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Comic Con: New Line Presentation Report From Shirebound

July 20, 2003 at 5:51 am by Demosthenes  - 

Shirebound has thrown together a very good Comic Con 2003 report over on his/her Livejournal that has some excellent information about the New Line presentation that happened this afternoon. I daren’t link directly – TORn has a notorious ability to crush other sites into tiny pieces – so the entire article is reproduced here for you all.

ComiCon report! Hobbits in person! ROTK spoilers!

Okay, now I know why I live in a city I can’t afford to live in. There are hobbits here. I have to warn you, though, that I’m starving, hot, tired, and can hardly see straight. I’m not going to proofread this report, just post it and go EAT something! I’m too exhausted to detail the presentations I sat through before the LOTR presentation, so if anyone wants more details about Halle Berry or Angelina Jolie, just ask.

To zip right to the LOTR stuff, look for the Lord of the Rings heading. I’ll warn you before the ROTK spoilers, in case you don’t want to read them. I’ve also put a hobbits heading down there, in case you want to skip right to that part.

There will be misspelled names in this report, since I didn’t know who some of these people were. Oh well.

The ComiCon is ENORMOUS. It’s a 4-day event, attracting up to 20,000 people. I had to only drive 10 minutes, then walk another 15 minutes to get there, and of course the 90% humidity made my hair look like a mop by the time I arrived at the Convention Center. Luckily for you folks, I don’t own a camera, so no pictures of the mop, and you can continue to imagine me with the smooth, silky tresses of the finest Mary Sue.

The LOTR presentation was scheduled to be held in Room 20 (an enormous ballroom) at 2:00, so I arrived at the room at 10:30 and SAT THERE ALL DAY. After each presentation ended, and people (foolishly) left to go buy stuff or move on to another room, I moved up closer and closer to the stage, until, by 2:00, I was in the 12th row. It’s the only way — by the time the presentation before LOTR was due to start, the entire room was filled (4,500 people).

Now then.

The 10:30-11:30 presentation was to promote Halle Berry’s upcoming Warner Bros. film Gothika. I got to see Halle Berry!

The 11:30-12:30 presentation was to promote Angelina Jolie’s new film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. I got to see Angelina Jolie!

The 12:30-2:00 presentation was by someone I had never heard of before — Kevin Smith. Apparently he’s the director of “Mallrats”, “Clerks”, “Jay and Silent Bob”, and other things. He started his presentation with, “I’ll bet half these people are asking their neighbors who this fellow is. Kevin Smith? They ask? Bring on the hobbits, they cry!”

One of the questioners began with, “As long as you have this room full of people here, could you tell us…” And Kevin Smith interrupted to say, “Come on, you know I don’t have this room. These are all hobbit people waiting for guys with big feet. I don’t stand a chance.”

Whoever he is, we got a 1-1/2 hour NC-17 rated, hilarious question-and-answer period. Really, really funny.

And then!

The 2:00 presentation was entitled, “New Line Cinema: ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Freddy vs. Jason’” and began with a trailer for another New Line movie coming out, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” followed by a trailer for “Freddy vs. Jason”.

By this time, I was in the 12th row of the auditorium, in the exact center. Perfect seat. I was so excited I could hardly sit still.

The first half-hour was a presentation by New Line Cinema to preview the new “Freddy vs. Jason” movie coming out. The actors who played Freddy Kruger and Jason (Robert Englund and Ken Kersinger), as well as Ronnie Yu (director) and Sean Cunningham (creator) answered questions from the audience about their roles (past and present). Robert Englund also said that he would be in a new “V” miniseries in 2004. “Freddy vs. Jason” looks like a pretty scary movie — a real bloodfest.

Lord of the Rings

The New Line presentation for LOTR began with a TTT clip, and then Sala Baker (who played orcs and Sauron, and probably others) came onstage in full costume and makeup (remember the Orc outside Helm’s Deep who’s standing up on that rock, inciting his army of 10,000 to attack?). It was pretty cool to see him.

After that, lots of WETA folks came onstage to “do their thing” in front of everyone.

Richard Taylor (in charge of WETA workshop, I think) talked about Sala’s costume, and about how no orcs have armor on their backs — because they never retreat or run away, or show their backs to the enemy. He talked about the incredibly long days the orcs went through getting costumed and made up.

John Harvey (Sr. Propmaster) said they were making 50 swords a day. He cast a sword right on stage out of urethane that they said was the same material as skateboard wheels.

Daniel Falconer (Sr. Designer) dressed a girl as a Galadrim warrior right in front of us He told how much care they took with the Elvish armor — In the battle of Dagorlad, the armor had flowers on it, and was of light colors. By the Third Age, at Helm’s Deep, the Elvish armor was of more “autumnal” colors and dying leaves to show the fading of the Race of Elves. He also said that at the base of the armor on the front of each person (as the armor comes down to a point) was a pictograph of some type depicting the different houses of the Elvish families. (!!!)

Greg Toser (Sr. Sculptor) talked about costuming the Rohirrim (in the movie, he commanded the Rohirrim army).

Ben Hawker (SFX technician) brought out a lady dressed as a hobbit lass, and proceeded to do a quick “furry foot job” on her. He said it took the four hobbits 40 minutes each, every morning, to have their feet put on.

Hobbits

The folks on stage decided that the lady hobbit had to be inspected by a real hobbit, and onstage walked Dominic Monaghan, wearing a grey sweatshirt with the word “Bro.” on it, patched jeans, and red shoes. He looked like he hadn’t shaved in about a week. THE AUDIENCE WENT WILD. He inspected the lady hobbit’s feet, then made a comment about how all hobbit ladies were very buxom, as opposed to the tall, asexual Elf ladies. He said there was a debate about whether Elf men have the proper… “equipment”, and whether Elves have babies by magic or something. (Has he been reading our stories??) He said he was “available for Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, and female parties.” The audience naturally went nuts at that point.

Dom, et al. stayed on stage during the next segment, which was Andy Sirkus and Bay Raitt (WETA Digital) talking about how Gollum came to life. They showed a tape of Gollum animation, and also Andy Sirkus’s original audition. Andy spoke in the “Gollum” voice, which was cool. He said he had originally been told he would be doing a 3-week voiceover job for the movie, and ended up being a major character. During the Gollum taped segment, Dom sat on the stage and stared at the screen, entranced.

Andy Sirkus says that his “Smeagol” self looks a lot like his 3 year old son, and his “Gollum” self looks like his father. He said he was astonished when he saw the change from “Smeagol” to “Gollum” on screen.

And then… onstage walked Sean Astin and Elijah Wood.

pandemonium: n A wild uproar

Sean was wearing a hat, t-shirt, and long shorts, and Elijah was wearing a short-sleeved white shirt and jeans. I have to say that, even from where I was sitting, you could tell that Elijah Wood has the most incredibly intensely blue eyes ever to be put on this earth. I just couldn’t believe they’re actually real. He also has a crewcut. Sean urged Elijah to do his “ringwraith scream” sound effect, and he did, and it was absolutely right-on. He’s a wonderful mimic. They said that Fran Walsh did the wraith screams we hear on the movie.

Elijah said that he was absolutely awed by the whole experience of working with Andy Sirkus, and Sean told a funny story about how, when “Gollum” attacked him in TTT, Andy was so into the scene that “he grabbed me and ripped my wig off and it hurt!”.

They showed a bit of Sean’s 5-minute short film, “The Long and Short of It”, which will be on the TTT DVD to be released on August 26. He gave Dom credit for co-writing it, and Elijah credit for being his 1st Assistant Director.

They showed a 3-minute clip of the 12-minute ROTK preview that will be on the TTT DVD. Peter Jackson had taped a “hello” to everyone at ComiCon, and he was standing on a battlement next to Ian McKellen and Billy Boyd. Ian and Billy were in costume, and both looked like they were freezing to death (their breath was frosty as they spoke). Ian and Peter pushed Billy down on his knees between them so he’d look “a proper hobbit”, and every time he tried to wave or say something, they pushed him back down. Adorable.

S
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I actually tried to write in the dark while staring at the screen when the ROTK preview came on, so my notes are pretty incoherent. It looks as if the battle of the Pelennor Fields is going to make Helm’s Deep look like a minor skirmish. They showed hundreds of Rohirrim horsemen, and Elvish archers, and all kinds of things being catapulted towards and over walls. There was a quick shot of an enormous oliphaunt, and lots of shots of Aragorn riding in front of a company of Men. The only dialogue I remember is Pippin asking Gandalf, “Is there any hope, Gandalf? For Frodo and Sam?” And Gandalf answering, “There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope.” There are a couple of very cute shots of Pippin with a dirty face, looking very angst-ridden, and one of Merry.

The main focus of the 3-minute clip was Frodo and Sam looking haggard and at the end of their strength (somewhere). Sean Astin’s voice came over to say, “Wait and see where Elijah goes with this role,” and Elijah Wood said, “What we see is the complete deterioration of Frodo, until he’s no longer Frodo.” He also said that he feels that ROTK is better than the first two movies, combined.

Back to ComiCon presentation:

When the clip was over, the presentation was over. Elijah bowed to the audience, and they all said thank you. I swear, what went through my head at that moment was, “And thank you… for changing my life.”

When I finally emerged from Room 20, after 50 more than 5 hours, I at last got to see the huge exhibit hall, where I wandered around in a daze looking at LOTR goodies that all wanted to come home with me. I was very restrained, and only bought two t-shirts (size M! Not XXL!) . One says “Don’t make me get my Ring”, and the other says:

I was…
Chased from my house,
Stabbed by a wraith,
Assaulted by a mutant octopus,
Speared by a troll,
Stalked by a creepy little man,
Drawn into a corpse-filled swamp,
Poisoned by a giant spider,
Rendered unconscious,
I even lost my Ring,
And all I got was this lousy t-shirt

Excellent.

Typing this took an hour, and I’m exhausted! Hope you enjoyed the report! And most of all,

I wish you all could have been there.

– End.

Posted in Old Special Reports on July 20, 2003 by

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