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August 29, 2000 - September 06, 2000


Media Watch: Swedish Movie Magazine
Xoanon @ 9:29 am EST
Ringer Spy Eowyn sedns in an article from a swedish movie mag, and translated it for us as well!

"That the Lord of the Rings will become a movie, you probably already knew.

The first of the three films won’t be out until 2001, but the hysteria will be record high long before that. For the last months Tolkien fans have been flocking like thirsty camels at www.theonering.net It is not the official film site, but it is where everything happens.

TheOneRing.net is updated several times a day, and contains very much information. With tempting warnings such as “Spoilers!” all kinds of spies leave information of various (but entertaining) probability. Here you can find scripts, profiles of the cast, photos and reports from the filming, interviews, facts about the special effects, and of course analysis and opinions, of every picture of every quarter inch of film that someone’s come over (what is that spot there? Is it a bird, is it a plane? No it’s a nazgul!) To this is added a very extensive gallery of links, newsletters, reports from media, chats and a summery of the books that the film is based on. Don’t forget about them!

There is of course a trailer, it was so popular that is was downloaded 1.6 million times the first week it was out. Not too surprising for a film that is using 15 000 extras to it’s huge scenes."


Hikers spot filming around Golden Bay
Tehanu @ 4:15 pm EST
A nice note came in from down South, about events of the last week:
"Just got back from Golden Bay via Heaphy Track. All last Tues morning I could hear choppers ferrying up to Mt Olympus, which is just across the Aorere River from the Track. Apparently there are huge blocks of stone on the face of the mountain.
Cloud was coming down over the peak, and I could imagine them getting trapped up there. Weather can change very fast and choppers can't penetrate mist of any sort.
Earlier in the day we'd passed tiny Takaka Aerodrome which seemed to be swamped with vehicles - 20 or so caravans and the same no of trucks. Two choppers were coming and going."
Thanks to Pete for that.
Which reminds me, last year Pete sent me a photo some friends of his had taken of Mt. Owen, which is in the same region as these mountains; while I'm not familiar with Mt. Aorere and Mt. Olympus, if they're filming nearby on Takaka Hill I know that it's another one of these weird, secretive limestone marble landscapes, riddled with holes and clumps of shining tors. Here's their pic, to give you an idea of the alpine landscape in the area.


Arrowtown Ford Pics
Xoanon @ 1:19 pm EST
No riding Nazgul pics here or anything, but the great folks at the Arrowtown Promotion Association sent along some pics from the Ford at Arrowtown, thanks folks!

Click to enlarge


Minas Tirith Set Pics!
Xoanon @ 12:51 pm EST
Ringer Spy Painty sends in some great, if grainy, pics from the Minas Tirith set. Built right on the same set as Helms Deep, at the Hayward Hills set in Upper Hutt.


I apologise for the slight grain. I used a video camera as I don't have a digital still camera and then used Premiere to frame grab for me. If I had used a standard camera we would all be waiting for the developing and I think the movie would be out before that!

You can see from the photo that they are modifying the existing Helms Deep set. On the wide picture, it looks like the are building the main gate.

Anyhow enjoy.


Click on the above images to enlarge


The Greasy Wheel 2
Calisuri @ 2:39 pm EST
Super Ringer Fan Ares sent in these gamma correct versions of the spiky wheel set photos. Check them out in our internet scrapbook.

Spiked Wheel
Set 1
Set 2

Thanks Ares!


The Squeaky Wheel gets the Grease...
Calisuri @ 8:08 pm EST
An intrepid Ringer spy sent in these images tonight and I just wanted to get them online ASAP! Check it out...remember that infamous 'Gandalf Death' image? Now look at the first image and see that wheel looks familiar?

Xoanon will have more details on these images later tonight..:) Or maybe Tehanu too!

\[Squeaky Wheel - Click for larger view\]
\[Click for larger view\]\[Click for larger view\]

Jedi Spy Checks out South Island Set!
Xoanon @ 10:14 am EST

Ringer Spy Jedi stumbled upon the set near the ski hills on the South Island.


I was recently on a snowboarding trip in the South Island and went to a small private field called Mt Potts (an excellent field BTW!) Close to the road on our way up to the field was a set for LOTR, I didn't know about this before going there so was understandably rather excited. The bad news is I was snowboarding and not touristing so didn't have a camera :-( So you'll just have to put up with my description, make of it what you will!

The site is located on the Erewhon Station, about 47km from the Mt Somers settlement, around 80km from Methven (the nearest 'large' town) and 2 hours from Christchurch. For the geographically minded the coordinates are 43°32'50s, 170°53'00s or on the New Zealand Map Series 260 J36-398378.

The location is a small undulating grassed hill (apparently called Mt Sunday @ 611m MSL according to the 260 map) with a rocky outcrop on top and several smaller 'hillocks' surrounding it. It's in the middle of a large stoney braided river valley (the Rangitata river) completely surrounded by the impressive terrain of the Southern Alps, some of which have cool names like Black Mountain, Battleaxe Column, Scimitar Peak, The Sentinel, Hells Gate, Crossbow Saddle and The Brabazon Range (irrelevant I know but I thought they were appropriate!).

It appeared to me that were actually three sets located together, but the closest I could get was several hundred metres away so it was hard to tell.

On top of the outcrop was a large 2 storey (wooden?) building with a statue of an animal (a horse?) on top. There were also another 4-5 smaller buildings of various shapes in front of this this, all in the same medieval style. To me it looked like a large meeting hall located in a village, my guess is something to do with Rohan?

At the bottom of the outcrop was a large long wooden medieval building with gates in front, it looked rather like an inn, but could have just been a large homestead. I'm not sure whether this was part of the same set as the meeting hall or not, my guess is not.

Located ~50 metres in front of this on a gentle slope was a series (8-10) of large grassed mounds some of which appeared to have doorways in them, there was a dirt track winding through these uphill. I instantly thought 'hobbits', but now I'm not so sure, perhaps barrows?

The crew has a small trailer park/equipment setup a few hundred metres away, and on the drive out I was passed by 3 expensive looking 4WD vehicles going towards the set. Whether they contained 'stars' or even The Man himself I'll never know :-)

Talking to the staff at the the skifield/station, the crew is apparently on location for 5 weeks, during which they need ~6 days of filming! (I'm not sure how long they've been there so far) They've hired out every available bach (the word in NZ for a small holiday home) at Lake Clearwater (~15km away) for the duration, something the owners are happy about because they're getting paying a sizable sum for them (I happened to meet one).

One of the stations staff members apparently 'accidentally' rode her horse into the middle of the set one day and was runoff by security, I would have tried this too but I can't ride a horse to save myself!

Hope this is useful/interesting, it certainly made my holiday!


Just want to know WHO is in that SAURON Armor?! And some DETAILS on what it looks like?!
Xoanon @ 9:36 am EST
Ringer Spy PVC recenly flew back from his long trek to New Zealand with this amazing bunch of info!! Sauron's got a name! of sorts...if any intrepid Ringer Spy can come up with a pic of the actor who plays Sauron, send it on over!


I was a fly on the wall at the set of The Lord of the Rings recently.

There was a whole bunch of extras AND Sauron (20 Elves 20 Gondors) and six Orcs.

I saw Sauron sitting on a chair on a dolly with the 40 Elves and Gondors shouting at him

The 6 Orcs were just dead bodies in the scene. Having been recently dispatched by the Elves and Men. Saurons outfit is pretty cool its black evil looking armor all over with a full face helmet, that has 4 big spikes on it, one in each corner, they had SPFX smoke coming out the back of his suit.

He reminded me of the bad guys from the movie KRULL except they only had three spikes on their helmets

Now here's the BIG news Sauron is played by.....MICHAEL HUGHES. As an actor he's nobody but he's a major player from the WETA workshop, he still works there part time and he's the one who designed and made Saurons suit. I'm thinking maybe he'll be a sort of Darth Vader character with somebody else doing the voice perhaps, he's got a full face helmet, and we never see his face.

The day before they filmed something using the gate to Rivendell which was a great looking (if basic) set consisting of an arch way and a bit of wall each side of it.

The Orc weapons were very cool rough shaped and each was different some of latex foam and some of crude aluminum they looked like scimitars.

That's all for now, keep the raid close-by

Golden Bay LOTR Camp Pics
Xoanon @ 9:17 am EST
Ringer Spy Half Brick sends in the following great pics from the LOTR Camp at Golden Bay.


Here are some picture from the encampment in Golden Bay. They fly the cast and crew out of here everyday with 5 helicopters. They had to stop filming at Mt Olypus today and moved up to Canaan downs, (the old gathering site http://gathering.co.nz/ .) because of bad weather. Filming is due to stop on thursday (weather permitting).

Half Brick

Click to enlarge

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