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October 22, 2000 - November 05, 2000


Madame B foils the screens at Wingate.
Tehanu @ 5:25 am EST
Greetings friends it is I the beautiful regal spy Madame Butterfly.

My phone rang it was one of my fellow spies, Robbit The Hobbit. "Madame B, they have put a screen around the Wingate compound"! "It is a green windbreak material and covers the Wingate compound fence"! "One can just see through it, but not too well" :( I let out a string of vile curses at the shocking news!)
I know of a way of viewing the set clearly. I saddle up my black thoroughbred stallion, Diabolo and climb up into the saddle. We thunder up the firebreak and along the Hutt hills ridge track. I crouch low in the saddle my long dark hair and black robes flying in the wind. Heheeeeeeeee . Diabolo's mighty hooves pound the ground as I urge the stallion on. The news must reach the fans! We skid to a halt on the ridge above the Wingate compound, the home of the latest Lord Of The Rings Set. I look through my special viewing device and this is what I see:
Scaffolding is being built along the back of the compound. Concrete is being laid on the ground, around the back of the compound.
The set is going to be huge. It looks like it may almost fill the entire Wingate compound. No wonder they have screened the fence! Spoil sports.:(Interesting. Yes they have added a green substance to the castle walls, it looks like fake moss? This makes the castle look very old and very eerie. The black walls of the castle, look now to be a very dark grey. Giving the castle a somewhat evil look. I continue to view the set. Excavators are busy at work, moving large amounts of gravel around the front of the compound. Now I wonder what that is for? I zoom my viewing device in on the mysterious holes in the ground. I cannot figure out what they are for? Yes very interesting. Time to go and send the report to Tehanu!

Farewell friends

Madame Butterfly


More from Minas Tirith!
Xoanon @ 6:18 pm EST
Ringer Spy Silmarien sends in some great pics from the Upper Hutt set!

Madame Butterfly's Halloween update for Wingate
Tehanu @ 5:40 am EST
Greetings friends it is I the beautiful regal spy Madame Butterfly.

My phone rings. A mysterious voice says Go to Wingate Madame, the set is taking shape, but beware the builders are in a boisterous mood. I go into my disguise room to choose a new wig and colored contact lenses. Hmmmmm brunette again, or a red head perhaps. Hmmmmm yes the blond one, with the green contacts. Today I will be a beautiful green-eyed blond! HeHeHeeeeeeee. I call the poor unfortunate feline Lioness put her on her chain and in the car and we proceed to Peterkin Street, home of the Wingate Set. I proceed to view the set through my special observation equipment. Hmmmmmmmm yes indeed, very interesting. The set now looks like a ruined castle. Hmmmmmmmm it does not fit the description of Minas Tirith! Yes! Minas Morgul perhaps? The set is huge. A huge set of steps, or should I say stairs, have been added to the castle. The stairs are very wide, about 20 or so feet in width? The stairs have been constructed so a large tunnel forms underneath them. Suddenly lioness pulls on her chain and roars! The builders have become very boisterous and are approaching! Then a burly security guard appears! They huddle in a group and throw furious looks in my direction, but the spitting snarling creature at my side holds them at bay. HeHeHeeeeeeeee. I toss my long blond hair, gather up my dark robes, and roar with laughter, leaving the poor unfortunate creature to deal with the enemy. I proceed along the fence line to view the balcony on the front of the castle. The balcony is now broken and in ruins like the rest of the set. The castle is now being clad in a fake brick like material and is being painted black. Hmmmmm. Yes very interesting. I walk, with a bold stride, back along the fence line to view the mysterious holes in the ground. Yes indeed, I am sorry friends, but I am yet to work out what these holes are for.

Time to call off the cat! I whistle and the creature bounds into the car. I smile sweetly at the enemy and put my foot down disappearing into the distance. HeHeHeeeeeeee

Until next time my friends. Farewell!

Madame Butterfly


Celluloid Castle
Xoanon @ 1:29 pm EST
Ringer Spy Robbit the Hobbit sends in the latest from 'Wellington Reporter', very cool castle ruin pic!

This is a photo from the front page of last night's Evening Post. These 'ruins' are causing quite a bit of discussion. Since this photo was taken, the rest of arches and wall visible have been painted black. Could this be part of Minas Tirith, destroyed by fire? Or is it Minas Morgul? The rest of the set is made to look like old crumbling masonry. To the right of the arches in the photo are a couple of very large archways, one of which is in ruins. There is also a large set of steps about 8 metres wide, by 3 metres high. A tunnel runs under the steps. Behind the arches in the photo is a large domed stucture. In front of the large arches is a wall with arches similar to the ones in the photo. It appears that they are building streets within the set, so i would guess that if they are going to this much detail, this set will be used for some major scenes.

All about the set are parts of walls, arches, pillars, steps etc. Most of these appear to be recycled bits from other sets. There are a few holes in the ground about the set, and these are very curious. I wonder what they are for? By the looks of things, this set will be huge when it is finished. There is a huge blue screen behind the arches, and it is being extended to curve around the side of the set.

Kerish Reports In
Xoanon @ 1:18 pm EST
Ringer Spy Kerish reports in with more info on a set he/she/it has visited recently!

It appears its not to be a village that they are building but actually a castle! It looks pretty huge and that balcony that I spoke of a while back has been nicely damaged to give it that ruined effect. Strange really on what they're filming there. Did I mention the steps I saw them making 2 weeks back? no? ok They had some steps in constuction on the side of the set, about 6 foot high by about 5 or 6 meters in length, about 4 meters width. That has been completed and is fixed to the main set. The whole thing is now stretched over most of the site with the closed part (the steps) about 10 meters from the fence line. the blue screen has been stretched in a half circle at the only end thats visible now and has some odd looking paint marking across them (they look like really large bricks (perhapes an indication of what they intend to cover the screen with next?)They haven't finished the set yet, but I'll be up there in a few more days (hopefully with no builders about) so I may go in and take another nosey.

Take a look at the pics from Kerish's last report!


Be an Extra, get the Gear
Xoanon @ 7:49 pm EST
Ringer Spy John Doe sends along some nifty gear the LOTR extras are getting these days!

LOTR DVD Rating?
Xoanon @ 10:54 am EST
Ringer Spy Thorin sends in some news regarding the possible LOTR DVD release, and what rating it may get IF there is any added sticky bits. Thorin is in the know, yet still, take this as RUMOR with enough salt to kill an elephant.

I was chatting with you a month or so ago, and mentioned that I had heard of a DVD release version of LOTR- I did some checking up on it, and it does seem to be true! It has been said that the release will be R18 - due to somewhat graphic scenes (described by some of the actors as "Disturbing"). I am rather good friends with a couple of people who were involved in the production.


Spikey Wheel Question Answered!!!
Xoanon @ 11:56 am EST
Ringer Spy John Doe drops in again to spread some wisdom on that all important question, 'Who was that on the Spiked Wheel?' Well now we know!

Armed with a small clipping from a LOTR Call Sheet from August 17th, John let me take a peek at one of the shots they were planning for the day. One of them is described as:

'As Saruman turns on the wheel, the Palantir drops from his hand and into the water'

So now we know! That image is obviously a stunt double, they would not stick a 78 year old man upside down on a wheel for hours. Click on the image below to see the actual call sheet.


LOTR Dagger!
Xoanon @ 11:44 am EST
Ringer Spy EB sends in this great pic of a LOTR Dagger!!


I got this from a friend! I cannot say anymore, but it's a genuine LOTR Dagger!!


An extra speaks up.
Tehanu @ 3:41 pm EST

My 5 cents worth on the extra debate...

I worked as an extra for a day, last week on the set near Twizel. This was apparently the biggest shoot of the entire movie in terms of extra use. There were well over 400 of us there. A huge day.

I expected that if anything would go wrong, or if any of the rumoured ill-treatment was to surface, it would be on that day.

However, I was never given a reason to doubt the integrity of the crew. The whole thing went extraordinarily well. All of the extras were treated with the utmost respect, and all the supporting crew were extremely attentive to any needs. Safety and comfort were top priorities.

I talked to many of the other extras who had been involved for most of the shoot there. They only had very good things to say about their treatment, and all were delighted to have been involved.

I had a hoot. A fantastic day. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and consider myself very lucky to have had such a privileged insight into the project.

I was gob-smacked at the detail. For all of those people who harbour even the smallest doubts in what we will see - forget it. It's going to be fantastic!


Arfa wrote in again to add:

"Yeah, I was an Orc too. Loads of fun. All my childhood fantasies (well, one of them) come true. I didn't find my mask too bad, though it was a bit hard to hear at times.

We had a really warm day as well, but the crew made sure we were out of the masks as much as possible. There was even a photographer on set who took individual photo's of us in costume. They will be posting these out to us...but not for another 2 years!

This was totally unexpected, and totally unnecessary, but I think it shows that they do give a damn about the all of the people who are involved, and wanted to make everyone take away good memories of their time on the set.

I took time off work, but would have done it all for free, of course.

Feel free to publish what you want. I don't think I'm breaching any of my confidentiality agreement by saying what an awesome day we had."

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