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April 07, 2000 - May 05, 2000


A keen observer on the heights of Mordor watches shooting....
Tehanu @ 13:38 EST
Keen hiker and photographer Mighty Orc Hunter sent this in after spending so much time on Ruapehu that the security guards started to think he was part of the furniture:

"I've just spent several wonderful days trying not to get in the way of Guess Who and Co as they filmed around Mt Ruapehu. Got some great goss, and I'll hopefully have time later in the week to capture some video pictures of my Orc hunting adventures.

At the end of Easter the film folk were snowed out of Happy Valley (next to Iwikau Village at an altitude of 1630 metres) with snow even falling down at the Chateau Tongariro (aka Grand Chateau [ugh!]) in Whakapapa Village (at 1140 metres).
The low stuff melted pretty quickly, but with Happy Valley unusable they relocated the filming about a kilometre down the road to where there _wasn't_ any snow, but where they couldn't possibly escape the fans and bemused onlookers - they were filming RIGHT ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD below Iwikau Village.
And so the timing of the start of my expedition couldn't have been better. Hey, I even spoke with some bored "Gondorians" (who were actually from the NZ Army) while they were waiting for their turn to rush into battle.
The filming of 300 extras was against the biggest blue screen I have EVER seen or even imagined. Wow.

What I found particularly funny is that all the Men and Elves so enjoyed beating the tar out of the Orcs (and vice versa) that an air horn had to be used instead of yelling CUT just to get them to stop fighting. And sometimes they wouldn't stop even then. However I think one particular Elf should have stayed dead after tripping over an Orc then being stabbed by it, and not gotten up and started fighting again. (It wasn't long before the horn was blown, after all.)

Random Quotes:

"PJ is a pretty focussed guy" - Roadie answering a question from an inquisitive kid.

"Yeah, we're actually a unit." - Roadie upon realising he's being filmed.

"So they bought the company." - Unsubstantiated rumour. Apparently the amount they would have had to pay for marquee hire meant they just bought the whole darn marquee company. (Which is where they got the marquee that partially collapsed after all the snow fell on it... then had to darn the marquee. :-)

"Isn't this the same fabric that the Orc banners were made of in yesterday's shoot?" - Mighty Orc Hunter doing a ground sweep the day after the roadside shoot.

"I'm just about to enter Tirau. Where did you say that castle wa... Oh WOW!" - Mighty Orc Hunter talking on cellphone (with handsfree headset) while driving into Tirau (North Island, NZ), then spotting non-LotR-related castle.
(I've seen that one too - what IS it? - Tehanu)


Want to know WHAT they were filming yesterday?
Xoanon @ 10:38 EST
Ringer Spy Mixed-Doubles sends in news on what, where and with who the production was filming yesterday!

I've come across some news that will perk your day, I know what they were filming yesterday and the day before in NZ.

The scenes that were shot took place at the Rangipo Desert, at Tongariro National Park.

They were filming the Black Gates of Mordor scenes. All very intense and foreboading, I saw Aragorn stirring his army against tonns of Orcs.

I saw alot of cast members there, including:

Dominic Monaghan (Merry)
Billy Boyd (Pippin)
Ian McKellen (Gandalf)
Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)
Orlando Bloom (Legolas)
Karl Urban (Eomer)

I also saw many body doubles for most if not all the main characters. There were also extras, about 150 of them, some dressed as Rohan Soliders, some as Gondorian Soldiers. There were also many many Orcs there.

More news to come...


Urban IS Eomer!!!!
Xoanon @ 15:47 EST
TheOneRing.net learned from sources the actor who will play Eomer in LOTR! Here he is!

Karl Urban

TheOneRing.net learned of this info from sources close to the production that Kiwi actor Karl Urban will play Eomer, prince of Rohan and nephew of Theoden. Karl's name has been mentioned and seen, he will be on set, and in fact, he was on set today!

More info on Karl, thanks to the 'About Karl Urban' website.

Karl Urban is originally from Wellington, New Zealand, but lives in Auckland at this time. He's unmarried with no children, his birthday is 7 June 1972.

His first acting role was when he was 8 -- he had a line on a television show. He didn't act again until after high school. As he was preparing to attend Victoria University, he was offered a role in the NZ drama (soap opera) Shortland Street. After filming the show (an evening soap opera), he attended the university for one year, then left to pursue his acting career. He landed a number of roles in the theater in Wellington.

He moved to Auckland where a number of guest roles in NZ television followed. One of his first roles was that of a heroin addict in the drama Shark in the Park. He was in a movie as well, entitled Once in Chunuck Bair. Other television roles followed, including a guest starring role in the series White Fang.

Karl is, and has almost always been, very active. He worked on his aunt and uncle's farm for many years doing odd jobs. He's a proficient horseback rider, which served him well when he filmed a show called Riding High, a children's show about horses. In addition, Karl also enjoys surfing and indoor rock climbing. In fact, he sometimes goes rock climbing with Gabrielle herself, Renee O'Conner.

Click here to visit our Karl Urban cast page!

Small Production Tidbits
Xoanon @ 09:55 EST
Ringer Spy Synergist sends in some small tidbits of info regarding the action on and off the set at Tongariro:

The party that was shouted for all the crew while we were at Ruapahu, the bar tab came to $15,000.

The actors in your spy reports shoot, (here) I'm pretty sure are only extras, in fact i'm very sure I did some background fighting with one of them.

Hugo Weaving (Elrond) looks pretty scary, or terrible is a better word, not terrible bad but terribly frightening.

The last alliance elf costumes are far _far_ more comfortable then the helms deep elf costumes.


The Mirror of Galadriel
Xoanon @ 12:52 EST
The Mirror of Galadriel

Galadriel, our Koga Ninja Spy down in New Zealand, returns to the fold with more information from the LOTR production.

oh forgetful one,

it is I, Galadriel, back from the 5th dimension to bring you some more news on your 'Lord of the Rings' film.

I have just returned from climbing the slopes and valleys of Mount Fuji. I was on an errant mission to visit my old Sensei wise man who lives high in the mountainside.

I made my way into his chambers and proceeded to meditate for many days, in the long quiet darkness I felt my mind leave my body, it floated across the sea and back to New Zealand, it was searching...searching for someone...

...I entered the mind of a LOTR crewmember, thinking this may help in your task to find all information on the project. What I did find out was informative.

Filming of The Last Alliance at Tongariro National Park has been cut short due to the cold snap they've recently had. They had planned to stay for 4 more weeks but will only stay for another week. The filming went extreemly well and all of the needed shots were completed.

The team down at the Helms Deep set will be back in production soon, they'll be filming scenes such as the interior of the castle and some major battle scenes.

Meanwhile, at Stone Street Studios in Miramar they've just completed some super secret scenes there. Of these even I cannot divulge to you, as even my host body knew these are well hidden secrets.

My soul then drifted from the host and returned to me atop Mount Fuji, which is where I stayed in deep meditation for weeks longer.

Until next time,

Keep an eye open


The News from Scoop 1: Photos from Whakapapa
Xoanon @ 10:02 EST
The folks at Scoop sent along word of some great photo's they've gotten from Whakapapa, the set up in the ski hills at Tongariro National Park.

Click on each image to enlarge in our scrapbook

The News From Scoop 2: Early Snow Causes Problems For PJ
Xoanon @ 09:50 EST
From: Our great friends at Scoop.co.nz.

Ringswatch: A report from Whakapapa

The following report of recent happenings in the Ruapehu area - the site of the latest filming of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy - was sent to Scoop by a recent visitor to the area…

“Apparently the 700 crew have been filming last week (pre Easter) around Whakapapa. We went up to the skifield (top of the Bruce) and a lot of equipment, lighting rigs, cables, etcetera, were set up in Happy Valley skifield - at the time (Saturday), totally snowless, very rocky and misty, wonderfully atmospheric.

Lots of trucks and boxes (well metal sheds) labelled "tech", a big lighting unit up on the ridge overlooking the happy valley skifield (that ridge that goes steeply down into the valley beyond – if you know the skifield). Also a big lighting boom/crane thing that looked like it was able to be swung around with a big light set on the end.

Not a lot of people or security was seen, just some suspicious Wellington looking guy in a trench coat waving a polaroid. He wasn't saying anything. It kinda looked like there would be room to film mid range close-ups of people fighting, not panoramic, but body length, also room to pan down the skifield for charges etc.

At the entrance to the skifield, there were a lot more trucks and sheds including a large Marquee tent. On Tuesday morning the ski lodge owner where we were staying said that this Marquee tent was Weta's 300 person costume tent and had been snowed under during the night, and part of it had collapsed causing damage.

Also, he reckoned that it was going to stuff up the shooting schedule (....well thats unusual), as they were filming in areas that had no snow that were now covered (On Tuesday it snowed for several hours in the afternoon down to around 1000 feet I think, below Waitonga Falls, all the trees were covered, and everything was a bit dim, but extremely picturesque).

The walking areas were all carefully fenced (metal stakes and "hotsite" plastic tape), and adjacent scrubby areas were carefully covered with green garden netting to protect them. I guess a fairly active skifield is also a good way to get around some of these issues.

The lady at the Ohakune visistors centre said that they had been filming round Whakapapa that week, over Easter near Tukino and this week were moving round to film on the Turoa side of the mountain.

Mostly the discussion was on the attendant lack of accommodation, in that everything was booked out. Mostly everyone’s in motels though (especially film crew), not backpackers, though the ski lodge guy said that yeah they would put extras in places like this(one of the nicest backpackers I've been in), but even then they get there own room. Bloody Hollywood.

Furthermore at the Powderhorn – the hippest bar in Ohakune - they kept closing the hot pool bar at 6pm because the lady said they had "very important guests upstairs" and because the noise travels and they didn't want to disturb them. “


Last Alliance Extras!
Xoanon @ 12:18 EST

Two extras on ski-lifts, could this be Isildur and gil-galad?

From: DB

After some close inspection of Tehnau's latest set report, I've decided to focus in on these two extras, for more than to simply look the the amazing costumes.


Half A Year into Middle-earth
Xoanon @ 23:29 EST
Half A Year into Middle-earth.

April 11th marks 6 months to the day that principal photography began on Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In a record 14 to 18 months shoot, the kind of which has never been seen before, Peter Jackson and his team at Three Foot Six and WETA are embarking on a mission of un-precedented scope and vision, using technologies and talent not even seen in that Galaxy Far far Away.

Work for this film began months before anyone yelled action, with casting and pre-production in full swing down in New Zealand, a country whose rich diversity of flora and fauna cannot help but aid Jackson into turning parts it into Middle-earth.

The Story So Far..

Jackson and his team of over 1000 cast and crew are filming all three film concurrently, not consecutively which means that at any one moment they could be working on scene 47 of part three, and then move onto scene 3 of part one. A daunting task indeed, but with the help of many Spies and Insider reports we think we can piece together what has been filmed up to today:

Hobbiton: Filmed on a local's Kiwi farmland. This was the first place to be photographed and placed on the net. Filming took place there for a few weeks, and parts of it were later burned for filming certain scenes. The rest has been removed.

Bree: The first scenes to be filmed in the Trilogy were in and around Bree and The Prancing Pony Inn. Filmed on the military base at Fort Dorset, filming here took several nights and the use of 'watermakers' gave the illusion of a rainy night in Bree. This set has been destroyed.

Helms Deep: Filming continues at Helms Deep, located in the Hayward Hills quarry in Upper Hutt, This seems to be the center piece for all three films. Filming has been taking place at night and during the day. Epic battle scenes and stunt doubles have been reported.

Rivendell: Filmed deep inside Kaitoke Reserve, the exterior scenes for Rivendell were shot in a matter of days, and the set destroyed, and parts were moved indoors to film interior scenes.

Tongariro National Park: This will be the scene for 'The Last Alliance Between Elves and Men', the prologue to the entire Trilogy. As of April 11th, filming has yet to tart, but will include a large number of extras.

Miramar Chemical Factory: An abandoned chemical factory outside Miramar has been used to film some scenes, we are not yet certain.

Stone Street Studios: currently being used to film 'Blue-Screen' shots was also used for interior shots of Helms Deep and some marching Elves have been spotted in that area. We also know that scenes were filmed that consisted of Orthanc, Saruman's Tower.

Dramatis Personae:

The first day this film was brought to our attention, casting was always a major question. Who will play these characters of ours that we love and admire?

Aragorn: Viggo Mortensen - Initially cast by Stuart Townsend, Viggo quickly replaced the Irishman after only 3 days of filming. Viggo's casting news came to us on October 14, 1999; Stuart's departure was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Arwen - Liv Tyler - The daughter of infamous rocker Steven Tyler, Liv's natural beauty and grace seemed perfect for the part of Elf Arwen, some people had, and still do have problems with PJ's choice. Liv's casting announcement was on August 25, 1999, and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Bilbo Baggins - Ian Holm - The short, English thespian was also a perfect choice to play the aging Hobbit, Ian Holms casting announcement came on July 22, 1999.

Boromir - Sean Bean - Sean Bean, the Englishman who is most recognizable from is 'Sharpe' television series was my choice for Aragorn, but his casting as Boromir was a delight. Bean's casting news came on September 9, 1999.

Celeborn - Marton Csokas - Marton, a relative unknown to the rest of the world, has been cast as Celeborn, Marton's casting announcement was on March 11, 2000, and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Elrond - Hugo Weaving - Weaving, another relative newcomer, from Australia, Weaving is most recognizable as Agent Smith from 'The Matrix'. Weavings casting announcement came on February 29, 2000, and was a TheOneRing.net exclusive.

Eowyn - Miranda Otto - The character of Eowyn was long debated as possibly being cut, but when news came that Aussie Miranda Otto got the role, all fears were calmed. Miranda's casting announcement came on, February 24, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Faramir - David Wenham - Initially thought to be played by Ethan Hawke, David Wenham has snagged the role of Boromir's younger brother. David's casting news came on March 27, 2000.

Frodo Baggins - Elijah Wood - One, if not the first to be cast, was the ringbearer, Elijah Wood's wide-eyed look and general appearance makes him the perfect hobbit. Elijah Wood's casting news came on July 8, 1999.

Galadriel - Cate Blanchett - Australian born Cate Blanchett's natural beauty and elegance makes her the perfect role for Elf Galadriel, Cate's casting news came on July 22, 1999.

Gandalf - Ian McKellen - Long thought to be played by Sean Connery, the role of the old wizard Gandalf was snagged by English born thespian Sir Ian McKellen, his casting news came on July 22, 1999.

Gimli - John Rhys-Davies - Most recognizable from his 'Indiana Jones' films, John Rhys-Davies voice and stature make him the perfect Dwarf. John's casting announcement came on September 6, 1999.

Haldir - Craig Parker - Native Kiwi Craig Parker has snagged the short role of Haldir in LOTR. Craig's casting news came on October 20, 1999.

Legolas - Orlando Bloom - English born Bloom seems the perfect fit for this adventurous Elf, his body type and facial structure make him a great choice, Bloom's casting news was on September 6, 1999.

Lotho -Paul Sutera - The 20-year-old American plays a Hobbit in LOTR, his casting news came on, and was a TheOneRing.net exclusive March 29, 2000.

Merry - Dominic Monaghan - Merry, one of the younger Hobbits in LOTR has been cast by English born Dominic Monaghan, a relative unknown to the world, Dominic seems a great choice. His casting news came on September 2, 1999.

Pippin - Billy Boyd - The other young Hobbit, Pippin, has gone to a Scottish star Billy Boyd, Billy's young looks and body type make him a great Hobbit, Billy's casting news was announced on July 19, 1999.

Sam Gamgee - Sean Astin - The second person to get cast, Sean Astin apparently went after this role with a vengeance and pushed himself into PJ's view; PJ was obviously impressed by what he saw. Astin's casting news was announced on July 8, 1999.

Saruman - Christopher Lee - In a great move, and seeming to bow under enormous fan pressure, PJ cast the brooding Christopher Lee as the evil wizard Saruman, a great choice indeed. Christopher Lee's casting was announced on August 22, 1999.

Ted Sandyman - Brian Segent - Brian, a native kiwi, has appeared in a few of Peter Jackson's films. Look out for him in the Shire! Ted's casting news was announced on Sept 15, 1999.

Theoden -Bernard Hill - Hill, whose most famous role is of Captain Smith in 'Titanic', will be playing the hero king Theoden in LOTR. Hills casting news came on March 11, 2000, and was a TheOneRing.net exclusive

Grima Wormtongue - Brad Dourif - The creepy Brad Dourif was the perfect choice for the evil Grima Wormtongue, and no one can convince me otherwise:)Brad's casting news was announced on July 14, 1999.

Eomer - Karl Urban - Native Kiwi son Urban, with his square jaw and muscular physique, was a natural for Eomer, brother to Eowyn. Karl's casting announcement was on May 5, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Ugluk - Nathaniel Lees - With his harsh features, and black eyes, Lees was the perfect choice for Head Orc Ugluk, Lees casting announcement was May 15, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Hama - John Leigh - Last seen in Peter Jackson's 'The Frighteners' Leigh has been cast in the role of Hama, the chief doorward of Theoden. Leigh's casting announcement came to us on May 15, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Morwen - Robyn Malcom - Native kiwi Robyn Malcom, last seen on 'Shortland Street' was tapped to play Morwen, a femal village elder in LOTR. Malcoms casting announcement came to us on June 11, 2000.

The Black Lieutenant - Bruce Spence - With his creepy, elongated features, and lanky waif body, Bruce Spence seems the creepy choice for The Black Lieutenant, or The Mouth of Sauron. Spence's casting news came to us on June 1, 2000.

Gil Galad - Mark Ferguson - The casting of Gil Galad was great news, it showed even more evidence of the production shooting the backstory of the Ring. His square jaw and sharp features make him a good hero. Ferguson's casting news came to us on July 27, 2000.

Denethor - John Noble - Long thought to be played by Kevin Conway, it was later found out that Aussie John Noble will play Denethor. The name John Noble appeared on my radar screens almost a year ago, a nameless emailer sent me a very cryptic letter along the lines of 'John Noble will be in LOTR', after all my digging I came up with naught, so I never posted it. Noble's casting news came to us on September 7, 2000.

Rosie Cotton - Sarah Mcleod - I'm still unable to find a picture of this young actress, however we do know that she will play Sam Gamgee love interest Rosie Cotton. Mcleod's casting news came to us on August 31, 2000.

Gamling - Bruce Hopkins - Yet another native Kiwi is cast as a character from LOTR, this time Bruce Hopkins, last seen in Herc, Xena and Cleopatra 2525, will play Gamling the Old. Hopkins' casting news came to us on August 11, 2000.

Musings on Orcs and Elves
Tehanu @ 16:27 EST
Some interesting mail has come in over the last few days as people think over what they've seen in the preview.
This from Oren:
"The elves believe that Melkor bred the race of the Orcs by the corruption of captured elves since Melkor could not actually create things by himself, just warp and twist them.

Check here for enhanced images from the LoTR preview showing Legolas and an orc. I think it is hard not to notice the similarities. The makeup and prosthetics make it quite easy to believe they might be somehow related. Note the facial structure, ears and hairline."
Another comment from various sources, and something I observed myself among the orc extras: The orcs may not be called orcs in the production. They are mainly referred to as 'Goblins.' However the Uruk Hai are called that.
Apparently there has been a scene filmed of the birthing of the Uruk Hai, and it's described as very freaky. Ewwwww. I don't want to think about it!
Lastly, there's been some discussion of the snippet of Sindarin that you hear on the official site. Check out the state of Elf language research on the Elfling mailing list.

Galadriel tells all in...
Xoanon @ 12:56 EST

Our Super Ring Spy Galadriel has chimed in once again with some news on the LOTR Production, let's see who's fate was sealed this time.

Oh, Canadian one,

It is I, Galadriel, I've yet again come across something that may be of interest to you. While completing an assignment where I had to off a target and make it look like a heart attack, I had an encounter with a strange man who knew I was in contact with you and your Lord Of The Rings Fanatics, so he gave me these fascinating bits of information.

The Helms Deep set at the Haywards Hill quarry has stopped production for a three week holiday. Upon completion of the final take, Peter Jackson announced free beer and champagne for the entire cast and crew, which included 200 Rohan warriors.

The quarry set pieces will be torn down and sections will be rebuilt, they are making another area of Helms Deep, the areas to be torn down are the brieched wall and the causeway.

The Stone Street Studios Helms Deep set is also almost complete, that studio is almost empty. there are plans to do much more Blue Screen work there, in the future.

The scenes in which we see the Uruk-Hai being created are complete.

The production will now move to Tongariro National Park for 3 weeks. What they are filming there may be of interest to you.

It's the last alliance between Elves and Men

They are shooting the prologue to this entire Trilogy, the fight between Elves and Men against the Enemy, the park is going to be used only for the large scale battle scenes, and not for any close up 'acting' scenes.

That is all.

and for my heart attack victim? Let's just say he won't be getting on anyone nerves anymore....

but that is between me and my God's, until next time

keep an eye open,



Weta invests in high powered inferno
Xoanon @ 11:14 EST
Please find inserted below and attached as a Word doc file, a media release from my client Future Reality regarding the installation of a Discreet inferno system to handle post-production duties on the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Sorry - no pics are available.





Weta Chooses Full Featured Discreet inferno* for Lord of the Rings

(April 2000) - Weta Digital, the renowned effects company based in Wellington, New Zealand, has installed the most powerful Discreet inferno* system in the Southern Hemisphere for use on the production The Lord of the Rings.

Unprecedented in scope, this film by director Peter Jackson breaks new ground in movie-making by filming the three titles in this saga - The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King - not consecutively but concurrently, as though they were all one giant motion picture production. The trilogy is being produced for New Line Cinema.

Weta Digital is the effects company behind the Jackson directed features The Frighteners and Heavenly Creatures, and the television series Xena - Warrior Princess and Hercules.

"inferno* will be the hero compositing seat in our visual effects facility," said Jon Labrie, Weta's Chief Technical Officer. "By working with Future Reality and SGI we were able to upgrade our in-house equipment. For our purposes there is nothing else out there that matches inferno*"

inferno* is running on an eight CPU SGI Onyx 2 rack system configured with 2 GB RAM. The installation includes half a terabyte of Discreet Stone R18 fibre channel disk arrays.

Weta Workshop is executing armour, miniatures, creatures and special effects make-up under the direction of supervisor Richard Taylor.

Weta Digital is executing the special visual effects under the direction of visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson. Visual effects producer for Weta is Charlie McClellan.

The Lord of the Rings began shooting throughout New Zealand on October 11, 1999 and will continue principle photography through to December 2000. Weta Digital will be producing visual effects shots through release of all three films.

"After years of preparation for this tremendous undertaking, inferno* is a key part of our post-production strategy," said Labrie. "The inferno* configuration as powerful as anything I've seen in the world - it's as good as it gets."

Lord of the Rings Credits:

The Lord of the Rings is written by Jackson, his longtime production partner Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Stephen Sinclair. The producers are Barrie M. Osborne, Tim Sanders and Jackson. The executive producers are Saul Zaentz, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein. Walsh and Rick Porras are associate producing under Jackson's WingNut Films Banner.

About Future Reality:

Future Reality is a supplier of creative technology - systems, software and services for the Australian and New Zealand film, broadcast television, post-production and multimedia industries.

Future Reality provides real-time integrated turn-key systems for digital image creation, visual effects, image manipulation, production and creative editing.

For more information please contact Future Reality in Sydney Tel:
+(61 2) 9906 5455, Melbourne Tel: +(61 3) 9876 8355, Auckland New
Zealand Tel: (+(64 9) 360 3210, Email: info@future.com.au or visit
the Web site at http://www.future.com.au.


*From Discreet

Discreet's inferno* and flame* visual effects tools were recently awarded a Scientific and Engineering Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in recognition of their definite influence upon the advancement of the motion picture industry.

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