Townsend. Then there is quest leader Frodo's (Elijah Wood) pony, his hobbit sidekick Merry's (Dominic Monaghan) pony, even elf princess Arwen's (Liv Tyler) horse, not to mention the dark, dark horses that will be ridden by the evil Ringwraiths.
According to Reynolds, most of the tricks he has to coax from the horses are quite simple - such as when a horse has to make its own way to a cave and run away again at the required moment. The most difficult trick to date has been getting a horse to rescue a wounded Aragorn, nuzzling the body, before helping him to safety.
The trick of keeping more than 200 horses in their Rohan battle lines, to act on command, has yet to be tested. Now, here are some secrets: having long suspected that body doubles are in action for some of the actors and actresses, it is nice to have confirmed that there are riding body doubles. Local woman Jane Abbott, for instance, will be Liv Tyler - at least in riding shots. Somewhere there's a character who fills in for Gandalf. A young Wellington woman is known to have been acting as a double for Cate Blanchett, the elf queen Galadriel, who arrived in Wellington earlier this month.
At Te Horo, it turns out there are also doubles for horses. The filming plays all sorts of optical tricks, mixing and matching small or big ponies and horses to dwarf or exaggerate characters such as hobbits and wizards. Watch out for the giant Clydesdales, as high as 17 hands (1.7 metres), that play a variety of roles from battle steeds to Gandalf's cart horse. The latter also has a double, a Welsh pony that will pull at an identical cart for scale shots. Expect to see Frodo on a regular horse, not a pony, to accentuate his small size.
But why stay with horses? The Te Horo team also has deer, sheep, rabbits and ferrets. All have important parts to play in THE LOTR. As do pigs and ducks and goats and cockroaches. If the purists want to glimpse a breach of Tolkien authenticity, they should look to the smallest characters. You can guarantee that nowhere in the trilogy is there a mention of a weta. PJ's version will have the peculiarly NZ insect emerging from the dark in places of great evil.
How do you train insects? Cockroaches can be chilled. Spiders and wetas can be moved by blowing at them through a straw, and by shaking a false ground underneath them. But the trick that has attracted the most attention has to do with the horses or, rather, with avoiding them: a barrel with springs is used to simulate a galloping rider in close-up shots. On the screen it may be difficult to tell just what is real. Ultimately, the magic of LOTR may be the triumph of illusion."
Very big thanks to Tiggy for that transcript!!!

6-24-00 Latest News

Real Audio Update: Transcript June 2000
Calisuri @ 1:21 am EST

To listen to this audio June 2000 update on the LOTR movie news, click here. The following is a transcript of the audio:

Greetings and well met!

This is Calisuri, coming to you live from the official headquarters of TheOneRing.net, Middle-earth.

Stay tuned for this edition of the Lord of the Rings Movie Brief for June 2000.

It's been another productive month in New Zealand! New filming locations continue to crop up like mushrooms. Among some of the more noteable, we have seen action at the Fernside Lodge, near Featherston. We believe this could be Lothlorien.

Lyall Bay has seen the rise of quote "white medieval tents, with green detailing," close to a cliff face; Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) was rumored to be seen here, with a large variety of horses... could it be Dunharrow?

Something rather large is happening at the Claireville Showgrounds in Carterton. A recent report has large moving trucks, camera equipement and other movie making materials moving into this large scale stadium.

The Helms Deep set at Dry Creek Quary has also seen more action , with orc, human, and elvish armies doing battle. It is rumored that the Uruk-Hai at this set wear wear 'black leather-like breastplates and shoulder pads... full length arm coverings... and crested helmets'.

It is also thought that a Minas Tirith set will also be built at Dry Creek Quary.

The Mordor location on Mt. Ruapehu near Iwikau Village has seen a huge cast, crew, and bluescreen hard at work; with elf, human, and orc armies fighting here this could be a location from the early history of Middle-earth, the Last Alliance of Men and Elves.

If you're a regular consumer of Lord of the Rings news you've been treated to some incredible glimpses of what's to come. We have seen Sir Ian Holm decked out as Bilbo Baggins, a beautiful shot of Hobbiton, and a pack of Nazgul chasing down a lone horse and rider. We were also lucky enough to see John Rhys-Davies in full costume as Gimli, shots of Frodo and Gandalf together in a cart, and a fierce-looking Aragorn!

New Zealand's Women's Week continues to produce incredible snapshots of the production: a recent spread included Frodo (Elijah Woods) and Sam (Sean Astin) working closely with director Peter Jackson and some of the crew.

Come down to TheOneRing.net for daily updates on Tolkien and Lord of the Rings movie news! Check out our scrapbook for images galore, our archives sections for past news, and our chatroom Barliman's for the latest scuttlebut on the filming.

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