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May 31, 2002 - June 25, 2002


Set Report From Upper Hutt!
Xoanon @ 8:35 pm EST
Hutt river girl sends along this report from New Zealand. She's a new spy, so I'm not too sure if everything here is accurate, but hopefully we'll have some pictures to prove it soon!

I have just stood in a paddock of cow dung for the past four hours and watched the Master- Peter Jackson at work directing the heaven sent Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn).

Here is the scene:

Aragorn is lying injured on the river bank. His faithfull steed comes over to him nudging his face and upper body - rousing him obviously from his injuries. Aragorn comes to and grabs his mane in his fist he pulls himself up onto the horse and they walk away.

Aragorn is dirty and wet. He has a wound to his left shoulder - like a sword wound. His has blood on his hands and he is very wet.

Viggo was constantly asking for a spray bottle in which he sprayed across his face and hair. A standby person poured water from a bucket across his feet.

Aragorn's magnificant sword hangs from his hip, his clothes are very dirty and are covered in river soil.

During filming Peter Jackson sat on a little stage (pedestal) and directed things then for a different angle he sat on the ground on a tarpauline. He looked like a buddah.

The location is the Upper Hutt river, which runs behind our properties. We have been kept up all night as the generators whirrled making light so the scene could be set up.

After four hours of watching, I got cold and called it quits and came home but had to share my spy report with you all.

What an amazing experience to have a bit of Hollywood on your own back yard and filmed in a place which you love - the hutt river.

I am in awe of Viggo - he layed on the ground and let the horse nudge him constantly, then in his break he went up and spoke to a group of fans that were standing by. And he even let a little boy touch his sword which he had withdrawn from its bejewled casing.

I am not a dedicated LOTR fan but I do love Viggo he was my fav character - and are so proud that it is filmed near we live. And I can't believe I had the opportunity to see Peter Jackson in the flesh.

See you all. regards Hutt river girl.


Corrina at Viggo's booksigning
Tehanu @ 12:12 am EST
Corrina reports from the booksigning at the Green Parrot yesterday: "It was MASSIVE! My flatmates and I got there about 3.30pm, 'cos we thought it started at 4.00 (turns out it started at 4.30) and so we managed to get a fairly good place in line. we stood around for an hour, trying in vain to ignore the squealing girls, who at first were cute... but then got a little OTT... especially when we heard one group talking about seeing Viggo around town in his car, and passing out his number plate...hmmmm....

3 film crews turned up, one from each of the national news teams and another from the kids' show What Now... who only really succeeded in making the squealing girls even louder - which was actually kinda funny.

So around 4.15 Viggo turned up with Jane Johnson from Harper Collins, and about half an hour later we finally got in. I got a copy of his book "Coincidence of Memory" mainly because it had some photos he'd taken of NZ in there, and I wanted to see how NZ looked to him. When I got up to get my book signed, he did the usual "what's your name?" thing, and then won me over for life by being one of the few people to spell my name correctly without assistance! He is a really quiet guy, but he didn'f deny anyone anything, he posed for every photo he was asked for, and was just a generally nice guy.

What was the major shock tho', was when we got outside and saw how huge the line was! We couldn't tell how far back it stretched from where we were until we were actually out of the line completely... I'm certain even Viggo must have been surprised at the turn-out. I'm now actually really pleased he was the first Fellowship member I met... even tho' I'm still hoping to spot one of the hobbits before they go at the end of the week."


Viggo Mortensen booksigning in Wellington
Tehanu @ 4:00 pm EST
Democritus here: "Went to Viggo's booksigning that he held at the Green Parrot cafe in Wellington this afternoon.
Viggo was signing copies of his art, poetry and photography books with all proceeds going to Bruce Reid who has cancer, and who is an Production assistant on LOTR.

I turned up at 4pm to wait half an hour before the signing with unfortunately what looked like most of Wellington. Consequently I had to wait two hours before I got to him. The crowd had a carnival, happy atmosphere about it, and every one was patient despite the cold. By the time I got to Viggo he was looking really tired, but was friendly enough, he was wearing a cowboy hat, and a Danish soccer shirt which was a surprisingly fetching outfit.

I bought a copy of one of his photography books which contain some great photos of the hobbits, and I had on me my copy of Return of the King. He used Maori greetings and farewells for both signings which impressed me.

I got a quick couple of questions in before moving on, there was still a huge line behind me and I reckon he will have been signing for at least four hours today, before its all over.

I got one question in - "Will you be testing that lovely blade out on our favourite dark-lord" (He had commented on the picture of Anduril in my ROTK book). He smiled and changed the subject)
Oh well, sensible chap really, confirmed that they now have one more day of filming, looked great in the beard that he regrew for the pick-ups according to all the woman behind me."


"Art of Middle-earth" Booklaunch in Wellington
Tehanu @ 10:13 pm EST
Tiranel gave us the low-down on what happened last night at the "Art of Middle-earth" book-launch held by Dymocks in Wellington, NZ.

"For starters, it was like a who's who of the technical side of things, make-up, design, effects - I was in heaven (cos this is what I eventually want to be doing... just have no clue where to start)

"I met Richard Taylor, who is very cool. He brought his little baby with him, and it was sooo cute, the baby had a specially made LOTR beanie... I personally think he was the star of the evening. [Ringers will remember that Richard's son was born round about the time of the Oscars.]

"Next person I spotted was Karl Urban - nicest celeb I have met so far, spelt my name wrong when he signed my book so he apologised in writing as well, funny.

"Then the formalities started, a chick from Harper Collins NZ spoke first, then introduced Jane Johnson (I think that's her last name....oops) from Harper Collins UK, and she talked for a while about putting PJ onto Alan Lee and John Howe. I love hearing about all this stuff, don't ask me why.

"Then Richard Taylor got up on stage and spoke for a couple minutes about the passion they had for the film, he thanked us for making the film what is had become (I personally think it's only himself and PJ he has to thank for that) and it was during that speech that I spotted Sir Ian Mckellen on the other side of the room.

"So when Richard was done, I made my way over there, and got within half a metre, when he left... [I was] gutted! Never mind.

"I was turning away from him, a little disappointed (but not too worried, cos I knew they'd been shooting all day and were most likely tired) when I literally bumped into Alan Lee!

"We heard from a news reporter that apparently Elijah and Viggo were "definites", but when 8pm rolled around and all the important people were leaving, we knew that they weren't coming, but by then I was too keen to go home myself to mind.

"So there you have it.

"I do have to say though - the book is beautiful, if you havent already got it, I totally recommend it!!!"


Filming At Ruapehu
Xoanon @ 4:21 pm EST
Not too long ago Sean Astin (Sam), Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Andy Serkis (Gollum) tramped their way up Mt. Ruapehu near Tongariro National Park on the North Island of New Zealand. They were filming scenes for 'The Two Towers' in which the two Hobbits follow Gollum towards Mordor.

The only problem is, the hot Middle-earth sun near Mordor would be no place for snow..and Mt. Ruapehu is currently covered with it!

So what's do be done when you need to get rid of snow over rocks and grass and rough terrain? You call in the fire department and have them wash it away! Take a look at this great pic from R who got up close and personal with the folks transforming New Zealand to Middle-earth. Be sure to look for this terrain when you see 'The Two Towers'!


Region 2 FOTR DVD News
Xoanon @ 11:34 am EST
From: Popal

We have confirmation that the French Region 2 4 DVD edition, including the 30-minute longer Director's Cut, WILL INCLUDE a DTS-ES soundtrack. The set is planned for release on the November the 13th. In France, we'll have 2 DTS tracks : french 5.1 and english 6.1 ES. The 2-disc set with the original version is also planned for the 8th of august in france and won't offer DTS, this is only the Director's cut.

There's no doubt that this DTS track will be available worldwide.

We also have some visuals and information about the Region 2 french release. [More]


The Fellowship Of The Ring – DVD Review
Xoanon @ 11:17 am EST
From: Matt

Having just received and checked this AMAZING DVD, I feel that I must share this. It is a must! Even if you didn´t like the movie, get it. Seriously.

I won´t go on to write a movie review, so let´s get right down to business: the transformation from the big screen to the small one is perfect. It has a great quality and gives a whole other dimension to the movie. It´s as if you were actually closer to the movie, if you know what I mean. If you think you entered Middle Earth when you went to the theaters, just wait until you get the DVD.

The menus are absolutely fantastic! The parts that are animated are very nice, very smooth… couldn´t ask for another thing while selecting what to do. The main screen has the menu set in a circle, like a ring. Seems obvious, but it´s so beautiful that you just don´t care. I love how they arranged the menu screens to look grainy… it gives a certain “classic/old” feel to the disc. The scene selection screen is very nice, featuring a beautiful drawing from Alan Lee. And this has only been for disc one!

Disc two has all the extra features, and it´s as gorgeous as the first one. I won´t even go on babbling about it, let´s go right to the features!

To start off, the most excellent feature: a behind-the-scenes preview of THE TWO TOWERS!! So many things… I don´t even know where to start! Andy Serkis with Elijah Wood and Sean Astin on the way to Mordor (and also glimpses of Serkis as Gollum), the riders of Rohan, flashes of Helm´s Deep, Isengard, Edoras, the old and new characters (including the white rider!)… But the image that I will keep (sadly without hearing what I wanted to hear while I saw it) was John Rhys Davies on a studio recording the lines for Treebeard! The narrator mentioned it while Davies was there, speaking at the microfone, but no Treebeard voice. In fact, Treebeard can´t be seen anywhere, but we do see Dominic Mohagan and Billy Boyd as Merry and Pippin in some bizarre set, so we´ll just have to wait. Oh, so many things… And of course the always present Peter Jackson was there, directing Bernard Hill, arranging scenes and talking about TTT and it´s preview. But more mentions of him to come.

The second best thing was the special extended dvd edition that will come out in November. We get to see all the three versions of the dvd, the reasons behind having 2 editions and three versions and some flashes of new scenes. I´m telling you, if you´re desperate to have this disc in August, after you see it you´ll be terribly desperate to have the extended edition in November and see The Two Towers in December.

And there´s still more! The 15 featurettes that were created for the official site are amazing. I had already seen some of them, but the whole pack is way better. And also you get to see it full screen in your tv, and that´s way better than seeing it on your monitor. They´re great, featuring interviews with preety much everyone involved in the movie: the cast, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Richard Taylor from Weta, Alan Lee, John Howe and more. It shows a lot of things, like how they created some pieces, original designs, talks about the characters and the people who portray them in the movie, New Zealand and other things. PJ gives some nice comments regarding the movie, and Ian McKellen does a good job too. Liv Tyler talks a little in elvish (like in National Geographic’s Beyond The Movie) and Richard Taylor speaks about the effects and everything. You can also find some scenes that you won´t be able to see until the extended edition comes out. Wait a little more and you´ll check it out !

There are also 2 programs that originally aired on TV and one from Houghton Mifflin: Quest For The Ring, that originally aired on Fox and talks about the production, the story, how they translated the books, and has some interviews that you can also find in the featurettes; A Passage To Middle Earth, that aired on the Sci-fi channel and talks about preety much the same things the first one does, but with different scenes, a different approach and exclusive interviews; Welcome To Middle Earth, the Houghton Mifflin in store special, is the best one. You see scenes that didn´t make the theater cut and that will be on the extended edition, nice interviews and more.

There’s also the trailers and tv spots, but not much can be said there.

Enya´s “May It Be” music video, wich is very nice. I saw it many times on TV, and I think it was great having it on the dvd for those who missed the opportunity of seeing it.

Last, but not least, a preview of Eletronic Arts´ video game The Two Towers, wich is thrilling. They made the game based on the movie, not on the book, so the characters you see are the ones you saw in the movie. Really dazzling work. I just don´t understand why they made the second movie the first game, but since I don´t follow game news, I might be wrong.

Sorry, but I didn´t get to check the dvd rom features.

In a nutshell, the best movie I have ever seen makes the best dvd I have ever seen. Not just for the movie itself, but for the work that was put on it. The menus, sound, features… they´re everything anyone wants in a dvd. And if the extended edition tops this one, it´s going to be hell the wait for the TTT dvd.

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