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Dominic Monaghan: David Bowie auditioned for The Lord of the Rings

David-Bowie-LabyrinthIn a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Dominic Monaghan told of a chance encounter in the Hubbard’s casting agency reception area with none other than David Bowie.

“I was at the Hubbard’s, which is a pretty notorious casting agency office in London, doing an audition for ‘Lord of the Rings,’ and when it ended I went over and talked to John Hubbard, who was running the audition, and he said, ‘Hey, it went really well. You should wait around for 5 or 10 mins. We’ll give you some feedback,” He continued, “I thought, ‘Oh, OK, cool, and I sat in the reception office. As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in. And I’m assuming he read for Gandalf. I can’t think of anything else he would’ve read for. He may have read for something else, but I’m a huge David Bowie fan, and I was lucky enough to know his son now so just seeing him in person was pretty special to me.”

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Posted in Casting Calls, Director news, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Peter Jackson

Weta Digital VR experience “Thief in the Shadows” nominated for VES award

- photo courtesy of Slashgear.com

– photo courtesy of Slashgear.com

Weta Digital has been nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-time Project by the Visual Effects Society for the virtual reality demo “The Hobbit: A Thief in the Shadows.”  The virtual reality (VR) experience,  a collaboration between Weta Digital, Epic Games, NVIDIA and Oculus is designed to let someone wearing the Oculus virtual reality headset take Bilbo’s place as he first encounters Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) in his lair.

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Posted in Benedict Cumberbatch, Other Events, The Hobbit, WETA Digital

Real life ‘Hobbit House’ for sale

Hobbit house UKIt doesn’t have a round door, but don’t let that fool you. This quirky and fascinating home in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, U.K. has all the other makings of a home any Hobbit might love, complete with a finished cave that goes back into the terraced garden hillside behind it.

From the mirror.co.uk site: Transformed by eccentric artist Anthony Dracup, who died in 2002, the unique property has gone on the market for £200,000. If you’re a fan of both Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who, this real-life ‘hobbit house’ might be your dream home – and it even comes with its own cave. Read more…

Posted in Miscellaneous

One year later, Mike Tolkien’s bucket list lives on

Royd Tolkien and his brother Mike visit Hobbiton.

Royd Tolkien and his brother Mike visit Hobbiton.

As we first reported here in December, after J.R.R. Tolkien’s great grandson Mike lost his battle to Motor Neuron Disease (MDS) almost one year ago, his older brother Royd took up the challenge to complete the bucket list of 50 items his younger brother left to him. A related article by the U.K. Independent paints a rich backstory of two brothers who seemed worlds apart, yet who came together in mutual support at the most difficult of times.

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Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien

Those Lord of the Rings women

eowyn1We all love to love the male characters of the Lord of the Rings movies. Who’s heart doesn’t go out to Frodo and Sam? Who doesn’t cheer at Gandalf and Aragorn’s strength or cringe at the sheer evilness of Saruman and the Witch King? These and other male characters are front and center in terms of movie screen-time, and rightly so, but it also makes the appearance of the women of the movies that much more special.

Over at Bustle, the women of The Lord of the Rings movies get the limelight in this article that ranks nine of The Lord of the Rings women in terms of character development. Rosie Cotton, Galadriel and even Shelob get a mention! Read more

Posted in Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Miranda Otto, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers

Happy Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien124 years ago today, on January 3, 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein Africa. Forty-five years later, in 1937, his book The Hobbit, was published which he had written for his children. Together with its sequel, The Lord of the Rings, it launched generations of readers on adventures through the invented world of Middle-earth that would impact many of us for the rest of our lives.

Today, we here at TORn join millions of fans worldwide in celebrating Tolkien’s birthday. On this day, you might read a favorite passage or two from Tolkien’s writings or, like many of our message board members, you might even be in the midst of your annual read-through of The Hobbit and/or The Lord of the Rings.

Many fans will be gathering at local pubs with fellow member of the Tolkien Society to raise a glass to: “The Professor!” If you’d like to learn more about the annual January third tradition, or even find a local gathering near you, visit the Tolkien Society’s Tolkien Birthday Toast 2016 page here.

However you decide to celebrate, join us in wishing a happy birthday to “The Professor,” who’s life’s work has come to mean so much to us. Happy birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!

Posted in Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Meet Ups, Other Events, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Toast

EW interviews Peter Jackson about Christopher Lee

SarumanCheck out this wonderful Entertainment Weekly interview with Peter Jackson about his experiences with, and memories of, the actor who brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s wizard Saruman to life for millions of loving fans. You’ll chuckle at PJ recalling some comical moments, but have a box of tissues ready because you just might shed a tear too.  Read more…

Posted in Christopher Lee, Director news, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie The Two Towers, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit

Cyber-Monday deals at HobbitShop

HobbitShop Cyber Monday 2015Don’t miss HobbitShop’s Cyber Monday sale today! They’re offering savings of up to 70% on panoramic posters, jewelry, phone cases, and more, in addition to their Buy One, Get One 50% off Shirts offer. Check out their deals here: http://www.hobbitshop.com/!

Posted in Uncategorized

Ancient ‘hobbits’ were a unique species

- Ryan Somma, courtesy of Scientific American

– Ryan Somma, courtesy of Scientific American

Evolutionary scientists have been studying the remains of Homo floresiensis, known as the ‘hobbit,’ due to its diminutive size, since its discovery on an Indonesian island in 2003. Early speculation was that it might be a modern human with a growth disorder. However, as reported in this article by the Scientific American, recent results from studying its teeth suggest it was a separate species. Of course, this comes as little surprise to Tolkien fans.  If further research reveals that they had wooley feet, lived in holes in the ground and smoked pipes, we’ll resist the urge to say: “I told you so.” Read More…

Posted in Miscellaneous

Tolkien’s Hidden Realms and their Meaning: Part Two

The long-awaited second installment of the article about Tolkien’s special hidden realms has arrived! In Part One, which you can read here, C.E High explored the hidden realms of the First Age. In Part Two, he continues on to consider hidden realms of the Second and Third Ages. Enjoy!

In the second and third ages the devices that Tolkien uses with his realms blossom into more complex symbolism with a diversity of outcomes. As men grow and diversify, this creates new problems for the other races of Middle-earth leading to a variety of realms that grow out of need and out of want. There is also that pesky Sauron, Morgoth’s second in command in the elder days, and in the absence of his master he arguably surpasses him in malice and evil deeds in the land of Mordor.

No longer do we have three hidden elven kingdoms of a similar making, we now have a variety. Eregion and Lothlorien are, at first, settlements of the displaced Noldor, which quickly become refuges against the evil now located in the east of Middle-earth. Rivendell, and the Woodland Realm to the north of Eregion and Lothlorien, round out the retreats of elves from battles with Sauron. Last, but not least, we have the newest and most intriguing hidden realm of them all: The Shire, a realm founded in the third age.

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Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Creations, Fans, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Uncategorized

The Hobbit – BOTFA SEE: International Shopping Guide

BotFA Collectors AssortmentJust in time for the release of the physical editions of the BOtFA extended edition DVDs, TORn contributor and friend, The Hutt, has provided us with another fabulous international shopping guide. Enjoy!

In mid-November, starting with the USA (Nov 17th), the physical editions of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition will start hitting the shelves of online and retail stores. Once again, there are several different editions released in different countries, which can be interesting for collectors. It is quite a feat to bring some order in this amount of different versions – so we attempted it below. The list is not sorted by countries, but by different versions which may be released to one or several different countries, starting with the (subjectively speaking) most interesting editions.

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Posted in Blu-Ray, DVDs, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Sheep Farming in Hobbiton

HobbitonFor those of you who have been lucky enough to visit the Hobbiton set (like me!), you know how magical it is to wander among the well-tended gardens and Hobbit-home facades, to rest in the shade of the magnificent party tree, and to enjoy a pint at the Green Dragon Inn. However, as most of us are aware, the Hobbiton set is surrounded by a 560 hectare (approximately 1,400 acre) working sheep and cattle farm owned and operated by the Alexander family.

Stuff.co.nz recently recounted a bit of the history of the Hobbiton and how Hobbit holes and sheep continue to coexist nicely in a quiet corner of the New Zealand countryside:

“Right alongside the tourism business is their sheep and beef operation, on probably the country’s most-visited farm. While not many of the tourists see the whole farm, the stock is still very much in the public eye, meaning Craig [Alexander] has to be strategic in where he farms stock because of the occasional gate left open by an unsuspecting tourist. Hobbiton is also ring-fenced with paddocks for stock on either side. “If we’re driving a mob of 1500-2000 ewes down the main track and there is a [tourist] bus going through that can be pretty frustrating.”

While the farm is family-owned and operated, Hobbiton is a 50/50 partnership between the family and Peter Jackson. “Today, the tourism venture has about 70 permanent staff and twice that number over the busy summer season. It’s given the Matamata district a huge boost in earnings and the region is now thriving.”

Read the full article here.

Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, Tours