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Additional details on Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series

Out of the recent interview with the Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, more details are being reported by various outlets about the series direction, the Tolkien estate involvement and talks with Peter Jackson.

From Variety:

Salke inherited a number of projects in the works, none bigger than a forthcoming series adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” the subject of a massive deal last year that Bezos involved himself personally in. According to Salke, that deal only officially closed last month. But Amazon has been meeting with writers. Salke herself spent three hours with Tolkien’s grandson Simon Tolkien, and the next step is for representatives of the Tolkien estate to meet with writers.

“It’s a partnership,” she said of Amazon’s deal with the estate. “They have some lines in the play on this on strategy and on vision. The great news about that is that they’re actually really thoughtful and smart, as you would expect.”

The Tolkien deal covers most, but not all of the material connected to the author’s Middle Earth saga. Salke said that it is still too early to say what shape, exactly, the series will take. But, she added, “It’s not a remaking of the movies, and it’s not a whole new thing. It’s something in between. It’s not, ‘Oh, it’s “Lord of the Rings” but you don’t recognize anything in it,’ but it’s not totally familiar to you either. So it’s original.”

From Deadline:

DEADLINE: The Lord of the Rings series. Have you locked in writers for that yet?

SALKE: Despite all the noise around Lord of the Rings, the deal only closed like a month ago. But in the meantime, I’ve sat with Simon Tolkien for a couple of hours, and (Amazon TV executive) Sharon (Tal Yguado) has spent tons of time with them. She had spent the last couple of months meeting anyone who had said, I’m really passionate about it and I want to get in and talk about the show and what’s possible. I think you’ll see us honing in on a strategy in the next month, which might involve a group of writers. Clearly, there’ll be someone in charge, but it involves the estate and Peter Jackson, and there’s a lot of conversations.

DEADLINE: Is Peter Jackson involved in the series?

SALKE: The Peter Jackson conversations, right now we’re right in the middle of them. It’s like, how much do you want to be involved, how little? I know there’s been some discussion, and he’s even said some things, but as far as I’m aware, the latest is that we’re just in a conversation with him about how much or how little he would be involved.

DEADLINE: Are you working on one Lord of the Rings series or multiple ones?

SALKE: One. At the moment, one big series.

DEADLINE: With the same characters as the movies?

SALKE: I think you can know that we’re not remaking the movies, but we’re also not starting from scratch. So, it’ll be characters you love.

DEADLINE: For example?

SALKE: I can’t give that out, I don’t have anything for it.

DEADLINE: Where will you shoot the series? Peter Jackson has got his whole Middle Earth built in New Zealand.

SALKE: I think we might be in New Zealand. I don’t know, but we’re going to have to go somewhere interesting that could provide those locations in a really authentic way, because we want it to look incredible. There’s no shortage of ambition for the project. We’ll go where we need to go to make it happen.

As previously rumored, we have some idea of who the “characters you love” may be involved in the series. What do you make of the other details emerging?

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series

New details emerge on Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series

The Hollywood Reporter has a new interview with the Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke. Included are intriguing details about “The Lord of the Rings” series they are developing including the possible involvement of Peter Jackson and a targeted air date in 2021.

The scripted narrative about Amazon has been that Jeff Bezos wanted his version of Game of Thrones. Have you spoken with him about that and how you can deliver on that goal?

All of us would love a big, addictive show that is executed at the top of its game. We’re really excited about Lord of the Rings. Despite all the chatter about it, the deal just closed a month ago. We’ve been talking to writers. We have an estate that’s very active. I’ve spent three hours with Simon Tolkien. There’s a lot of moving parts with it. We’ll have some game plan to move forward with very soon. Then there’s great genre stuff and tons of stuff in the pipeline. And we just picked up The Expanse, which Jeff was so excited about. We are going to have lots of big shows. They’re not all going to be genre sci-fi. We’re also going to have some big addictive female shows. We’re looking for our next big show that women also can’t stop talking about.

One of the clauses in landing Lord of the Rings is that it must be in production within two years. Will it make that?

It’ll be in production in two years; [on the air in] 2021 is the hope. But there are other people who wish it was 2020.

What is Peter Jackson’s involvement?

We’re in conversations with him that I think are very amicable about how much involvement he wants and what kind. We haven’t figured out exactly what that is yet. He may say he is involved or he’s not involved. We’re still very much in conversation with him about what kind of involvement he would propose.

When and if he signs on, does the search for a showrunner then begin?

No. We are currently talking to writers. I have sat with three or four different groups of writers. Sharon Tal Yguado has met with many more than that. When we announced it, many agents called and with clients and British writers have come calling. There have been a lot of informational meetings about the material and about the scope of what we can do. My hope would be to put together a group of talented people, which will obviously have a leader who can embark on this big ambitious endeavor.

What do you think about the talk that the Tolkien estate is “active”, a 2021 air date, or the potential involvement or not of Peter Jackson with this upcoming TV series?

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series

“The Fall of Gondolin” Officially Announced!

It’s official…”The Fall of Gondolin” by J.R.R Tolkien, edited by Christoper Tolkien, and illustrated by Alan Lee, is indeed being published. It will be released on August 30, 2018. While rumored, the release still comes as a very welcome surprise given that many expected “Beren and Lúthien” to be Christoper Tolkien’s final release. “The Fall of Gondolin” will be available in hardback, deluxe hardback, large print and e-book worldwide as well as a companion Tolkien Calendar. The Guardian has a wealth of interesting background on the story. Further details as well as reaction can also be found at The Tolkien Society.
The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien

From the HarperCollins Press Release:

In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.

At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Tuor and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.

Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

Posted in Alan Lee, Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien, Other Tolkien books

Raise a glass to J.R.R. Tolkien on his twelfty-sixth birthday!

J.R.R. Tolkien by Donato GiancolaHelp celebrate and mark J.R.R. Tolkien’s twelfty-sixth (126th) birthday by joining fans all over the world in The Tolkien Society‘s annual Birthday Toast.

Tolkein was born on this day in 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. On this day, you might read a favorite passage or two from Tolkien’s writings or you can raise a glass to our beloved author and creator of Middle-earth at 9pm (your local time). The toast is simply to: “The Professor!”

Share your toast on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #TolkienBirthdayToast. However you celebrate, we hope you join TORn as we wholeheartedly wish a happy birthday to “The Professor,” who’s life’s work has come to mean so much to all of us. Happy birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!

Posted in Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien Toast

The possible return of Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf?

Ian McKellen has weighed on the new Amazon Studios TV series based on “The Lord of the Rings”. In a recent interview with Graham Norton, he said that he hasn’t been asked to reprise his role as Gandalf but is open to the idea!

From the Hollywood Reporter:

‘Lord of the Rings’: Could Ian McKellen Reprise Gandalf for Amazon?
DECEMBER 19, 2017 12:42pm PT by Lesley Goldberg

The actor addresses a potential role with the streamer’s forthcoming TV series. Ian McKellen’s days playing Gandalf may not be over.

As Amazon Studios plots a TV series based on Lord of the Rings, the actor behind the 7,000-year-old character indicated in a new radio interview that he would be open to reprising his role from the Peter Jackson features.

“I haven’t been asked,” McKellen told British host Graham Norton when asked whether he’d been approached for the role of Gandalf in the planned two-season Lord of the Rings TV series.

McKellen, who played the wizard in all three Lord of the Rings features as well as prequel The Hobbit, seemed surprised that another actor could embody the role and told Norton: “What do you mean, ‘Another Gandalf’?!’ And while McKellen, 78, has yet to be approached for a potential role in the Amazon drama, he joked that he isn’t too old to play the part of a 7,000-year-old wizard.

If the character of Gandalf were to appear in the new TV series, can anyone imagine another actor filling those grey robes?

Posted in Amazon TV series

It’s Official! Amazon commits to Lord of The Rings TV series

Amazon announced today that they’ve acquired the global TV rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. From the Hollywood Reporter comes further details (note: italics are mine to highlight key words/statements that should give us plenty to discuss in the months and years ahead!):

It’s Official: ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series Gets Multiple-Season Commitment at Amazon
by Lesley Goldberg

It’s official: Amazon Studios is going to make a Lord of the Rings TV series.

The retail giant and streaming outlet announced Monday that it has acquired global television rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise, based on the best-selling novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. Amazon has handed out a multiple-season commitment. The Amazon LOTR series will be produced in-house at Amazon Studios alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins and Warner Bros. Entertainment’s New Line Cinema. A writer has not yet been attached.

Amazon’s LOTR series will be set in Middle-earth and explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spinoff series.

“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon’s new head of scripted. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”

The news comes 10 days after word leaked that Amazon Studios was exploring a potential TV series based on the fantasy novels and subsequent feature film franchise, which was produced by New Line. The LOTR trilogy was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999.

The news comes four months after Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate settled an $80 million lawsuit after a five-year battle. That happened after Warners offshoot New Line Cinema and the Tolkien estate waged a courtroom battle over profit participation from the film franchise that consisted of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003), as well as 2013 prequel The Hobbit. The property is a multibillion-dollar worldwide franchise.

“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multiseason television series for The Lord of the Rings,” said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. “Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

Posted in Lord of the Rings, Television

TORn’s panel at San Diego Comic Con

San Diego Comic Con’s schedule is up and TheOneRing.net’s panel will be Friday, July 22 at 5pm in Room 25ABC. If you’re attending, be sure to join the fun!

Tolkien Fandom: The Road Goes Ever On
Friday July 22, 2016 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Room 25ABC
There have been fans of Professor Tolkien’s work since 1937, and there will continue to be fans far into the distant future. The staff of TheOneRing.net are continuing to host online discussions, streaming video and live events throughout this year and for years to come. They know you want to discuss the details of the books, make and wear beautiful costumes and party like Hobbits whenever you can. This year they will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of Fellowship of the Ring. Join staffers Clifford Broadway (TORn Tuesday), Josh Rubinstein (TORn bookclub), Kellie Rice (Happy Hobbit), Alex Rice (Happy Hobbit), and Josh Long (Collecting the Precious). Expect some fun audience participation during this in-depth discussion with the website forged by and for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Posted in ComicCon, Events

‘The Battle of The Five Armies’ receives Annie Award nominations

benedict_smaugThe 43rd annual Annie Awards nominations were announced and “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” received 3 nods in 2 categories. The Annie Awards honor the very best in the world of animation including animated effects and are handed out by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). The previous “Hobbit” films received 2 nominations each with the character animation of Gollum winning for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. Will Smaug win the battle over the Hulk, Ultron, Indominus Rex, a Revenant Bear and orc Azog?

Here are the nominations for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”:

Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Jurassic World – Animated Effects – Universal Studios / Legendary Pictures – Effects TD Supervisor: Raul Essig,
Digital Artist: Roman Schmidt, Digital Artist: Mark Chataway, Digital Artist: Ryan Hopkins
Marvel’s Avengers : Age of Ultron – Sokovia Destruction – Marvel Studios – Creature Sim Supervisor: Michael Balog, Creature Simulation Lead: Jim Van Allen, Effects Simulation Supervisor: Florent Andorra, Effects Lead: Georg Kaltenbrunner
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Gotham Group 20th Century Fox – FX Supervisor: Ronnie Menahem, CG Supervisor: Pavani Rao Boddapati, Lighting TD: Francois Sugny, Models: Leslie Chan, FX TD: Nicolas Petit
The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies – New Line Cinema Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) – WingNut Films 3Foot7, FX Supervisor: Ronnie Menahem, Lead FX TD: Brian Goodwin, FX Supervisor: Jason Lazaroff, Senior Environment Artist: Paul Harris, Lead Modeller: James Ogle

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Jurassic World – Indominus Rex – Universal Studios / Legendary Pictures – VFX Animation Supervisor: Glen McIntosh, Associate Animation Supervisor: Kevin Martel, Lead Animator: Kyle Winkelman, Digital Artist: Rodrick Fransham, Creature Supervisor: Kaori Ogino
Marvel’s Avengers : Age of Ultron – The Hulk – Marvel Studios – Assoc. Animation Supervisor: Jakub Pistecky, Animator: Gang Trinh, Animator: Craig Penn, Lead Animator: Mickael Coedel, Lead Animator : Yair Gutierrez
Marvel’s Avengers : Age of Ultron – Ultron – Marvel Studios – Lead Animator: Peter Tan, Animator: Boonyiki Lim,
Animator: Sachio Nishiyama, Animator: Byounghee Cho, Animator: Roy Tan
The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies – AZOG – New Line Cinema Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) – WingNut Films 3Foot7, Animation Supervisor: Aaron Gilman, Senior Facial Modeller: Howard Sly, Lead Animator: Matthew Riordan, Creature TD: Kevin Kelm, Lead Shader TD: Guillaume Francois
The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies – SMAUG – New Line Cinema Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) – WingNut Films 3Foot7, Animation Supervisor: David Clayton, Creature Supervisor: Gios Johnston, Senior Modeller: Andreja Vuckovic, Lead Shader TD: Guillaume Francois, Senior Animator: Daniel Zettl
The Revenant – The Bear – Regency Enterprises, New Regency Pictures, Anonymous Content, M Productions, Appian Way, RatPac-Dune Entertainment – Animation Supervisor: Matthew Shumway, Lead Digital Artist: Adrian Millington, Digital Artist: Blaine Toderian, Digital Artist: Alexander Poei, Digital Artist: Kevin Lan

Full list of nominees at AnnieAwards.org.

Posted in Events, Other Events, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ wins 2 Saturn Awards!

The 41st annual Saturn Awards were held last night in Burbank, California. The awards are presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films and honors genre film and television that typically are not recognized by other groups. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” was nominated in 7 categories, including Best Make-up, Best Music, Best Visual Effects and Best Writing. The film won 2 awards for Best Fantasy Film and Best Supporting Actor! Richard Armitage attended the ceremony to pick up his much deserved award.

Best Fantasy Film Release:
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (winner)
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Paddington

Best Supporting Actor in a Film:
Richard Armitage, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (winner)
Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Samuel L. Jackson, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Andy Serkis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

A photo posted by With An Accent (@withanaccent) on

Full list of nominees and winners at SaturnAwards.org.

Posted in Events, Other Events, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Annie Awards nominates ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ for 2 awards

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUGThe 42nd annual Annie Awards nominees were recently announced, which has different dates for eligibility (so expect nominations next year for “The Battle of the Five Armies”.) “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” received 2 nominations from the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). The Annie Awards honor the very best in the world of animation including animated effects. The Annie Awards are being held on January 31 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles.

Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Steve Avoujageli, Atsushi Ikarashi, Pawel Grochola, Paul Waggoner, Viktor Lundqvist – Edge of Tomorrow – Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures
Raul Essig, Karin Cooper, Rick Hankins, Owen Calouro – Noah – 
Paramount Pictures
Charles-Felix Chabert, Daniel La Chapelle, Spencer Lueders, Klaus Seitschek, Chris Messineo – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 
- Columbia Pictures/Marvel Enterprises
Areito Echevarria, Andreas Soderstrom, Ronnie Menahem, Christoph Sprenger, Kevin Romond – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Metro Goldwyn Mayer/New Line Cinema/WingNut Films
Michael Balog, Jim Van Allen, Rick Hankins, John Hansen – Transformers: Age of Extinction -
 Paramount Pictures
Jeremy Hampton, Daniel Stern, Edmond Smith III, Hiroshi Tsubokawa, Daniel Jenkins – X-Men: Days of Future Past – 
Digital Domain 3.0, Inc.

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Daniel Barrett, Paul Story, Eteuati Tema, Alessandro Bonora, Dejan Momcilovic – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
 – Chernin Entertainment/Ingenious Media/TSG Entertainment
Kevin Spruce, Dale Newton, Sidney Kombo, Chris Mullins, Brad Silby – Guardians of the Galaxy – Marvel Studios
Eric Reynolds, David Clayton, Andreja Vuckovic, Guillaume Francois, Gios Johnston – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Metro Goldwyn Mayer/New Line Cinema/WingNut Films

Full list of nominees at AnnieAwards.org.
(more…)

Posted in Events, Other Events, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Visual Effects Society nominates ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ for 4 awards!

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUGWhile the Academy Awards did not recognize “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” in the Visual Effects category, the Visual Effects Society did. The 13th Annual VES Awards were announced with “The Hobbit” receiving 4 nominations. The VES Awards will be held on February 4th in Beverly Hills.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
Maleficent
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Outstanding Models in any Motion Media Project
Big Hero 6; City of San Fransokyo
The Boxtrolls; Mecha-Drill
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Laketown
Transformers: Age of Extinction; Knightship

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Helicarrier Broadside and Crash
Edge of Tomorrow; Destruction and Sand
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
X-Men: Days of Future Past; Quicksilver Pentagon Kitchen

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edge of Tomorrow; Beach
Interstellar; Water
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Full list of nominees at VES.
(more…)

Posted in Events, Headlines, Other Events, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ receives an Oscar nomination

oscarsThe 87th Academy Award Nominations for the 2015 Oscars were announced this morning. Every year there are surprises and “snubs” and this year is no exception with chatter about films like “Selma” and “Gone Girl” lighting up Twitter and award blogs.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” received only 1 nomination for its final outing for Sound Editing. “The Desolation of Smaug” and “An Unexpected Journey” each received 3 nominations so this a bit of a surprise. “The Battle of the Five Armies” missed out on a nomination this time in the stacked Visual Effects category despite being a finalist. Joe Letteri did receive a nomination for his work on “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. The other nominees in this category are “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Interstellar”, and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. Sadly, “The Hobbit” also missed out in the Original Song category. Here’s the list for Sound Editing:

SOUND EDITING
American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
Interstellar – Richard King
Unbroken – Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

Full list of nominees at Oscars.com. Weta Digital won a scientific and technical Academy Award that was announced yesterday. Finally, congratulations to Benedict Cumberbatch who received his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in “The Imitation Game”.
(more…)

Posted in Events, Headlines, Other Events, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies