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July 30, 2000 - August 11, 2000


Want to know WHAT they've filmed lately?
Xoanon @ 11:46 am EST
Ringer Spy Lonely Planeteer sends the news on what they've been filming these past few days!

Lonely Planeteer here with some news on what they've been filming this past Tuesday and Wednesday, August 8,9. While I was lying in my cold, empty cot, contemplating my empty life, I know for a fact the production team were shooting the following scenes.

The flooding of Isengard

Underwater in Isengard with Billy Boyd (Pippin)

Slopes of Amon Hen with Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) and Sean Bean (Boromir)

On Wednesday the they filmed the following:

Scenes involving the Anduin River

with Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Astin (Sam), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Orlando Bloom (Legolas) and Sean Bean (Boromir).

Hope this helps,

The Lonely Planeteer

Love to see what and who is filming! Makes it all so REAL! This was just this past week!

More on The Moonshine Bridge Set
Xoanon @ 10:54 am EST
Ringer Spy GC sends in more info on the Upper Hutt Set:

Hutt River Location

Turns out the 'set' is on Craigs Flats, a plateau on the far bank of the Hutt River, above the earthquake fault scarp, on private land. There is nothing much there apart from the lights, reflector boards, cameras and a large marquee. They had the lights blazing away at 7:10am today.

On the near side of the river, next to the road, is a small village labelled "Jamb, Make-up, Costumes, WETA". This is cordoned off by security guards and concealed from close view by the natural landscape, although it's possible to see the tents and vans from a distance.

It's only 5 minutes drive from Dry Creek Quarry (Helm's Deep) so maybe one of your camera-capable spies from there could help out with photos.

The picture shows Craigs Flats as the green, grassy plateau just above halfway up the right hand edge. This is where they are filming. The darker earthquake fault scarp between the plateau and the river is clearly visible.

PS: Anyone commuting between the 'dressing rooms' and the set has to cross the Moonshine Bridge.


Eyewitness report of Gandalf at Wingate.
Tehanu @ 10:49 pm EST
Recently we helped a French Tolkien fan find the Wingate set, and he sent us this report:

"... since last tuesday I`ve found the location and it`s really great. Hey you know there is a big blue screen with some ruines; all the set is in the water like a river. Tuesday they was shooting scenes with six horses, one with Gandalf the White, another with Aragorn, Legolas, Merry, Pippin and Gimli.

The costumes are so great.

They have shoot an other scene with only Aragorn and Gandalf. Yesterday I went to wingate but I`ve just stay one hour because the security guard told me that the crew could call the police. I just saw they were shooting a scene like Tuesday but gandalf was talking. I hope today and the other day I could watch interesting scenes....thanks a lot for your help.

Thanks to Didier for that.

LOTR Cast Having a Ball!
Xoanon @ 1:52 pm EST
Ringer Spy David sends in these great exclusive pics from New Zealand:

I'm a photographer passing thru NZ. The Lord of the Rings cast were at the Bledisloe Cup at the weekend (All Blacks vs Australia rugby match) as guests of Wellington City. Before the game they had their faces painted and were meeting the public etc. I have black and white pics of Astin, Monaghan and McKellen.


Tolkien Silliness in Ireland?
Tehanu @ 2:34 am EST
Amargasaur sent this transcript from the Irish Times, Saturday August 5. It's so deeply, daftly, contrafactually silly that I'm reluctant to say more about it until somebody can prove to me that this article really exists.

"One ring to keep them out
Edward Power

Wellington is in the grip of Hobbit-mania. And it's not a pretty sight. Innocuous early tremors - local bookshops reported a tenfold increase in sales of Lord of the Rings, amateur dramatic productions of Tolkien's chubby, pre-Harry Potter novels proliferated - swiftly ceding ground to scenes of hysteria rarely encountered this side of a Star Trek convention.

The geeks, fat on Internet innuendo, rolled into town, drawn by rumours of billowing film sets swarming with furry-toed runts mushrooming in the verdant New Zealand countryside. And man, were they serious.

It was simply a matter of time before the hard-core nuts - obese, corn-fed Tolkien zealots who wear medieval garb at weekends and boast about watching the Star Wars: Phantom Menace trailer 16 times - turned mean. They'd long-hauled all the way from Kansas to trade nerd talk with New Zealand director Peter Jackson and his coterie of special effects wizards.

Instead, a ring-fence of dour security guards - who'd probably never played a single game of Dungeons and Dragons in their lives - fixed them a look and said: "Scram!".

The first break-in occurred days into preliminary shooting. Three reporters from an online horror magazine turned up chest-deep in proverbial Hobbit gguano at Jackson's digital workshop on the outskirts of Wellington. Perimeter patrols doubled in a bid to discourage interlopers. Some chance. A 36-year-old American was recently apprehended for allegedly stealing pre-production video clips and attempting to post them on the Internet.

Tinseltown's Tolkien flirtation spans four decades - from the era when mushroom-chomping counter-culturists hailed LOTR as an anti-capitalist treatise ranking alongside Sgt Pepper and the musing of Timothy Leary. But this has never been a "go" project. Too big, too risky, too expensive. John Boorman briefly talked up his plans for an adaptation but blanched and made Arthurian paen Excalibur instead. Avant-garde animator Ralph Bakshi - emboldened by the success of George Lucas's fantasy/ science fiction cross-over, Star Wars - spewed out a murky, hit-and-miss cartoon adaptation that jerked abruptly to conclusion mid-narrative. By the early 1980s pretty, vacant follies such as Krull and Dragonslayer were killing off the mini-boom in fantasy flicks. Everybody forgot about Hobbits storming multiplexes.

Now, backed by the clout of Los Angeles's New Line Cinema studio, former splatter-punk standard bearer Jackson is at the helm of the New Zealand production; three movies filmed end-to-end pencilled-in for world-wide release Christmas 2001 to 2003. Chiefly notable for ushering a fresh-faced Kate Winslett into the public eye in 1995's lesbian-murder fandango Heavenly Creatures, the rambunctuous North Islander is a controversial choice. Jackson's early canon - indie productions Bad Taste, Brain Dead and Meet the Feebles - spews baby-in-a-blender gags and sub-gremlins juvenility. Sick. Very sick. If you can sit through Meet the Feebles without feeling compelled to retch, I'll buy you breakfast.

But in interviews Jackson steers a steady course; doffing his cap to aficionadoes startled by the casting of matinée mannequin Liv Tyler as elven princess Arwen, a minor figure whose role is significantly expanded to inject a modicum of "lurve" interest - Tolkien was a fusty Oxford don, his female characters were gilded wallflowers, more concerned with eliciting appreciative coos and simpers from his central protagonists than actually doing or saying much of substance - while insisting the $130-million trilogy will primarily be pitched at those who haven't read the books.

There's an Irish angle too: it is heavily rumoured that LOTR's world-weary elven race - a synergy of Nordic folk spirits and Celtic immortals - will trot out their weighty pronouncements on the futility of existence (they are a glum lot) in soupy Irish brogue. This would jar with the source text where Welsh, rather than Irish, mythology is a discernable influence, but scarcely comes as a surprise given Hollywood's belittling affection for everything green.

The cast, with one minor exception - young Scot Dominic Monaghan plays fiesty Hobbit fighter, Merry Brandybuck - is notably Celt-free. Speculation that Sean Connery would assume the mantle of crotchety-mage-turned-Christ figure, Gandalf proved ill-founded (the part went to Shakespearean scowler Ian McKellen). Dubliner Stuart Townsend, star of loyalist ultra-violent romp Resurrection Man, secured the role of Aragorn - the nearest you'll get to a conventional hero in Tolkien - but was replaced within days of arriving on set. Word has it that Jackson didn't realise Townsend was only in his mid-20s (Aragorn is described as a morbid forty-something). Replacing him is Latino B-movie stalwart Viggo Mortensen (straight-to-video fans may recall his show-stealing turn as Satan in the lumbering Christopher Walken mid-1990s biblical snooze-fest Prophecy). Oh, well. At least parts of New Zealand resemble Killarney on a clear morn'.

Purists have sniffed at Jackson's labours. Oxford's furrow-browed Tolkien Society haughtily decried the casting of Hollywood big-leaguers such as Tyler and maturing child-star Elijah Wood, who steps into the hairy feet of hobbit saviour Frodo Baggins. Tolkien's son, Christopher, pointedly shied away from endorsing the project. But keeping academics and diehards on-side - while producing a hunk of swords-and-sorcery sufficiently non-cerebral to sate the popcorn-munching masses - is set against the task of bucking public disaffection with bloated, preachy blockbusters.

A bleary Internet preview - smatterings of roughly-hewn clips interspersed with footage of special effects engineers toying with rubber goblin miniatures - drew six million first-day hits last spring. But, then, Phantom Menace pulled in a comparable figure and that film's subsequent failure to fire moviegoers' imaginations suggests a deepening weariness with clunky good-versus-evil morality tales. Jackson, however, might point to a rather more pressing headache - how to repel the seething ranks of fanatics swelling at his gates?"

Hmmmmmmm. Certainly deepened my understanding of what constitutes a factoid. One gross of factoids = a tabloid.

New Set News!
Xoanon @ 12:09 am EST
From: GC

What looked to be a large film crew - the usual technicians full of equipment, caravans, lighting rigs etc - was assembled on the bank of the Hutt River just north of Moonshine Bridge, Upper Hutt, this morning.

Unlike the typical LOTR sets, it was not fenced off and was easily visible from State Highway 2.

New Set News!
Xoanon @ 12:07 am EST
From: GC

What looked to be a large film crew - the usual technicians full of equipment, caravans, lighting rigs etc - was assembled on the bank of the Hutt River just north of Moonshine Bridge, Upper Hutt, this morning.

Unlike the typical LOTR sets, it was not fenced off and was easily visible from State Highway 2.


Cinderella goes to the LOTR ball.
Tehanu @ 4:02 pm EST
Altariel got invited to the LOTR cast and crew ball that took place on Saturday August 5th. No press were invited, so we're lucky to have got this glimpse into the party.

Wellington, New Zealand , 9.30 pm on a Saturday night and I was late for a ball I'd tried desperately to get invited to and only just managed to aattend. As i stood outside the ballroom dressed in my flash frock with my little seguined mask in hand I was suddenly not so sure I wanted to go inside.

Having been given only three days notice of this momentuous event I'd had to rush around town organising gown,shoes and hair and hadn't given any thought to the fact that I would be spending up to seven hours talking and dancing with what I had previously considered to be the enemy i.e all the production people who had turned me down for the many jobs I had applied for.
Yes, and as usually happens this all occured to me about 20 metres from the ddoor, but after a few seconds of panic I reasoned that if it didn't work out iit didn't matter because at $130 a ticket the hors d'oeuvres at least would be worth the experience. So I donned my mask and entered into the wierd and wonderful world of the rich and famous.

There were two darkened rooms filled with around 200 production crew and two bands, I quickly exited the room with the jazz band and convinced my escort that leaning against the wall, in a corner was the best place to be . As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could see girls dressed in fabulous period costumes and jewllery (costume department personell)and most of the others adorned in an astortment of black tie, evening wear and fancy dress. Then a hush fell over the crowd(well it should have) and in came the stars who dived straight into it all with an unrestrained amount of glee.

There was Orlando Bloom decked out in a white suit, dark eye makeup and his now trademark mohawk, getting down with his bad self alongside an incongrouosly short Darth Vader and a dancing ape enjoying his champagne through a straw. Presently there came sailing through the crowd of the now much amused production crew the green sequined head of a large bug-eyed creature which later revealed itself to be attached to Dominic Monaghan who could easily have gone home with the best mask award if only there had been one.

But as most of you will know the person everyone wanted to meet was Elijah Wood, and it was easy to pick where in the crowd he was as crowds of young women formed and reformed wherever he went. And it was not hard to see why as he introduced himself to a young lady across the room by bowing and kissing her hand, needless to say she was suitably impressed by his gentlemanly manner.

As the night wore on the rather unhelpfull waiters continued to refill my glass with wine whenever it even looked like getting close to half empty and somehow I ended up dancing the night away with the likes of Alan Lee and Viggo Mortenson dressed as Zorro (I believe I can die happy now).
By about 4 O'clock everyone had danced with everyone else and most of the helium balloons had been sucked empty. Almost everyone in the room had been up since 5.30 the previous morning and the fact that they were (mostly) still standing was testament to the long hours they must be used to working.

I left at about 4.30 in the morning and had danced and talked with almost everyone there. I won't tell you too much because the people were relaxing, enjoying themselves away from the public eye, what I will do is answer the question "what is it like to party with the stars?"
Fantastic-they know how to have a great time,how to be real gentlemen and had no problems talking and dancing with anyone and everyone there(well they danced with me didn't they?) And we mustn't forget that all this jollity was due mainly to the extrodinary efforts of Jan........(Not sure of name,) Peter Jackson's Personal Assistant who along with a few other people (whose names were unfortunatly lost in the cheers for Jan) orchestrated what turned out to be an excellent party.

Well thats all I have for now!


Hutt Hobbit strikes gold again!
Tehanu @ 7:02 am EST
Lots going on at the Wingate set, and the Hutt Hobbit dropped by to have a look:

Hi Tehanu, do I have a report today!

This morning I went down to the Wingate set to do a bit of spying, and struck gold again. Amongst the debris and props at the set were several horses, with some famous characters sitting on them. At the front was Ian McKellen dressed as Gandalf. He had long white robes, beard and hair. In his hand he held a long white staff, that had intricate designs at its end. His horse Shadowfax was standing calmly, even as the bright lights were switched on and bathed them in light. Gandalf was looking up and speaking at a camera set up on scaffolding about 20 feet above him. Possibly calling on Saruman at the tower?) Behind Gandalf were several brown horses. On one horse sat Legolas and Gimli. Legolas had long blond hair, a quiver full of arrows and his bow, while Gimli had a very large axe that looked very useful for chopping Orcs. Gimli had a full beard and a helmet, just like we see him in the internet preview. Beside Legolas' horse there was another, but I could not recognize the rider. However the passenger was a hobbit. I could not quite see his face, but I am sure that it was Merry. A few more horses were about, being ridden by actors in armour. This set is a hive of activity, and there is plenty happening to keep a hobbit happy :)

A quick glance at my hobbit watch and I realised I was late for work. Jumping into my hobbitmobile, I sped off, vowing to return. Fortunately for me, my boss reads LOTR once a year, so he was not too upset at my tardiness.


The Hutt Hobbit


Wingate set flooded and ready for action.
Tehanu @ 8:01 am EST
Greetings fellow fans. I have returned with more news regarding a certain movie project we all know and love. Just 2 kilometers from my hobbit hole there is a set that has been idle for some time, but now has jumped into life. The other morning on my way to work (Yes, even a hobbit like me needs a day job. Spying does not pay well :() I saw the familiar sight of large lights on cranes over at the Wingate set. I quickly spun my hobbitmobile around and broke several traffic laws in my haste to investigate this sight.

And I have struck gold here folks. This is most likely Isengard. There was a large wooden wheel-like prop lying at about 20 degrees that looked similar to a cable drum on the leftmost side of the set. To the far right was half of another wheel that had large spokes and some very nasty looking spikes about a meter long sticking out at regular intervals around it. You may have seen the photo at therealmofthering.com. The set was flooded about 2 feet deep, so it would appear that these objects were partially submerged. Between these two props there was a wooden frame that was lashed together with rope. At the top of this frame was a pulley with a rope through it. One end of the rope dangled in the water, while the other end was tangled around one of many dead trees that were scattered at random about the set. On closer inspection I also saw a couple of barrels floating near the frame. Broken lengths of timber were also scattered about. 'Flotsam and Jetsam' I thought to myself. I sped off in a cloud of smoke, determined to return.

Later that day I returned to carry on my observations. There were several trucks parked in front of the set to obscure it, but not enough to prevent me from seeing an actor in a green-ish outfit walking about. I saw an inflatable dinghy with an aluminium frame sitting by the set. Obviously they will be doing some shots on the water.But the best thing i saw there was an actor in white robes, with long white hair and beard. Saruman or Gandalf? I could not be sure. This set has my curiosity aroused. What is that large spiked wheel? Is it part of some type of seige equipment like a catapult? Or does it serve some other purpose? The frame with the pulley. Is it a crane or seige equipment? Regardless of the answers, this is a VERY IMPRESSIVE SET and we are going to see some magnificent scenes in the finished film. I will endeavour to keep you folks informed of any activity at Wingate, and keep you informed on the changes that are happening at the Helm's Deep set.

Until the next report

The Hutt Hobbit


Media Watch: Empire Magazine
Xoanon @ 11:26 pm EST
From: Gorondir

Click on the above image to enlarge

I just read the latest issue of Empire and found FotR still on place on of the list of the most anticipated future films....

The article also gave some new information:

"Even better news is that Fellowship now has a UK release date - it's all set to make its bow here on December 14, 2001, which apparently means that in an unusual coup, British cinema audiences get to see it a full five days before American moviegoers!"

"More teaser trailers are set to make their mark online [at www.lordoftherings.net] between now and Christmas"

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