William Kircher (Bifur), James Nesbitt (Bofur), and Graham McTavish (Dwalin) have been announced as guests at Dragon*Con, held August 30- September 2 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tolkien’s Middle-earth Track will be presenting panels on costuming, literature, music, art, and of course TheOneRing.net will be there with all the latest news on ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”. TOR.n will also have a fan table set up, so be sure to stop by and say hi! Check out Tolkien’s Middle-earth website or Facebook page for all the latest track and guest updates.
Posted in DragonCon, Events, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, William Kircher
Orlando Bloom will make his Broadway debut this fall in Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ alongside Tony nominated actress Condola Rashad. The classic love story returns to the Broadway stage for the first time in 36 years.
The show will open Sept. 19 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, following preview performances slated to start Aug. 24. You can read the full article here. For updates and ticket information, please visit the shows official website.
Posted in Events, Hobbit Cast News, Orlando Bloom
Many fans dreamed of being an extra in the ‘Hobbit’ films, but not many fans can say their wish came true due to the support of the worldwide Tolkien community. Here is the story of two fans, Chris and Melissa Kern, and their unexpected journey to Middle-earth.
Chris Kern: Melissa read the Lord of the Rings books from a very young age, and was a huge fan of the three Peter Jackson movies. After putting together a Frodo costume in 2003, she met up with other Ringer fans at Dragon*Con in Atlanta. By 2004, she became a co-leader of the fan group “Arms Of Middle Earth” (AoME), worked as a volunteer on DragonCon’s Tolkien Track, and made it to Los Angeles for TOR.n’s “The Return of the One Party”.
In 2007, she started having trouble using her hands and keeping her balance. Later that year, she was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. There is no cure for ALS, and estimated lifespan from diagnosis is 3-5 years. She was only 35, and we had a son in elementary school, so there was a lot of life that she would miss out on, and not much we could do about it. Peter Jackson had just announced that he would be making ‘The Hobbit’, but it was still years off, and Melissa was sad that she might not be around by the time it was released.
There wasn’t much that we could do about the disease, but I figured there was a chance I could do something about her missing out on ‘The Hobbit’. If she wasn’t around to see it in the theaters, what if she could be part of it? So I registered a website for Project “Fiver” (which was Melissa’s nickname on the internet), and started a petition to get her cast as an extra in the film. I sent it around to AOME and our friends, and kept it secret for a few weeks, planning to reveal it to her at her birthday party. In March of 2008, Project Fiver went public with 844 signatures. Melissa was moved to tears, as were many of us. From there, her friends and I posted it all over the internet, and it took on a life of its own.
On how ‘Project Fiver’ got the attention of Peter Jackson…
It’s difficult to say exactly what path it took to get to him. With all the social circles that Melissa was known in, and with the simple goal of the Project, the petition went viral in a matter of weeks. I posted it on internet message boards, emailed everyone in Melissa’s incredibly huge rolodex of contacts, even sent letters to cast members from the LotR films. I didn’t have the contacts to get the petition in front of him, but I knew that by the “Six Degrees” rule, someone we know, knows someone else, and so on, and eventually we would get it to the right person in New Zealand.
In a few months, we had over 4200 signatures on the petition. As incredible as this result was, things took an even more unexpected turn: A representative from Peter Jackson’s production company emailed us:
“We’ve been sent a great many letters and are touched by Chris’ initiative, and for the support you’ve received from Ringers around the globe. Peter and Fran have asked that I touch base with you for an update on where things are with THE HOBBIT.”
They… wanted to call and update US… on production details of the film. It was one of those letters that change your life. After working out the time zone conversion to New Zealand time, Production Assistant Matt Dravitzki called us an gave us the scenario: Peter wanted to bring Melissa over to be a part of the film. When they start filming on the “Hobbiton” set, she would be a costumed extra, just as we wanted for her. In May of 2008, just three months after we started Project Fiver, we had succeeded in the impossible.
On their journey to Middle-earth…
It was years until filming even started. When we accomplished Project Fiver’s goal, Melissa was still walking around, still mostly the same old Mel. But by the time they were ready to bring her over to New Zealand, in October of 2011, her disease had progressed to the point where she couldn’t walk or stand, speak or work a computer anymore. She needed a large electric wheelchair to get around, and communicated with me only by eye movements. There was a lot to work out in the travel arrangements. But both sides in this were very committed, and we found a way to make it happen.
When our plane landed in New Zealand, we arrived the day after their national team, The All Blacks, had won the Rugby World Cup, so the entire country was out celebrating. The Production team took care of all of our needs while we were there. They hired us a Handicapped Access van and a wonderfully chatty driver named Frank that took us everywhere on the North Island. While waiting to go on the Hobbiton set, we saw many of the sights, including the world’s only Wheelchair-Accessible cavern, a fishing trip on a volcanic crater lake, and a helicopter tour through the mountains to see many of the shooting locations from the Lord of the Rings films.
On becoming a Hobbit…
It was quite an experience! We finally met Matt Dravitzki, the Production Assistant that we had been talking with for years, and he led us into a tent city in the middle of the Matamata sheep farm that serves as the Hobbiton Set. We had costumers that got us into appropriately hobbit-y clothes, put wigs and prosthetic ears on us (the ones we used were the model made for Sean Astin in the previous films), And makeup folks took a shot at covering up the sunburn we’d already received – we were only out for a couple hours, and forgot about the country being a little closer to the equator than we were used to. After an hour, we were ready for the finishing touch: A pair of Hobbit Legs.
Melissa’s legs would be under a blanket, to hide her wheelchair, but my legs would be seen, so I needed a pair. In the first films, the foot prosthetics were like fleshy slippers, but the new versions were like a knee-high foam latex boot. After covering my legs with talcum powder, three assistants helped pull them on, and it felt like pulling on the coldest, thickest rubber glove in the world. It was an incredible feat of engineering though, because there was a semi-rigid foot pad built into it, so you could walk over rocks comfortably.
After getting into costume, they brought us out to the set of the Green Dragon, which had a market set up in front of it. I pulled Melissa up to a table in the back of the scene, and we sat down with four other Hobbit patrons. Our job was to grin and talk silently with the others, while Bilbo made his way around the market. When Melissa saw Martin Freeman as Bilbo, her eyes lit up with excitement. In between takes, he even came over to talk to us, and I relayed Melissa’s message that she loved him in Sherlock and the original UK ‘Office’, and then extolled the virtues of Dragon*Con, suggesting he visit there.
Lunch was called a couple hours later, but before we left, Peter Jackson himself came over to talk to us. He shook our hands and smiled a welcome. We thanked him for everything — for making us Hobbits, for flying us halfway around the world, for giving Melissa hope… everything. And in response, Peter just shrugged and said it was no problem, as if he’d done something as small as giving up his seat on a train.
As we left, Matt reminded us that we couldn’t tell people about our little adventure until after the first movie premiered (which was 14 months away). We had to sign a contract saying as much, as did Frank, our driver. It was this little catch -and not all the difficulties of getting a woman in a wheelchair to a sheepfarm halfway around the world- that ended up being the hardest part of the trip.
For weeks before we left for New Zealand, we had tried to think of a way to show our gratitude to Peter and came up short. What can you give a man who can do so much, someone who can change a person’s life as he did ours? But Melissa had thought of something: she took pictures at ‘The Return of the One Party’ back in 2004, when Peter and the LotR cast came into the party, holding their Oscars. She had worked her way up to the front of the stage, and she captured some great, candid moments of well-earned celebration. By coincidence, she also captured the moment when ’Return of the King’ was being added to the display of all the Best Picture Oscar winners in the lobby of the Kodak Theater.
As I handed these pictures to Peter, I could tell that it struck a chord with him. It wasn’t anywhere near an even trade for giving Melissa something incredible to look forward to, something to continue living for, but we just might have given Peter Jackson something that he didn’t expect. And how many people can claim that?
The scene Mel and Chris filmed did not, unfortunately, make it into the theatrical version of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, but here’s hoping for the Extended Edition!
And on December 13, 2012, Mel and Chris were able to join other Tolkien fans at the Atlanta Line Party to watch the midnight screening.
*Photos courtesy of Chris Kern
Posted in Fans, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit
I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening last night of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’- in 3D but not in 48fps. In honour of todays date (12/12/12) I thought I would share the 12 things I loved most about the film, and 12 things I didn’t. I will say that overall I loved the movie, and plan to see it in all formats at least a few times each. And it was a lot harder to come up with 12 things I didn’t like about the film than 12 things I did like. Spoilers ahead!
Things to love:
1) The prologue – Seeing Erebor in its glory! Young Thorin! Thranduil! A fleeting glimpse of Smaug! And, most surprisingly (I was actually a little worried about this), seeing old Bilbo and Frodo as they get ready for Bilbo’s birthday party. A nice way of seeing how Bilbo begins the Red Book as well as a nice segue into the beginning of ‘Fellowship of the Ring’.
2) Martin Freeman as Bilbo – Perfect casting. I have long been a fan of his, and he absolutely nails this performance.
3) Richard Armitage as Thorin – See above.
4) The dwarves singing at Bag End – I laughed during ‘Blunt the Knives’ and almost cried during ‘Misty Mountains’.
5) The returning cast (Sir Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett) and familiar settings (Hobbiton, Rivendell) from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. It was like being back with old friends after a long absence.
6) Bret McKenzie as
7) The Stone Trolls – Bert, William, and Tom. They look and sound just as Tolkien described, except… (see # 8 on my 2nd list).
8) ‘Riddles in the Dark’ – My favorite scene in the film and from the book. Both Martin and Andy Serkis were brilliant together. Can we just give them both an Oscar now?
9) Bad Ass Dwarven fighting. Those goblins never stood a chance.
10) The soundtrack – a Middle-earth film without Howard Shore’s score is like a Hobbit without food and pipeweed.
11) Here come the eagles!
12) One last glimpse of Smaug opening his eye as the film ends. I can’t wait to hear Benedict Cumberbatch give voice to one of my favorite literary characters next year.
Things You Might Not Love:
1) I would have liked to have seen a bit more done with Radagast the Brown. Don’t get me wrong – I love Sylvester McCoy, and he does warn Gandalf about the goings-on in Dol Guldur. But otherwise he just seemed to be there for the sake of being there. Perhaps the Extended Editions and films 2 & 3 will fix that.
2) Bilbo seemed a little too excited to leave the Shire, and he left on his own. I wanted to see Gandalf come and get him.
3) Speaking of Bilbo heading out on his adventure, why did he have a backpack? I would have rather he left as he did in the book, without so much as a pocket hankerchief.
4) Azog – In my opinion, he was too cartoonish and too obviously CGI. A little disappointing given how amazing Weta’s CGI characters usually are.
5) The Wargs – See above.
6) The Goblin King – See above.
7) No talking wallet during the Stone Trolls scene – I understand it may have been a bit too cartoonish, but I was disappointed not to hear “Ere, ‘oo are you?”
8) Bilbo covered in troll snot – I would have been okay without seeing that.
9) The scene with the Company in the middle of a fight between stone giants seemed almost completely lifted from the scene in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ on the Pass of Caradhras.
10) No talking eagles, either - I wanted to hear at least a little something between Gandalf and Gwahir.
11) I know the eagles aren’t a taxi service, but couldn’t they have dropped the Company off just a *bit* closer to Erebor instead of at the top of a mountain very far away?
12) That it will be another year before we all see ’The Desolation of Smaug’.
Posted in Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit
CNN’s iReport series is looking for stories from Tolkien fans on how they are preparing for next weeks’ release of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.
“Tolkienists have been waiting nine long years to see the completion of Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth. December 14’s release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” sees the return of hobbits, dwarves, elves and more to the big screen.
Are you a Tolkien fan? We’d like to know how you’re preparing for the big day. Do you already have your ticket to the first midnight screening? Do you have a costume picked out? Are you rereading the books or listening to Middle Earth-inspired music?”
You can submit your stories and photos here.
Posted in Fans, The Hobbit
To prepare for the U.S. release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” on December 14th, Regal Cinemas has announced that they will be presenting a marathon of the “Lord of the Rings” Extended Editions at 293 participating Regal theaters across the United States on Saturday, December 8th. The marathon (with a special introduction by Sir Peter Jackson) will start with The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” at 11:15 a.m., The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers at 3:30 p.m. and ending with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at 8:00 p.m.
Regal Crown Club members can enjoy an exclusive offer of $25 for all three movies, which also includes a coupon good for a Lord of the Rings Combo of a medium popcorn and medium drink for only $5. Non-member tickets will be $30.
Tickets for the marathon go on sale at 9 a.m. Wednesday, November 7th – the same day as tickets for The Hobbit! To find a theater near you hosting the trilogy screening, check the Regal Cinemas website.
Posted in Events, Film Screenings
When it comes to creativity, Tolkien fans rank pretty high. One fan, Nadine Palmer, has turned her love for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit into Celtic Ruin’s Costumes. Nadine states on her site, “A movie, comic book and video game costume recreator. I use the best of my abilities to recreate or refashion designs that I love, from the genres that I admire most!”
In addtion to the One Ring dress pictured (which this lucky author will be wearing to the Hobbit costume party in Wellington later in the month), Nadine and her partner Chris have also re-created screen accurate costumes for favorites like The Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Once Upon a Time, and The Legend of Zelda, among others. To see more of her amazing creations, head over to the Celtic Ruin’s Costumes site.
Posted in Creations, Fans
The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Andy Serkis’ production company, The Imaginarium, has secured the film rights to George Orwell’s classic novel ‘Animal Farm’, as well as the Samantha Shannon series ‘The Bone Season’.
In discussing his approach to ‘Animal Farm’, Serkis says “I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it. It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environmments.” In addition to directing, Serkis also plans to act in the film.
To read the rest of the article (including his opinion of the 48 fps technology used in ‘The Hobbit’), head over to The Hollywood Reporter.
Posted in Andy Serkis
Empire magazine reports that Stephen Colbert has hinted he may have a cameo role in ‘The Hobbit’.
Colbert, who is a self-professed Tolkien geek, was invited down to New Zealand by Sir Peter Jackson for a set visit.
“”I flew out and watched them shoot some scenes and went to some locations,” he explains of the trip. “I saw a 25-minute cut, and it was amazing. Jackson knows I’m a big fan of the films.”
The writer adds: As any good journalist would, the interviewer wonders whether there isn’t more to this than meets the eye. Could, for instance, Colbert be cameoing in the movie? “Could be,” replies the comedian enigmatically.
Hmmm, perhaps he can moderate between Bard and the Mayor of Lake-town!
To read the rest of the Empire article, click here.
Posted in Casting Rumors, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit
Pop culture site Vulture has named Lord of the Rings #6 on their list of the 25 Most Devoted Fan Bases, outranking other fandom favorites like Star Trek (#14), Joss Whedon (#12), and Doctor Who (#9), but getting squeezed out of the top 5 by Justin Bieber! TheOneRing.net also gets a shoutout by being listed as “the main fan site” hangout for Ringers/ Tolkienites.
You can check out the rest of the list on Vulture.com
Posted in Lord of the Rings
Kick off the holiday season with a stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy adventure The Hobbit, opening Dec. 13 at Lionheart Theatre Company in Norcross, Georgia.
In this family-friendly adventure, the unlikely hero Bilbo is drafted by the wizard Gandalf to join a band of dwarfs as they attempt to recover a great treasure protected by a dragon. They are pummeled with light-hearted peril from along the way.
The show runs, Dec. 13-16 with Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s show at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for all seats. Complimentary dessert is served at intermission. Reservations are highly recommended. Go to www.lionhearttheatre.org or call 678-938-8518 for more information.
Posted in Events, Stage Productions
TheOneRing.net is set to invade Dragon*Con , the world’s largest Sci-Fi/Pop Culture convention, this Labor Day weekend (August 31st – September 3rd) in Atlanta, Georgia.
This years LotR/Hobbit guests include Billy Boyd, John Rhys-Davies, Craig Parker, and Sylvester McCoy.
Meet up with other Tolkien fans at the annual Evening at Bree event on Friday August 31st, hosted by Tolkien’s Middle-earth Track with music by Emerald Rose and a costume contest MC’d by Craig Parker. The Tolkien Track will also host fan film screenings, costuming panels, scholarly discussions, even open mic nights! Stop by TOR.n’s fan table to pick up a TOR.n t-shirt and try your hand at Tolkien trivia. And of course TOR.n staffers will be on hand to discuss all the latest information on ‘The Hobbit’ films.
For a complete list of Tolkien Track panels, click here.
Posted in Billy Boyd, Conventions, Craig Parker, DragonCon, John Rhys-Davies, Sylvester McCoy, Uncategorized