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July 26, 2000 - August 06, 2000

8-06-00 Latest News

Tolkien Silliness File.
Tehanu @ 7:37 am EST

Who needs New Line to generate hype? LOTR madness is invading the weirdest corners of life already, and what could be weirder than 'Reality TV'?

Mighty Orc Hunter saw this on NZ TV2's "The Money Game":

Three innocent entrepreneurs were let loose on Monday morning from the top of Coronet Peak skifield (not a million miles from some LOTR locations, but that's merely coincidental) with just the clothes they were wearing and $5000 each. They were to meet at the top of the Skytower (Auckland, 1000 miles away)on Wednesday night and the person with the most money would win.

One guy ended up with about $3900 after making $30 on the sharemarket, trying to do a hole-in-one challenge, and selling a _lot_ of flowers.

The other guy seemed a little touched in the head and had the ability to spend his money like it was water. His plan was basically to put a sound effects CD together with things like a baby crying, a train going past a level crossing (horn and all), then trying to sell it to music labels. "I'm sorry - we prefer music."

The young lady's big plan was to put together an auction in Wellington with no stuff to start with. Somehow she got hold of a copy of LotR signed by six of the cast members. I have no idea where she got it from because I was watching a different channel at a crucial moment. (AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!) She got $7400 ish.

Oh, yeah. The 2nd guy I mentioned came out at $18,000 after selling two or three thousand CDs to the Warehouse - look for it in their mailer. It's the CD with artifical grass on the front cover.

8-05-00 Latest News

LOTR Trailer in a Theatre?
Xoanon @ 1:02 pm EST

This Spy Report of sorts comes from Ghost of Deagol from Denmark, I'm not sure how or why, but they've managed to get some LOTR footage ready for the big screen. From the look of his report, it seems to be the ShoWEST footage, and it's the read deal. So read on!

Once a month I, together with some fellow movie-geeks, attend something called "Surprise movie", which is an event starting at midnight where a movie is shown 1 month or so prior to its opening. This is a nice thing that is always full of excitement and speculation about what movie that is going to be shown. Some people even make bets as they stand in line. Yesterday it was time for yet another Surprise movie event, and as always we were discussing which movie we would like it to be. Now, here in Denmark we have to wait a couple of months (in some cases even longer) after the US premiere before we get to see most movies, so "X-Men" and "Scary movie" were mentioned. Anyway, we entered the cinema and found our seats. Now, since this is a midnight event and because there are so much excitement about the unknown movie ahead, people are normally eager to get the movie on, and thus commercials and trailers are just something that can't end quickly enough. I had exactly the same feeling until suddenly, right after the trailer for "The Cell" I heard the words: "It has been named the greatest and most popular books of the 20th century!". Wow! Did the big screen suddenly get my attention? As I said earlier, this is an event that attract many movie-geeks, and I suspect most of them knew what this was about. Anyhow, everyone stopped talking and eating popcorn as the Internet preview emerged on the big screen! Myself? I had goosebumbs all over!

Now, like most Ringers I've seen the Internet preview dozens of times, but seeing it on the big screen was a whole new experience. And that's not all:

There were even new goodies that I haven't seen before. Maybe they've have been shown in the ShoWest or ComicCon footage, which I've never seen, so seeing actual new footage was a real blast for me. Although the new stuff consisted of short sequences, I'll try to describe them here. First off, I noticed an interview with Sean Astin where he talked about the excitement of doing LOTR and the incredible adventure that the story provides. Then I saw a CGI sequence of what must have been the troll that we saw a miniature model of some weeks ago. It was running towards the camera in Moria, I believe. It looked quite gorilla like in the way it moved, and I must admit that I don't hope it's the balrog, since it's not how I picture it. However, it was still a cool sequence.

Then there was a short sequence with Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen surrounded by cameramen and makeup artists. Another very short cut showed what I believe was a hobbit (what else?) in heavy makeup, that looked a little "doll-like". As I said, it was a short cut, so I will not draw any conclusions from it.

They greatest part was perhaps seeing the hords of orcs marching in Mordor again. Although the Quicktime format is very good, this sequence is only done real justice on the big screen. They level of detail was incredible, and the movements were even more realistic. And I must not forget to mention that the sound of them marching thundering from a 3D cinema sound system was a thrill!

Although I've only read about the excitement that the preview created at the ComicCon event, I think I now have a bit of a feeling of just how that must have been. Everybody went wild, and I saw several people making "YES!" gestures. The excitement went from skyhigh to understandable frustration though, as the words "Followship of the Ring - Christmas 2001" emerged. New Line is torturing us here!

Having seen this trailer on the big screen, I'm more than sure that these movies are in very safe hands. I can't believe they actually showed the trailer here in Denmark at this point, but I'm just happy I was there to witnes it.

As for the surprise movie itself? Well, it was U-571 (another VERY late movie for us Danish moviegoers) but I must admit that the images from the LOTR footage were with me throughout the movie.


Ghost of Deagol

8-04-00 Latest News

Tolkien Sucks
Xoanon @ 11:33 am EST

Here's a small piece of satire from www.suck.com. Apparently these folks make fun of everything, so it was only a matter of time that they would find the good professor and Peter Jackson on their radar:

Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson's three-picture take on J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy trilogy begins in Christmas 2001 with

Fellowship of the Ring.

Filming continues in New Zealand, much too far away for any motion picture executives to fly in and pull the plug.

The late Professor Tolkien reportedly created his fantasies in support of imaginary languages he created for his enjoyment, which is sort of like starting a band because you bought a bunch of empty CD containers. Still, making up your own languages is the loneliest activity imaginable, so we forgive him. Tolkien rejected one popular reading of his mid-century bestseller, that of the Cold War struggle between competing empires, for reasons known only to those who've read all eighty-three of his son's respectful and necessary hardback books on the subject matter. Clearly, however, Tolkien was a fan of really short people walking in the woods, so we suggest Jackson play up Tolkien's "quest" as a combination of the Eco-challenge and a search for proper facilities.

Bigger than the Bible?
Xoanon @ 11:26 am EST

Ringer Spy Daniel son of David sends in this report from the London paper 'Metro':

Here's a short article from London paper Metro:


Lord of the Rings is more popular than the Bible, according to a new survey.

JRR Tolkien's fantasy novel beat Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice to the top spot in a W H Smith survey. The Bible came third. The most popular author was Catherine Cookson, with Jane Austen in fifth place and Tolkien down in 12th. The lists mix old favourites with newer challengers - the fourth favourite book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson coming in just ahead of Thomas Harris's Silence of the Lambs. Disgraced Tory peer Jeffrey Archer's novel Kane and Abel was chosen as the 14th most popular book. The authors' list was dominated by recent novelists, with Cookson followed by Stephen King, Roald Dahl and, in fourth place, Danielle Steel.

William Shakespeare was tenth and Charles Dickens 11th. The survey was to propmote the annual Thumping Good Read Award, won this year by Boris Starling for Storm.

(W H Smiths is a chain of booksellers/newsagents in the UK)

8-03-00 Latest News

Howard Shore, composer.....on a collision course with rampant fame!
Tehanu @ 10:44 pm EST

What do we know about Howard Shore?
Well, he's Canadian, born in Toronto in 1946. He used to belong to a band called Lighthouse, but left them in 1978 for a career in film music. At first he worked a lot with the director David Cronenberg, and provided the music for his 'The Fly', 'Scanners', 'Videodrome' and 'Naked Lunch;' more recently 'Existenz.' As Cronenberg is regarded as an innovative director, so Shore is regarded as having 'a difficult, confrontational style which constantly challenges the perceptions and ideas of film music.' (Movie Music UK)
This sounds very promising; the ideal kind of person to work with PJ and his team, who are similarly constantly working on the edges of what's expected.

There's a whopping great huge list of Shore's filmography on UK Movie Music br>In there it also mentions that Shore has the flexibility to compose in a range of styles. It's very promising what they say about his feel for the 'dark uncertain world of thrillers and horrors.'He did the soundtrack for 'Silence of the Lambs.' Here's the great review it got from Movie Music UK:
"...this superbly chilling score by Howard Shore, whose ability to create a musical sense of overpowering tension is second to none in Hollywood at the moment. The score is performed by a full symphony orchestra throughout, but intentionally adopts a languorous tone and pace. This is the absolute epitome of "dark" film music, with the performers of the Munich Symphony Orchestra regularly playing their instruments at the lowest possible end of their ranges, and through orchestrations so thick they almost become a solid wall of sound. "
Or what about this review from the same source, this time for 'M. Butterfly':
"Complementing Cronenberg's unique visual style and Peter Suschitzky's sumptuous, panoramic cinematography is Howard Shore's sublime music, who was given free reign leave the shackles of dissonance far behind him and compose a work of exquisite beauty, texture and restraint. The main theme, given a full rendition in the first track 'M Butterfly', is built around a lovely four note motif, and is granted a thunderous opening statement on horns before moving on to be performed by woodwinds with a string backing and accompaniment from a delicate harp"
Whaah! I can't wait.

Another day in court....yawn
Tehanu @ 9:14 pm EST

The third person involved with the LOTR film and props thefts appeared in court today. I went along for a look again. As usual my own home neighbourhood fielded a strong team of assault drink and drug offenders. I sat down next to the one person who looked habitually desk-bound, a man with small white hands. Soon enough his lawyer sat next to him, carrying a folder with his name on it so I could see I'd picked the right man. No sign that he knew who I was, though I suppose he'd have loathed me on principle if he had. The webmasters of the Tolkien fan sites represent the Net fans who ended up biting the hand that hoped to feed them, or hoped to milk them of $180,000, depending on your point of view.
Meanwhile the courtroom warmed up with a lot of backslapping and laughter and 'how's your father?' between the lawyers, police and court functionaries. Not a very encouraging environment for the defendents. My special interest had been sitting around looking as comfortable as a cat in a rainstorm until his lawyer showed up; then there was a fair bit of grinning and joking from them too. Bravado, perhaps. On the other hand, a defence lawyer who didn't instill confidence in his clients wouldn't get a lot of work. 'Ooh, don't fancy your chances now, mate' wouldn't be too good for business.
The judge arrived and an air of pen-chewing tension settled over the room. Eventually the accused was stood up, another lawyer said that the prosecution was still needing more time to complete disclosure. Which translates as 'They haven't got to the bottom of all the evidence yet,' I suppose. So, it's a very complex case, perhaps? More news next week, and we hope it'll start to get interesting then too.

7-31-00 Latest News

A Tale of 3 Astins
Xoanon @ 6:39 pm EST

A recent TORN message board post about Sean Astin (Sam) stirred up some questions with us, so we dug through our news files and found out that yes, according to an interview with Sean Astin's father John, that Sean's daughter Alexandra will be playing Sam's daughter Elanor in The Return of the King. How's that for parity and a run-on sentence? Check the article out here and take a look at these two pics we managed to scour that may or may not show Sean with Alexandra.

7-27-00 Latest News

Comic Con 2000 Montage
Corvar @ 3:22 pm EST

The scouring of the net and my email is complete, and I am now prepared to give you a slightly different glimpse of the Lord of the Rings featurette that was shown at Comic Con 2000.

Scant hours after the featurette was shown at Comic Con, Quickbeam submitted an in-depth report on it. Despite his involvement with Ian McKellen showing up at the featurette, he did not have the best seat in the house (well crouched on the floor is no seat at all!).

Numerous people chimed in with what they saw and felt through email and our discussion boards. These are some excerpts from those messages. I also grabbed some excerpts from a variety of sources around the web. We would like to thank everyone who submitted information.

"I just got done watching the LoTR footage at Comic Con 2000, and I am even more hyped up about it now than before."... ..."All in all it was killer, and the part with Ian coming out was totally unexpected, totally made my Comic Con 2000." Kevin

"I had resisted downloading the Internet trailer because I wanted to experience a theater trailer, and boy, am I glad I waited!"... ..."Last of all, there was a tiny scene in which a small, golden-haired toddler girl runs down a path and jumps into the arms of Sean Astin as Sam. This caused me to immediately burst into tears as it was obvious that this was the final scene when Sam returns from the Havens to Elanor and Rosie. Just the sight of this poignant, bittersweet moment at the end was enough to break my heart, and to reassure me that whatever flaws, inaccuracies, or changes that these movies have won't matter one whit -- they are all going to be so emotionally resonant and beautiful that no one will care." Sandy

"I agree completely with Quickbeam's review of the Comic Con LoTR preview. The crowd energy when Sir Ian himself was introduced was chilling. Everyone stood as one and cheered. I felt he was genuinely touched by the reception." Jim

"The featurette was fabulous. My only complaint was that it was TOO SHORT! But it made my visit to Comic Con." Eerok

"Sean Bean eloquent delivery about the troubles caused by the Ring "...such a small thing..." in the controversial scene where he is grasping the chain the Ring hands on. Having established the context of the scene now, it makes for a perfect example of how moments from the book dramatized for film gain a new level of intensity and intimacy."... ..."To sum up, the production has clearly captured what you might call the "essential feel of Tolkien."" DV

"Amazing stuff. Sir Ian McKellen absolutely rules!!!" Lord of the Nazgul

"... you could feel the wave of energy building in the crowd. From the first moment of the LOTR footage until the end, the stunned silence was broken only by the occasional "ooh" or "ahh"."... ..."Between Gandalf and Magneto, Sir Ian is having a Beatles-like effect on fanboy crowds these days." IGN.com

"What happened during the next 15 minutes of Comic Con would probably be one of the most magical moments of my life."... ..."I tried to take glances at how Ian was taking in most of the footage. He was very engrossed in what was happening on screen and would occasionally take a look into the crowd to see how they were reacting as well. I probably missed some stuff in the trailer, but it was so cool to watch one of the actors react to others seeing his own work." Joram Manka (of Fandom/Ringbearer) as reported on AICN

"In total, New Line presented approximately 6 minutes of footage. Jonathan and I tend to think that this footage was released for an event in New Zealand prior to today's showing because of the dates at the end of the trailer--instead of "December 2001", it read "Holiday 2001"... a term we Americans don't use to refer to the Christmas/Holiday season." Ted (of Tolkien Online) in his report

I must say I am quite jealous of the people who were able to attend, and that like the rest of you I will be holding my breath for the theatrical trailer this fall.

On behalf of TheOneRing.net and myself, our thanks to everyone who submitted a report on the LoTR footage at Comic Con 2000.

Quickbeam's full coverage of Comic Con:

7-26-00 Latest News

The San Diego Comic-Con was a Major Blast
Calisuri @ 1:15 am EST

Visit the ComicCon 2000 Gallery
Greetings -- Quickbeam here.

After being in Comic-Con outer space for so long, I have made my descent and come back to the rich soil that I call home. Ah, my tired roots are glad to be planted back in sunny L.A.! Now that I've caught my breath and gotten some hindsight, I'm ready to spill the beans on the real deal of this festive San Diego weekend.

The Good

In years past I've hit the Chicago Comic-Con, but that was a paltry pittance compared to this one! Being surrounded by the most talented and revered people in the comics industry is just a gas... If there were such a thing as a big "Fanboy Volume Dial" inside my head, it was cranked up to 10 for three days straight.

I met some of my heroes face-to-face; Scott McCloud, author of the quintessential Understanding Comics and the wonderful Richard and Wendy Pini (creators of the best fantasy graphic novels of all time, Elfquest).

Reunions are wonderful when you love and miss the people you are separated from, and it was truly extraordinary to be reunited with my old pals Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Hellblazer) and Jill Thompson (Sandman, the Scary Godmother series). Congratulations to Jill on her Eisner Award!!

The nicest people are the ones you've never even met, and this time was no exception. All the IGN folks were great to hang out with: Den Shewman, Genelle Larkin, Chris Bernier, and the very quiet Brian Zoromski. Many thanks to the lovely Lisa Stone for that cocktail... boy I needed it!

Friday night many of us gathered for a great dinner at Dick's Last Resort with other Webheads from the best independent film sites on the Net. Our table was basically a Who's Who including Patrick Sauriol, Widgett Robinson and Suni Sidhu from Corona's Coming Attractions, Dave Davis and Nick Nunziata from CHUD.com (watch those flying forks, okay Nick?), Kenneth Plume from FilmForce, and Sean Jordan from ZENtertainment. Best of all was meeting fellow Tolkien fan Joram Manka from Ringbearer.org (Hoom-hrrrm, that boy is so tall I'm certain he's been drinking my Ent draughts), a delightful fellow indeed. By the way, if you've never eaten at Dick's, make sure somebody explains it to you before you go.

Saturday morning was dominated by the "Caught in the Net" panel discussion. Tom DeSanto (Executive Producer of X-Men) and Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) joined Harry Knowles (Aint-it-Cool-News), Chris Gore (FilmTheat), the eloquent David Poland (Rough Cut), along with Nick and Patrick. Den had the unenviable position of moderating this Panel which focused on one primary topic: The journalistic ethics and working relationships of internet film sites. There were some moments of mud-slinging that threatened to derail the discussion, but Kevin very adroitly planted a cap on it by saying, "C'mon dudes, just do your thing and don't stoop to the other guy's level." That summed it up nicely in my mind.

Let's get some perspective here-- with a limitless tool like the Internet, the more liberties people have the more you'll see abuses. Some on the Panel made a call for a set of communal journalistic principles to rein-in the alleged bad behavior of certain Webheads. Realistically, I doubt that call will ever be answered. It will be interesting to see if Patrick's prediction comes true... that within several years all the internet's independent voices are doomed to be co-opted by large corporations (a dismal Orwellian concept to be sure). We'll see.

After that, the energy picked up a great deal Saturday afternoon when Sir Ian McKellen showed up to surprise all the fans at the Marvel booth. Bryan Singer was also on hand as was Chris Clairmont (beloved author of the X-Men comics). It took mere seconds for a flood of fans to descend upon the Marvel booth... with cameras and news media hounds everywhere! What a great vibe.

Kudos to Marvel's wonderful team of Matt Ragone and Adam Fenton for keeping things sane while Sir Ian was surrounded by the enthusiastic hordes.

While there I locked eyes with the new toys that Marvel has designed for the X-Men craze (extremely cool oversized figures and such), and then had a great conversation with Jesse Falcon. He works with merchandising and was totally stoked about Toy Biz doing the new action figures for The Lord of the Rings films. What better person to reveal the secrets of Peter Jackon's creature designs? Jesse and his cohorts have certainly seen more than WE have, so I asked him the eternal question: "Wings or no wings?" But alas, he didn't know. Don't worry, I'll get that information out of him sooner or later...

Further thoughts on LOTR: As you've read in my earlier report, the sheer volume of people attending the New Line screening was record-shattering. Joram and I were lucky enough to accompany Sir Ian and his entourage as we all snuck in the back door just at the last minute (as Vincent D'Onofrio and screenwriter Mark Protosevich of The Cell were stepping off the stage). In the darkness, we glided through the curtains and knelt down in the front row while the wonderful images played on the screen.

What a delicious irony... We were packed in a roomful of the most excited Tolkien fans, all of them drooling at the 6-minute clip... and not one of them knew that Gandalf was himself kneeling in the front row right under their noses!

And like I said, to see their collective surprise when he showed up in the spotlight was BRILLIANT! They went from total shock to wild adulation in a nano-second. You could feel the energy in the room snap like a loud cord being cut. I almost fell over. Some memories burn in your mind forever... and this one I will surely hold onto for twice as long.

The wonderment continued as Joram and I were invited to have lunch with Bryan Singer and Ian McKellen. The amiable Tom DeSanto was also there, as was John Cassell from Stan Lee Media. I was very impressed with the red-headed actor who played the young James Whale in Gods and Monsters, a fellow by the name of Brandon Kleyla. The camaraderie between Sir Ian and Bryan is infectious, and I can only imagine what it was like on the set of X-Men!

The warm San Diego sun glowed across our table as we snacked on shrimp, chicken, humus, and refreshing lemonade. It was literally the perfect moment for a Tolkien fan like me to be outdoors sitting next to Gandalf the Grey, munching on savory edibles in the summer afternoon. I felt like I had been transported to Bag End, were it not for the sound of the ships wafting over from the adjacent San Diego Bay.

I wondered if Sir Ian liked my blue hair. I asked in earnest, "Do you think it's cool or does it look foolish?"

He tickled his fingers through it and replied, "Oh yes, it's lovely... it looks rather like the color you would find on a duck."

Laughter from all sides.

"So what can you tell me about the Balrog?" I asked, changing subjects. "Wings or no wings?"

His reply: "It's like nothing you've ever seen in a movie monster! I can't tell you whether it has wings or not because I've only seen it from the neck up. But what I have seen is remarkable. You will all be very surprised at what they've come up with."

So there you have it, straight from the Servant of the Secret Fire.

The Bad

There were some things noticeably missing from the New Line reel. I wish we had seen more scenes from what we know has already been photographed. There was not much more Weathertop, no Rivendell, no fighting scenes from outside the Black Gate, no pictures of Hugo Weaving as Elrond. And where was the angelic Cate Blanchette as Galadriel? We saw a publicity still of her (from last year's Oscar telecast) but that was it.

After reading all those juicy Spy Reports from sharp-eyed Ringers in New Zealand, I was rather looking forward to something new! I'm so eager to see more of the John-Rhys Davies makeup after what was shown on Saturday. Imagine this: If you could take every perfect, stylized Gimli painting by the Brothers Hildebrant or Darrel K. Sweet, and put it into the flesh with complete fidelity, you would have the amazing Gimli that I saw.

I'm so damn impatient... I want to see more NOW! Perhaps I speak for all of us when I say this.

The Ugly

Here I have to say something about Jeffrey Wells (Reel.com). Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey, what are we to do with you? Early on Saturday morning I sat next to the acerbic Net journalist and watched uncomfortably while he ate a breakfast muffin. The problem was, he kept wiping his greasy fingers all over his jeans. Ever hear of a NAPKIN, Jeffrey? [Heh-heh-heh... just poking fun, kiddo.]

Oh, and Lou Ferrigno was there too. Yes, that's right, the very same "Incredible Hulk" from the 1977 T.V. series. I'm afraid I have to be the bearer of bad news-- he hasn't aged well at all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

That's about it. I hope you folks enjoy the pictures I took... Next year promises to be even more wacky and wonderful, so be there!

Much too hasty,


Visit the ComicCon 2000 Gallery

This year's journalism award goes to....
Calisuri @ 1:06 am EST

Well it won't be going to the UK Sunday Times I hope. I'm afraid I don't think that latest article on Cate (see below) is totally wonderful. A few weeks I got a bit of flak for suggesting politely that I was surprised that there wasn't more interest in the UK media about LOTR. Specifically, I noted that most of the big papers have done articles repeating each other, and without checking inaccuracies. Sure, we're the pot calling the kettle black, but we're amateurs, and you're not shelling out any cash to buy our news.

The latest report of Cate in the UK Sunday Times, just down the page here, is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about.

There's not much in there that we haven't heard from other interviews with Cate. The bit that IS new is this:

"For the uninitiated, Galadriel is the good sister of the evil but beautiful Queen Beruthiel, who imprisons the Fellowship of the Ring in the forest of Lothlorien. In the book, Galadriel frees them from her sister's clutches."

In the book, it says this? I rest my case.


This just sent in from Carl:

I know where that misinformation about Galdariel came from, but I have no idea why in God's name they actually used it. It's from the synopsis of the Lord of the Rings (http://www.speakeasy.org/~ohh/homework.htm) It's funny, but completely inaccurate. In the last paragraph of the Fellowship of the Ring synopsis, it says " next they are driven into the dark forest of Lothlorien, where they are imprisoned by the beautiful but evil Queen Beruthiel. They make their escape when Beruthiel's good sister, Galadriel, frees them from their prison-cell and floats them down the river in barrels." Hope this helps

It sure did Carl, thanks!

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