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February 26, 2003 - March 17, 2003


Possible ROTK Spoiler?
Xoanon @ 6:39 pm EST
gruffy the elf writes: In the most recent issue of the LOTR Fan Club Official Movie Magazine (Issue #7, Feb-March, 2003), there is an interview with Daniel Reeve, a (the?) calligrapher for the movies.

When asked about how he went about creating Bilbo's journal, he talks a bit about training Ian Holm to do his "Concerning Hobbits" bit at the beginning of the FOTR extended DVD. He goes on to say,

"..., I had to train Elijah to write with his quill, too, and do his little bit in the journal."

Does this give us a little insight as to what events might appear at the end of ROTK?

More Info On ROTK Trailer In May?
Xoanon @ 1:08 pm EST
Recently Ain't-it-cool-news ran a story quoting PJ as stating that there MAY be a POSSIBLE ROTK trailer out in the month of May. Missy sends this along to add a little more fuel to the fire:

Thought I would drop you a line, I work at a movie theater and we get these magizines every couple of weeks the newest one listed the ROTK trailer was going to be sent out in may along with a one sheet to promote the movie (a one sheet is a poster just printed on one side not both like a movie poster or a teaser poster).


TTT DVD Complete?
Xoanon @ 5:06 pm EST
msilverstar sends along this small bit of VERY interesting information in regards to the design and interface creation portion of the TTT DVD's are complete down in NZ. What does this mean in plain english?

When the FOTR:EE DVD was in the works the folks making the DVD headed down to NZ and had WETA re-create Bilbo's desk to shoot some live action sequences of book turning and so on. It seems the same idea is being used for the TTT, and that process has apparently been completed:

I have a friend who knows people went to New Zealand to work on the Two Tower DVDs, and she says they're finished already. She thinks that the extended edition is done as well.

Also good news is that they are trying to do the internationalization as part of the process, so everyone all over the world should get the DVDs at the same time.


Sauron RoTK shots?
Arathorn @ 12:03 am EST
Rumour and debate has abounded recently on just how many shots from TTT:EX and RoTK may already have been flashed in front of our noses, in the form of the rapid-fire montages that make up the FoTR and TTT trailers. Ringer Spy Raggo mentioned in Barliman's tonight the possibility that the venerable near-subliminal shots of Sauron wielding his mace in the first major FoTR trailer which we analysed back in the day - might in fact be an unintentional preview of RoTK goodness. Specifically, the bright blue sky doesn't look particularly Mordoresque.

But on closer inspection, going through the footage of The Last Alliance in the FoTR Prologue (in the theatrical cut) reveals precisely the same shot...

...but now, with all-important digital colour correction applied; transforming a sunny day somewhere in New Zealand into the darkest shadows of Mordor. So the conclusion to be reached is, alas, that we have no better idea as to the nature of Sauron's corporeal form (if any) in RoTK than we've ever had, since the original "20 Questions with PJ" AICN interview back in August 1998:
We still don't have a definitive answer. The Sauron of the books is sketchy at best, which makes it hard to turn him into a screen villain to carry 3 movies. Imagine not really seeing Darth Vader for all 3 Star Wars films. You just can't do it.

We obviously have Sauron's various emissaries to represent him, but just how Sauron himself appears is still a puzzle we are trying to solve. I agree that you can't reduce him to being a big guy striding around in black armour - but he cannot be limited to a flaming eye either. It's tough. We'll keep working on it.


Demosthenes did some digging around and found two key reports from almost precisely 2 years ago, courtesy of Ringer Spy Sylvesterpasemester by way of Tehanu, which describes how when working as extras on the set, they 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..." [More] (N.B. the updated report then reappraises this figure to EIGHT smaller guys). Now, there is obviously the chance that this was an abandoned shot from the FoTR Prologue - but the mention of "Around him there lay tons of dead human bodies and a great corps[?]" hints perhaps even at the infamous RoTK Oliphaunt Set? We sure didn't see this in FoTR, though...

And further revelations about the extent of Sauron's appearance in the films were made by Philippa Boyens herself in Creative Screenwriting Magazine as discovered by Ringer Spy Hunter - specifically the top of the third column on this page. And in the same story, Sylvesterpasemester updated his original report - giving details of the armour of the troops on set. But is it the Last Alliance (complete with Nazguls who never made it to the final cuts) - or the Last Battle before the Black Gate of Mordor? Decide for yourselves... [More]


ROTK Trailer Description?
Calisuri @ 4:14 pm EST
So we all know that the ROTK trailer is not out, nor will it be out for a little while...or will it? Check out this email from Ringer Spy Mr. Sieve. Mr. Sieve was at a convention in Chicago over the weekend and stumbled across a booth with the ROTK trailer. Take it as you will. We can neither confirm nor deny this is factual. (But thats the nature of spy reports eh?!)

I was at a Halloween costume & party convention over the weekend in Chicago, and in one of the booths, selling lotr costumes and accessories, the guy running the booth had a copy of the ROTK trailer. I don't know where he got it -- I didn't ask and he didn't say, but let me tell you ... it was AWESOME!!! ... Narsil was reforged, Eomer wept with Theoden in his arms on the pelennor fields, pippin lunged and pulled faramir off the funeral pyre, sam went after something (shelob assuredly, but they showed nothing of her) with the phial of galadriel, grima drew a dagger and leapt at someone .... those were just the highlights ... i'll attempt to go through it shot for shot as best i can remember .... it opened with armies charging across plains, then cut to gandalf in theoden's hall at edoras telling aragorn, gimli, and legolas that they are running out of time ... oh hell, i don't remember the exact order now, but they do show the halls of the dead (a bunch of skulls lying on the floor in a dungeon looking set), they show aragorn riding at the head of an army with the white tree emblazened on his breast plate, they show eowyn and faramir in the garden in gondor embracing, sam crying out to frodo that "can't you see? He's betrayed us!", but the coolest thing of all is SAURON COMES BACK IN PHYSICAL FORM ... unless it was some weird flashback, which I doubt, in the final battle before the black gates, Sauron is back, decked out in the same armor he was wearing in the flashback sequence in FOTR, and he goes after Aragorn -- so it would seem ... Sauron is bashing his way through, they cut to Aragorn fighting off a bunch of orcs, they cut back to a shot of Sauron, and they cut to a shot of Legolas, shouting Aragorn's name, as if to say, "Hey Aragorn, look out, there's a huge %$^#$^&^ with a mace about to pound your skull in!" .... all in all, the trailer was about two minutes long and showed a lot -- but my memory isn't what it used to be ... just thought I'd let you all know that there is complete ROTK in circulation ... again, I have no idea where this guy got it, but I'm kicking myself now for not giving him like twenty bucks, and asking him to dub a copy and mail it to me .... if I can sort out anymore of it in my muddled mind, I will let you know ...

Thanks Mr. Sieve for the heads up!

Want to discuss this report? Sauron in physical form?! Head to our chat room in Barlimans right now!


PJ's mansion in the Wairarapa
Tehanu @ 5:27 am EST
News from Frodine: "I've just returned from Masterton, my home town. I took my 82 year old dad (the oldest "onering" fan?) and friend out to see PJ's country house. It is a fantastic looking mansion with turrets and towers and enormous brick walls and iron gates at the entrance. Oh the excitement of it all wondering if PJ himself might come along! Well there was no sign of the Great One but a guy did come to the gate to pick up the newspaper and he answered our many , excited questions. Yes he did work there as property manager but wasn't at liberty to divulge his name (I did recognise him from school. However his secret is safe with me !!!) I said I was a "onering " fan and intended to send back a spy report. He looked a little worried but must have decided we were all too old to be a serious threat . We exchanged pleasantries about the size of the house and the many builders working there; the lovely home that he had, (that had been shifted from Masterton) and the numerous fans that he had spoken to.
My most burning question however was ---"Has anything been changed in "Return Of The King?"
"I doubt it'" he said, shaking his head.
There you have it from an authoritative source!!!! We can now all sleep in peace! [I bet he's well schooled how NOT to answer the curious fans - Tehanu]
I have sent a link to the local newspaper that has printed a splendid aerial shot of the house." [More]


Elijah Wood, Sean Astin News.
Tehanu @ 11:26 pm EST
Celebrimbor writes about a film project that Elijah Wood is part of: "Last Saturday (March 1st) I attended an open casting call for extras for a new movie starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett. What I didn't realize is that Elijah Wood has a part in it. I assume not a leading role, as he wasn't listed as a star in the article i read about it in the newspaper. The movie is "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Celebrimbor was told he'd got in as an extra, so hopefully we'll hear more from on the set later on.

Meaghan transcribed this interview with Sean Astin in People Magazine:

The Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin, 32, visited the White House recently to join the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, a 25-member group that will encourage volunteerism in all 50 states and, perhaps, Middle Earth. Scoop inquired about the gig.

"How were you picked ?"

"I was at a memorial service for 9/11 at the Pentagon (last year), sitting next to a lady who worked in the White House Personnel Office. She said the President was about to announce a panel on service and asked if I'd be interested. I said "I'm a Democrat !" She said, "It's bipartisan." No problem; I'm proud to serve."

"What happend next ?"

"In January I had a meeting in the White House. It was pretty cool sitting opposite former Sens. Bob Dole and John Glenn and (former Washington Redskin) Darrell Green."

"Did you get any souvenirs from the White House ?"

"The service pin they gave us to wear. I got some White House M&Ms, but I can't find them. I menu from the White House mess."

"So how are you going to get people to volunteer ?"

"President Kennedy said, "Ask not what you country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Just remind people of that."

"What will you do ?"

"My daughter, wife, and I are trying to figure out something we can do together, maybe work at a soup kitchen."

"Do you recall the first time that you volunteered ?"

"My mom and dad (Patty Duke and John Astin)would host a New York portion of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. I was about 7. My brothers and I would answer phones and take pledges, do pitches for people to send money."

"Would you consider Lord of the Rings's Samwise Gamgee as being a volunteer for Middle-Earth ?"


Karon wrote to tell us that Billy Boyd will be appearing at a signing in the UK for something called CollectorMania in May. [More]


World News: New Zealand,Japan, Sweden
Tehanu @ 4:39 am EST
New Zealand: ArwenElf sends news of the preparations for the world premiere of ROTK in Wellington. [More]
Remember if you are planning to be in NZ for this, TORNado Phil Capper is trying to coordinate a network of homestays among local LOTR fans in Wellington. Email phillip.capper@webresearch.co.nz if you are interested in helping or benefiting from this.

Also in NZ: First captioned screenings in Australasia for the hearing impaired. [More]

Japan: Bruce sends in this from the Japan Times: "AOL Time Warner Inc.'s second movie of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy generated more than 1.1 billion yen (about US$9.2 million) in ticket sales in Japan on the first weekend of its release. The figures for "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" exceeded those for the opening weekend of the first movie in the series, Toru Tanabe, a spokesman for Nippon Herald Films Inc., on of the film's local distributors, said Monday, although her couldn't immediately provide a percentage comparison."

Sweden: Martin writes in on the new Swedish translations of Tolkiens work, long overdue it seems:

"I noticed you had some news on the new Swedish translation, the first volume of which will appear next year, so I thought I'd say something about the translation (by Professor Ňke Ohlmarks) that we Swedes have had to live with for the past 43 years.

"There is a reason why the Swedish translation is the only one singled out for condemnation in Humphrey Carpenter's Tolkien biography, and Tolkien's own criticism (in "The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien") is completely justified. I might even go so far as saying that it is the worst translation in the history of the Swedish language. Here are some random errors (there are thousands) that Professor Ohlmarks have perpetrated (All quotes from the English text are actually paraphrases, since I don't have the text available at the moment):

-- "Most of these bore the mark of DALE" becomes "Most of these were called bow-drones" (whatever that is)
-- "Shelob's Lair" becomes "the She-Monster's Thigh" (probably because the Swedish word for "thigh" bears an extremely superficial resemblance to "lair")
-- "...when the Firstborn roamed the forest" becomes "...when the Firstborn One bellowed in the forest" (again because of an extremely superficial resemblance between "roam" and the Swedish word for "bellow")
-- "He stopped dead" becomes "He had stopped death"
-- "gear" becomes "spear"
-- in …owyn and Merry's battle with the Witch-king, two pronouns have been changed, making it appear that it was Merry who cut off the Witch-king's head (this error has been corrected, but as late as 1989)
-- "What has happened to your precious NazgŻl? Had another mount shot under him?" becomes "What has happened to your precious NazgŻl? Landed on another mountain?"

Also, names have been extremely inconsistently translated. Within the space of four pages, Isengard is "Isengard", "Isendor", and "Isendal".

And Tolkien's style has been severely changed as well. Ohlmarks has added thousands of words, ruining Tolkien's prose.

So as you can understand, the readers in Sweden applaud the decision to create a new translation."

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