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September 24, 1999 - October 11, 1999


Media Report: The Dominion
Dwane Dipply @ 9:50 pm EST
From: Heather

by Alan Samson


Filming the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy got under way in Wellington's town belt yesterday, and some early morning strollers complained of not having quite the freedom of passage they were used to.

A woman also complained of tree branches being cut as film crews moved in with port-a-lounges, port-a-loos and tents being erected 'as if for a circus'.

Most, however, were happy to slightly deviate where necessary along the ample walkways still available.

Film publicist Claire Raskind said she was not aware of any problems, and the only hindrance to walkers was in the immediate area of shooting.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean appealed for people to be patient, especially near the track where filming was expected to take five days.

"We would hope that people would realise this is a very big deal," Mr MacLean said. "If we do this right, there is every chance of more (film) work for Wellington. If a security guard asks someone not to interrupt filming, I would hope they would understand."

Of the complaint about trees being damaged, Mr MacLean said that pines and macrocarpas in the area were not protected and were not expected to be badly affected.

"We have to give them a certain leeway in easing their passage."

Pictures from inside Bree.
Tehanu @ 4:42 pm EST
These came via the enterprising newsagency 'Scoop'

Scoop Images: And Not A Hobbit Was Stirring The following pictures show the inside of the set for the town of Bree from the Lord of The Rings Trilogy which began shooting in New Zealand yesterday under the direction of Peter Jackson.

Bree is under construction in a former army barracks in the Wellington suburb of Seatoun.

The photos were provided to Scoop by an anonymous source who wishes to remain incognito.

The set appears to be constructed around what appears to be a town square this features a statuesque plinth of sorts at its centre surrounded by Tudor houses jutting out over the square.

Click on the link to view the story and images from Scoop

Inside Bree!!
Dwane Dipply @ 4:36 pm EST




From: Alistair @ Scoop

This is the FIRST look at the BREE SET!! More to come!!

The Dominion reports on the first day in Wellington.
Tehanu @ 4:19 pm EST
The Dominion in Wellington reported today on the first days filming, which started up in the Town Belt on Mt. Victoria, in Wellington. Early morning strollers found them setting up on their walkways, with port-a-lounges, port-a-loos and tents; a few macrocarpa branches had to be cut to make room. Most people were happy enough to travel around the scene, though one woman complained, saying it was like a circus.

Film publicist Claire Raskind did not see any problems apart from in the immediate surrounds to the filming, and Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean asked for the publics patience for the next five days around the tracks where filming was taking place.

We would hope that people would realise that this is a very big deal," he said. "If we do this right, there is every chance of more (film) work for Wellington. If a security guard asks someone not to interrupt filming, I would hope they would understand."

He went on to add that the damaged macrocarpas were not protected trees, and could be expected to recover.

"We have to give them a certain leeway in easing their passage."

Newspaper Article
Dwane Dipply @ 8:41 am EST
From: Sam

Hey. I've become enthralled with The Lord Of The Rings through your website...i'm going to go out
and read the books straight away. ANyway, the reason i'm writing...don't know if you've heard yet or
not. I live in wellington, nz, and get the evening post daily..and on page three i was interested to see
this article...

Hobbits loose in woods above Capital

By Tom Cardy

Part of Mt Victoria's Town Belt became a dense wood and a walking track for hobbits as filming began on The Lord Of The Rings today.

Producer Tim Sanders said the bush around Mt Victoria was ideal for a scene for the $360 million epic, which will be filmed at various locations around the country. Extra trees were taken in to make Mt Victoria's bush denser.

"We're pretty excited. It's been a long time in preparation - 2 1/2 years," he said. Depending on the weather, filming on Mt Victoria would continue for the next few days.

Film publicist Claire Raskind said about 140 crew were involved today, filming a scene with hobbits walking through the woods, including one of the film's stars, Elijah Wood, who plays the hobbit Frodo.

"We have some hobbits working today and that's pretty much it," she said.

The Post was not allowed on the set, but was allowed to look down from Alexandra Rd at the top of
Mt Victoria where several equipment trucks and a wind machine were parked.

Film crew with several large lights could be seen hidden in the bush down a steep bank, but no sign of anyone with big hairy feet.

The only hint as to what audiences may see on film was a black horse wearing a medieval-style saddle and armour in the Mt Victoria Bowling Club carpark, with another two horses.

Cast, crew and equipment were ferried up into the steep hill tracks using four and six-wheel motor

Hope that helps. Would love to hear back from you.


NZ TV catches a glimpse of the first day's filming in Wellington.
Tehanu @ 5:42 am EST
This item was on the main evening news. Many thanks for our contact in Wellington who kindly transcribed what she saw, first on Channel Three news and later on Channel One.

TV Channel Three News:

REPORTER A stand of old pines on Mount Victoria becomes the magical realm of Middle Earth. Just a fraction of the 500 people involved in the mammoth production are working on two sets around Wellington over the next month.

TIM SANDERS Producer "We have got a large crew here and we have been building up a long time and the day has finally arrived and there is a lot of excitement."

REPORTER There is also a lot of secrecy surrounding the production. Producers don't want to spoil the movie for the multitude of Tolkien fans by exposing too much during production.

TIM 'Our project is going to have meaning for a lot of people. We also have to take it very seriously because we have an obligation to get it as authentic to the original work as possible."

REPORTER Information about the production has already been leaked on the hundreds of LOTR internet sites. Some of the casting predictions were confirmed last week. The lineup includes Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett. But there is no easy way of finding out whether any of the big names are down under the macrocarpas. (macrocarpas are a big coniferous tree and a familiar feature of Wellington's Mt. Victoria - Tehanu)

TIM "On any given day we may have one of the bigger name actors or we may not, but I can't disclose which sort of day it is."

REPORTER Next month, cast and crew will go to the South Island for shooting. The three titles will be shot concurrently in one of the biggest movie ventures ever.


ANNOUNCER -".....swung into action today shooting the first scenes of LOTR.


reporter One of the bit players in the $360m production filming today deep in Wellington's woods, our cameras not getting close but the odd jogger did.

JOGGER They told me to keep off actually - it's all a bit mysterious, all very very mysterious.

reporter Did they say what they were filming?

JOGGER No they didn't no, it's top secret

REPORTER Very hush hush.

REPORTER TO TIM SANDERS producer Are some of the hobbits being filmed today?

TIM I can't comment on who is being shot today, no.

REPORTER It is all for a very short opening scene as hobbits journey through woodland of Middle Earth, the mythical kingdom of Tolkien's epic trilogy. He then reads "The hobbits scrambled down a steep green bank and plunged into the thick trees below.Their course had been chosen to leave Woodhall to their left, and to cut slanting through the woods that clustered along the eastern side of the hill, until they reached the flats beyond. Then they could make straight for the Ferry over country that was open, except for a few dithces and fences. Frodo reckoned they had eighteen miles to go in a straight line. He soon found that the thicket was closer and more tangled than it had appeared."

(Recognise this? It's the Hobbits, still in the Shire, the day after meeting Gildor. Remember though, this is just the TV reporters making a bit of a scene up out of not much evidence - Tehanu)

REPORTER Peter Jackson didn't have to go very far to find a setting that matched these passages. He is filming in the green belt below me, just a stone's throw from the city. America's Elijah Wood is the first star in action today; he is the hobbit Frodo in all three movies - the first time three are being filmed at one time. Filming will take eighteen months and involve 3,000 extras, 400 film crew, even 250 horses
in locations around the country.

TIM Anyone who has travelled here would know that the geography matches the novel really well, from the rolling shire countryside, if you read at the beginning of the book, all the way to the mountains and even the volcanoes in the central plateau.

REPORTER Filming moves to central Otago next month.


Bashki Cells
Dwane Dipply @ 10:44 am EST
More from Super Spy J


J has come through with a great cell and a photograph from '78 Bashki 'movie'. A little Blast from the Past for you folks


'78 Bashki Behind the Scenes
Dwane Dipply @ 10:57 pm EST
From Super Spy J


Another sort of obscure thing that you might want to feature as a sort of "blast from the past" item. It's a so-called "photo-roto", a photographic blow-up from motion picture film, showing the live-actors used as animation reference in Ralph Bakshi's adaptation. This example comes from a heated exchange during the coucil of Elrond. I don't know who the performer playing Gandalf is (although note the stylized make-up used to facilitate interpreting the facial features in drawing form), but Bilbo is being played by none other than classic small person actor Billy Barty ("Legend", "Willow", "Under the Rainbow"). An unusual look at the "movie under the paint" as it were, from the much-maligned animated film.


Hobbit, Online
Dwane Dipply @ 11:48 pm EST
From: Jim

Saw that someone is broadcasting productions of The Hobbit and LotR (17 hours) over the internet using Shoutcast. Usually seems to be up during the day, like 7AM to 7PM or so, great for listening at work.

You can find it listed under the "Talk" genre or "Various" genre at shoutcast.com or live365.com. Or point Winamp or Sonique to 28.8 connection seems to be enough.

A Taste of things to Come?
Dwane Dipply @ 11:45 pm EST
From: Graham

I spoted these images from Courtney Solomon's upcoming Dungeons and Dragons - they may (or may not) give you an idea of what the orks and elves in The Followship will look like.



Bree Location?
Tehanu @ 3:13 pm EST
>> I'm probably really late with this, but I thought I might add that the
>> front page of the Wellington newspaper 'The Evening Post'
>> (www.evpost.co.nz) ran a picture and an article along the lines of the TV1
>> article - unfortunately not on their website though. Interestingly, it
>> mentioned that the role of Ted Sandyman has gone to Bryan Sargent, the
>> first Kiwi actor to have been cast so far (you can see him in
>> 'Braindead'/'Dead Alive' and he provided a voice in the NZ animated movie
>> 'Footrot Flats: the Dog's xTailx Tale'.
>> This is pretty good for the EP, who have generally been pretty behind on
>> I saw Bree yesterday and it looked awesome. The set is wooden, extended
>> onto old 2-storeyed army barracks (the site is a decomissioned fort in
>> Seatoun) - about 30-40 metres long, basically forming a graded alleyway or
>> small section of street with 'frontages on either side. Shingled roofs,
>> small windows, an arched doorway which looks to actually lead into the
>> entrance of the building behind it, and some steps leading up to this. No
>> signage though. The odd thing is that there are residential houses next
>> door and a public walking track overlooking this (the set is at the foot
>> a hill), so for the moment it's been quite easy to get a look at what's
>> going on there - I imagine this will be closed pretty soon though!

This snippet sent in by alert spy Mortimus.


News from Seatoun
Dwane Dipply @ 11:06 pm EST
From: Mark

Hi folks,

I've been enjoying your site each day. A cup of coffee and a check on the latest news is a nice way to get things rolling. Here's a (very) little contribution of my own:

My family is from New Zealand, and though we are now situated in various places on the east coast of USA, we stay in touch with relatives and friends from back home. As an old LOTR fanatic, I was delighted to learn of the production, especially the news of Masterton, my birthplace (I had always wished that I was born somewhere in Middle Earth - this is the closest I'll come). Anyway, my mother has received some local "intelligence" that you might find interesting. She has an old friend who lives in Seatoun, and when you published news of the construction there, we went to her for the answers. She writes:

"In answer to all the LOTR questions, Yes, they are building a village for the film in Seatoun on the old Fort Dorset land. The army have moved out and the land is earmarked for a new Seatoun School plus housing development. We peeped over the fence last weekend when visiting the area. Can't see much - everything covered. Peter Jackson - a local Pukerua Bay lad (Pukerua Bay used to be a drab northern suburb) - has made several movies but this is his most ambitious. He has bought 5 houses in the area - both over 1 million dollars. Sam Neill - a prominent actor - bought 2 houses in our street just above Peter Jackson's - they are firnds. Also we are told Sean Connery has been strolling up Tai Pak on occasions. An old neighbor met him one day and couldn't believe it. He must be in the movie."

Keep up the great work! I really enjoy it.

More From Ian
Dwane Dipply @ 11:04 pm EST

Sir McKellen,

I am a french fan of Tolkien's books and when the LOTR Movies were announced, I've been very happy. Hear that you will be in this project is for me THE gratification. You must know that i was sincerely impressed by your performance in Apt Pupil, ( Un lve dou in french ) and some others movies, like gods and monsters that I 've seen in English.( That was difficult for me !)Therefore, I am not at all worried about the part of Gandalf the Grey in LOTR.
I 've just one question : I want to know if the interpretation of Magneto can help or influence you to act the part of Gandalf ? Please, a answer will be great !
I'm very, very, very sorry for my english !

at the moment magneto and gandalf dont know each other - i shot apt pupil and gods and monsters back-to-back and those characters didnt seem to verlap

best wishes ian mckellen


Tolkien and PJ, guides
Dwane Dipply @ 1:35 pm EST
From: Scott I

This is the reply and the question from ian Mckellen.

Hello, Sir McKellen (or is it McKellen the Grey)?

Anyway, I'm a big fan of the Lord of the Rings( not big in stature, just enthusiasm!) and was just wondering:

Will the Gandalf character you portray in the film be YOUR Gandalf or one perceived by another person, e.g Peter Jackson?

Thanks for your time,
Scott I,
Doncaster - England

dear scott i

u ask a simple question that is not easily answered. let's say for now that tolkein and jackson will be my guides

best wishes ian mckellen

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