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May 10, 2000 - May 19, 2000


Moria Set at Wingate?
Tehanu @ 19:07 EST
Hi Tehanu, a spy report from The Hutt Hobbit
"... there is a new LOTR site here in the Hutt Valley. It is located in Peterkin Street, Wingate, at the old Telecom yard, right next to the Pilkington Glass Factory.
"The set appears to be the Gates of Moria. From what little I can see, it is made up of a 30 foot high, 100 foot long fake rock wall with two other sides (blue screens possibly). The main wall is facing away from the road, so only the rear scaffolding is visible. In the centre there is a huge cavern-like hole (the entrance to Moria?). Running parallel to it is one of the blank walls of the same size. Presumably it doubles as a blue screen and as a shield from prying eyes. There is a gap about 10 feet wide that various crew members and actors use to get in and out of the set on the side. There is one end open, but that faces the railway tracks and a row of houses opposite the tracks. There are about 2 feet or so of gravel piled up on the floor of the set and an artificial pond. Also inside the set are a couple of old dead trees. One night they had smoke (fake mist possibly) being pumped through the set. There were a pony and some very small actors in Hobbit gear.
"Filming seems to be done only at night. The cast and crew take lunch in a well-lit building with lots of windows that happens to be right next to the road. No attempt has been made to cover the windows, so you can get a very good look at who is there. I guess because the set is down a side road in an industrial area they probably are complacent and don't think that they will be noticed much (wrong! lol:)) Two things gave them away: little signs with 'JAMB' on them pointing the way, and great bright lights that can be seen for miles.
"On High street you can catch a glimpse of the rock face, complete with trees, shrubs, bushes, etc, if you look between the houses that back onto the railway tracks. As I was looking directly at people's houses to see the set I could not stay long. I don't think the residents would like people staring in the general direction of their homes for too long! That would be rude. lol :) The best view (albeit it only a brief one) of the set would be to observe it from the train, as the set is open on the railway side.


The Mirror of Galadriel
Xoanon @ 20:23 EST
The Mirror of Galadriel

Oh annoying one :P

This is Galadriel of the Koga Ninja Clan.

I am writing regarding these films you keep making me talk to you about. Here is my story this time.

I was running around the forest practicing my Dragon Stance and my approach techniques when I felt a grumble in my stomach.

I had a feeling for Sushi. I wondered why this was possible because I had eaten an hour previously. I could almost smell the wasabi... in fact I could smell wasabi: using my heightened sense of smell I went in search.

Once again I came across the The Lord of the Rings set of Helms Deep. Today they were filming scenes of Rohan Horsmen chasing Uruks with Body doubles of Gandalf, Legolas , Theoden, Eomer and Aragorn on horses also.

I noticed that there was a blue screen up that day, 5 meters in height and 15 meters across to be exact. At this point I was suspicious so I went in for a closer look. Thankfully the Riders of Rohan came close to where I was so I grabbed one and dressed in his costume. Complete with helmet with blonde hair glued onto the back, I rode closer to the Director's tent to take a look.

I jumped off the horse and looked at the LCD screen showing test shots of the previous take. And this they would never know: that their security is no match for a Koga Ninja.

I had noticed that there were a lot of PNS, or Provisional Stunts (Fighter), but still that did not explain the extremely large blue screen. Hunting around for more information I watched as Uruk Hai extras lined up in formation: pikesmen, swordsmen, and crossbowmen, all who have distinctly different armor.

I waited a while longer until one of the Assistant Directors started yelling things at the Uruk Hai. What he said would interest you.

'ok all, Gandalf has arrived! You are very scared; we need you to run towards the blue screen, because you have just noticed a forest appear behind you in the last five minutes so you are running for shelter.'

He shouted across the quarry. What I was more interested in at this time was the ear pieces most of the Assistant Directors and heads of each division had.

But then I thought, 'These are Ents coming at the end of the Battle.' The Ents had arrived!! Obviously they will be in the movie, so all can rest their Tolkien hearts.

I left my horse which I called 'POOKY' and made my way for the female toilets. Grabbing a lady who appeared to me as an A.D. I tied her with toilet paper and took her ear piece. Over it I heard a lot.

*Due to weather conditions the new Helms Deep sets will be filmed in studio along with the retreat to the glittering caves.

*Minas Tirith will be erected in the same quarry and will be in production around spring.

*From Wednesday-Friday this week, elves will be used in studio for the Helms Deep studio sets.

*Torrential rain has slowed down the production at Haywards Hill and they are missing vital shots which they can only do at the outdoor sets.

*Ents are completely CGI with the help of WETA visuals, apparently they look more tree-like than human-being-like but somewhat transform from tree into walking being.

*Other scenes included huge battles between Uruk Hai and Rohan warriors in front of the 3 scale miniature of Helms Deep castle; using lighting and camera trickery it looks like the battle field is dense with fighters and the castle will look like it is in the distant background.

This concluded my day at the Helms Deep set. I headed back to the Dunharrow set because I had dropped one of my favorite Vials of Poison and it was the last I had so I needed it desperately.

Dunharrow consisted of many tents with Rohan and Dunedain warriors, Viggo Mortensen was doing a small scene where he walked from one tent to another with many background Rohirrim behind him. This was interesting because not only have I seen him speak Elvish on screen at Helms Deep, but I also admired his acting skills.

I managed to slip off the set using my Ninja skills of invisibility and deception. Moments later I was back in the forest practicing my Dragon Stance again.

What happened next is between me and my gods... and maybe you.

Until next time,

Keep an eye open,



More on Lyall Bay
Xoanon @ 10:28 EST
Super Ringer Spy Xtem sheds some light on the Lyall Bay Set in Wellington:

Lyall Bay

Xtem reporting in. After spending what seems like an eternity from what I can only describe as an Eye following me, I believe that I have finally stayed in the shadows long enough to evade angry New Line notice of trespass!

Something which I am quite surprised hasn't been reported yet was the filming down at Lyal Bay on Wednesday last week. Large marquee tents were set up on a grassy knoll, on a slight rise from the Southernly facing beach, while in front was a mountainous slope about 80 degrees up. Filming went into the night, with floodlights lighting up the entire hillside. The next day the site was already beginning to be vacated.

The photo below shows what the background would've been like. Unfortunately I couldn't find any photos which actually showed the site.


Casting: Ugluk and Hama
Xoanon @ 13:05 EST
Word comes to us via our sources in New Zealand that a few more names are entering the LOTR arena. Local NZ actors John Leigh and Nathaniel Lees have been cast as Hama and Ugluk respectively.

John Leigh and Nathaniel Lees

John Leigh has been in PJ's 'The Frighteners' and was on 'Shortland Street'.

Nathaniel Lees had a role in 'Young Hercules' and 'The Legend of William Tell.

New Set Pics from Mount Cook!
Xoanon @ 10:07 EST
Ringer Spy NB sends in this newspaper clipping from The Evening Post. It's a great looking set, but what do you think it could be?

Click on the image to view in our scrapbook


The Mirror of Galadriel
Xoanon @ 08:37 EST
Trained Ninja Galadriel returns from her travels with more from the set of Helms Deep and more! Check it out in...


Oh sleazy one...

It is I Galadriel, with more to report on this Filming business going on around this Country. Here is my story...

It all happened last week...

Unfortunately my time with my Sensei was ill spent and the Shurojitsu Clan knew I had arrived. They had been given information that I ended their leader's life in a rather cruel way. Unfortunately it was somewhat true so I fled the country only to find that the Shirojitsu Clan had followed me here. Frantically I jumped through forests with a trained Ninja Clan close behind me.

Fortunately for me I came across a quarry which seemed to have a lot of people around.

I was soon to learn that I was on the sets of the Production you talk of frequently. I pulled a woman dressed in black with a hat with an red Eye on it into the bushes, and changed quickly into her outfit.

Suddenly around me I heard "WETA!!! GET TO WORK!!!" from a man I will remember for future reference..

I started to mingle with the commoners, did what they did. Anything to get away from the Clan, and that woman in the bushes would decoy them long enough.

For the 5 days I was on the sets there were many things happening.

A lot of scenes with Uruk Hai charging Elves and Rohan up stairs which were:

Entrances to the caves of Helms Deep.
Rohan guarding Helms Deep.
Sunrise scenes where Uruks stagger in pain when sunlight hits them.

But what I had found more interesting was the scattered pieces of sets which were being torn down. In large metal crates I caught glimpses of the new sets which were being erected, unfortunately behind schedule because of scenes which had to be re-shot and the Tongariro shooting which was most of Unit 1 (Stone Street) and Unit 2 (Helms Deep)-- slow production.

I snuk into a private booth which I was getting told to go into. Finding myself in front of an LCD screen I watched scenes being filmed. Legolas, Theoden and Gandalfs body doubles rushed on screen. Then I noticed that the scenes involved Gandalf using his magic in battle. Lightning bolt it looked like.

I picked up a piece of paper in front of me.

Named the 'Jamboree'; I noticed that a lot of stuntmen were on the sets. Found out that Monday would be the last day for filming until the sets were finished. Then noticed one of the best discoveries on this productions histories it said in small writing ................ 'Lunch - Sushi' so I decided to stay for one last lunch.

At that moment a woman came past mumbling about how the directors had slowed her work down *beep* *beep* new sets...

I thought nothing of it until she noticed that I was not supposed to be on the sets. Fortunately the lighting rig on the one of the Towers caught alight (how coincidental) and people ran around frantically to save the $60,000 rig. This was my time to leave. And so I did.

Taking my leave I walked the Bays of Wellington 'til I arrived in Lyall Bay. The Clan had been following me. Until I reached yet again another set for this Production.......... I did the same as last time, and mixed with the commoners.. Dunharrow was the name, or Paths of the Dead to be precise. There were many there for the filming. It was a good location for the set. 40 Horsemen of the Dunadan led by Viggo's body double. But more on that next time. I grow weary of typing but next report will carry the word on Helms Deep, Dunharrow, New scenes with the Caves of Orthanc and what really happened at Ruapehu...

A Ninja must think why she runs into all these Production happenings, could this be the gods??

As for the Ninja Clan, I say, how can you have a clan without members...

The rest is for me and my Budda Statue.

Until next time,

Keep an eye open



More on Methven
Xoanon @ 23:46 EST
Methven, the future set for some scenes of LOTR seems a beautiful place, much like most of New Zealand :)


Methven: Inland from Ashburton on the South Island. A good centre for the Canterbury Plains or the mountains. a small town, Methven is quiet for most of the year, coming alive in winter when it fills up with skiers using it as a base for Mt Hutt and other ski areas.

Altariel Talks Helms Deep
Xoanon @ 22:10 EST
Ringer Spy Altariel spills the beans on the latest from Helms Deep

Here is a list of more usefull information that you may find interesting:

The production is behind schedule at the moment. They have not completed all there studio work that they wanted and they are only just catching up at Helms Deep. They were apparently about 2 months behind when they started at Ruapehu and they made up a few weeks because they got the battle scenes done quicker than expected and are now back in town. The current Helms Deep shoot may have to go for another week due to 'a few hiccups' with the cast and crew (whatever that means) and that should put the next filming for unit 2 back another week as they were to go to another set somewhere on a Wellington beach next week but shall have to stay back. After they are gone an unexpected re-shoot of some Unit 1 scenes will be done out there and PJ and some main actors will be going back-this includes Liv Tyler (Arwen) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn).

On Wednesday they got some amazing stuff done with Gandalfs stunt double on his horse. They had him in full costume long white robes and staff in hand - rearing his horse up on top of the ramp. They nearly had a few traffic accidents while people just stopped there cars in the road or pulled over and took pictures (none of which were confiscated)They have finished the visible hose stunts but horses can still be seen with riders in full costume riding them about the set.

In Methven they have started building a set for when they go down there in August and it is rumored that they will be doing there last battle scenes down there- this is going to involve Eowyn (Miranda Otto) and a few other main actors- so you can guess what they will be doing. Rohan shoots and the battle of the Pelennor fields.

Xoanon note: Films getting behind schedule is rather commonplace, the most recent I can think of is Mission: Impossible 2, but these sort of things happen on shoots. The elements are a force to be messed with considering the amount of outdoor scenes in these films, and you can't pay mother nature to hold off while they finish an important scene.

Media Watch: 'Mountain Scene'
Xoanon @ 21:56 EST
From Mountain Scene Thursday May 11


Exclusive: Queenstown is still in the picture for the $360million mega-movie Lord of the Rings, Writes Philip Chandler.

Shooting on the Peter Jackson trilogy will resume in the Southern Lakes either late winter or early spring.

The producers have also asked at least one local hotel to quote on 30 rooms for two weeks next month.

"They need to do some stuff and they've got rooms on hold in various different places in the South Island," publicist Claire Raskind told Mountain Scene yesterday (Wednesday).

But nothing has been confirmed, she said.

Over 200 Lord of the Rings crew -- including all the major stars -- filmed around Queenstown for about six weeks at the end of last year.

Top secret sets were located at Closeburn, Glenorchy, Arthurs Point, Te Anau, Tarras and alongside the Kawarau River -- until wiped out by The Flood Of’ 99.

Assistant publicist Melissa Booth says though dates haven’t scheduled, she believes Rings will return to Queenstown around August/September.

Ms Booth: “They’re definately going into the bottom areas of the South Island. Most of the Production will be travelling down there.”

Rings super-snoop Erica Challis of Auckland believes Southern winter conditions will suit the Misty Mountain scene -- in which the main characters traverse a snowy mountain range, only to be driven back by snowstorms.

At present Rings is back in Wellington aftera huge shoot at Ruapehu.

Following a break in July, there’ll be “another Wellington stint before we go down south,” says Ms Booth.


Eowyn Visits Helms Deep
Xoanon @ 10:03 EST
I will try my best to describe what I saw although nothing I could ever say would come close to what it felt like to walk beneth that archway and into middle Earth!

You have probably all asked "what is it that I see from this roadside perch of mine or in the many pictures posted on the net?"

Well the answer actually is surprisingly little.

The parts of the castle you can see from the road make up only a small amount of the entire Hornburg which has been built in Quarter scale at the back of the quary.

This full reconstruction of the fortress is just large enough to stick your head through the archway and the tower stands well above your head, the bridge up to the gates is large enough to walk under. the detailing is exquisite - it sits complete with miniature bags of rice, arrows and swords and even the groves which you can see in the full sized version have been downsized and recreated perfectly!

After seeing the Hornburg in full it was easier to understand what the rest of the set pieces were. The biggest one is the front archway, and walking through it is like walking into another world- albeit a slightly less stable one!

The entire castle is made of foam, the only exception being that the floor is concrete in some places. That is not to say that it looks fake though-even up close the walls cannot be distinguished from real rock.

And it is all complete with lichen and grass in the cracks and there are even stains on the floor where blood was spilled during battle. Adding to the realness are the sacks of rice and potatoes stacked against the walls, along with plenty of axes and wood- there was even a piece of real rotting meat, which stunk terribly and did not really add much to the general awe inspiring feel of the place.

To the right of this the hallway extends a few metres before it opens out into the hillside and to the left a long ramp about three horses wide descends from the second arch further up the hill, along the inner wall there are steps for the human actors and braziers to light the way.

The amount of work is incredible- you can almost begin to understand where all the money goes to when you see the detail, and to think that it was all hand carved!

Continuing on, the piece up the back which you can not see much of accept a row of small arches makes up the second level of the Hornburg and there is much more to it than you would think.

At ground level, the top of the front wall rises out of the ground about three metres and forms the rampart behind which there is a bit of space for running back and forth and hauling up various people such as Aragorn from the armies below. Behind that is a short wall which seperates it from the area in front of the Big Hall (as they call it on set-original eh?) The hall is open at the front and a row of huge arches forms the front of it. Leading up to the arches are steps about three horses wide and on either side of these steps are statues of big Rohan warriors with axes in various states of disrepair.

The Big Hall goes back a fair way and is complete with columns, old tables and woven baskets full of every concievable thing you could need during a seige. I.e crockery, rags, weapons and more potatoes.

At the back of the Hall is a large medieval looking door, which looks far to big and impressive to be just another ordinary back door.

Above all of this interesting stuff and solely in full view of the road is a very boring row of window-type arches - which I am sure you have all seen and wondered about and which, I am afraid, come to nothing.

The set piece that sits up on the left side of the hill is the left hand view of the second level, I did not see this bit because it was getting dark and it was a long way to walk.

That is not all the info I have to pass on to you though, more recently I went back to watch the filming they had just resumed and met some nice people who kindly put to rest some rumours and created a whole lot of new ones to take there place.

1 Helms Deep will not be destroyed for at lest five months. In that time they will be building (supposedly) part of Minus Tirith and will do some more filming once that is done.

2 If you havn't already heard(and I'll warn you this is a pretty big script change) Arwen is to blow the horn at the Hornburg during the seige, and apparently everyone is totally surprised at how good an actress she is- the only problem being that they have had to cut a few scenes because her accent was not to good.

3 Another pointless rumour has emerged that the production over spent big-time in the fist five months of filming, losing over $300 million in that time- thats nearly $40 million more than the original budget of the whole trillogy!

Maybe the fact that they spent $30,000 on a 1 hour visit by the New Line executives just so they could see a bunch of Uruks do the Haka had something to do with it!

And last but not least, if you want to see Gandalf and 16 other horsemen charging down a hill waving there swords and shouting you should head over to Helms Deep before friday 12 of May, they are doing it all in full view of the road!

That is all for now, if I find anything else out you will be sure to hear it!


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