Go back to Spy Reports Archives

February 26, 2001 - March 16, 2001


Sauron - Yep, he appears TWICE
Tehanu @ 8:12 pm EST
Lots of great news came in. Or news, whether great or not is up to your point of view.

Firstly, I can't thank Hunter enough for telling us about his recent interview with LOTR scriptwriter Philippa Boyens. He wrote to say:

"Just thought you'd like to know regarding these Sauron speculations that there is an interview in my latest editiuon of Creative Screenwiting (Vol.8 No.2) with Philoppa Boyens who states therein that she has written two scenes in which Sauron appears.

I quote from page 6 "Speaking of Sauron, Boyens says the Dark Wizard manifests in three ways only: the Eye, the Dark Tower, and the ring which he created. "He never assumes phsical appearance in the books except when the ring is cut from his finger. As screenwriters, we totally agree Sauron is far more fascinating as a force of evil than as an actual presence. What they can do now with digital imagery is amazing. The couple of moments when Sauron presents himself are incredible.""

The rest of the interview, albeit aimed at fellow screenwriters, is also extremely interesting."

Meanwhile, back to the question of Sauron or Morgoth either wearing spikes or carrying a hammer, Micahael Martinez over at Xenite was able to give us a link to the only known picture of Sauron by Tolkien. It's very impressionistic, and though it definitely seems to have a kind of spiked crown, there's no indication of armour. You can see the picture here Compare it to John Howe's picture of Morgoth that we featured yesterday and you can see that the spiked crown/helm was a theme that both artists felt comfortable with.

Now, as to our spy report from the set, there's been an update to that. There may have been only eight Ringwraiths present. Sylvesterpasemester continued his story today:

"First of all I must say that Im not sure whether there was nine or eight wraiths around this Sauron guy. My friend that was with me on the set says that there were eight of them and not nine as I told you in the previous report.

When me and my friend arrived to the set five minutes late a friendly guy leads us to some sort of a dressing area. Its us and about 75 guys getting our armour done. You could really feel strange vibes around us. The armour and weapons(wantttsssssssssss it)was really beautiful. There was three types of outfits. One group with armour looking like a mixture between a Roman legionaries and a good old fashion knight, just like I have pictured a gondorian warrior. Another group got armour that made them look like samurais, they also got some strange swords. The third group looked very much like the Rohan warriors weve seen pictures of. Some of the soldiers got makeup to make them look injured. I was not one of them.

Something very interesting regarding the "samurais" was that they had prosthetic pointy ears. Whether those were elves or knights from Dol Amroth I don't know.

The set was very nice! A pretty big field and this mega bluescreen. The field was covered with dead people and orcs. We were lined up and then a giant steps in. He's huge and has spiky armour and dark helmet, he looks very scary After him follows 8 or 9 mystic figures in a strange armour. Our assignment was to run in terror from this guy.

We did two times while two cameras was filming us. Then they did some closeup shoting with "Sauron" and 20 of the extras. Unfortunely I was not one of the lucky 20 extras. Then it started raining and we went home, Im not sure if Sauron was an actor but he did not get the armour done in the same place as us"

Hmm, that gives us all something to think about. Thanks, Sylvesterpasemester!

Want to know WHO will be at Cannes?
Xoanon @ 12:55 pm EST
Ringer Spy Ghost of Deagol sends in this article from a Danish newspaper which has a few more details on LOTR at Cannes!

On my way to work this morning, I missed the train, so I decided to grab a copy of the "BT" news paper to kill the time waiting for the next. Not a bad choice! There was a small article about LOTR and the Cannes Film Festival.

I didn't have time to scan it (and you wouldn't be able to understand it anyway :), so I've translated it here:

Lord of the Rings at the Cannes Film Festival

The yearly film festival in Cannes is always quite a circus. But this year it gets an extra edge. - Or 3, and a medieval touch into the bargain.

"The Lord of the Rings" has announced its arrival to the South French Riviera and will without doubt outshine any other event at the film festival. Thus, the company behind the movie has rented an entire castle outside Cannes and is planning to bring in pieces from the set in order to make the surroundings of the happening as perfect as possible.

Win a trip

The content is also being treated. 12 of the trilogy's main cast - among them Dane Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn, and film-babe Liv Tyler, ditto Cate Blanchet, and the experienced gentlemen Ian Holm (Bilbo), Christopher Lee (Saruman), and Ian McKellen (Gandalf) - arrive in company with director Peter Jackson in Cannes to promote the three movies.

One can only speculate about how much of the trilogy that will be shown. According to the official Lord of the Rings movie Web site - that offers the chance to win a trip to Cannes for the unique event - it will only be a secret "appetizer", that will surely raise the hype to new heights.

Already, the whole project is one of the most talked about on the Web's entertainment sites, where even the smallest of rumors is discussed in various chat rooms.

From the beginning, "Lord of the Rings" has been covered in a cloak of secrecy. The movie set in New Zealand, where all three movies have been shot, was completely closed to the public. And now the a bit of the excitement will be revealed in Cannes in two months.

The first movie of the trilogy opens December 19th.


Sauron Speculations
Tehanu @ 1:42 pm EST
Good fun opening the email this morning! Thanks to all of you who wrote in. Some of you pointed out that since there were NINE wringraiths surrounding Sauron, and there's only eight of them left by the end of LOTR, the scene that was reported to us is more likely to be from LOTR's pre-history - like The Battle of the Last Alliance. Joe wrotein to say that in Tolkien's own pictures of Sauron, he drew him with the spiked armour as described in the scene. On the other hand, Stevanos tells us "It looks like PJ (or whoever designed the costume) has based it on the description of Morgroth when he and Fingolfin duel it out in The Silmarillion. Morgroth's hammer was called Grond, the very weapon the Battering Ram at the Siege of Minas Tirith was named after: "The Hammer of the Underworld".

Jason told us about the John Howe painting that shows this spiked armour on Melkor. You can see it in Rolozo Tolkien, here

Thing is, who influenced who? Did Howe base his picture of Melkor on Tolkien's picture of Sauron? Did the designers for the film base their vision of Sauron on either of those? John Howe and Alan Lee are the conceptual artists for the film, after all.


We WILL see Sauron - or so it seems!
Tehanu @ 6:46 pm EST
Fantastic spy report from Sylvesterpasemester

"A few months ago me and my friend, was working as extras during the filming of some battlescenes. I have read the books twice and I am very certain that what I saw aint in the books. I saw a huge guy with black armour and a huge kind of battleaxe or a hammer, who was standing in the front of a giant bluescreen and there were nine, I repeat !!NINE!! smaller guys with crowns around him. .

There were some kind of spikes attached to the armour and his helmet. It all looked very scary. Around him there lay tons of dead human bodies and a great corps[?] The guy in the giant armour must have been SAURON!!!!!!!! Me, my friend and the rest of the 50 extras ran in terror from this Sauron guy while there was two cameras filming us. It took three takes until the filming crew had what they wanted. From what I have read Sauron never leaves Barad Dur, so this was a big surprise."

Now, a similar report came in months ago but in less detail, as it was what somebody saw who was passing by on another errand. This really seems to confirm that we will see Sauron. Given that the ancient history of the Ring is included in the movies, we could have guessed that we'd see Sauron at least when Isildur cut the Ring from his finger, but this latest news may mean we get to see him doing his thing at length. Could he even appear at the final battle before the fall of the Dark Tower? One clue will be: What armour were the extras wearing?


Another report from somebody who saw an 8-minute promo trailer
Tehanu @ 3:35 pm EST
I was in Munich for the past two days at the Alias/wavefront-usermeeting 2001. In the end we were shown a 8 minute long some sort of making-of of LOTR!!! Generally it was quite the same as the quicktime-movie that was released at the official site, but it was much longer with lot's of new stuff!

I will try to tell you some new things I remember and how I liked them:
overall the audience was stunned and the 8 minute preview was followed by applause!

One of the many things we saw were fight scenes which were totally computer generated (the fighters, not the backgroudn I think). They still didn't look finished but already very impressive.
I hope I remember this right but I think they do complete battle scenes totally computer generated.
They don't animate every single fighter but use techniques like for the bug-crowds in starship troopers or the baby-godzilla in the godzilla finale, but much more anticipated and detailed. they can give every object (fighter) skills and behavioral patterns. combined with the dynamic interaction of the cg-fighters I think we will see pictures and sequences we have never seen before.

I was really impressed by the pictures and the mentioned techniques.
Although the preview was quite technical, I also had the feeling that middle-earth is really out there now ;-) I don't think I had tears in my eyes, but there were some really emotional moments when seeing far too short scenes and pictures and thinking of the whole background and story of the book. I don't know how someone will like the movies if he hasn't read the books, but from my point of view there is something really great coming ;-)

Thanks to another keen spy for that!


News from the Battlefield
Tehanu @ 2:21 am EST
Some people have the greatest holidays! This is one Ringer fan's experience last year, and he just wrote to tell us about it:

"The reason I write you is that I was at the location when they filmed LotR. My character was a fighting human at the battlefield. I was just down there for about 5 days, but it was the greatest time of my life.

It wasnt actually something planned from our side that we (me and my friend) were about to take place in the film. We were on holiday, backpacker tourists in New Zealand, when we heard about the rumor that the Lord of the Rings film was being filmed just some miles from our hotel.

We also heard that they were looking for volunteer actors (male actors between 1.7-1.9 meters tall, who were looking for adventures), so we decided to apply. We were approved and about three days later the filming began!

I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings and I have read the book several times so this was really something great. We had a great time and also learned alot about acting.

One thing that amazed me about New Zealand was the rich variety in the nature and climate. All from beautiful mountains in the south to the greenland and the tropical forest in the north. All suited perfectly for The Lord of the Rings scenery.

The costumes that we wore were hard leather armour and helmets. We also had heavy 4 feet swords, and shields. In the beginning it wasnt really easy to maneuver in the heavy clothes but you got used to it. You learned a lot about maneuvering swords and take place in a fighting with swords and shields.

So after a lot of retakes, bruises, laughs, and sword fighting it was all done, and it was really the highlight of our journey...

I didnt actually meet Christopher Lee, but I heard the rumors that he was really great! All the people that had met him said that he was really friendly and that he helped a lot of the new beginner actors."

Thanks to the Ringer who sent us that!


Games Workshop Press Release
Calisuri @ 12:23 am EST
Thanks to Dengar for sending us this heads up:

"In the latest issue of Games Workshops monthly magazine White Dwarf (issue 255) i found this ad. It didn't contain any new info about the games, but the Saruman pic was cool. Unfortunatly the quality of the pic is quite bad."

Click the images to see larger versions:

\[ Click for Larger Version \]

\[ Click for Larger Version \]\[ Click for Larger Version \]

On january 30th, we learned that Games Workshop will be doing a table top game. See the press release for that announcement [here]


Elves or Men, Cont'd
Calisuri @ 9:44 am EST
The debate continues on whether Aragorn is charging along with elves or men in this Helm's Deep clip from the official teaser trailer. (page 5, first image)

\[ click for larger version \]

Here is some more fuel for the fire from Spy Tocata:

"Having been an elf at Helm's Deep, yes, those must be elves. They have the distinctly Elven swords (curved blade, long handle) we used, and are definitely wearing Elven battle armour, which is bloody painful I can tell you. I'm tall and gangly, and it was tight enough to keep me from breathing properly for the many days I was in it. Orcs are much more comfortable, as are Rohans & Gondorian Rangers. Elving sucks!"

So, from someone on the set, we get further confirmation Elves are at Helm's Deep.

Go back to Spy Reports Archives