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January 10, 2000 - January 21, 2000


Media Watch: BBC TV
Xoanon @ 08:36 EST
Xoanon here, seems that NZ TV3 footage is doing the rounds, check back here soon for a computerized version!

Just this minute finished watching the BBC News 24 entertainment news show "Zero 30" The had about a 50 or so second long article on LOTR...the V.O. was just your basic "Filming got underway...expected to take 10 months" etc etc...but the pictures were something really special...actual footage from the Helms Deep set...a few arty shots of it shiloetted against the setting sun plus shots of the on site constuction, lorrys driving in and out of the set (which is so huge it dwarfs them). Plus shots of the set itself...some from a distance, very similar to the ones already your site...and also some from VERY close up revealing the exact look of Helms Deep...wow..it looks good, dark and forboding...the brickwork is a very very dark green (moss covered prosumably) and looks deeply weathered...it really looks as if it has withstanded years of battles and bad weather, and it does look like a very strong fort.

The main shot was directly front on, there was a large archway entrance in the wall and you could see a turret just off to one side. Then there was a slight angled shot and you could see the scaffolding that was holding it up (and theres a lot of it...it really is BIG!!) The look and the colour of it really add to the feel that it's part of the landscape, ie it wouldn't look out of place if you stumbled accros it in a forgotten valley somewhere. I would guess its an indicator into the overall dark look that PJ is going for...and if all this is just for Helms Deep then I'd be willing to bet that Orthanc will look REALLY scary!!

Thanks to Matt for the tip!


Boromir's Death Scene?
Tehanu @ 13:49 EST
One LOTR fan got a bit of a bonus to their NZ holiday when they got a glimpse of what they believe to be working or test shots for LOTR...they just happened to be around at the same time that Wingnut were picking up the prints.
My correspondent didn't think he was seeing Mortensen or Bean, but two stand-ins posing for a test shot thus:
"One shot showed 'Aragorn' standing against a tree in what is probably fairly old forest, possibly a native beech wood. The undergrowth is fairly light, but there are many fallen, moss-covered logs, just like in mature beech woods I have been through here." (the forest round Paradise looks like that, the deer have been through and eaten out the undergrowth - Tehanu) "He is dressed in brown leather clothes that look worn and dirty but are finely detailed (perhaps including a weskit and a cloak). He has his hand on a broadsword with its point on the ground, and his head is bowed. The sword itself is very finely crafted, with dark rune-looking things all down the centre of the blade (which is basically black) and bright edges. (Doesn't one of the swordsmiths for LOTR specialise in patterned blades?)
Picture 2 shows 'Aragorn' stooping over 'Boromir', who is lying partially obscured by a moss-covered log, in a slightly inclined position with one all-black arrow sticking out of his chest (there may have been more arrows inhim or around - I doubt they'd get the 'pierced by many arrows' thing wrong, so this would have to be later in the scene when he is picking them out.
Both men have shoulder-length scraggly hair and I think some beard growth, both details commensurate with having been on a long, tiring journey from Lorien.
In any case, if these pictures are representative of a scene in TFOTR(which I stress they may not be), I give them a big thumbs-up for capturing the scene."
Thanks to B L S for that.


Watchful eyes in the hills above Helm's Deep
Tehanu @ 05:36 EST
This arrived in the mailbox today from somebody with a ringside seat of the developments at Dry Creek Quarry. He lives opposite.
"Sunday saw the first lot of rehearsing done. While all was quiet on the building front (first time in 4 months), around about 40 people, the leading extras I imagine, went through their paces. They spent around 3 hours around the "wall" near the top of the quarry, doing what? I couldn't quite work that out. Then they jumped in about 6 white vans and went down to the base of the quarry. There they each had a long jousting type spear. About four times the height of themselves, 5 metres long! They looked to be in some type of formation on a large ramp. They marched up it and lowered their spears from an upright position to a horizontal position as they went. Back and forth for 30mins. In the vans and off again towards Wellington.
Today is the day that the LOTR crew set up their business. They strolled onto the Helm's Deep set like an army of ants. Mega number of cars, vans, utes, trucks and cranes. The majority of cars are parked in the landfill site in Manor Park (well over a hundred now! I guess they belong to extras.)This afternoon, out came those temporary orange fences and barriers, more scaffolding and lighting rigs, not to mention the lights themselves. Also more marquee tents. The wall at the top of the quarry has seen a lot of action, heaps of equipment has been set up on both sides of the wall. Including some large ladder-type rigs placed into position (as I write) by crane against the side of the wall."
Many thanks to Martyn for that, who has a pretty enviable address for the next few months.
Another local has sent word that residents in nearby Manor Park have been given notices in their mailboxes concerning the Helm's Deep set; it seems that filming is set to start Monday night, 17/01/00
Apparently it was to be kept hush hush.
Hmmmmm, I'm trying to figure out the psychology of that.

Hobbiton explosions?
Tehanu @ 05:12 EST
A local has written to say that she can hear 'lots of popping explosions' coming from the direction of the Hobbiton set, not far off over the hills. "I've NEVER heard these noises before so it can't be from the quarry where explosions usually occur."
She also cleared up something that had been bothering me: we know filming is starting up in Hobbiton this week, but we heard from extras doing Hobbit work there at the end of last year. She said that before they were doing whole-picture, scene-setting shots. The detailed work will start now.


Paranoia sets in.....
Tehanu @ 21:36 EST
Tehanu gets Notice\?\?!

A big grumpy guy knocked on my door and delivered this trespass notice. I don't think he's used to seeing people burst out laughing when he shows up at their place. I've never been to this place (it's the Helm's Deep set)and the film company is very keen to make sure I never do! It's hard to tell whether they think they've seen me there. If somebody is out there impersonating me, keep this in mind - I have a heck of an alibi when I'm 650km away and working as a performer in front of hundreds of people.

Set Builder Speaks?
Xoanon @ 11:56 EST
The following should be taken as mere RUMOR, nothing more.

(BathTub) XXXX, hows work?

(XXXX) hard work, but interesting, finished yesturday,
(BathTub) wasn't long, what did you build?

(XXXX) the main thing working on was a balista, one set, one fired, other than that, I helped make, desks, chests, a table, 2 of everything (furnature that is) one human size, one half that,

(BathTub) can I ask you a few more questions?
(BathTub) did you build 2 ballista?

(XXXX) yup, huge things too,

(BathTub) what did you mean one set, one fired?

(XXXX) yup, one like all set up to fire, then one fired, they are computer animating the rest,

(BathTub) oh ok
(BathTu) cool

(XXXX) yup,

(BathTub) ooooh so one was built so that it looked like it had fired?

(XXXX) exactly :-)

(BathTub) any other interesting points of note?

(XXXX) Ammm, not really, I was just a temp really, never got to see much good stuff,

(BathTub) thanks XXXX

(XXXX) anytime,

(BathTub) oh how big would those ballista be?

(XXXX) amm, full size, like a station wagon size?

(BathTub) ok cool thanks

* BathTub wasn't really sure how big a ballista would be

(XXXX) hehe, glad I could be of service


Kotukunui reports on the Hobbiton Set
Tehanu @ 12:18 EST
I got mail from our friend with the plane:
"...I went flying this morning (Saturday) and as I was passing near the area of the Hinuera set, I thought I'd have a quick look-see. Well, an army was gathering all right. About a dozen flash-looking "trailers" were pulled up in a seperate parking area, ready for VIP's to relax in. A battalion of set dressers were out watering the grass and generally putting the final touches on to the set. There were all these strange-shaped marquees erected everywhere. I'm not sure whether they are part of the set or just strategic sunshades for camera positions. It's been quite dry here and I thought that the grass might be browning off, but it's amazing what you can do with water trucks. Unfortunately I was not carrying my camera, (or for that matter another pilot to hold the plane straight....)
However there was a report in the Waikato Times that filming will start on Monday (16th Jan). From the level of activity on the site, it would seem that this is good gen. and I don't want to annoy the crew by making overflights while they are trying to shoot."


Sssssmokin! UPDATED!
Xoanon @ 21:52 EST
Lol, Beau from fingolfin.com sent me this hilarious pic from Now Magazine. Some of you folks may be upset at the 'look' of the Nazgul faces here, simply 2 guys with shoe polish, let me assure you that these are only used for wide shots, there will be much more makeup involved for closeup shots.


My good friends at Scoop passed along the news about these images from an unknown source!

Click here to check out Scoop!


Helm's Deep: Ready, Steady, Go!
Tehanu @ 21:42 EST
Here's a report from a local observer:
"Over the last four days a lot of tents have been erected below the Helm's Deep set. I believe it is not long til they arrive with all their equipment. The tent city is situated on a small landfill off Benmore Ave. in Manor Park. There are a couple of hire trucks that have brought in the gear, wooden floors, tables & chairs etc.
At the Helms set there has been a hive of activity. Lots of people up there, more than usual. It all looks very impressive as things seem to have stepped up a gear. I live on the hill opposite the set....where I am able to see what is happening daily....
So if the filming at Harcourt Park was anything to go by, the next month is going to go off!"

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