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May 21, 2000 - May 29, 2000


Why I took down the images of Gollum
Xoanon @ 22:27 EST
Sigh, and in the end this is what it comes to for me as well, love for the film making process, love for what PJ et all down in NZ are doing down there, and love for this whole production that has given me so much, though we here at TORN probably do not deserve it.

As you may have guessed the Gollum pics were highly secretive, and when I recieved them yesterday it did send pangs through my body. Having been burnt many many times before, by holding a story back only to see another website post it up, I didn't want to pass this opportunity up.

Needless to say the PTB's down in NZ and LA are miffed, and when it gets down to it I do not want to do that. Upsetting people is not the reason I got into this, and getting angry emails and letters from within the production is not something I wanted, I don't expect them to love me, but my excuse was always 'hey, I'm promoting the movie!', well this time I may have let to much go.

Although I know the fans, the ones not involved with the production at all, did love those pics, and the only thing I can say to PJ or the people who read this site for him is this, the fans really loved it, and they love the entire thing you're doing down there. So if anything, I've whet thier appetite even more for your work.

I hope the TORNadoes can understand this editorial descision on my part.

- Xoanon


Woman's Weekly Pictures! Wow!
Calisuri @ 19:45 EST
Well folks, it looks like New Zealand Woman's Weekly has scored bigtime with these wonderful images of scenes in mordor.

A fan from New Zealand was kind enough to send us the details on how to contact New Zealand Woman's Weekly Magazine. Hey, I'm going to try and get myself a copy! Here's the info:

Ph +64 9 360 3820
Fax +64 9 360 3829

P O Box 90 119
Auckland Mail Centre
New Zealand


(the editor probably won't be thrilled to get magazine
requests, but there is no other email address given,
and she can always forward them) The magazine costs
NZ$3.10 +pp.

In the meantime, here is the text:

"Lord of the Rings actors Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, who play hobbits Frodo and Sam, look perfectly happy clambering over rocks and taking advice during the filming of these scenes at Whakapapa, near the bast of Mt. Ruapehu, recently. But the chill in the air obviously proved too much for them - the pair sat on hot water bottles to keep warm during the breaks in filming.

Our exclusive pictures show the shooting of scenes from Frodo and Sam's journey to Mordor. A series of marching scenes and battles between warriors and Orcs were also shot. Often, three scenes were filmed at one time.

"The whole thing was very well organised," says an on-looker. "The equipment they're using is very high-tech and each of the filming units is linked by satellite, so director Peter Jackson can watch all of the scenes being filmed at once on screen monitors."

Spectacular armour, including shields and intricate motifs, was worn for the battle scenes.

There are 700 cast and crew members involved in making the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They suffered a setback about three weeks ago, when a sudden dump of snow caused the roof of a costume tent to collapse. Some costumes needed repairing but no other problems arose during the four weeks spent filming at Whakapapa. The cast and crew have returned to Wellington to continue filming and will head to the South Island soon. - Karyn Henger."

And the pictures...

Xtem and TaupoGrrl Report in
Xoanon @ 11:22 EST
Xtem here, passing on a report from my "little trainee" TaupoGrrl

Wondered why Department of Conservation Officials gave PJ such a hard time? Here's a direct quote from the DOC

Tongariro Taupo Conservancy administers approximately 217,000 ha of land owned by the Crown. The area is noted for its volcanic and geothermal activity and recreational opportunities. A series of spectacular eruptions of Mt. Ruapehu in 1995/96 put the Tongariro National Park and the area on the world stage. Tongariro was New Zealand's first national park, created following a gifting of the sacred central North Island peaks to the nation in 1887.

Subsequently the park has been inscribed on the World Heritage List for its natural landscape and associative cultural landscape features.

Just out of interest factor, the report about the casting call down in Christchurch is most likely a Three Foot Six ad, as they are going down to shoot there next month. Talking to a Rohan extra who's been working with the company since the beginning of the year, they stated that if he could get down there for the next month shoot then he would be able to get in. He has read parts of the script. Yes, your eyes didn't decieve you. There are actually extras out there who HAVE read the script. Unfortunately my womanly charms were not enough to bribe him to get me a copy....

He stated that the parts that were dropped (ie; Tom Bombadil) didn't add to the story, it was a movie being created, if they followed the novel accurately it would most likely require 7 episodes, each 3 hours long! As for the added bits - well, he wasn't very simpathetic towards Arwen (Liv Tyler). Felt that although she looks every part the part (oh so beautiful), that she didn't come across as being "strong" (ie; she's a petite woman, and it's come across that way in the movie). Then again, the character is suppose to be a couple of hundred years old.

Finally, it seems that the Helms Deep set is finally being torn (TORN ha! ha! sorry -Xo) down (so if for some funny reason you live in the Wellington region and haven't seen it yet, get going....), to be replaced by the Minas Tirith set - but that's common knowledge, I think.


Upon further review...
Calisuri @ 19:43 EST
This was in our mailbox today:

Winged Nazgul from the Internet Preview\?

"I was going through the preview frame by frame when I came across something that I hadn't seen anyone mention before. At about the 46 second mark, something appears for an instant in the sky over the orc armies. A winged nazgul, perhaps?" - T

Upon further review, I cannot account for the mysterious appearance of this apparently winged creature flying above the armies! Could the winged nazgul been an original part of this shot and that specific keyframe was accidently left in when they released the Internet Preview? Since this is a digital shot, I would be mighty surprised if this is just a random dot. Then again, it could absolutely nothing! heh. Thats the fun part, we may never know, but its fun to guess!

Thanks T for the tip!

Outrageous allegations: Liv at Moria?
Tehanu @ 00:46 EST
This is the stuff spy reports are made of! Wild rumours and outrageous speculation from unverifiable sources!

Arwen at Moria Gate? Arwen's adventures to include elements of Beren and Luthien's story?

And more -Five locations in Wellington's Lyall Bay! Rivendell scenes to be re-shot at the Wingate set, formerly Moria! Cate arrives Monday!

How does Altariel find all this stuff? We wondersss, yesss we doesss. Either by looking incredibly innocent or acting so poker-faced that security guards spill their guts in an effort to impress this harmless-looking person. This has had bad consequences for some of them, unfortunately, which we regret.

Let's hear the gossip, anyway, from Altariel's vantage point INSIDE Helm's Deep:

"I saw everything including the awsome quarter scale of Helms Deep which was bigger than I was and even contained miniature arrows and bags of flour! I got to walk under the archway and into the castle behind it and when I left I got to take some of the set home with me. I wish I had thought to get some for a few of you guys-it looks so real up close you cant tell if it is real rock or not!

"I got to see Gandalf and all his Horse men and even Legolas' body-double (who looked absolutly wonderful in all his riding gear). AND I went up to the guard-house while they were standing around waiting for the next take and nearly got so close as to touch them! I was soon told to get lost by ***** ******* however' and retreated to my roadside perch and my binoculars.

Afer that I went over to Lyall Bay and got some decent photos of the set there (I managed to sneak on when no one was looking and got to walk around the path. Don't know if you would want them though, the set is not that interesting-no tents were up yet, there were only some hastily-erected trees and strange-looking posts in the ground.

"After that I stumbled onto the Wingate set where I was to behold the greatest thing of all!......"

"...........So she let us on to the set and around the corner of the backdrop and, lo and behold, there was Sean Bean (Boromir)in costume going through his moves in the water along with a few other cold and wet looking men and women-he was fighting someone but I could not see them, he looked fantastic!

"I remind you that this was about 11 O'clock at night and they had been in the water all day. The scene, I found out, was of the Fellowship entering Moria and soon they were to fight off the horrible thing that comes out of the water. We were not allowed to watch the filming because the director started glaring at us and we had to go.

"...later on I heard screams and the sound of fighting coming from the set and amongst them was the sound of a woman's voice. This could only be Arwen and I think that they are going to have her follow them secretly until they get to Moria where she is to join up with the Fellowship. I also heard from a fairly reliable source that PJ wants to include elements of the story of Luthien and Beren into the movie so you can imagine that Arwen could then get left behind in Lorien and follow them secretly for a while until the Emyn Muil or even Helm's Deep. Well thats enough speculation-don't want to ruin the movie now do we?"

Later on Altariel spent more time talking to people round the sets:

"Lyall Bay actually has five film sites and I only found one of the outdoor ones-there are two, the rest are in an old warehouse a 'few yards back from the beach'.

"More help from yet another Security guard at Wingate and he also had a lot more to say about filming schedules and such-like. I always seem to get different info on them from every different person I meet. This guy reckoned that they were filming for 5 more weeks then having a 6 week break and going down south (or maybe it was the other way around?) and then they were finished-for good!

"Two others have said that the filming is to wind up around November this year and someone else March next year. But they could not possibly be finished as early as November because they are still way behind and they have to come back to shoot on the huge Minas Tirith set as well as complete inside shoots and go back to Queenstown, Ruapehu and to Methven.

Oh, and I went back to Wingate to see about the Rivendell thing and yes you were right, they have been taking bits if the Rivendell set there and I would have got a really good picture of all the set pieces lined up out the back if not for the meddling Guard who just happened to be there. They are taking away Moria and re-building parts of Rivendell for a re-shoot. I heard that George Lucas had to do that for Star Wars because the actors had messed up some scenes so I can only imagine the same has happened here.

"Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) is coming this Monday apparently so spirits are being lifted by that...."


Ever wondered what set spying's like?
Tehanu @ 05:13 EST
I asked one of the most persistent watchers at Helm's Deep what it was like, and got this story back from his friend Salome. Seems like it's 90% patience and a whole lot of hoping and dreaming...

The hobbit phone rang (being the spy phone The Hutt Hobbit had installed in my house as I am The Hutt Hobbit’s spying friend), ‘get your butt out of the bed,’ he said, ‘don your veils and get ready to distract those guards with your legendary beauty.’
We headed to Burger King as The Hutt Hobbit is fond of burgers, then we proceeded to the Wingate set, where The Hutt Hobbit immediately fell asleep as he had eaten too much as usual.

I, Salome, began the Dance of the Seven Veils and immediately the guards became hypnotized by my beauty. Stupid fools !!!! I proceeded to my discreet spying platform located nearby and this is what I saw.

I saw the gates of Moria or rather part of the inside of the set, being an entrance way in the front of the set, as the set was cleverly designed and surrounded by a scaffolding wall.

I saw a hobbit pony covered in baggage, yes the pack-pony called Bill. The pony looked to be chestnut with, I think, a white blaze, the pony looked very happy and well looked after. The pony was being looked after by the horse wrangler, who at this stage was sitting down. Then Viggo Mortensen appeared and stood by the pony, he seemed to be in good spirits and was holding a conversation with the horse wrangler. Various other cast members appeared; it was too dark and stormy to tell who they were at this stage. The cast members took out umbrellas to shelter from the rain. A male cast member, was it Viggo? seemed to have fun twirling his umbrella.

Then lo and behold, through a gap in the set I saw PJ sitting under a blue canopy. The hobbit pony was led forward right into the light, Viggo, I think it was, held the pony’s reins, he seemed to be stroking the pony’s nose. I saw in the darkness very small-sized people or so it seemed as it was very dark and raining, were they hobbit doubles?
Viggo led the pony forward into the set and out of sight of my spying equipment. The ground of the set was covered in rocks; I heard the pony's hooves crunching in the gravel. I could see no more.

I uttered a vile curse and went to check on the guards and yes they were still hypnotized. I, Salome, was soaking wet, my dancing costume clung to my body, ‘thank god it’s dark’ I said to myself. My long dark hair clung to my face and dripped water down my back. I cursed the weather and wished for an umbrella as I had forgotten mine.
I proceeded to the transportation device and tried to rouse The Hutt Hobbit but he was still asleep. He was talking about Burger King in his sleep and his hands were rubbing his great fat hobbit belly. I Salome cursed, and poured myself a cup of coffee and tried to keep warm.

I proceeded back to my vantage point and this is what I saw. I saw Legolas standing in the light in the set’s entrance-way. He had a quiver filled with arrows slung high on his back, he had long blond hair and no one else seemed to be around. Then lo and behold I saw PJ run backwards and forwards over the rocky ground he seemed cheerful and in good spirits he had a couple of assistants in tow.

By this stage I was freezing and afraid that my chattering teeth would give me away. I transported The Hutt Hobbit Home and put him to bed on my sofa and made myself another cup of coffee, before climbing into my warm bed and dreaming of spying adventures to come.



Xtem Talks LOTR Filming!
Xoanon @ 10:40 EST
From: Xtem

Something I have noticed with the whole "hush hush" part of the movie is that it seems to have rubbed off onto the thousands of extras out there. Must be a pride factor. Oh and the confidentiality agreement they sign. But most likely the pride factor. That smug look on their faces when they tell you where they have been the last couple of weeks. It's no fun for spies like me! I mean, surely there is at least one who can't keep their trap shut about such a huge project.

So I thought I'd be a bit more cunning, and send out my little trainee, one who is not known in the ranks. Using her amazing powers of psycological tactics, she talks to the extras, and rubs their egos up the wrong way, and get's all the answers.

The recent filming down in Ruapehu was indeed part of the prologue, one of those "flash-back" type of things, which will most likely happen during an interlude between Gandalf and Frodo in the first couple of minutes of movie 1. It envolved hordes of Elves, charging down a rocky hillside, running headlong into the camera style shots. Some Department Of Conservation people standing by, yelling "don't step on the 300 year old moss!". The actors couldn't give a damn. If it was a choice between avioding the slimy stuff and risking slipping and falling, or trudging all over it, they'd choose the later. Naturally.

They speak of Hugo Weaving (Elrond) being on set, and what it's like to work with a 6'4 tall person. Apparently he's not the weed he looks like in The Matrix. Tall, big build, and looks nothing like agent Smith - once he's doned hair extensions (he's grown it longer anyway) and his 'gear'. Then again, he looks remarkably short, standing next to one of New Zealand's taller people, a 7'2 Elf. And after all that sweaty stuff, the extras are invited to have a preview of the work they have just completed. Yep, they got to see what they looked like, as millions will in 1 1/2 years time.

Then Bernard Hill (Theoden), cracking jokes during the siege of Helms Deep. A shot of all the Elves trying to hold the gates shut, and Mr. Hill yells out "c'mon chaps, it's the Jehovahs Witnesses trying to get in!"

But all in all, the extras have reported time and time again, that two of the nicest guys to work with have been Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), who would come down to the pub afterwards with the lads for a drink, and Hugo Weaving, who lines up with the extras during dinner time. That is, no sign of Hollywood down under. Just people doing their jobs.

Finally, the extra's confidence in the movies. Comments are dropped like "The feel is right"; or "Everything fits, costumes and casting, everything". Sounds like PJ is doing his job, and doing it well. And this is coming from real staunch Tolkien supporters.

Xtem signing out


Media Watch: The NZ Listener
Xoanon @ 11:44 EST
The NZ Listener has scored themselves an interview with our very own Liv Tyler (Arwen). In the interview Liv discusses LOTR and other projects.

Thanks to Silmarien for the scans!


Arwen and Saruman!!!!!!
Xoanon @ 23:01 EST
Here I was, mourning the loss of of Xoanona (any folks down in Virginia Beach are presently enjoying her company) and sitting watching the enjoyable film 'Strange Fruit' when that mysterious portal opens up next to my computer console.

At first thought, I was fully expecting Agent Mulder to fly out and steal my sunflower seeds. What did end up happening was a computer disc flew through the vortex and into my lap; after checking it out and making sure the latest version of 'The Love Bug' wasn't about to be unleashed on my computer up here in good old Montreal (I've got enough problems, with Mafiaboy living about 15 minutes away from me, and no, I don't know him)...

... look what I found, pictures of Saruman and Arwen in full costume!!!

Dear Xoanon-Man,

Here are some pics from LOTR, more to come...


Gandalf Leads the Charge at Helm's Deep!
Tehanu @ 15:30 EST
As it turns out, the Hutt Hobbit saw a lot of what happened at Helm's Deep, and has described it to us.
"I, The Hutt Hobbit, was woken from my slumber by the thunder of hooves. After rubbing the sleep from my eyes I poked my head out of my hobbit hole and peered up at Dry Creek Quarry, the location of the Helms Deep set, to see what all the fuss was about. I couldn't believe my eyes, for there, riding down a steep bank followed by about 20 other horsemen, was none other than Gandalf himself!
I grabbed my trusty binoculars, and after cunningly disguising myself as a member of the public so as not to draw attention, I made my way to the quarry and set up a discreet observation point from where I could observe the goings-on in comfort and secret.
I looked over the set through my binoculars and took in all the details. There, about 30 meters in front of the Castle Door that has been often photographed, a ramp had been constructed out of rock, dirt, and gravel. This ramp was about 45 or so degrees steep, about 10 metres wide and 50 metres long. The sides were built up a few feet. The ramp was covered in a layer of loose gravel and bits of tussock had been planted at random.
I heard the magic word, "Action!" and there he was - Gandalf came over the top of the ramp on Shadowfax, resplendent in white, cantering down, no saddle, no bridle, his staff held high in his right hand, his beard flying, his white cloak flapping. Behind him were about 20 others, in soldier-like outfits complete with swords, helmets and long flowing cloaks. Their horses were mostly dark brown, with a couple of greys. The dust flew from the horses' hooves as they came down, the camera rolling, following them the whole way. At the bottom after the take, Gandalf and the soldiers regrouped, right in the middle of the front part of the quarry (Wow! Close up view!) then rode up around the right hand side of the quarry, back to the top of the ramp.
The crew got straight to work. A quad bike towing a large brush-like attachment came down the ramp, brushing over the hoofprints. Several props people went down the ramp replanting the tussock, brushing out their tracks as they went. Gandalf and the Riders were lined up at the top of the ramp, outfits were adjusted, the camera on the extended boom was reset, and the ramp was ready for the next take, with no sign that 2 dozen horses had just come charging down.
The front of the quarry is a bulk cement plant, so large trucks were moving about right in front of the ramp and in and out of the main gate as all this was taking place. This was no problem during takes, as the cement company trucks all stopped whenever there was a take. How considerate of them.
I stayed around long enough to watch a few takes. In between takes I observed the behaviour of the humans. People driving past were slowing down and rubbernecking to get a better look. I saw some of the regular spectators talking to security. A woman carrying a clipboard came down to the main gate and talked to the security guard and some members of the public there.
Apparently she thought people should not be watching. Well lady, if you have 2 dozen Middle-earth characters on horses in full view of two busy highways, a railway line and a railway station, what do you expect??
Anyway, this Hobbit's stomach was starting to rumble, the vision of a Big Mac appeared before my eyes, so it was time for me to slip away quietly and leave Gandalf and company.
Until next time,
The Hutt Hobbit

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