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August 26, 2003 - September 01, 2003

9-01-03 Latest News

Second Annual DragonCon Parade Report!
Xoanon @ 8:29 pm EST

White Lady Eowyn writes: Here is a report for you, as I promised MrCere, about the Second Annual DragonCon parade!

Saturday morning dawned in Atlanta with bright and beautiful skies. But it was also unbelievably hot for so early in the day. Thank heavens that there were volunteers on hand to give out water and ice to all the parade participants.

This year's parade, unlike the first one last year, was controlled by the fact that they really wanted you to be pre-registered to be in the festivities, due to the burgeoning interest. The Atlanta Police Department was kind enough to close off the streets from a mile down the Hyatt and all along the parade route.

And there were a ton of spectators! The crowds only grew as we drew closer and closer to the host hotels. The lady who was leading our group of Lord of the Rings fans made a banner that said, "One Parade to Rule Them All," etc. Apologies to her, but I do not remember the rest of the banner. The weekend is blurring somewhat due to staying up too late and getting up too early, but all the fun was worth it.

We had myself, representing Eowyn, an Uruk-Hai (complete with White Hand over the face, this is the lady that headed our group and she won a spot during the Evening at Bree costume contest), a Merry, a Gondorian Ranger, Gandalf, some Elves, and a Balrog! The Balrog costume was completely hand made by the woman wearing it, and the wings were pneumatically controlled so she could spread them with the touch of a button! This, by far, elicited the biggest responses from the crowds lining Peachtree Street.

At several points in the parade, we sang the Hobbit Drinking Song ("Hey, ho, to the bottle I go," , etc.). Unsure of the crowd's reaction to this, but we sure had fun doing it!

Sincerely, White Lady Eowyn, from the TORN Message Board

Dragon*Con 2003 Images
Xoanon @ 4:24 pm EST

Ringer Spy Kungloosh sends along these great pics from Dragon*Con 2003, which took place this weekend in Atlanta.

Dragon*Con 2003 Images - More Costumes

Kungloosh: For a first timer to this convention, I sure realized I have been missing a lot!!!

Upon arrival I had to find TORn booth. This was my chance to finally meet all of the wonderful people who bring us this website! What joy it was to finally put faces with names! Also a chance to meet the man behind the microphone, Quickbeam! Was a pleasure to meet you! All I can say is that TORn made me feel like I was visiting friends. They made you feel welcome.

Costumes galore! Everywhere you looked! I only got a sampling of photos for the variety of wonderful costumes. The time and effort that people have placed into these works of art shows! The LOTR fans were awesome! To top them all tho was Saron! This costume was amazing! Actual metal was used to create this costume! BRAVO!

Emerald Rose performed several times during my stay. It was a pleasure to finally hear what those lucky ones heard when they attended the Oscar party! I can't wait to hear & meet them again! Logan, Arthur, Clyde & Larry are the best, you guys truly rock! If anyone has an opportunity to hear and see these guys perform, it's well worth the effort to see them!

As this was my first time at DragonCon, I am still in shock & awe at the magnatude of this convention. My poor sleep deprived body just couldn't handle all the sensory overload. LOL I had to crash early on Saturday night and never got to enjoy all the wonderful parties that I have heard DragonCon is noted for. Oh well, NEXT YEAR!

Had a great time and will most definately do it again!

Kungloosh

New Zealand RotK Charity Shows
Tookish @ 1:01 pm EST

From Ringer Katie via her source at the NZ Embassy:

Hello to everyone who has requested info on ticket sales for Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Thank You for your patience.

I can now advise you that advance sales for the first week of 18 December through to 24 December are available through the Lions Club of Silverstream as charity fundraisers for Ronald MacDonald House; The Embassy Theatre Trust & The Life Flight Trust. The session times at present are only an approximate given that the film hasnít been completed as yet and so the full running time is still to be confirmed, but we are expecting it to be very similar in length to the first two films.

Tickets are $30 each...

On the 18th December there are tickets available for 12.01am and 9.45am. On the 19th there seats available at 6am, 9.45, & 1.30pm. from the 20th on there are seats available all day.

To all those interested in information on the events around the premiere on the 1st December, the Wellington City Council is responsible for the street events...

Oslow RotK Charity Viewing Ticket Sales
Tookish @ 12:45 pm EST

From Oslopuls.no and Ringer Sharon:

Cold night - hot tickets

Last night LOTR fans got out their sleeping bags. Again. This morning they woke to the best tickets. Again.

And they woke with butterflies in their stomachs. They pack up the sleeping bags and the sleeping mats. The final battle for middle earth takes place first at Oslo Spektrum. There LOTR:ROTK will be shown in a charity viewing on the 15th of December, two days before the cinema premiere. It is 20 minutes until the ticket sales open at 8am.

"We haven't slept that much," says Kine Schulz (17).

"Doesn't matter. We came here to have fun, because we'll see the film one way or another anyway," says Stephan Andreas Jensen (17).

"Hardly! It is awesome to see the film two days before everyone else!" replies Kine.

"Yes, it would have been a crisis of Homeric proportions to not have gotten tickets to the world's biggest film showing," says Jan Erik Haavet (17).

Third film best

Behind them snakes a 100 metre long queue of expectant and morning-tired faces. It is underway.

"I have very high expectations," says Sara Smiseth(17).

"Actually I have such high expectations that it is actually fine. It is already determined that the film is good. It is actually a bit spooky," says Stephan.

"Everyone says the third film is best," says Ole Eivind Siggerud (17).

"It is practically impossible for Peter Jackson to make anything bad," says Jan Erik. They have been here since 11pm. They have places 5 to 9 in the queue.

It is 7:50, now. Right at the front, nearly stuck to the glass door, stands Number One in the queue and counts her money. Number one is an elf. In fact, the only one who has dressed up in this queue. Carita B.
LÝsnes came here 7pm yesterday.

"I thought there would be lots of people, so I thought I'd be way back in the queue. But there was no one here!" she says. No one has slept here more than one night. It isn't such a wild situation as has been before in the ticket queues when LOTR has been shown in ordinary cinemas. Some fans are boycotting the showing in Spektrum, because they think it is too expensive and exploiting Tolkien fans.

515 shiny kroner

"515 kroner for a ticket is terribly expensive; I've saved for a week. But I'm looking forward to it insanely much," says Aron B. LÝsnes, number two.

"Yes, it's a bit hysterical. To sleep out to pay a heap of money the next day to see a film," says Carita.

"I have heard rumours that Peter Jackson and Viggo Mortenson will come when the film is shown. Then it is worth it!" says Aron. The clock ticks over to 07.58.

"I have butterflies in my stomach. They have to open soon!" bursts out Rebekka B. LÝsnes.

An orc in jeans runs around snarling in the ears of the people in the queue. So after a night of waiting, the door finally glides open. Now.

Great moment

They jump up and down, hug each other, outside the ticket office. They dance, they yell. A strip of tickets is clutched. They are distributed.

"This is a great moment," says Sara with a smile.

"This is going to be framed," says Ole Eivind.

"The tickets are irreplaceable. Worse than losing anything else," says Kine.

"This is going straight in my underpants," says Stephan.

"It is a strange feeling, really crazy. I'm going to hold this ticket the whole time until the showing," claims Jan Erik. Then he will have to hold it all the way until the 15th of December, 7:30pm. For those with tickets hot off the press, it will be an awful lot of
minutes to wait.

Tacoma News Tribune Predicts Oscarfest for PJ & Co
Tookish @ 12:13 pm EST

From Ringer Marina: The Tacoma News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington is predicting The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the one movie to come out on top.

"Handicappers are predicting this is the one to beat. The thinking is that academy voters have held off showering the series of statues in the major categories (the first two won a combined total of six in techinal areas) until all three parts are out in the world. If The Return of the King matches the scope and excellence of its predecssors (and since they were filmed back-to-back, there's little reason to think it won't), director Peter Jackson can probably look forward to a very pleasant evening next year at the Oscar academy."

Tacoma News Tribune Predicts Oscarfest for PJ & Co
Tookish @ 12:12 pm EST

From Ringer Marina: The Tacoma News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington is predicting The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the one movie to come out on top.

"Handicappers are predicting this is the one to beat. The thinking is that academy voters have held off showering the series of statues in the major categories (the first two won a combined total of six in techinal areas) until all three parts are out in the world. If The Return of the King matches the scope and excellence of its predecssors (and since they were filmed back-to-back, there's little reason to think it won't), director Peter Jackson can probably look forward to a very pleasant evening next year at the Oscar academy."

Tacoma News Tribune Predicts Oscarfest for PJ & Co
Tookish @ 12:10 pm EST

From Ringer Marina: The Tacoma News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington is predicting The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the one movie to come out on top.

"Handicappers are predicting this is the one to beat. The thinking is that academy voters have held off showering the series of statues in the major categories (the first two won a combined total of six in techinal areas) until all three parts are out in the world. If The Return of the King matches the scope and excellence of its predecssors (and since they were filmed back-to-back, there's little reason to think it won't), director Peter Jackson can probably look forward to a very pleasant evening next year at the Oscar academy."

8-31-03 Latest News

Media Watch: Starbust Magazine
Xoanon @ 7:04 pm EST

Radagast sends in these excepts from the latest issue of Starbusrt Magazine (#302) featuring some great interviews! Take a look at these 2 with Richard Taylor and Grant Major.

Fans the world over are anticipating the final part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King. And as Richard Taylor from New Zealand's Weta Effects workshop explains, the best is yet to come...

Richard Taylor is the head of New Zealand's Weta special effects workshop, which has produced such dazzling effects for the Lord of the Rings films. As we anticipate the third part of Jackson's epic trilogy, Taylor takes a moment to tell us some secrets of the new film...


LAWRENCE FRENCH: By making these films in New Zealand, do you think you brought a certain freshness of style to the effects work, just as you did by using all the varied and beautiful New Zealand locations?


RICHARD TAYLOR: Oh, yes very definitely. Our workshop has a very specific style and the style we try to bring to the film is a very specific New Zealand style. Being part of the British commonwealth, and being on the furthest edge of the world, there is in a certain mindset, or time-warp, that has the sensibility and the subtlety to understand Tolkien's writing of fifty years ago. And we choose to create five departments for the film, so we could create an integrated design aesthetic over all the aspects of the film. The process encapsulates the design in a way that feels like we've woven the different threads into a very fine tapestry. So for the backdrop of the film, rather than grandstanding specific effects shots, we've tried very much to create a tapestry, in front of which the actors can play out the main story. We're just trying to do our best in our own unique and particular way. We haven't won Oscars because we're better or worse than anyone else in the world, we won them because we've produced a uniquely different film. I think there's a sensitivity and a harmony to the work, and that it comes across in the film. I was adamant from the outset, that unless we felt completely in our hearts that we could do justice to Tolkien's writing, we shouldn't take on the project at all. And to do justice to it, you have to take the viewer out of the darkened cinema looking at a movie screen, and place them in front of a picture window, so they can look out a world that is revolving in front of them. The way to create that illusion, is to create cultural inheritance, to try to create the feeling that the characters that you're watching may be existing at that very moment, but behind them is thousands of years of cultural inheritance. Their armor, their weapons, their insignia, the graphic design, even their breed and their race, has come about due to a culture that has existed over many, many centuries. In the process of doing this, pursing that level of design aesthetic, the audience will be transported somewhere other than a darkened cinema, and can watch the film unfold, as if they are watching the real world rolling past them.


LAWRENCE FRENCH: You went through quite an elaborate design process not only for all the cultural details, but for all the various creatures, making many hundreds of drawings and maquettes for each one, as well as creating back-stories for them. So while you had a cave-troll in the first film, in The Return of the King we'll see mountain trolls at the Battle of Pelennor fields.


RICHARD TAYLOR: Yes, there's no doubt, along with the heighten reality we tried to create for the armor and weapons and the culture of the different races of Middle-earth, we also wanted a physical reality for the different creatures. So a character like the cave-troll, as bizarre as it is, is still based very strongly within the confines of the skeleton of a bi-pedal humanoid creature. Likewise, in The Return Of The King, we have tried very hard to rationalize all the creatures, so at no time are they so fantastical, that the audience is forced into a leap of the imagination. We don't want people to have to suspend their disbelieve to a great degree. We want people to expect the creatures to exist, as if they were an integrated part of this world. With the M{makil or Oliphaunts, we have created these huge, hulking 45 foot tall elephants, but they are not any ordinary elephants. They're amazing creatures that carry the Haradrim into the battle at Pelennor fields, with these huge battle platforms on their backs that have 50 or 60 soldiers on the upper battlements of these huge platforms. They were designed in the workshop, and maquettes were made of them, which we then scanned and replicated as digital creatures, which were then integrated into the film. We even built a fallen Oliphaunt for Pelennor field and it was the biggest thing we made. And all of the creatures become more and more visceral and real and gritty as they take on the mantle of Sauron's world. We have six young New Zealand designers, who were primarily responsible for designing all the creatures, the weapons, the armour and the cultures of Middle-earth, and of course, they took great inspiration from Alan Lee and John Howe, watching them develop the architecture of Middle-earth.

LAWRENCE FRENCH: Will we see Gandalf's confrontation outside the Black Gates of Mordor, with the mouth of Sauron  the Lt. of Barad-d{r?


RICHARD TAYLOR: Yes, and remembering that in the book, the emissary is blind, he is played by Bruce Spence  best known as the gyro-copter pilot from The Road Warrior  heavily made-up and Helmeted. Our concept was that he has spoken so much evil over the years, that the infections of the evil and the poison from his words have begun to affect his mouth, and split open his lips, all achieved with very subtle gelatin appliances. Bruce Spence was fantastic, a wonderful person to work with, and an incredible character, very focused on the role and very much enjoying bringing that character to life.

Production Designer GRANT MAJOR on creating


MINAS TIRITH


for


THE RETURN OF THE KING


LAWRENCE FRENCH: Minas Tirith, Gondor's ancient city of the Kings, looks like it will be an incredible set. And in the book it was originally the home of the seven Plantir, or seeing stones.


GRANT MAJOR: Yes, I think Minas Tirith is the largest set ever built in the Southern hemisphere. The scale was just massive, and we had scaffolders working on the set for six months, just trying to keep ahead of the building crew. It was built on the ruins of Helm's Deep, in the same rock quarry outside of Wellington, and we built some parts of it from the leftover pieces of Helm's Deep. In the book, Minas Tirith is supposed to be at the base of Mount Mindolluim, and it's built around this 700 ft high knoll. There is this sort of rock arm that juts out like a ship's prow which comes from the citadel heights, all the way down to the bottom. Given that Minas Tirith is so vast in the book, we were only building parts of it, but all these parts were linked together with a road that winds it's way up the hill through seven gates, which allowed us to do these big traveling shots through the city. The city itself was built in seven terraced levels around the side of the mountain, with the court of the Kings and this 300 foot white tower of Ecthelion - the tower of the sun - on the top level. It's a very bold design, with all this interesting medieval architecture. The buildings are made of white stones that are beautifully wrought, but are now crumbling a bit, and becoming tarnished with age.



8-30-03 Latest News

Russia's Rosman Goes LOTR Crazy
Xoanon @ 11:40 pm EST

Natalie sends us word that Russian Publishing house Rosman are selling all types of LOTR goodies in the coming school year. Take a look.



8-29-03 Latest News

Best of Both Worlds adds John Noble
Tehanu @ 8:09 pm EST

There is a new guest added to the Best of Both Worlds convention in Canberra, Australia - none other than John Noble, who will appear as Denethor in ROTK.

BOBW has also added a Guest Table Auction. Organiser Adele writes:

Following several inquiries re the possibility of an auction for spots at the official tables, the following are the guidelines if you wish to bid.

Rules for Banquet Auction for the Lord of the Rings Convention.

There are two places available at each of the official tables at the banquet:

Table 1: Craig Parker, Bruce Hopkins, John Noble
Table 2: Sarah McLeod, David Weatherby and Ben Wootten

- Please note: No cameras are permitted at the banquet, however a
photographer will be available to take photos of you with the guests at
your table, and copies of these will be available on Sunday (2 free 5*7"
prints)

- Bidders must already be attending the convention during the weekend and
have a ticket for the banquet. If you have not booked yet for either,
please do so when you make your first bid.

- The winning bids will be payable immediately the auction ends.

- You may bid for either table, or both (of course you can only sit at one
on the night, so be prepared to choose!!).

- If you want to bid for seats for both yourself and a partner please tell me when you are placing two separate bids.

- Bids will be in Australian dollars. You can place a bid in your local
currency and in the reply accepting your bid we will tell you what that
means in aussie dollars (that way you know how much you are spending as
well as how it stacks up against other bids).

- All bidder details are private and will not be disclosed.

- When you place a bid, you will be added to our bidders email list. Each
evening Australian time we will email all bidders the current bids for each
table in order (but ONLY the bid amounts, no names or pseuodonyms - you
know what you bid so you'll know immediately how well your bid stacks up
against everyone else's). Note: you won't see this list unless you first
place a bid - we won't be spamming everyone.

- You may make as many bids as you like during the auction period.

- Bidding shall start on Monday sept 1st September and cease at the end of Monday Sept 8th September, Australian Time. The final bidders list will be emailed as usual, and the top two bids for each table will be the winners.

- If a place is tied, the people concerned will be allowed to make ONE
FINAL bid to separate them.

- The judgement of BOBW regarding the winners is final, no correspondence
will be entered into.

Talk to you soon,

Adele

Best of Both Worlds SF Convention
Tehanu @ 8:07 pm EST

News from BOBW in Australia. Adele writes: "As most of you would know, Brad Dourif cannot join us as he will be filming, we look forward to his company at our next LOTR event. "We were very lucky and were able to secure David Weatherley & Ben Wootten to complete our line up for our first LOTR event."

So here goes:

The first Lord of the Rings Australian convention
Bruce Hopkins aka Gamling,
Guardian of Helm's Deep ( Two towers)

Sarah McLeod aka Rosie Cotton

Craig Parker aka Haldir,
Guardian of Lothlorien

David Weatherley aka Barliman Butterbur
Innkeeper of The Prancing Pony

Ben Wootten one of the Senior Designer
WETA WORKSHOP LTD

Dates: Sept. 20 & 21, 2003

Venue: Rydges Lakeside Hotel, London Circuit, Canberra City

The costing for the LOTR events is as follows:,

1) Basic passes:
cost $135.00 per person per day, may not be eligible for autographs

2) Gold passes cover the following:
cost AUD $190.00 per person per day
rows 8th to 12th seating, autographs are guaranteed, however we cannot
guarantee professional photo availability.

3) VIP tickets cover the following:
cost AUD$250.00 per person per day guaranteed 3 to 7th row seating,
included is 1 professional photo with 1 guest , the ability to have a photo taken
with the other guests, and of course autographs are available with the purchase
of official merchandise.
There are only 100 of these places available.

Cocktail party / banquet, and wrap party places are only available to convention
attendees and cost as follows:

1) Cocktail party place $55.00 pp
2) Banquet place $75.00 pp
3) Wrap party place $55.00 pp

Accommodation rates:

1) Single / double / queen size rooms @ $120.00 per room per night,
2) Upgrades at $40.00 per night extra, namely $160.00 per room per night.

Adele & Brian

BOBW

Best Of Both Worlds Sci-Fi Conventions

E-Mail: alc@bobw.com.au

Phone: +612 6259 1619 Fax: +612 6258 0319

Mail: PO Box 960 BELCONNEN ACT 2617 Australia

LOTR Reading Marathon in Cleveland
Xoanon @ 7:55 pm EST

We're very excited to let you know about our current plans for the upcoming 3rd ANNUAL J.R.R. TOLKIEN'S "LORD OF THE RINGS" MARATHON READING CELEBRATION @ Cleveland State University's historic MATHER MANSION, 2605 Euclid Ave, November 20-22, 2003, in Cleveland, Ohio. This event is a cooperative effort between The EDGE: Lutheran Campus Ministry & Art Gallery and the Cleveland State University English Department. All events are FREE and open to the public.

Anything you could do to publicize the event on your site, to encourage people to be involved, would be greatly appreciated.

We would love to have viewers of your website who could make it to Cleveland, Ohio, to be involved in this event, to attend the workshops and/or be readers in the Marathon Reading itself, or just come and listen.

If you have any questions or comments about this event, please don't hesitate to email us or visit our website at www.csuohio.edu/lotr/

We will be reading "The Return of the King" this year. In addition to the Marathon Reading itself, we also have four Workshops, a keynote lecture, the DVD movie version of "The Two Towers," a Reception, several drawings in which we give away over $2,000 worth of books and related "Lord of the Rings" merchandise (donated graciously from Houghton Mifflin and New Line Cinema). We also have a Walden Books booktable at all the events with all sorts of interesting books and related Tolkien merchandise available for sale.

This LOTR Reading Celebration promises to be the best one yet. We've got a FANTASTIC LINEUP of Presenters for our Workshops and Keynote Lecture!!!!!!!!

We've got Tom Shippey coming and Joseph Pearce as well. They are incredible Tolkien Scholars. Shippey is the foremost Tolkien scholar around these days.

Our Celebration is an inter-generational event with people ranging from college students and faculty, to high school and elementary children, to other interested adults, local authors, actors, etc..., all from our Northeast Ohio area.

Below is the Schedule of events for the 3rd ANNUAL J.R.R. TOLKIEN'S "LORD OF THE RINGS" MARATHON READING CELEBRATION. Attached is the Flyer as a Word Document about the event that could be posted on your site. We also have a current Brochure which can be mailed to you that has ALL THE DETAILS that the Flyer does not.

Peace and blessings,

Pastor Gordon

The EDGE: Lutheran Campus Ministry at CSU & Art Gallery

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20: 4 WORKSHOPS

6 - 7:30 PM:

1) "The Lord of the Rings" on the Screen: Does it Work? (Prof Bruce Beatie, CSU)

2) Tolkien and Wagner: The Two Rings (Prof Ed Haymes, CSU)

7:45 - 9:15 PM:

3) Tolkien: Truth & Myth (Prof Joseph Pearce, Ave Maria College)

4) Trees, Chainsaws, and Visions of Paradise in Tolkien (Prof Tom Shippey, Saint Louis Univ)

FRIDAY, NOV 21: THE MOVIE

12 NOON - 3:30 PM

A Special Edition DVD extended version of "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"

FRIDAY, NOV 21: MARATHON READING RECEPTION

6 - 7 PM:

Free Food, Refreshments, Live Music, Mt. Doom Cupcakes, Raffle for GREAT PRIZES, as we gather for the Keynote Speaker & Marathon Reading of "The Return of the King"


FRIDAY, NOV 21: KEYNOTE LECTURE

7 - 8:30 PM:

J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Prof Tom Shippey, Saint Louis Univ)

FRIDAY, NOV 21 - SATURDAY, NOV 22: MARATHON READING

9 PM: The MARATHON READING of "The Return of the King" will begin and conclude 1 PM on Saturday.

FREE ADMISSION FOR ALL EVENTS: (Registration required for workshops and to read). Lots of FREE Prizes! Call 216-241-7120 to register, or visit www.csuohio.edu/lotr/

8-28-03 Latest News

'TORNsibs' Donations Needed!
Xoanon @ 11:38 am EST

Wellington Embassy Theatre

Peter Jackson's Wellington Embassy Theatre needs your help! They are currently going through massive renovations and are accepting donations! For your donation (depnding on the amount you give) you are given a seat in the cinema with your name on it for a DECADE. I personally have my own seat, as do most of the actors in LOTR. TheOneRing.net herself is buying a seat, but WhiteAslan and other members of the TORN Message Boards wanted to do something as well. They decided to buy a 'Platinum Seat', the last one available. Take a look at her story.

WhiteAslan writes: The Trust is going to give the last Platinum seat to us, the TORNsibs. We've decided to have "Discussion Board Members@TheOneRing.net" s the name on it. As I'm sure you know, the seat cost over $1000. Right, now I've only collected $370.

I'm expecting more donations through snail mail but they are coming slower than I expected. The PayPal account is TORNado_chair@excite.com. I'm asking those people who'd rather send their doantion through snail mail to send me an email here (WhiteAslan@netscape.net) and I'll send them my mailing address. If you could help, that would be great.

8-27-03 Latest News

Germany's Cinema Magazine Translation!
Xoanon @ 1:27 pm EST

A BIG thank you goes out to Jens for translating this portion of Germany's Cinema Magazine. We posted the articles a little while ago, however the text was all in German. This small portion is Ian McKellen's letter.

Even thought the principal shooting for the ĄLord of the Ringsď-trilogy wrapped in December 2000, the actors still return to Middle-Earth every year to film new scenes. This is the case now, too, in June 2003.

About 6 months before itís World premiere in Wellington on the 1st of December, we find ourselves in the Stone Street Studios and film more material for the third and last part of the saga: ĄThe Return of the Kingď.

With these new scenes Peter Jackson wants to raise the drama of the story even more, will make it even more obvious for the audience what is on stake the nearer the ring-bearer is coming Mount Doom. Will he make it? And will Frodo throw the Ring into the fire? What are Gollumís plans? Will Minas Tirith and the troops of Gondor withstand Sauron's Orc hordes? What will happen with Saruman, what with Aragorn? What will become of Merry and Pippin? Will Sam stay true as always? And Gandalf?

Arriving at the studio my first way leads me to my dressing room. My only hope is, that my size has changed only slightly since I ended my life-long affair with cigarettes last year. My costume has to be widened a bit and I am afraid that I wonít escape a diet.

The atmosphere at the set is slightly tense. The end is near. Some of the actors had their last day of filming and are now returning home. Today itís Bernard Hill. The Crew presented him videotape with his out-takes. Yesterday Miranda Otto left for home with her sword as a souvenir. The sense of farewell has even reached the technicians who will keep working until October.

Everywhere on the studio lot I stumble over remains of Middle-Earth. Here are parts of Minas Tirith, over there are the battlefields of Pelennor.

I film a scene in the Golden Hall of King Theoden, together with Aragorn, AKA Viggo Mortensen. Itís his last day, too.

I have to say some sentences that will be fitted into old material that was filmed two years ago, which I didnít even remember that it exists. Peter Jackson is in the same situation but he has a portable VCR, which helps him to bring it back into his memory.

In the end he shows us actors the film in his own little cinema. Itís only a first edit, without special effects, music and roughly cut. But even from this very first version I can assure you, this movie will be the best of the whole trilogy. Heart-breaking scenes are followed by epic battle-paintings. Elijah Wood and all the other hobbits deliver wonderful performances. I watch the movie with writer Philippa Boyens who explains to me, where my scenes will be add in and that I have 10 days of filming in front of me. After this they surely can make might trousers tighter again.

Wizard wishes
Ian McKellen

8-26-03 Latest News

'Tales Before Tolkien' Out Today
Xoanon @ 8:40 pm EST

Doug Anderson writes: Today is the official publication day for my new anthology, TALES BEFORE TOLKIEN: THE ROOTS OF MODERN FANTASY. It is being published by Ballantine Books simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback. The idea of the anthology was to collect a number of rare fantasy stories that directly influenced Tolkien, along with other stories to show what the genre was like before THE HOBBIT was published in 1937.

Here's the listing of the full contents: