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Page 02 One Year of Principal Photography

One Year of Filming
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 Page 02
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Meanwhile also in November, spy reports started to come in on the set being built in a quarry in Wellington; this we know became Helm’s Deep. (See Helm's Deep Report here)

We had aerial pics of Hobbiton to discuss as well. Clearly it was still under construction and needed a few more months ‘weathering’ to prepare it for filming in January.

 [ Hobbiton pics - Click for the Story ]
Initial shots of Hobbiton and story

 [ Hobbiton Pic - Click for the Story ]
Click for Large View

In late November somebody snuck a camera onto the filmset at Paradise, and the results made their way onto AICN, so we saw our first pics of the Nine on horseback and the first shots of Liv Tyler in costume as Arwen:

[ Black Riders - Click for larger Picture ]
Black Riders
[ Liv on Horseback - Click for larger image ]
Liv on Horseback

In December Tehanu went to the South Island for three weeks to check out filming for herself. Her adventures on that journey, along with photos of the country she traversed, are all here: http://www.theonering.net/features/exclusives/thesearch/chapter01.html.

Locals told her about the exciting scenes they participated in as extras — mainly Orcs. The orcs filmed a lot around a farm called Paradise, at the western end of Lake Wakatipu, a land of beech forests and high snowy alps. Lothlorien was set amongst the beech groves of Paradise, helped out by a carpet of fake gold leaves (and presumably, in the finished product, a lot of SFX.) We can show you the kind of place they used:

 [ Te Anau Beech ]

The orc extras chased the Fellowship around the forest, tripping and cursing over their prosthetic feet. The death of Boromir was filmed at Paradise too, and we believe the scenes of Frodo’s desperate ride to the Ford:

 [ Riders - Click to See Larger Version ]

Somewhere nearby in Closeburn, an elaborate set was built that we believe is Amon Hen. The aerial shot we saw in December, swarming with stuntmen, implied that some action would happen there. Months later Scoop came up with a clear photo of the set.

 [ Scoop’s Amon Hen ]

By January, Hobbiton was ready for filming.

 [ Hobbiton Bridge ]

First the local extras did their scenes of rural life and festivities under the giant Party tree made for the occasion; then Sir Ian and the hobbits arrived to film the opening scenes of the first film, Gandalf’s arrival with a cartload of fireworks.

 [ The Four Hobbits in Vanity Fair ]

 [ Gandalf and Frodo ]

The indoors sets produced the interior scenes of Orthanc, and Sir Ian talked about his confrontation with Christopher Lee’s Saruman. Some Tolkien fans caught glimpses of the tower of Orthanc being built at the workshops.

We heard of a brief excursion up to the hilly country of the west Waikato, near the coast, to do the approach to the Weather Hills, or something of that sort. But the actual structure shown on the preview, we’re not sure we’ve seen.

From the middle of January right through to March, we got regular reports of the action being filmed almost nightly at the now-completed Helm’s Deep set in the quarry outside of Wellington. People spent hours watching through binoculars and the more intrepid ones braved the gorse, blackberries and security guards in order to photograph or film the action as seen from the hills behind the quarry. There were some tense confrontations.

 [ Orcs! - Click to see the story ]

 [ Helms Deep - Click to see larger version ]

Meanwhile the Rivendell set sprang into existence not far from Wellington in the upper reaches of the Hutt River where it comes out of a deep wooded valley. We saw only a little of the delicate celto-gothic architecture there. The Realm of the Ring got the best pictures:

 [ Rivendell - Click to see larger version ]

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