Fictional Frontiers Transcript
Elven x sends this in: This week’s guest on Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib is Michael Regina from TORN (our own Xoanon) And with lots to talk about and a full summary of what’s been happening in the realms of Middle-Earth Please feel free to comment on the show and the discussion! Fictional Frontiers is aired Sundays at 11am Philadelphia time. You can listen online at WJNC1360AM Philadelphia, listen to the podcasts, or visit the Fictional Frontiers website.
Sohaib: Mike, welcome back to Fictional Frontiers!
Sohaib: Were actually going to run this segment a little bit past 12, maybe 10-15 minutes past 12 so all of our listeners are going to have a little bonus coverage today. Thanks for coming back!
Michael: Hey, no problem!
Sohaib: It’s been a while. I’m sure a lot of things have been going on in the lands of Middle-earth. Talk a little bit about first, Viggo. Because I’ve been visiting your site and again its www.theonering.net and I was sort of surprised to find out, or not find out, but to hear from Viggo, that he was a little bit less enthused about the final two films in the original series. Can we talk a little bit about that before we get into the meat of the news?
Michael: Yeah, sure. Well, Viggo had mentioned that that he was not as enthusiastic about the last 2 films as he was about Fellowship of the Ring. And it doesn’t really surprise me, he’s an honest guy, he doesn’t follow the Hollywood sort of traditions of ‘Promote your Film even if it’s a Dog’ or whatever, and I’m not the last 2 films were dogs or anything, but he just speaks his mind, so, if he finds something that he hasn’t agreed with or doesn’t enjoy he will say it. So it doesn’t surprise me at all.
Sohaib: Would you agree with his analysis in anyway, because over the last couple of weeks we’ve talked about the ‘Lost’ TV series and how some feel it’s become a little too plot centric versus character centric, and I myself feel the last two films in the series, especially the last film was the pay-off for the first two establishing the characters and where they were going. But at the same time I think the second film, there was a tremendous amount of action – but again I understand Viggo’s concerns as far as character development in some ways, but you can make the argument that Frodo and Sam didn’t get that much play or airtime in the second one. But the Rohan and their whole story was very well developed and even in the 3rd one I think Merry and Pippin and Frodo and Sam were tremendously focused on during the last film, so I don’t see where the criticism is?
Michael: I guess everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and he says what he feels, so. But no, I do find that the films were very evenly paced as far as character development versus all out action. I think a film like that where there’s so much you can put into it. The books are so rich and there’s so much stuff that can put in or stuff that needs to be let out, that you’re never going to please everyone, even one of the main actors of the film. So I think ‘good on him’ for feeling that he could be open and criticize it and that’s fine, even if I don’t agree with it, but that’s the way it goes.
Sohaib: I agree with you, I agree with you! My back went up when I read the comments (Michael laughs) because I was thinking back to the comments that Clint Eastwood had made during the Oscar season about the Return of the King alluding to be an effects centric film in his efforts to tout Mystic River and I don’t want to put Viggo’s comments in the same category of vein, but at the same time, there were echoes of those feelings or sentiments in his statements.
But let’s get the new Films, because I know, like you said Viggo has his opinions and we have ours. But what have we heard about the latest with respect to the production of the 2 prequel films?
Michael: Well, Guillermo del Toro was recently speaking to MTV and he mentioned that they are starting their casting process, which is one of the new developments. Nothing yet in terms of hints as to the direction of which way the casting is going, how he’s going to cast the characters. There hasn’t been any news of where the castings actually taking place. We get tonnes of emails every week, people interested, they want to be in the film. For the main characters I know they are definitely reaching out to casting agencies in America and Europe. But news for extras, people who are dying to be extras on the film and just sort of walk on walk off, and that’s usually done down in New Zealand, so anyone interested actually in being in the film, you have a great chance if you’re in New Zealand and if you’re interested , head on down there, and pitch a tent or something (laughs) and just wait your turn. (Sohaib and Michael laugh).
Sohaib: Speaking of going to New Zealand, I know Christopher Lee would love to be in the new films, but because of his advanced age it’s going to be quite a trial for him to go down there. Is there still the possibility you think that we might see him in the films in some capacity, maybe if they decide to film some of the sequences you know, closer to him, maybe in England somewhere?
Michael: I definitely see that. I think Guillermo would love to do that as an alternative to recasting the part. I think he would be very open to setting up a smaller studio and have it be done partially on Green Screen and partially with a small set built up there. Who knows, we’ll definitely find out about that in the future, but I think Guillermo would be definitely open to it.
Sohaib: I was really pleasantly surprised to see that Mike Mignola is evidently going to be part of the design team with respect to the prequels (Mike agrees). Let’s talk a little about that. When I spoke to Mike myself a couple of months ago, it seemed that he didn’t really think that it was a real possibility given the incredible work done by the previous team. Are you surprised that he’s involved with the film – and what’s your take on it? I know he’s Guillermo’s quote unquote ‘Boys’ so to speak, but what’s your take on Mike being included in the process?
Michael: I definitely love that idea when we heard the news I was very, very excited. I’m a huge fan of his work on Hellboy and I just love his artistic style. It wasn’t really a surprise that he was involved in some capacity. I don’t think he’s going to be one the lead artists or one of the lead production guys. But I definitely think he’s going to be in there involved in a few things. I think it’s a great idea and I don’t think fans need to worry too much about him like having a heavy handed approach I think the character or the sets or whatever he’s going to design – very specific stuff – I think it will mesh completely with the Lord of The Rings Universe that’s already been established.
Sohaib: Right. I was up in New York at the New York Comic Con last weekend, and a tremendous show out there. I have 2 questions. One, I know that many of the fans of the series would love to some meet the cast and some of the people involved with the film, and John Noble was there promoting Fringe. On a sidenote, what would you say the best ways for fans here in the States to get a chance to meet a lot of the people who were so important in bringing these films to the Silver screen – is there a way for them to meet these fans? I don’t know if there is any sites, or if you recommend any way for them to actually have the opportunity to meet their (I don’t want to say their heroes) but the people who brought these wonderful works to the screen?
Michael: Yeah, definitely. We sort of dropped the ball at New York comic con ourselves, we didn’t know that John would be there promoting Fringe, and we would have loved to have posted that up on the site. But having said that, we are usually pretty good, we have a great track record of posting when related to the films, especially the actors are going to be somewhere for the public to meet them or see them perform or be live to talk to at a Q&A or something like that so, definitely check out the website for advanced knowledge about that. And we get a lot of emails from people asking where they can see these people, and we get a lot of emails from people thanking us saying ‘hey, I hadn’t known about such and such a convention or exhibit until I saw it on your site so thank-you very much’. So I think our site is a great resource for that kind of information.
Sohaib: Right, right, and I agree with you whole heartedly. And speaking of providing such wonderful information about not just the films but the entire Lord of the Rings franchise, talk a little bit about ‘Lord of the Rings Online’ because again up in New York the DC Universe, the Comic Company, is working to promote their latest efforts to bring their DC characters, the DC Universe to the Online gaming setting. And the Lord of the Rings Universe I guess so to speak, are no exception. Talk a little bit about the online games and first off what they are for those of our less indoctrinated listeners, but also what we can see for those of us who aren’t familiar with that type of gaming.
Michael: Yeah, well the Lord Of The Rings Online is a massive multi-player online role-playing game on MMORPG for those who are into that – and what it is, is a massive online Universe where players can sign up, create an avatar, create a player and just run around Middle-earth essentially, and fight evil beings and do all kinds of adventures and gain points in weapons and strength and all that kind of stuff. And its extremely addictive and their expansion – The Mines of Moria – and that expansion set has won awards – it’s been named MMO of the year and has done really, really well. And actually a co-worker of mine is pretty obsessed with the game and is really, really excited about it and I send them off all the news when I have it (laughs) and apparently is a real lot of fun. (Laughs)
Sohaib: Now Mike, (laughs) the way you’re talking – I know you’re saying ‘your co-worker’ – (laughs) but I’m not going to say I don’t believe you, but I know you’re either playing it yourself in some way or form (laughter) or you’re tempted – I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding (laughing) I believe you. But, you talk about the mines of Moria, but I know my wife and my family would probably say ‘listen, you should heed the words of Gandalf and avoid the Mines of Moria in any form of fashion’ (laughs) because if I start down that road … (laughs) and actually Scott, who is our engineer in the studio, is a big gaming fan, and he asked me off the air weather I’m a gamer and I said no, and with the many hobbies I have you could probably understand I don’t want to head down the path of that …
Michael: I actually purposely avoid these games because if I spend any more time on the computer i think my wife would be moving out of the house (Sohaib laughs) and actually avoiding me altogether. (Sohaib: Well you have a little one too now, so).
But you have mentioned the DC game where you can be a superhero or create your superhero and actually fight, or fight alongside your superheroes, that’s actually one I might try out. It’s too addictive, it’s too tempting…
Sohaib: Oh its very tempting, and I had a chance to speak to someone who was involved extensively with the DC online Games and these new online games, and I’m sure it’s the case with the Lord of The Rings as well, they are, they’re very, very addictive – What kind of character do you think you would be? I see myself akin to either a Wizard or an Elf, I want to be something other than someone from Gondor , and I probably wouldn’t want to be a Hobbit either , too many bad habits (Michael laughs) but I’d probably say I’m more along the line of an Elf or a Wizard. What about yourself?
Michael: Probably an Elf, to be nimble, to walk up snow, would be too tempting to not try out, so it would be interesting to see where our paths would go if we did that. I don’t think you can be a bad, like evil player, but I’d probably be tempted to be an evil player if they gave us the chance (both laugh).
Sohaib: You know that the funny thing, I think that the endearing qualities of these games is that you can vicariously live through a character and take on traits that are not part of your normal life. That’s the appeal of these games!
Before we head out Mike, we had a chance to speak to Mike Sansweet about the Clone Wars series, the animated series, and I just started thinking about this the other day, I don’t know if this is a possibility, do you think we could ever see an animated series dealing with the realms of Middle-earth, maybe a CGI animated series? Because I don’t see why we couldn’t, there’s so much to tell, there so many new stories related to this? Is it just that the Tolkien franchise has too tight a grip on everything related to the lands of Middle-Earth? Do you think we may, maybe not now, but following the films maybe 5 years, 10 years down the road we might see an animated series?
Michael: Well that’s an interesting question. I think Tolkien had in his contract or stipulations, before he sold the rights to the Lord of the Rings was that they could not create new stories based on his Universe. And I know he has specifically forbid Disney from ever producing Lord of the Rings cartoon even based on his writings (Sohaib agrees). So it would be interesting to see how Saul Zantz could interpret that and see if there would be a possibility.
I know WETA does some really great work with their show Jane and the Dragon if you’ve ever watched it (Sohaib: Right) and its actually quite beautiful , and to see something like that in Lord of the Rings or to see like the Clone Wars type of stylist interpretation of those characters would probably be interesting. I think some of the hard core Tolkien fans would be pretty upset about it – but I think a lot of people would be interested in it seeing the light ..
Sohaib: I think it’s worth a shot definitely, just to try something different and to keep the story line going would be fantastic.
Mike before we head out, any last points before we have you come back in the next 2 weeks?
Michael: Well right now Guillermo is down in New Zealand with his nose to the grindstone, so I’ll probably poke him and say ‘Hey, what can you give for some latest news’ and see what he comes up with. But it’s sort of an exciting time right now because you know he’s filling his journal with drawings and doddle’s and notes and stuff, and I would pay good money to see what he’s drawing right now and what he’s thinking of in terms of wowing us with the film. But stay tuned to theOneRing.net for all that kind of news.
Sohaib: And you’re so right. The OneRing.net is the definitive source on anything and everything related to the lands of Middle-Earth. And Guillermo is always welcome her e on Fictional Frontiers as well, but I can tell you this; if he ever decides to open up that notebook or that sketchbook, I can tell you right now, you are going to see those sketches on the onering.net (Michael Laughs) because again, one thing about Guillermo he’s very fan friendly, he’s going to go to where the fans are of this franchise, of this series, and where do they go ? They go to theOneRing.net.
Mike, it’s been fantastic, we’ll talk to you in a couple of weeks.
Michael: Thanks guys. Take care!
Transcript for Fictional Frontiers and TheOneRing.net by ElvenPosted in Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other production, The Hobbit, Viggo Mortensen on February 15, 2009 by xoanon