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July 16, 2004 - July 24, 2004

7-24-04 Latest News

The LOTR Symphony: A Different Perspective Part II
Xoanon @ 11:19 pm EST

BonMothma writes: More observations from the perspective of a singer in the Mendelssohn Choir as we complete week 2 of rehearsals and preparations for the “Lord of the Rings Symphony” coming to Pittsburgh next weekend.

The music that the choir is using looks like it was put together by about 6 different people. On some pages, each measure is numbered; on others, only the first measure of a line is numbered. I found this especially ironic since there was a posting earlier this week with Howard Shore’s talking about the importance of numbering each measure in a movie score. It is perhaps more important in a way for the Symphony since I’m sure the original score was recorded in sections, and the orchestra and choir didn’t have to jump to different tempos and moods without a break, as we will have to for the live performance.

The phonetic text also seems to differ from one section to the next. Some words are in the pronunciation guide; some are not. Some of the text is less phonetic and more Elvish. One page is pure Elvish as it appears in Tolkien’s text, with no explanation that this is the case. Also, they not only lumped all of the Elvish languages into one translation, they put the Dwarvish in with it, too, with no notation that it is an entirely different language. In spite of these problems, the overall pronunciations are sounding pretty good.

I’ve seen many reviews by fans saying that the singing in the "Khazad Dum" sequence is not loud enough. After looking at it more closely and hearing the men working on it this week, I can see why. "Dimholt Road" touched on this last week when he talked about Shore’s using the low male voice to convey the deepness of the Dwarf city. I imagine that when this was recorded originally, the all-male choir was much larger than the male sections of the choirs that are appearing on this tour. Also, as the notes are very low, they are hard to sing loudly. I got the feeling that these were at the bottom of the ranges of some of the bases and baritones. As a result, it will not have the power and fullness of the original soundtrack and score.

There is a genuine enthusiasm in the choir from fans and non-fans alike. Everyone wants to do their best, and there have been many comments regarding the beauty and power of the different sequences. As we were going over one part, Dr. Page commented, “I don’t know what’s happening here, but it must be very sad.” It was Smeagol’s theme as heard in “The Forbidden Pool,” which isn’t a particularly sad moment, but it certainly conveys the pathetic nature of poor, poor Smeagol.

We rehearse with Mr. Shore on Monday. Woo-hoo!

Lady of Lorien

Overlithe Dinner in Pittsburgh for Shore Concert
Tehanu @ 11:09 pm EST

If you're in Pittsburgh or were planning to go there for the Howard Shore LOTR concert on July 31, how about joining other Ringers for dinner beforehand? Diamond Took writes:

"On July 31, 2004, there will be an Overlithe Dinner to celebrate Howard Shore conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for "An Evening in Middle-earth". It is featuring the recipes of my cookbook, and is a fundraiser to benefit the symphony. It's from 4-6pm. The details are here

"The tickets are very limited and only available until July 27, 2004, but I thought that there could be people from out of town coming in that weekend for the concerts (there are three) and may also want to attend the dinner.

"The Pittsburgh Symphony goes all over the world and does a lot of free concerts and benefits for a variety of organizations all the time, and this time, we wanted to show them that Lord of the Rings fans are very grateful that they opted for the show with Howard, and that we appreciate them."

Comic-Con: ROTK EE DVD Panel Review!
Xoanon @ 11:00 am EST

mfissori writes: I got back from the san diego comic-con earlier tonight and man, let me tell you, the Rotk ee presentation was fantastic.

David Wenham and Billy Boyd were there and they were hilarious.

The crowd went completely NUTS for all of the new clips. But, because the crowd was so loud I had trouble catching all of the dialogue.

The dialogue's not word for word and this is not the order in which the clips were shown. I'll just try to get down everything I can remember.


- Shots of Saruman on top of Orthanc, saying things like "something festers in the heart of middle-earth" , "you are all going to die", " I want no pity or mercy!", saruman shooting flames from his staff (I know this sounds kinda hokey but I thought it looked pretty good)

- Frodo/Sam/Gollum approaching the crossroads. we see sam looking at something and then there is a closeup (pics of which have already appeared online) of the statue's head and it's crown

- frodo/sam in orc costumes marching with orcs, big orc yelling "move on!"

- Merry saying "I know there isn't much hope, I know I can't do much. I'm just a hobbit. But I want to help"

- Mouth of sauron rides out, there is a closeup on his mouth (which looked pretty gross) as he says " I have a token I was bidden to show thee" and then he reveals frodo's mithril vest and throws it down to the ground. then there is a closeup of pippin who says "frodo..."

- Eowyn in bed at edoras, Aragorn is walking away from her but before he can get too far she reaches out and takes his hand.

- eomer grieving for eowyn (seen in theatrical trailer)

- sam in mordor looking at the dark, red lit sky telling mr. frodo that he sees a light.

- aragorn picks up flaming palantir and says something, the only word I caught was "Elendil"

- gandalf riding up to witch king making threats, something about sending it into the abyss, witch king responds with his own threat while his sword becomes enflamed.

- misc. new shots of the siege of gondor, orcs using small battering ram, fell beast swooping in and picking up soldiers

- eowyn fighting gothmog (the one eyed orc captain)

- faramir telling pippin about his childhood, boromir, and his father. pippin says that faramir has " a different kind of strength" and that his father will see it eventually.

- Eowyn and Faramir hold hands and nuzzle at the houses of healing (women in the audience went especially nuts for this scene.)

- aragorn/legolas/gimli run away from an avalanche of skulls in the paths of the dead

I think this covers most of the new footage shown.

oh, and it was confirmed multiple times that the EE comes out in December. so far away :(

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 2:26 am EST

One day, a rather extraordinary visitor appears outside the house of a seemingly ordinary Hobbit. Readers rapidly become immersed in an intriguing relationship between a mysterious, powerful wizard and the simple, unwordly Hobbits. We find that a relationship that has existed between the two in the past is about to get much more complicated.

Gandalf's Involvement with the Hobbits

As Middle Earth becomes increasingly darker and more dangerous, the relationship between Gandalf and the Hobbits becomes more intense as other races and beings learn about the previously sheltered race. Through their relationship, both Gandalf and the Hobbits become significant players in the War of the Ring that significantly changes them both.

When and why did Gandalf become interested in the Hobbits? Did Gandalf merely find them amusing, or did he recognise their potential importance in the grand scheme of things? Was the relationship a mutually beneficial one and what effect did they have on each other? And why are the hobbits always afraid of Gandalf turning someone to a stone or a toad?

Come join us in #thehalloffire as we discuss Gandalf's Involvement with the Hobbits.

Upcoming topics:

August 7-8 -- Middle Earth’s Greatest Cities
August 14-15 -- The Hobbit: Chapter 11: On the Doorstep

#thehalloffire on theonering.net IRC server. Need instructions? Go here: http://www.theonering.net/barlimans/instructions.html

Chat Times:

Saturday Chat:
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 9:30am Sunday (07:30) AET]

Sunday Chat:
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 5:00am (03:00) Monday morning AET]

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

7-23-04 Latest News

Howard Shore Concert with Q&A in Ottawa
Xoanon @ 8:55 pm EST

West of the Moon writes: I'm sharing my experience of meeting Howard Shore in Ottawa, Canada - and the thrill it was to meet him afterwards, and attend a Q&A session with him the next day.


I attended the LOTR symphony Thursday evening at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and came away from it in love with the book, film and music all over again. Interestingly, it was a completely different experience from seeing the symphony in Montreal in February (which I had also been lucky enough to attend). I was initially disappointed when I realized that Howard Shore wasn't conducting, but Alexander Michelthwate, the guest conductor, brought a youthful energy and exuberance that really added to the evening's performance, and gave a slightly different reading to the more sombre, mature version I'd seen earlier in the year. Hayley Westenra, the 17 year-old New Zealand singer, gave a heartfelt, poised performance that went far beyond her years, and she gave a rendition of Into the West that brought me to tears. The orchestra wholly focused and confident (which I know they should be) but there was a real sense of coming together and enthusiasm that infused their performances. We were sitting a mere five rows from the front, so we had a perfect view of the string section, and could really see the musicians working and reacting - and in many ways that made it more intimate. I missed not being able to see all members of the orchestra, and the interesting instruments they used, but our vantage point really made the evening special.

One thing that didn't change was the awe-inspiring majesty of the music, and the thrill of hearing familiar pieces, and the key scenes they evoked. I could also really feel the emotional engagement on the part of the audience. My friend was enthralled from beginning to end, as were the people around us. As before, I found myself smiling, holding my breath, and in cases crying (and I wasn't the only one!). Listening to the music in this manner really makes you appreciate his great accomplishment, and you get the feeling that Howard Shore UNDERSTANDS Tolkien and Middle-earth (more on this later). Howard came out at the end of the performance to great applause and cheering, and I was impressed with just how vocal the audience was in their appreciation - especially given the fact that Ottawans aren't known for jumping up and down in excitement when it comes to theatre.


Afterwards we attended a reception for Arts Centre donors (my friend is one), and were able to speak with Howard and the conductor, and they were gracious and patient with everyone who wanted a picture, an autograph or a conversation. I told Howard that I'd seen him conduct in Montreal, and his face lit right up. He asked me if I knew it had been filmed (he was glowing at this point), and I said yes, and asked when we could expect to see it. He said (and was so excited he could barely get the words out) that part of it would be on the ROTK EE DVD, at which point we both quietly squeed, and he went on to say that the whole thing would be shown on Bravo as well. I told him that the books have always been dear to me, and that I loved the films, and how much of their success was (I thought) due to his music. He blushed and said, well, but they were great films to begin with!


We also had the opportunity to attend a lecture/Q&A session with him the following day, and he spent over two hours sharing his New Zealand, film, collaborative and composing experiences with us. He talked about his way of working - he watched a scene once, and then went away and tried to synthesize how he FELT watching it. The music he wrote came from that experience, not a formal attempt to match music to image. He feels successful music comes from the heart, and that you can only write well by understanding your own life experiences, and listening to your inner voice. He also spend a great deal of time researching and immersing himself in the various cultures and mythology that Tolkien used, so he could be true to that vision. In fact, much of his composition came from the book itself and not film scenes. He likened the whole experience to that of Frodo accepting the responsibility of the ring at the Council of Elrond (in fact, he said he felt, like Frodo, that he had no other option once PJ approached him!), and that PJ was his Gandalf, using his staff to light the way through Moria.

When he spoke about New Zealand he compared it to Canada, saying he felt at home immediately. He remarked on how unusual it was to work so closely with the screenwriters, director, crew, art department and actors (as opposed to coming in at the end of a film to write the music) - saying that he felt it was a true collaborative experience, and a real fellowship - and that that sense of closeness, support and understanding came through in the music. He talked about an instance where Viggo discussed Aragorn's character with him as he was composing, and how sort of thing happened all the time. He was asked which of his themes were closest to his heart, and he replied that it was Sam and Frodo's relationship that really resonated for him, and was the soul of the story. He also spoke quite a bit about the maturation of the hobbits, and how their life-changing experiences were what he was trying to convey. He likened film composition to clarity of storytelling, and how it was closely bound with dialogue and visuals, and gave several examples of where music added details that weren't expressed openly onscreen.

He was at all times patient and willing to answer the same questions, and at no time expressed any weariness with the audience. I can't imagine following his schedule (even he has a hard time keeping track of where he needs to be on any given day). He said he sees his LOTR composition as a culmination of 40 years of writing, and said he knows he couldn't have done it at a younger age. There are two things he's looking forward to - the opera he's working on (based on The Fly), and going to Oxford in the fall. He's thrilled at the thought of lecturing where Tolkien lived and worked, and hanging out in the same pub (thus revealing the fact that he, like us, is a fan in every way). He was very generous in sharing the creative experience with us, and we came away from the session bigger fans than we'd been before (which I didn't think was possible!). It really struck home that this was a HUGE experience for him, and that his natural love of Tolkien, combined with the friendships he formed with the cast and crew, were integral to the music he wrote for the film. It was a great privilege to be able to hear the symphony, and his thoughts on the work, and really gave me a new appreciation for the whole creative process. And you know, much like everyone PJ chose, he's just a genuinely nice man, and seems to truly love what he does.


Jeff J

I was thrilled to be able to attend the Friday performance of the LOTR Symphony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. I only found out about the concert two and a half weeks ago and, worse, I learned that tickets had been on sale since April! I feared at this point I would have lost out on all the “good” seats, but this was a once in a lifetime performance I couldn’t miss. As it turned out, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the seat I bought. In the first row of the Mezzanine level, I had an unobstructed view of the entire stage, about fifteen feet above the seating below. From this viewpoint I could see each member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), the full chorus, and the projected production artwork of Alan Lee and John Howe. This artwork was an effective accompaniment to the music, but never distracting. In fact, many times I forgot the imagery was there, so enthralled I was by the performance of the music.

Ah yes, the music. Howard Shore’s tremendous score sounded magnificent and evoked all of the emotion and imagery of the LOTR trilogy, prompting chills and teary eyes where appropriate. I was pleased that all of my favorite cuts from the CDs were present at the concert, like “A Knife in the Dark,” “The Bridge of Khazad-dum,” and the percussive Uruk-hai theme from FOTR; “Evenstar,” “The White Rider,” The Hornburg” and “Forth Eorlingas” from TTT; and “The White Tree,” “Anduril” and “The Grey Havens” from ROTK.

Conductor Alexander Mickelthwaite, making his NACO debut with the Ottawa performances on Thursday and Friday, clearly had the trust of the orchestra members, effusing his energetic style on the proceedings. Each film had two movements of music devoted to them, with FOTR serving the first half of the show, and TTT and ROTK wrapping things up. The approximately 2-hour, 20-minute performance seemed over too soon, but the capacity crowd showed their thunderous appreciation with a lengthy standing ovation that pulled Mickelthwaite out from behind the stage three times.

And I must mention featured vocalist Hayley Westenra, the 17-year-old from New Zealand who made her Canadian and LOTR debut here at the NAC with these Ottawa performances. Her renditions of “Gollum’s Song” and “Into the West” were riveting, showcasing her angelic, crystalline voice. And her accompaniment on cues such as “Evenstar,” “Isengard Unleashed” and “The End of All Things” made those pieces even more satisfying.

This was definitely an event I’m glad I experienced, and I urge everyone to try to attend the LOTR Symphony if it comes to a city near you. You won’t regret it.

LOTR Concert with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra!
Xoanon @ 4:08 pm EST

Albuquerque, NM • Friday July 23, 2004 – The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra presents two performances of Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings: Six Movements for Orchestra and Chorus on Friday, September 17 at 8 pm and Sunday, September 19 at 3 pm at UNM’s Popejoy Hall. Guest Conductor Alexander Mikelthwate leads over 200 performers in the two-hour musical journey through Middle-Earth. Original concept artwork for the films by Alan Lee and John Howe will be projected on a large screen suspended above the orchestra and chorus. The full symphony orchestra, adult and children’s chorus, plus a host of exotic instruments make for a once in a life time experience.

Tickets are $54, $45, $35, $28 & $23 and may be purchased at the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra’s website www.nmso.org or through Tickets.com or by calling (505) 881-8999.

Peter S. Beagle to write Companion Volume to 'RINGERS'
Xoanon @ 12:43 pm EST

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2004 -- Author Peter S. Beagle, best known for his stunning wordcraft in such tales as “The Last Unicorn” and “A Fine and Private Place,” has signed on to create a new book which will be published as the companion volume for the upcoming independent feature documentary, RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS. Covering the entire past 50 years of the Tolkien phenomenon, Mr. Beagle will bring to the project his unfettered wit and unique personal anecdotes. After seeing the film, readers can then delve deeper into the vibrant history of popular culture surrounding the “Rings.” The book deal allows Mr. Beagle full access to research materials and hundreds of hours of exclusive interview footage gathered for RINGERS. The film’s production company, Planet BB Entertainment, recently interviewed the legendary fantasist regarding his long association with “The Lord of the Rings.” Details of the book’s publication are TBA at a later date.

Peter S. Beagle is the author of numerous screenplays and teleplays ranging from Sarek (Star Trek: The Next Generation TV Series) and The Last Unicorn (Animated movie) to The Lord of the Rings (Animated Movie). The Ballantine paperback editions of the “Lord of the Rings” appearing during the 1970’s and ‘80s were also personally forwarded by Mr. Beagle, and his essay “Tolkien’s Magic Ring” was the opening piece in the otherwise all-Tolkien collection, “The Tolkien Reader”. Mr. Beagle’s classic books and stories have also made him a multiple winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, the British and World Fantasy awards, France’s Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, and he has been elected to the Fantasy Hall of Fame. His works have been translated into at least 15 languages to date.

Scheduled for release from Conlon Press on October 15, 2004, is “Summerlong,” Peter S. Beagle’s first fantasy novel for adults in 11 years. In addition to this release, the unabridged audiobook edition of “The Last Unicorn” read by Mr. Beagle with art by the award-winning team of Leo and Diane Dillon and original music by Jeff Slingluff, is also scheduled to be released on CD with cassette edition to follow later. Unique to this edition is a bound and hand-signed collector’s version of a brand new, never-before published “Last Unicorn” short story by Mr. Beagle. In this piece of fiction, he returns to the world of his classic novel for the first time since it was originally published in 1967. In March of 2004, the 1982 animated version of “The Last Unicorn” was finally released on DVD in America. Since then, this new edition has sold over 150,000 copies. In its first week of release, “The Last Unicorn” DVD skyrocketed to number 11 on the Amazon.com sales charts, and has been a strong seller ever since. For more information on upcoming releases, signings, etc, you can visit Mr. Beagle’s official site at http://www.peterbeagle.com.

About the documentary:

Very funny yet 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: LORD OF THE FANS spent 16 months shooting on three continents. Produced in association with the popular Tolkien fan-site TheOneRing.net, Ringers stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing fandom of “The Lord of the Rings.”

“Ringers” Official Website:


Current “Ringers” Interviewees include:

Actor - Sir Ian McKellen, Actor - Dominic Monaghan, Actor - Andy Serkis, Actor - Sala Baker, Author/Filmmaker - Clive Barker, Writer/Director/Producer - Cameron Crowe, Actor - David Carradine, Author - Terry Pratchett, Author - Peter S. Beagle, Author - Terry Brooks, Musician - Lemmy Kilmister, Musician - Geddy Lee, Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Jane Chance, Chairperson of the Tolkien Society - Christine Crawshaw, Author - Colin Duriez, Filmmaker/Critic - Chris Gore, Writer/Publisher - Forrest J. Ackerman, Actor - Bill Mumy, Author/Broadcaster - Brian Sibley, Illustrator/Author - Colleen Doran, Illustrator/Author - Jill Thompson, Great-Grandson - Royd Tolkien, and hundreds of Tolkien fans!

For additional information, contact:

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

Figwit Documentary - A Jolly Good Laugh
Tehanu @ 4:41 am EST

I went to the premiere of the documentary "Frodo Is Great ...Who Is That???" which was on at the Auckland film festival. It was good to see other hardcore Figwit fans turning up for it, and hear them all laughing throughout.

TORN features quite heavily in the movie, as do of course the women who started the Figwit craze, not to mention Bret McKenzie himself, the man behind the Elven pout. Of course! More of a surprise was the extent to which people like Peter Jackson, Barrie Osborne, Mark Ordesky, the Hobbit boys and Orlando Bloom got into the spirit of the whole thing in their interviews. They were hilarious!

The whole Figwit phenomenon was very strange and very funny. We've forgotten how unusual it seemed at the time - a playful spoof of a celebrity website that ended up attracting the notice of the world media. If you think you've got used to the Net and everything it can do, this film is a great reminder of the strange and wonderful community we have made for ourselves online. It shows you how much a few individuals can do to make the world a more fun place.

The movie screens again in Auckland on Sunday at 11:15am, and then goes to the Wellington film festival where it'll show twice on Friday July 30th and Saturday 31st. More details here.

And just for poops and giggles here's a Figwit Lego Minimate sent in by Gregg!

7-21-04 Latest News

Xoanon @ 3:38 pm EST

Meet the RINGERS production team this week as we present an EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK at our feature documentary before an audience of thousands at the massive Comic-Con International at San Diego, CA. Be sure to visit our RINGERS table on the Main Floor of the Convention - TABLE A11.

Visit the RINGERS table and meet Sala Baker (Sauron) and author Peter S. Beagle in person!

Meet legendary Fantasy author Peter S. Beagle in person!

Peter will be signing at the Ringers: Lord of the Fans table A11 on Thursday, July 22.

Peter S. Beagle's signing hours are:

Meet 'Rings actor Sala Baker!

Sala Baker (Sauron) will be signing at the Ringers: Lord of the Fans table A11 From Thursday July 22 through Sunday July 24th.

Signing hours are:

On Thursday, July 22, 2004, the Ringers filmmakers are holding a special 1-hour panel with author Peter S. Beagle (“The Last Unicorn”). Tolkien lovers will get an exclusive peek at select clips from RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS, never shown before a public audience -- and the filmmakers promise many surprise announcements. Peter S. Beagle will make his Comic-Con debut; sharing revealing stories of his work on the 1978 The Lord of the Rings animated adaptation under the direction of Ralph Bakshi. Appearing with producer/director Carlene Cordova will be writer/producer Cliff Broadway (best known as Quickbeam from TheOneRing.net, and co-author of “The People's Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien”), producer Danny Lukic, and cinematographer/co-producer Josh Mandel, who will all share their unique stories on the film-in-progress. More...

The RINGERS crew will be shooting footage of Ringers wearing costumes inspired by The Lord of the Rings at Comic Com. Stop by booth A11 and you might be in our film!

After the panel, fellow Ringers from around the world are invited to relax at our informal “RingersMoot,” a gathering hosted by the RINGERS team at the MARTINI RANCH (located at 528 F Street), from 8:00pm till closing, just six blocks away in the historic heart of San Diego's beautiful Gas Lamp District.


The event is Thursday night, July 22, 2004, starting 8:00pm till closing. 21 and over only! No-host bar. Appetizers are served until 9:00pm. There is no cover charge until 9:00pm -- (We suggest that you arrive at or before 8:00pm as the place is sure to fill up quickly!) -- after 9:00pm it is $5 or only $4 with our special flyer (you can get the flyer by visiting our Table A11 in the Main Hall of the Convention Center or by attending our Panel in ballroom 6CDEF). After 10:00PM it's $9 with our flyer, $10 without it.

NY-Metro Area Premiere of the LOTR Symphony
Xoanon @ 3:30 pm EST

The folks from the NJSO write:

First NY-Metro Area Engagement!
Howard Shore's
with The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
John Mauceri, conductor
Sissel, vocalist
Montclair State University Chorale
Heather J. Buchanan, choral conductor
New Jersey Youth Chorus
Patricia Joyce, choral conductor

Friday, December 3, 2004 at 8:00pm
Saturday, December 4, 2004 at 8:00pm

NJPAC and NJSO join forces to present the NY Metropolitan Area premiere of THE LORD OF THE RINGS SYMPHONY: SIX MOVEMENTS FOR ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS, a multi-media extravaganza featuring music from the blockbuster big-screen trilogy whose soundtrack recordings have sold over 4 million copies. This once-in-a-lifetime concert will feature composer Howard Shore's monumental, Grammy and Academy Award-winning score from all three Lord of the Rings films in a six-movement, two-hour musical journey into the realm of Middle Earth – from the tranquility of the Shire to the horrors of Mordor and explosive Mount Doom. To enhance the musical experience, storyboard sketches from the movie trilogy and original illustrations for the centenary edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books will be projected above the orchestra. This spectacular event will incorporate more than 200 performers, including the full New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and two choruses.

Tickets for this performance range from $15 to $68. Tickets go on sale through NJPAC beginning Monday, July 26 at noon, online at www.njpac.org, via phone toll-free at 1-888-466-5722, and at the NJPAC Box Office, One Center Street, Newark, open Mon. to Sat. from 12pm to 6pm, and Sun. from 10am to 3pm. (A $2 facility fee will be added to the price of each ticket purchased through NJPAC. Please note that the NJPAC Box Office will be closed from August 2 through 29; during that period, tickets will be available online at www.njpac.org and via phone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC.)

7-20-04 Latest News

McKellen Confirmed for 'Ringers'!
Xoanon @ 12:31 pm EST

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- MONDAY, JULY 19, 2004 -- Celebrated actor and activist Ian McKellen has provided a brand new interview for the upcoming feature documentary, RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS. Sir Ian showed his remarkable depth of understanding of all things related to J.R.R. Tolkien and “The Lord of the Rings.” His powerful portrayal of the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s epic film trilogy earned him his second Oscar nomination (Best Supporting Actor, 2002) and made him a cinematic icon to adoring fans worldwide. Sir Ian’s interview for Ringers reveals both his remarkable erudition and gentle humor which readers of Tolkien have always associated with their beloved Gandalf.

For fifty years Ian McKellen has enjoyed a far-reaching theatrical career in England and abroad, where his most enduring Shakespearean roles were crafted in collaboration with legendary director Trevor Nunn for the Royal Shakespeare Company. A true master of theatrical disciplines, Sir Ian was lauded by critics worldwide for his role as Edgar in Strindberg’s Dance of Death, which went from Broadway, to London’s West End, and on to Sydney, Australia. Sir Ian has earned more than forty major international acting awards including a Tony Award for Amadeus, the Screen Actors Guild Award for The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of The Ring, a Cable ACE Award for And the Band Played On... and a Golden Globe Award for Rasputin. He received his first Academy Award nomination playing James Whale in Gods and Monsters; with a continuing wave of popular success with Apt Pupil, X-Men and X2: X-Men United. His newest feature, David Mackenzie’s Asylum, will debut October 29, 2004, in select U.S. cinemas.

About the documentary:

Very funny yet 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: LORD OF THE FANS spent 16 months shooting on three continents. Produced in association with the popular Tolkien fan-site TheOneRing.net, Ringers stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing fandom of “The Lord of the Rings.”

“Ringers” Official Website:


Current “Ringers” Interviewees include:

Actor - Sir Ian McKellen, Actor - Dominic Monaghan, Actor - Andy Serkis, Actor - Sala Baker, Author/Filmmaker - Clive Barker, Writer/Director/Producer - Cameron Crowe, Actor - David Carradine, Author - Terry Pratchett, Author - Peter S. Beagle, Author - Terry Brooks, Musician - Lemmy Kilmister, Musician - Geddy Lee, Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Jane Chance, Chairperson of the Tolkien Society - Christine Crawshaw, Author - Colin Duriez, Filmmaker/Critic - Chris Gore, Writer/Publisher - Forrest J. Ackerman, Actor - Bill Mumy, Author/Broadcaster - Brian Sibley, Illustrator/Author - Colleen Doran, Illustrator/Author - Jill Thompson, Great-Grandson - Royd Tolkien, and hundreds of Tolkien fans!

Seattle LOTR Concert Review
Xoanon @ 12:24 pm EST

Arwen writes: Between July 15 and July 17, 2004 Seattle residents and visitors alike were offered an amazing gift: the chance to attend not just one, but four concerts conducted by the Award-winning maestro himself, Howard Shore, and performed by the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall. The fans were invited to celebrate the event in true hobbit, elf, or ranger fashion, by attending an Open House reception organized by Linda “Laurelinda” Teller, Founding Member of the Northwesternesse Fan Group on Saturday the 17th between the matinee and evening concerts. Linda had planned the event for almost a full year and worked out all of the details to make sure all of her guests had the best time not only at the concert but also during their visit to her city. She was the most patient and graceful host, and all attendees were very thankful for her hard work.

Having spent most of Saturday taking in the sights of lovely Seattle, I arrived at Benaroya Hall around 6pm, and was greeted by Linda. The event was taking place on the first floor balcony overlooking the main lobby. Costumes had been encouraged, and gentle lads and ladies dressed in their best hobbit, elf or ranger outfits (as well as more conventional 21st century clothing) were hanging out and socializing while munching on savory cold cuts and veggies, and washing it all down with beer, wine, and even soft drinks J Many of the attendees had elected to attend both the 2pm and 8pm performances, and everyone was very enthusiastic about the matinee, which seemed a very good sign for the evening concert. Around 7:50pm everyone made their way into the concert hall and took their seats.

Howard Shore was greeted like a rock star by thundering applause and cheers, and the concert soon started. As much as I enjoyed and admired John Mauceri’s performance of the FOTR score two years ago at the Hollywood Bowl, I must say that is quite an entirely different experience to watch and hear the composer himself conduct his work. It was extremely powerful and I was soon overwhelmed by emotion. The concert was divided in 2 parts – the first part being most of the score from FOTR EE, with the second part (after a brief intermission) covering selections from TTT and ROTK. Throughout the performance, drawings and sketches by Alan Lee were projected on a giant screen above the orchestra. The selection of artwork was subtle enough not to overpower the live performance, it was more like a subtitle, a parenthesis to the music. In addition to being awed by Mr Shore’s maestria, we also greatly admired the soloists, in particular young boy soprano David Farris, and most of all the delightful Sissel, whose pure, beautiful voice brought a lot of Ringers (including myself!) to tears. She delivered wonderful renditions of both Gollum’s Song and Into The West, quite a feat considering how different both songs are. When the very last notes of Into The West died down, with Howard’s right hand raised above his head, almost frozen in time, there was an amazing silence in the entire hall, as if the entire audience were holding their breath, so enraptured we all were in the moment. Howard lowered his hand slowly, turned towards us and the entire hall erupted in overwhelming applause and cheers, giving both the maestro and the orchestra three lasting standing ovations.

After the concert, Linda and her group of Ringers headed to the Artists’ Entrance to wait for Mr Shore and give him a few gifts as a souvenir of the event. One of them was Bilbo’s Red Book, into which the fans in attendance had written a personalized message for Howard; and another was a framed picture of Howard on his arrival to TORN’s One Party two years ago, waving his first Oscar in the air, climbing the stairs of the Hollywood Athletic Club. After a relatively short wait, Mr Shore came out under yet more applause and cheers, a large smile on his face, and proceeded to sign autographs and pose for pictures, to the delight and gratitude of all the fans assembled.

Truly, a spectacular night in a long series of memorable fan-organized events. If Mr Shore conducts the LOTR Symphony in your town, do not miss it. Congratulations to the Seattle Symphony who gave us such a wonderful performance on the night of Saturday July 17th. And many thanks to Linda “Laurelinda” for organizing the event and taking such good care of us all. A few pictures of the event will be coming soon.


Red Giant

I took my girlfriend to see the LOTR symphony Sat July 17 in Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Keep in mind that I had also been on the Red Carpet Tour last Nov-Dec in the Gondor group that went to the world premier of ROTK and also experienced Howard Shore’s debut concert in six movements. It was of course an awesome collection and everyone loved it, and the final standing ovation for something like 8 minutes was the expected and well-deserved ending to the performance.

A few differences and yes some nits I want to point out, since otherwise what can I say other than the perfect concert. I was entertaining myself to collect these little gems since I know all the music by heart so well, so here goes:


There are many times throughout the symphony where Howard would slow down the pieces to – and I am not exaggerating – half the tempo we are accustomed to hearing them at. Two examples: the Beacons as the music swells to show the pairings light across the various peaks was painfully slowed down, the “Behold the dwarf city of Dwarow-delf” grand entrance into the chamber was very slow, and the one that was most jarring was the extremely slow pace of the whole “Forth Eorlingas” ride out of Helm’s Deep and Gandalf’s charge. I know a lot of my pace expectations were from familiarity with the scenes and such, but then again who’s wasn’t? It just made me antsy to “push” the music somehow, will it along to match my images I was seeing. And I now it was Howard’s doing since they were just following his lead, but I wonder why that was done that way; to space out the music to make it last longer, cover last-minute or planned cuts to other songs (see below)? No idea.


The man playing the pan pipes and Hobbiton-evoking sounds was excellent, did a great job throughout all the movements when called upon.

Good addition – they added in the violin bit that swells as the Fellowship leaves Rivendell shown only in the EE. From the point where Gandalf says “The Fellowship awaits the ringbearer” until they walk through to the “left” side (ha ha) and out, that was a surprise and good choice as it is probably the single best additional EE scene score-wise in FOTR. It was the most (if not only) notable piece from an EE-only scene I recall.

The boy doing the high-pitched humming was great, but he did have one quick hiccup and recovered perfectly thereafter: in the bit as the Fellowship exits Moria having just lost Gandalf, the second verse of humming which features that initial high-note to lead it off (highest single note in the entire riff), he cracked a little as he clearly strained to hit it, but to his credit hit it he did and from then on it was perfect.

The woman doing the “lament for Gandalf” from Lothlorien looked to be middle-eastern or possibly Indian herself, which I thought fit the style of the music since it also has that quality. Her voice was not quite ethereal and high-pitched and light enough for it as it was in the movie or in NZ’s version of it, but it was still very well done.

Ending of FOTR, as they played the music that saw the Three Hunters leave to “hunt some orc” and Frodo and Sam walk up onto the mountain ridge to gaze out over the Emyn Muil and to Mordor – they forgot to play the light background drumbeat that permeates that piece, which IMO adds a lot to its concluding qualities to the epic first movie in the trilogy. The drummers were there for other pieces needing them like the arrival of Rohan in ROTK and other such battle pieces, but were MIA here for some reason. I kept looking at the drummers who held their sticks expectantly during that whole piece but they never used them.


Missing music – they only played the very beginning from TT up until the camera starts approaching going inside the mountains for the tumultuous Gandalf vs. Balrog fall. THEY DID NOT PLAY IT!! I could not believe they cut this in favor of some other things (such as the Treebeard buuuuu-dum! Buuuu-dum! weird music). The chanting choral effect alone should qualify this piece to be played, as it was played in New Zealand. I did not like this omission, and in fact the program stated the first song in the second Act was “Foundations of Stone”. Someone needs to remind them that that *is* that portion of the music, not the 45-second French horn introduction to the movie (the mountain fly-over which is great as well).

The first violin playing the Rohan theme (and some others, but this is where I noticed it) seemed to be ad-libbing a little. He added some little transitions that I know are not part of the music as Howard wrote it or at least conducted it in the movie and CD versions. He also was drowned out too often when he was supposed to carry the main tune of a piece. They need better mixing/amplification control or something.

I can’t figure out why a concert would spend time playing that Treebeard hollow-wooden and tuba sounding slow piece, it dragged and on-screen it showed a picture of Treebeard (more of a concept sketch, just like one that appears in the ROTK credits) and simply zoomed in on it in a quirky way and panned around it like 10 times – the same sketch while the song played; I would gladly have traded that time out for any of the other noted missing pieces. It also didn’t sound very good, as it is a very hard piece to play live and with a smaller and unfamiliar orchestra than the larger London or NZ ones. Oh, btw the Seattle Symphony was missing a good 20-30 people, possibly due to needing the space for the chorals (some 200 people).


Also missing: ROTK’s Minas Tirith!! How can they leave out that?! When Gandalf and Pippin approach and climb the walls of MT that is a monumental piece, but MIA in the concert (again, in NZ they played it). They cut in after the climactic crescendo at the top with the White Tree (they came in with the softer bit after Pippin says “it’s the tree”, with no sign of the main theme played). They did play the Beacons at least shortly thereafter.

I was hoping for a Billy Boyd-ian solo but was not surprised they did not include that, although I had hoped it would be done by a guest artist.

Speaking of chorals, great job overall as others have pointed out. But the men were definitely not loud enough when they needed to pound out dwarven chants, and the entire chorus should have been much louder (and the voices were entirely drowned out when it should have been vice versa) during the entrance of the Nazgul to Pellinor as they fly down (you know, the awesome screaming moment in the film just after Gothmog spits on the rock that almost landed on him).

The guy in the back right doing Viggo’s chanting at the coronation was way too low (couldn’t’ even hear him although it was clear he was straining to be heard better) and he also had too much of that professional “let me use my vibrato to impress you” for that bit – it is a straight chant, as Viggo himself performed it in NZ at the premiere. I got the distinct impression this fellow didn’t even practice or listen to how Viggo did it, but maybe it is just his style (although I would argue this symphony is larger than anyone’s “style” and they should mold themselves to it, not it to them).

They showed sketches of the Grey Havens from many angles during the Grey Havens and Into The West songs. That was a great move. Back in NZ they only had some arch sketches and maybe 1-2 others, here they had many of the entire Havens area including the surrounding hills and peaks that you can’t even see in the movie.

I wanted to point out these small flaws as they really stood out to me, since I have seen the films an average of 20+ times each. But regardless of any nit-picking, this concert was excellent for anyone of any age. I was very glad to be able to see it again and share it with my girlfriend who absolutely adored it too.

Cate Blanchett: Domestic Goddess
Xoanon @ 12:13 pm EST

From The Sydney Morning Herald

Mother of two, movie star and pistol-packing housewife, Cate Blanchett can do it all, writes Richard Jinman.

Cate Blanchett is a busy woman. She's juggling two children under three, rehearsals for a lead role in a play and an impertinent journalist who's asked to see her breast pump. The device in question emerges when I ask what's in her enormous red shoulder bag. Nappies?

"No. No nappies," she says. Blanchett's older son Dashiell John, two, has outgrown them and baby Roman Robert is at home with his father, the writer Andrew Upton. "There's a breast pump and the ... oh, you don't want to know."

I do, actually, so Blanchett, 35, gives me a tour of her maternal tool kit. Her other piece of luggage is an esky. It contains the breast milk she's been expressing during breaks from rehearsals for the Sydney Theatre Company's production of Hedda Gabler. When I admit that I've never seen a breast pump, she gets it out for a bit of show-and-tell.

"They look a bit like a ... 'ello?" Blanchett has clamped the business-end of it to her ear. She's right, it does resemble an old-fashioned telephone. We're both laughing now and for an instant I can see what Geoffrey Rush meant when he described her as a "toothy clown". But Cate the slapstick comedian doesn't stick around for long, leaving Cate the best-actor-of-her-generation and mother-of-two to clean up the mess.

"Oh, I'll have to sterilise that," she says, slipping the pump back into her bag. "What were we talking about?"

Unfortunately, the topic had been the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev - or for Blanchett it was, as she's not only heard of him but has actually read him. It was a conversation about Turgenev that drew her to Upton.

The way she tells it, they were both in Adelaide working on different films. Mutual friends and interests had pulled them into each other's orbit, but they didn't really click. At first, she considered him "arrogant"; he thought her "aloof".

"We tolerated each other and kind of thought, 'you're not so bad'," she says. "Then one night he was talking to me about Turgenev. He's a very passionate man and ... I don't know."

Her words trail off, but the look in her eyes fills in all the blanks. I make a mental note to read as much Ivan Turgenev as possible, or to at least learn how to spell his name.

Blanchett and Upton married in the Blue Mountains in June 1997, just before she flew to England to film Elizabeth. "We married really quickly," she says. "I think it [works] when you meet someone who has the same spirit as you, who is prepared to take that risk. Because it is a risk."

Upton, 38, remembers their courtship differently. He and Blanchett did have a "eureka moment", he says, but for him it occurred when she told him "a great joke, that made me see her differently".

Blanchett's protuberant cheekbones flush with colour at the memory.

"Oh, I won't be able to tell it now! It's been too built-up." Finally, she relents. The joke involves an actor who keeps putting the emphasis on the wrong word. "Give it to me," he says repeatedly. The film's director is going crazy and threatens to throw himself off a bridge. "Wait, you've got your watch on," says the actor.

"Hah!" I say. I've completely missed the punchline, but how do you ask Cate Blanchett to repeat a joke?

"You had to be there," she says. Besides, she's becoming rather suspicious of all these questions about her private life. "Is this [article] going to be about Hedda Gabler or my relationship with Andrew?"

Oh right, the play.

Hedda Gabler is the hottest ticket in town. Henrik Ibsen's bored pistol-packing housewife has been a magnet for great actresses since the playwright created her in 1890 - Ingrid Bergman, Glenda Jackson and Judy Davis have all had a go - and everyone wants to see what Blanchett will bring to the role. Particularly since it's Upton's adaptation of Hedda Gabler she's starring in.

It was Robyn Nevin, the STC's artistic director, who gave him the job. She directed Upton's first play - Hanging Man, which opened at the Wharf in 2002 to mixed reviews - and was "bowled over" by his adaptations of Don Juan and Cyrano De Bergerac.

Whispers that Blanchett's star power got Upton the gig are unfounded. Blanchett had already signed on to play Hedda when Nevin asked Upton to adapt the play.

Upton started work on his version in May last year. According to his wife, he was "secretive", locking himself in the library of their new home in Kemp Town, an exclusive pocket of white Georgian houses in Brighton, England.

Upton says he's always wanted to write something for his wife. "I genuinely believe she can do anything," he says with obvious pride. "What's great about this [Hedda] is the range, which suits her vast capabilities. She really has to turn on a dime in a lot of scenes. On a technical level, it's perfect for her."

I ask Upton if he's seen Ma Femme Est Une Actrice (My Wife is an Actress), Yvan Attal's 2001 film about a man driven crazy by all the attention paid to his famous wife. It's a loaded question and he sidesteps it neatly.

"No I haven't," he says. "Perhaps I should."

OK, let's be a little more direct. What's it like to be married to Cate Blanchett?

A long pause. "It's very rewarding and it makes me very proud," he says, "because it's a medium and a form that I believe in greatly. I think some people abuse it."

It's an odd answer, which makes Upton sound like he's married to the cinema. There again, given his wife's elevated status among filmmakers, perhaps, in a way, he is.

At close quarters, Blanchett is just as fascinating as the chameleon-like creature who appears on the big screen. Movie critics love to call her "luminous", but stripped of make-up, her pale blonde hair pulled back from barely there eyebrows and her elongated "actor's" face, she seems almost drained of colour. She's "tired, but not depleted", she says, and still fighting a cold she picked up on the flight from London a month ago.

Taller and thinner than you expect, Blanchett is dressed-down for rehearsals in sand-coloured combat pants and a beige sweater. She twists her antique necklace like a rosary when she's thinking and a huge diamond lights up herring finger. Her elegantly fitted jacket is by the French designer Martine Sitbon, but the blue splodge on her sleeve is probably by Dashiell or Roman.

Her long, elegant fingers carve invisible diagrams in the air; blue eyes fix you intently for a response.

She calls Hedda "mythological, an infuriating idealist".

"I think there are very few people who are trying to be themselves in the fullest sense of the word 'true'."

Look, I'm no expert, I say. But isn't Hedda a one-woman wrecking ball? This, after all, is a woman who tries to get an alcoholic back on the grog, tosses a priceless manuscript into a fire and loans pistols to suicidal men.

Blanchett is more sympathetic. "In order to live, one does destroy, kill, maim and discard," she says. "They're not particularly attractive human traits but they're definitely true."

It's been 11 years since Blanchett first appeared at the STC. In 1993, not long out of drama school, she starred in David Mamet's Oleanna, as a fanatical university student who accuses her tutor of sexual harassment. The play provoked furious arguments in the theatre's bar each night and she's still immensely proud of its impact.

"It hit an audience at just the right time," she says. "It ignited, which is really exciting. You felt it was important and the arguments that went on afterwards were important arguments."

Why return to the stage now? After all, she's had Hollywood on a string since her performance in Elizabeth made her an international star. Renowned directors such as Martin Scorsese and Jim Jarmusch now call her personally and ask if she'll appear in their films.

It was Scorsese who cast her as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, his movie biography of the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Her appearance in Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes, a collection of oddball black-and-white shorts featuring actors and musicians including Bill Murray, the White Stripes and Tom Waits, was also the result of a personal invitation. Assisted by technology, Blanchett plays both characters in her Coffee and Cigarettes segment. One is a svelte, successful actress (who looks a lot like Cate Blanchett), the other is her gawky, trailer-trash cousin. Both women suck on cigarettes like it's going out of fashion, but it's just an act. Another example of non-smoker Blanchett's ability to get the details right.

"If you do it [smoking] you have to do it properly," she says. "The worst thing is to see someone smoking and not doing it properly."

It's been widely reported that Blanchett is also set to reprise her role as Queen Elizabeth in Shekhar Kapur's Golden Age. But when I mention the film she flatly denies she's committed to it.

"What's Shekhar been saying?" she laughs. "Oh, he's always making 100 films. Nothing's a given for me with two children, Hedda Gabler and a film [she'll begin shooting the thriller Little Fish in Sydney when the Hedda season closes] coming up. I can't think beyond the weekend."

Filmmaking, Blanchett admits, can seem like a piecemeal activity compared with theatre, where characters evolve during the run. But she loves both mediums and won't stop making films.

She accepts, however, that her growing family will force changes to what's become a nomadic lifestyle.

"I've known people whose children are tutored on set and all that sort of stuff," she says. "But there's a feeling that actors are wrapped in cotton wool. Their children can be treated like they're different or special and I don't think that's a good feeling for a child to have constantly."

She seems uneasy about celebrity, particularly those moments when she's recognised and suddenly the way people treat her changes instantly. It's the shift from being a nobody to a somebody that disturbs her. "All of a sudden it's, 'Oh my God, of course you can open that door!' It's so disappointing. You think 'You know, I don't want to go through that door actually'."

Yeah, but being a nobody isn't so great either, I say. What about the advantages of celebrity? The freebies, the good tables at booked-out restaurants, the effortless queue-jumping? "Well," she says, suddenly brightening. "The Wiggles were sold out and we got two tickets. Many parents will be outraged to hear that."

And all of a sudden Blanchett sounds like any other besotted mother recalling her first-born's adventures at a first Wiggles gig. Her only regret: she was rehearsing Hedda when Dashiell was shaking his booty with Greg, Murray, Jeff and Anthony at Bankstown RSL.

"It was so sweet," she coos. "I called Dash today and said, 'How was it?' He said: 'I saw Anthony! He's got funny hair, Mummy.' "

Hedda Gabler opens on Thursday and runs until September 26. Standing room tickets available.

7-18-04 Latest News

Auckland Film Festival: LOTR Doco Screened!
Xoanon @ 10:09 am EST

Cunning Vixen writes: Yesterday, at the Auckland International Film Festival, I got to see Costa Botes' documentary, "The Making of the Fellowship of the Ring," of footage never before released from behind the scenes of the LOTR filming. This documentary has been released for the NZ-based film festival only, and New Line Cinema asked that it have the caveat of being a "Work in Progress." Costa Botes, the filmmaker, was there to have a discussion with the audience after the film was shown.

Costa Botes is a longtime associate of Peter Jackson. He received permission to do his own documentary project around the Lord of the Rings moviemaking, with some caveat involving New Line Cinema permission to distribute the results. Costa Botes, working on his own without New Line input, used a different documentary editing style than that usually seen for the LOTR filmmaking material. Instead of packaging snippets like jewels on a CD, or smoothing them together with voiceovers and shots of luscious New Zealand countryside, he went for a raw approach, letting the material speak for itself, without voiceover or apology. The results were fascinating for an LOTR fan.

This documentary showed the gritty, hardworking, industrial side of the LOTR filming. Living in NZ, it really brought it home to see LOTR work going on in the distinctive New Zealand warehouses and cheap cinderblock offices, hearing the whine of machinery in the background. There was a lot of hilarious footage of extras being trained by the set swordmaster. All these people, in a New Zealand rugby club gym and wearing sweatpants, armed with Middle-Earth style weapons and practicing their orcish growls...Not all of the industrial footage was charming. It was a bit strange to see the Bag End set with wires and ventilation channels running through it, and the scene where the set of Galadriel’s glade was “taken down” was shocking.

Another shocking thing was how, even when the costumed cast were mingling with the crew, they still came across as otherworldly. This was especially true of the battle scenes - there were glimpses of the Elvish charge at the Last Alliance, and of the orc/human scrimmage at Amon Hen, that were, even with film crew visibly mingled in, still stunning. "It's the biggest low-budget movie ever," one of the film staff said.

The hobbit actor cuteness just did not stop. Billy, Elijah, Dom, and Sean, all in costume, clowning around with their also-costumed size doubles, or singing in barbershop quartet style. Sean lent a serious note as an on-set accident involving one of his hobbit-made-up feet was shown. Their funniest bit was a series of sly asides that took the piss out of the The-Cast-Were-Really-Friends mythos promoted by New Line. It was obvious both that they were really friends and that they were making fun of the fact that everybody knew it.

There was a great section where we got to see Viggo Mortenson sneaking off to the side of one set to cast a few trout flies, and a long section showing Liv Tyler filming the flight to the ford scene. Poor Liv, it turns out, endured being smacked in the face with branches repeatedly to get that one good branch-in-face shot. Then there’s the priceless sight of all the Nazgul standing around under bright blue and green umbrellas as it starts to rain. (At the Q&A, someone asked if any of the actors didn’t like being filmed backstage – a pointed question considering the near-absence of Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom in this documentary. Mr. Botes said no.)

At the end, Mr. Botes took our questions. I asked if this work-in-progress was going to keep its raw, speaking-for-itself feel in the final version. Mr. Botes replied that this was, according to him, the final version, and that the work–in-progress had been what New Line demanded to have the film released at this film festival. Later questions revealed that Mr. Botes has two more documentaries in the same style and that he is flummoxed by New Line’s not allowing him to release all of them as a DVD set. This is understandable considering that the documentaries are 5 years of Mr. Botes' work.

Perhaps New Line Cinema is intimidated by the bulldozers and the sight of the hobbit actors making very casual jokes, and thinking that it would ruin the impact of the films. Well, the films are out; their mythos is established; and all the other LOTR fans out there will really enjoy Mr. Botes' documentaries. His different approach made for an enjoyable documentary, both serious and showing the humor of the LOTR filming teams.

Wood's 'Happy Feet' not so Happy After All?
Xoanon @ 10:04 am EST

From: AICN: Remember us reporting on the George Miller animated film HAPPY FEET? The one with the penguin voiced by Elijah Wood? No? Then you should concentrate more. Because Miller wanted to make the film a photorealistic and rather mind-blowing thing, and if his plans pan out, we may be in for something awesome. *If* they pan out. This is what Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Max had to say:

"Animal Logic [the SFX house commissioned to bring the project to life] has never done this kind of film before. The company's basically expanded by a factor of ten to do it. It's spent the last 18 months building digital models, sets, pipelines etc. An enormous technical effort. All of this to bring George's vision of completely photo-real CG penguins to life. But in all this activity, all this work, there's been one thing that everyone's overlooked... photo-realistic penguins CAN'T ACT!!!

Yes, after all these millions of dollars spent, Animal Logic have discovered that penguins are completely inexpressive creatures. What about all the wonderful character animation that the artists are creating, I hear you ask? Well, dear reader, the entire production is MOTION-CAPTURED! There is no character animation. So what's only now been discovered is that the entire cast of the film are as emotive as garbage cans.

The blamestorming has begun, with Animal Logic desperately trying to keep a lid on what is fast becoming a spiralling disaster. Even the studio has no idea how much of a mess this has become." Max goes on to give away the ending, so I'll cut him off there. But this could be a big disaster... HAPPY'S GATE, perhaps? We'll let you know.

Latest Wellywood News, KONG Update
Xoanon @ 9:51 am EST

Deni writes: Well it seems that the Dominion Post agrees with my assessment that Miramar is becoming one huge film studio. The front page of their weekend business section was all about the various Peter Jackson Projects in the area, which along with Stone Street and Park Road Post include the refurbishment of an old cinema and a rumoured King Kong boat in the harbour. See their official Dominion Post site for the full article.

They also report that filming is to begin in a couple of months rather than next month as earlier thought. From the state of the new Stone Street soundstage I think they may be right. Although work is progressing rapidly it's only about half finished externally, so I don't see them having it finished in 2 weeks. The blue screen is up though and very very blue it is, you can see it for miles.

Also PJ related was an article in the Wellingtonian about a local filmaker who has filmed a short animated film about trying to get PJ to give her a job. Apparently after much letter writing and telephone calls she decided to use her struggles for inspiration.

Well I'm off to enjoy the Wellington film festival. Anyone in the area, I definitely recommend going to see as much as you can while it's on.

Seattle LOTR Concert Reviews
Xoanon @ 9:41 am EST


My two children and I were visiting Seattle on holiday this past week. I was thrilled to learn on arrival that our visit would coincide with the first of four performances of the LOTR Symphony, conducted by Howard Shore himself! We got tickets right away, and a good thing, too, for I believe the performance sold out.

Our seats were fine, in the front row of the upper tier (I like to sit up high for musical performances). The music was wonderful! It seemed very close to that on the movie soundtracks, to which I've listened about a million times as I do housework or drive to work. Actually, I had rather hoped that the music live would sound different from the soundtracks -- begin to take on a life of its own, as it were -- but perhaps it's too soon.

The first half of the program was music from FOTR - two movements; the second half was music from TTT and ROTK, two movements each. They felt more compressed to me than did FOTR, but the familiar themes from each score were satisfyingly present.

All involved did themselves proud. And there were an immense number of musicians on the stage! The Seattle Symphony played with skill and enthusiasm, the Seattle Symphony Chorale and the Northwest Boychoir sang beautifully in Elvish and the Dwarf tongue, the three soloists were fine (especially boy soprano David Farris), and Sissel's lovely crystalline voice was a pleasure to hear. (She matched Annie Lennox's voice and intonation very closely on "Into the West"...I wonder whose idea that was, and why) Howard Shore had complete command of this huge assemblage, and was a delight to watch. (The projected artwork was uninteresting compared to what was happening on stage). I had a ball. My children did okay (they really wanted to go hear Sonic Youth instead. Philistines...).

Highly recommended! I strongly urge anyone who has an opportunity to hear this splendid symphony to go. Now. Without delay!



Thought I'd report on the afternoon performance today (17th) at the wonderful Benaroya Hall in Seattle. It was a sweltering 90 degrees today, and my wife and I'd had a terrible morning, so I was ever so grateful to be in air-conditioned bliss. The crowd was quite a mix -sophisticated couples, giggling teenage girls, families with kids, old ladies, jeans and formal dresses, and of course, the lady with the 3-foot homemade Frodo doll on her lap (yikes). I had great seats in Orchestra Right, but I don't think there are bad seats in that 2500-seat Hall (http://www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroya/about/design/). Our performance was nearly sold out.

After hearing he'd been unable to attend one or two of these shows, I was please to see Howard Shore conducting, energetic and modest. I had along with me a print out of the translations provided here http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/pdf/NewLOTRSymphonyTranslation.pdf and found it very useful. It added a bit to know what was being chanted in Elvish, Dwarvish, etc. To echo most of the reviews posted here, this was a great experience - at once thrilling, soothing, and emotional. Initially disappointed when I'd heard that the accompanying visuals were drawings and not movie clips, I see the wisdom in that choice now. The drawings helped remind me of where we were, but allowed me to focus on the music more than video clips would have. This music will impact me so much more now having had this more direct experience with it.

I have two nits about the performance: I would have liked more sketches of the characters. We had plenty of Gollum, but most others were at a distance, if at all. This was a character-driven story and film for me, and I think having more images of those characters would have made a great experience nearly flawless. The other nit is that the men's portion of the chorus just didn't have the same "oomph" as the Maori choir for the Khazad-dum sequence. But I wasn't expecting it to.

But there were several moments that I had the same goosebumps I did on watching the film for the first time: Rivendell, Dwarrowdelf, Lighting of the Beacons... and there were a few moments that simply overwhelmed me as if I'd heard it for the first time: Sissel's renditions of Gollum's Song was heartbreaking and eerie. Better than the one on CD, in my opinion. And her "Into the West"! Wow. There were no dry eyes between me, my wife, and my parents. I saw many others wiping them back as well. I don't think when the credits were rolling in the movie theater, or when I'm listening to the CD, I was really paying attention to that song. For some reason, I'd always appreciated Annie's tremendous job on the song, but hadn't really given the song it's due. Sissel's delivery drew me in and the full impact of the tune, and indeed of the whole story, just washes over you like a wave. I won't watch the Grey Havens the same way again.

The crowd leapt to their feet before Howard could lower his hands (applause ettiquette wasn't this audience's strong point), and we brought him back out three times for more humble bows. We went home so much happier, humming all the way.



Just thought you’d like a short review of Howard Shore’s performance with the Seattle Symphony.

Last night I attended Howard Shore’s performance with the Seattle Symphony, needless to say it was spectacular. Just being able to see him live was awesome. I enjoyed watching him as he conducted in his own style, different than any I have seen before. I can only describe his style as intense, with extreme bursts of energy and emotion. The Seattle Symphony was fantastic. All of the special guest soloist did a great job. The soloist I was most impressed by was a beautiful Norwegian-born singer by the name of Sissel. She sang the major solos throughout the final movement. She seemed to have an excellent grasp on all of the music. During songs like Gollum’s Song and Into the West, she did not try to mimic the exact performances of Emiliana Torrini or Annie Lennox instead she offered a perfect complement to the style of they’re songs. She was absolutely brilliant.

On to the visual effects, it was so nice to see more of Alan Lee’s and John Howe’s work and how it was put together so nicely with the music. It completely helped transport you back once more to Middle Earth. At times it was a challenge to decide what to watch Mr. Shore or the visual effects, either way the night was amazing. Hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks, Xoanon for all you do with TORn, it remains my favorite web site.

7-17-04 Latest News

Remember This Number at Comic-Con: 5440
Xoanon @ 10:56 am EST

LOTR Specials at Comic-Con 2004

William Wu, is proud to announce a special deal with Houghton Mifflin, publishers of the Lord of the Rings books. In years previous, Houghton Mifflin has exhibited their full line of Tolkien books and related items, but never sold them. This year, in an effort to reach more fans and readers, a deal was set up with this independent bookseller to provide a wide range of Houghton Mifflin's catalog of LOTR books.

In addition to the full line of current releases, Mr. Wu will be taking advance orders for the forthcoming 50th Anniversary Edition of The Lord of the Rings. Please visit the Houghton Mifflin booth at #2435 to get details on all the upcoming releases, and then just walk a short distance to the end of the 2400 aisle to find booth #5440. Mr. Wu's booth is conveniently located mere yards from the Lord of the Rings pavilion, as well as being near a concession stand and lounge area along the back wall of the convention center.

However, the list of books is not limited to Lord of the Rings titles. Mr. Wu has an extensive selection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery books to choose from. Everything from mainstream titles to the obscure and hard to find, with many of them being autographed First Editions. Most of the books are used, with some of them being well preserved classics from the 1930's thru to the 1960's, as well as more modern works. You won't see a more eclectic selection of books anywhere in the hall.

Accompanying the books are collectibles and memorabilia, mostly imported, for such film titles as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Nightmare Before Christmas and Star Wars. But just like many of the books, most of these collectibles are not items you will see anywhere else in the hall. An example would be the Star Wars 1 year anniversary poster with the birthday cake. It is one of the rarest of all the Star Wars posters, and will be just one of many hard to find Star Wars posters for sale. Another example is the 74th Oscar Poster, with the Alex Ross artwork, that was signed by all the LOTR filmmakers who attended TORN's One Party to Rule them All. The following year, the 75th anniversary Oscar poster was decided to be too bland, so the American Library Association's "Moving Words inspire Moving Pictures" poster was brought and signed at the Two Towers, One Party event. There will also be lunch boxes from Australia, cellphone straps from Japan and theater programs from Germany to choose from.

The LOTR Symphony: Different Perspectives
Xoanon @ 10:36 am EST

BonMothma writes:

When I found out Howard Shore was coming to Pittsburgh for the LOTR Symphony at the end of July, I managed to get permission to sing with the Mendelssohn Choir for these performances. (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! I have the qualifications!)

We had our first rehearsal this past Tuesday. That’s right. We have 2 ½ weeks to get this learned and polished before the first concert! Dr. Page worked with only the women on Tuesday.

I was so excited to be there, but I had to keep reminding myself that I was surrounded by “muggles,” as my friend, Sally put it. Many know at least something about the movies or the books, but Dr. Page knows nothing about them. You could see that he respects the piece, though, and that means the singers will also, because they respect his opinion.

I must say this is not for the faint-hearted. We covered four of the six movements that evening.

I know a little about the Elven languages, and this actually hindered me at first, as I kept trying to force Elvish pronunciations onto the text. The words in the piece are written phonetically, not at all the way they appear in the books. Howard Shore’s note was that we should pronounce the words as if they were English. Even Dr. Page said that this would be difficult, as some of the pronunciations don’t exist in English.

For example, Osgiliath is written “awss-ghee-lee-ahth.” Fifty-four pages of this! There is a separate book, which translates some, but not all of the text, so people know what they’re singing about. It also includes a pronunciation guide, which translates the phonetics to Elvish (doesn’t specify which Elvish) and Old English. Needless to say, it is very confusing.

My sight-reading skills are good, but not so good that I can just look at a piece and know immediately what it is. So it was an evening of discoveries, as I realized, “Oh, this is the wizard fight. Oh, now we’re in Rivendell.”

You may not be aware of this, but when the choir is a part of a symphony, the music you get is not complete - just like the violinists, horn players, etc., the music contains only the parts you need to see, so there is much more for me to discover, as I have not yet seen or heard the whole thing.

There were several moments where I got chills singing through this, and I kept thinking how lucky I am to be doing it. I’m looking forward to singing with the full choir and hearing the men sing “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum.”


Dimholt Road adds this:

I noticed your earlier post concerning another perspective on the upcoming performance of the LOTR Symphony with the Pittsburgh Symphony. I am a baritone in the Mendelssohn choir of Pittsburgh and we had our first rehearsal with just the men this past Monday. Dr. Robert Page our director mentioned the complexity of Tolkien's text even though he himself is not well versed in the overall story.

I must admit how exciting it is to sing the "Bridge of Kazad dum". The dwarvish text is so gutteral and pounding as the voices will act in concert with the instruments of the symphony. Needless to say, the notes sung in this passage are quite low, it is almost as if Howard Shore is paralleling the deepness of Moria with the deepness of the male voice.

I had chills when rehearsing the choral section that is heard when the Fellowship exits Moria, weeping for the fallen Gandalf, quite haunting. I look forward to the coming weeks as I get more and more intimate with scores that I have listened to constantly over these last three years.

7-16-04 Latest News

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 7:39 pm EST

The Silmarils, the Arkenstone, Lembas, the Palantiri, the Elessar, the Rings of Power, Elven weaponry, Morgul blades. Some of Tolkien’s most famous objects were mysterious. Some inspired obsession while others carried legacies.

Powerful objects in Middle-earth's History

Some were objects of art, while others were maybe magical. Through certain objects, we learn about Tolkien’s love for mythology, while through others, we feel his reverence for spirituality.

What were some of Tolkien’s most famous and most mysterious objects? How did these objects affect history in Middle-earth? What did they do for their owners, and others? What did they bring to Tolkien’s stories?

Come join us in #thehalloffire this week as we discuss Tolkien's most fascinating objects.

Upcoming topics:

July 24-25 -- Gandalf's Involvement with the Hobbits
August 7-8 -- Middle Earth’s Greatest Cities
August 14-15 -- The Hobbit: Chapter 11: On the Doorstep

#thehalloffire on theonering.net IRC server. Need instructions? Go here: http://www.theonering.net/barlimans/instructions.html

Chat Times:

Saturday Chat:
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 9:30am Sunday (07:30) AET]

Sunday Chat:
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 5:00am (03:00) Monday morning AET]

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

Andy Serkis Set to be in RINGERS!
Xoanon @ 3:41 pm EST

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- Friday, JULY 16, 2004 – The man behind the ‘Gollum,’ actor Andy Serkis, has been interviewed for the upcoming independent feature documentary, RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS. Mr. Serkis shared many remarkable insights into the nefarious character he portrayed in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy -- widely regarded as a watershed moment in film history that perfectly married the skills of thespian performance with digital artistry.

Mr. Serkis has a significant stage resume, including Iago in Braham Murray's 2002 production of Othello at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. He played Factory Records producer Martin Hannett in Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People; and starred opposite Jennifer Garner in the recent comedy smash, 13 Going on 30. He has appeared on American television in The Arabian Nights; and stole every scene in which he appeared as John D’Auban in Mike Leigh’s modern classic, Topsy-Turvy. His “motion capture” performance for the creature Gollum also included playing his hobbit counterpart, Sméagol, seen in the final installment, The Return of the King. Mr. Serkis is a co-recipient of the “Best Acting Ensemble” award from both the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association; also winning the Screen Actor’s Guild Award (Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture) for his work in the Rings Trilogy. He will feature prominently in Peter Jackson’s upcoming King Kong, where more of his “motion capture” work will support the CGI creation of the titular ape.

About the documentary:

Very funny yet 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: LORD OF THE FANS spent 16 months shooting on three continents. Produced in association with the popular Tolkien fan-site TheOneRing.net, Ringers stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing fandom of “The Lord of the Rings.”

“Ringers” Official Website:


Current “Ringers” Interviewees include:

Actor - Sir Ian McKellen, Actor - Dominic Monaghan, Actor - Andy Serkis, Actor - Sala Baker, Author/Filmmaker - Clive Barker, Writer/Director/Producer - Cameron Crowe, Actor - David Carradine, Author - Terry Pratchett, Author - Peter S. Beagle, Author - Terry Brooks, Musician - Lemmy Kilmister, Musician - Geddy Lee, Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Jane Chance, Chairperson of the Tolkien Society - Christine Crawshaw, Author - Colin Duriez, Filmmaker/Critic - Chris Gore, Writer/Publisher - Forrest J. Ackerman, Actor - Bill Mumy, Author/Broadcaster - Brian Sibley, Illustrator/Author - Colleen Doran, Illustrator/Author - Jill Thompson, 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

Games Workshop Announces Games Day Chicago!
Xoanon @ 3:28 pm EST

The folks from Games Workshop write:

Games Day conventions are the annual gaming extravaganzas for the Games Workshop series of hobby games such as Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000, the world’s most popular tabletop battlegames. There will be gaming events ranging from beginner to expert for all the games, plus painting contests, seminars, demo games, special guests, and more. This year the action will spread to 4 locations, with Atlanta joining Los Angeles, Chicago, and Baltimore as host cities. There will be lots of new Lord of the Rings tabletop battlegame events too, including special displays and promotions.

Our special guests in Chicago this year include game designer Phil Kelly and miniature designer Mark Harrison. Both will be on hand to discuss their past projects (such as Codex: Daemonhunters, the Tomb Kings & Cadian Imperial Guard miniatures line) and future ones (Codex: Tyranids, Battle of Five Armies).

The Storm of Chaos summer campaign will hit the Windy City as well, with a huge gaming event! Stop by all day and make sure you do your part for your chosen side! You can bring up to 1,000 points of your own models (which must be painted, based, and assembled according to the 1,000-point restrictions of your Army book), or use models provided. Battles will rage back and forth all day, with the final results counting massively in the ongoing campaign! [More]

This year will feature expanded Club Games where members of the Regiments of Renown Club Support Program run great games at each show. These are always original and feature the best from the local gaming community. The Golden Daemon Painting Competition, always the highlight of any Games Day, will be showing off the finest painting and modeling in the country. There will also be new Create and Keep scenery construction classes, where people will be provided materials for making their own gaming terrain piece and can then keep their new creation after they are done!

Once again Games Day will be the site of exciting Tournaments for Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. These tournaments will run all day and consist of 3 games. Players must bring a 1500 pt force for either game system. Entry into the tournament will be $20.00 in addition to the normal Games Day ticket cost. Registration for the tournament will begin at 8:00 AM for the event and is on a first come, first serve basis. Space is limited to 70 40K slots and 30 WFB slots.

The 2004 US Games Day Miniature: Archaon on Foot

In conjunction with the upcoming global campaign - Storm of Chaos - our 2004 US Games Day miniature will be the mighty chosen one of Chaos itself - Archaon, Lord of the End Times, on foot. This mighty scion of the Dark Gods is provided free with the purchase of each full-price admission to a US Games Day (models will be distributed upon entry to Games Day) and will also be available for sale separately at each show for $20.00 USD. 4 other new limited edition models will also be available at the show as well!

Visit the Games Day 2004 and the Chicago 2004 websites for all the latest news!

Want to see all of the cool things you can do at a Games Day? Click here!

Click here for coverage from last year’s Games Day Chicago.

Event Details:
Games Day Chicago
When: July 31st, 2004
Where: Donald E. Stephens Conventions Center
5555 N. River Rd
Rosemont, IL 60018
Exhibit Hall G
Hours: Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM

Ticket Information

Tickets are $30.00. Each ticket includes full admission for the event, entry to the day-long seminar program, participation in the Golden Daemon competition, 2 free Registered Game sessions, unlimited gaming in the Club and Open Gaming areas, plus this year’s free Games Day miniature! Additional Registered Game session tickets will be available at the door.

You can get tickets through Mail Order at 1-800-394-GAME, the Games Workshop website www.games-workshop.com, your local Games Workshop Hobby Center, selected Independent Retailers, or at the door.

Special Runtherd (Parents) tickets are also available. Runtherd passes allow a parent or guardian to attend Games Day (but not play in any of the games or events) and keep an eye on their kids. 2 Runtherd passes are available per ticket for parents of children 16 and under.

For more information or to order tickets, visit www.games-workshop.com or call 1-800-394-GAME.

Games Day History

Long a tradition in England where the Games Workshop hobby started, Games Day in the USA started over 10 years ago in one of Maryland’s Games Workshop Hobby Centers. Despite the small venue, nearly 100 dedicated fans showed up for the full day of fun! The next year the show was moved to a real convention hall, where the show grew even larger. So big in fact that two years later the show moved to the Baltimore Convention Center and spread into a 2 day event. Each year the show has expanded in both size and attendance, with thousands arriving each year to play, paint, and celebrate the miniature gaming hobby.

Each year has seen such wild events as Squig Hopper Races, fun (but messy!) Speed Painting competitions, and Formula Waaaagh! Demolition Derbies. One highlight has always been the Golden Demon miniature painting competition, showcasing the best figure painters in the country and their work with the finest miniatures in the world. Last year’s Games Day conventions drew nearly 10,000 enthusiastic hobby fans from all over the country, and even more are expected this year.

For more information, visit www.games-workshop.com or call 1-800-394-GAME.

About Games Workshop

For almost 30 years Games Workshop has designed, manufactured, distributed and sold tabletop wargame systems and associated miniatures, marketed as a complete hobby for teenagers and older. Its key brands are Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. The latest addition to the range is The Lord of the Rings line of battle games and miniatures produced under an exclusive global license from New Line Cinema, with imagery based on the Oscar winning series of films directed by Peter Jackson.

With its international headquarters in Nottingham, England, the company also has wholly-owned subsidiaries in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and Australia. Over 2,200 people are employed by the company through these operations. Games Workshop America has its headquarters in Glen Burnie, Maryland and oversees a coast-to-coast operation which includes independent retailers, direct sales, and Games Workshop operated retail hobby centers.

Games Workshop owns nearly 300 retail stores worldwide and its products are featured in over 2,000 independent outlets internationally. Games Workshop is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

Games Workshop controls every aspect of its business, from initial concept and design through to manufacture, distribution and retail. Its long-running publication White Dwarf is available via the stores, by mail order, on newstands throughout the world (in several languages), and through its website: www.games-workshop.com.

Bourne Supremacy Review & After Party Report
Xoanon @ 10:29 am EST

Rosie writes: Last night I was at The Bourne Supremacy premier. This is an incredible action flick. You are only allowed to relax for a few minutes toward the end. Karl Urban plays a devious hit man out for Jason Bourne's head. Personally, I think he is quite a scene-stealer and, from what I hear, quite a driver too.

After the film, they shut down part of Vine, at Hollywood, to accommodate a few blocks of food, bars, DJs and the nicest porta-johns I've ever seen!

I had a chance to talk to Karl. I tried to convince him to join us all at Comic Con. He was interested but not sure if he could make it down there with his schedule. Who knows, he is in LA until the 23rd... I know I've got my fingers crossed about running into him in San Diego. The Bourne Supremacy is a must see on the summer movie roster!

Bloom on the set of 'Elizabethtown'
Xoanon @ 10:12 am EST

Orlando Bloom on the set of 'Elizabethtown'

TheBatFreak writes:

I actually decided to head over to Versailles after work today and was very glad to get a chance to see Orlando doing some shots down Main St. Pretty cool!

I live 25 minutes west of Versailles where shooting was done today. Much of the shoot was of Orlando in car that was being pulled by a camera truck straight down Main St. Versailles. There were about 5 guys on the back of the truck running cameras/gear and there was a side camera that swung out to the outside of the drive side door.

Orlando himself did a lot of the shots during the day but in the afternoon his double did them. Late in the day Orlando returned to the area for more shots. I was only able to get there for the latter part of the day but saw Orlando doing the work and the like at the "starting point" of the shot.

What is kind of cool is that they changed a bunch of the signs in Versailles to read Elizabethtown. Right where I parked, which was on the other side of where the starting point for the shot was, they changed the Versailles Presbyterian Church to the Elizabethtown Church. They did this simply with a sticker. Other signs in some places were totally replaced signage.

There were tons of extras all over so, since I wasn't one, once the shot was ready to be done again I had to move back a bit. I was probably within 50 feet of Orlando at any given time and could clearly see and tell it was him.

Honestly, it's just kind of cool to see such a big star close to home. Actually too, the big race scene in Seabiscuit where Seabiscuit wins was shot at Keeneland just 10 minutes from me too. Those of us in KY are proud to have some coverage of our beautiful state!

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