Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen started filming the last block for ‘The Hobbit’ Monday, May 20 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Peter Jackson updated his personal Facebook page today to let fans know that filming for “The Hobbit,” has begun. He called the block of filming, “Our last ever Tolkien pick ups,” He also promises a new video blog soon although that could mean a day, a week or a month.
Stuff.co.nz tracks the production carefully for its New Zealand (and worldwide audience) and they recently posted a story explaining that Monday, May 20 would be the first day of shooting. They were even kind enough to cite TheOneRing.net as a source. The story also updates with info from social media channels including Luke Evans and Adam Brown. TheOneRing.net did a five-week stint on the set for reporting on the second film. We will release them, to use a Jackson declaration, soon.
Peter Jackson talks to Graham McTavish while Martin Freeman, dressed as Bilbo Baggins, looks on.
There have been a smattering of reports about when filming (actually there is no film, it is all digital these days) resumes for this set of pick-ups on “The Hobbit.” TheOneRing.net can confirm (from the very best of sources) that work starts Monday, May 20 in Wellington. Everybody seems to know that a chunk of the work to be done is for the Battle of Five Armies but it seems likely there are other things to be done as well. Often, in the editing room, where all the shooting comes together and the movie transforms from a plan into a finished product, the director (Peter Jackson in this case) or perhaps one of the screen writers (Philippa Boyens or Fran Walsh) wants something extra to flesh out a scene or a character. No details of this have been provided for this film, but that is the way movie making works. Lots of actors have reported through social media that they are returning and we know this block of filming has always been in the plans. Estimates are that up to 10 weeks of work remain to be done with bits for both “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” It seems likely that most of the principal cast will return for the segment, although not all are specifically confirmed.
Benedict Cumberbatch in the Star Trek franchise.
Meanwhile some Hobbit actors have big movies in theaters now. Benedict Cumberbatch joins the space crew in “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” this weekend while Luke Evans hops into the Fast and Furious franchise. Both are expected to be significant money makers for Hollywood and will raise the profile of both actors before they his screens in Middle-earth in December. Cumberbatch voices the highly anticipated dragon Smaug while Evans plays the enigmatic Bard The Bowman. Casting calls for those living and legally working in New Zealand have already gone out and actors, such as Adam Brown (see below) on our own weekly TORn Tuesday show talked about his return to New Zealand. It is not believed that Andy Serkis, second unit director, will not return to set which means shooting will likely be a one-unit production. More details as and when they become available.
Posted in Adam Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch, Characters, Director news, Fran Walsh, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, The Hobbit
Sometimes TheOneRing is viewed as a movie-only website and that just isn’t true. While we don’t write as much in-house material as we once did in our Green Books section (which is full of gold and mithril and worth mining) we still try to represent as much of the wide and far ranging J.R.R. Tolkien fandom as possible with our all-volunteet staff.
So it is a real pleasure to help publicize events like the 3rd Conference on Middle-earth and its Part 2 scheduled for 2014 in Westford, MA. The word is getting out now to declare that the conference is currently accepting papers. Below is the full press release with links, some of which show how many decades back the event reaches:
The 3rd Conference On Middle-earth, Part 2, to be held March 28 – 30, 2014 in Westford, MA, USA, is currently soliciting papers, presentations, paper proposals, and panel proposals from persons with scholarly interest in any aspect of the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Suggested topics are: J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, influences on Tolkien, other works based on Tolkien’s writing, criticism, teaching Tolkien in the classroom, the books’ impact on oneself and/or the world, the films and the film industry, the music, the art, the fannish side of this universe and its impact, and anything you can imagine on topic. For examples of previous papers and panels, see the programming for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd conferences: 1st Conference, 2nd Conference, and 3rd Conference.
A few areas of interest are:
• The languages of Middle Earth: how Old English (including Anglo-Saxon riddles), the Eddas, etc. influenced TLOTR.
• Elements of northern European myths that appear in TLOTR.
• The impact of World War I on Tolkien and his writing.
• The impact of The Hobbit and TLOTR on 1960s and 1970s popular music.
• Artistic visions of Middle-earth.
• The astronomy of Middle-earth. [For example, when is Durin's Day?]
• The geography of Middle-earth.
• The geology of Middle-earth.
• The flora and fauna of Middle-earth.
• The clothing of Middle-earth both from the books and the films.
• The food of Middle-earth.
• The poetry and songs of Middle-earth.
Only members of the 3rd Conference On Middle Earth, Part 2, will be able to present and participate. Once papers and proposals have been accepted, the presenter/panelist will need to join the conference (the sooner the better, before rates go up), if they are not already members. If an author cannot be present, then arrangements can be made for a third party to read the paper. However, as indicated, the authors must be members of The 3rd Conference On Middle-earth, Part 2.
Paper Proposal: Please email a 250-word abstract including the presentation title, your name, e-mail address, your mailing address and phone number, or alternately a second e-mail address. The maximum reading time for the finished paper is 30 minutes, roughly 2000 words, though it may be less. We will confirm receipt of proposal by e-mail.
Panel Proposal: Please email the panel name and a 250-word abstract. Please include the panel title, the panel chair (who may be one of the presenters), e-mail address, the mailing address and phone number, or alternately a second e-mail address of each presenter. The receipt of proposal will be confirmed by e-mail.
Submit your proposal to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for Submissions: You may submit a proposal up through Tuesday, 31 December 2013. Participation is limited, so submissions may close early—so it’s best to get a proposal in sooner rather than later.
NOTE: Confirmation of receipt of submissions does not guarantee acceptance for presentation.
The lead actors in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” have done a lot of press so far to support the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book. Over and over journalists from around the world hit them with similar questions, all trying to deliver key information for their own audience. TORn friend and Australian film writer Alice Tynan had her shot at Richard Armitage, and wow did she deliver. Their lengthy chat contains some gems such as:
“Yes in the book there are losses; they sustain huge losses. You know Tolkien wrote these books based on his experiences of World War I, and he lost a lot of his friends in those wars. I think taking time to really understand his characters in Bag End was really important. . . . But I think we’ve become quite impatient in the cinema. Gone are the days when you’d sit through 3 ½ hours of Gone With the Wind, and it’s a shame because it’s the director’s prerogative to tell the story that he wants to tell. But I found myself engaged from beginning to end; I find all of the characters fascinating.”
“Years ago I had visited the memorial museum in Hiroshima and I’d seen what happened, and I had a book, and I took it to New Zealand with me. And, I don’t know, just looking at pictures and getting ideas, because it’s all about sensation: just remembering what that fear was, because we were going to go shoot it. So you just have little flashes: I remember seeing a melted bicycle, and I remember thinking, “Oh yeah, the melted bicycle. A child sat on that bike.” So this is what happened at Erebor: there were women and children there that just got annihilated. I wanted to feel the fear for them.”
They cover a variety of topics including discussion of Tolkien, Peter Jackson and New Zealand. Fans of the actor, the films and the books will all likely appreciate the first installment of the interview while fans in New Zealand and Australia finally get the movie on home video. We will post part two when Tynan does, apparently consisting of Twitter questions. She was also clever enough to embed our own video of Dwarves singing in Bag End, a great way to capture emotion from the film again if you follow the link.
Viewers in Australia had to wait a good bit longer than many parts of the world to own “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” on home video but when it is released on May 1, it comes with a free Richard Armitage! You can’t take him home but if you buy a ticket from Popcorn Taxi, you can witness the man behind Thorin Oakenshield answering questions. The 2D 24 fps screening takes place at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace. We also expect to read some media interviews with Armitage from the event but if any fans attend we would love to read spy reports as well. Drop us a line at SpyMaster@TheOneRing.net. Follow the link above for full details.
Note:A photo gallery follows the text and videos, click for larger versions.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
NEW ZEALAND — During the world premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” New Zealand wisely took the opportunity to show journalists from around the world (and Australia) a lot of the amazing things its island nation has to offer. TheOneRing.net was part of one of the tours and rather than regurgitate all the footage, photos and writing we gathered at once, exactly when all the other journalism outlets of the world did, we thought it would be great to disperse it and share it over the course of 2013 in the lead up to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
After all, Tourism New Zealand’s motto is “New Zealand is Middle-earth” and this is true in so many ways and for much longer than just the weeks after the debut of the film. For example, above is the video made for TORn by fellow filmmaker Dan McBride who shot and edited the video tour you probably have already watched. We, and a gaggle of other media, toured the Hobbiton Movie Set and witnessed Prime Minister John Key open the new Green Dragon building accompanied by a bunch of actors who reminded us a whole lot of a company of Dwarves. (Incidentally, we had just talked to him the day before so when he showed up again, we wondered why we were being followed and what we had done wrong.)
The video speaks for itself but this remarkable property is, as far as I know, unique in all the world for its ability to transport visitors inside a book, or a movie for that matter. Being there doesn’t feel like walking on a set, rather it feels like immersion. It looks, smells, sounds and feels like one imagines Hobbiton would if you could take a magic wardrobe to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The Hobbit holes scattered about are, more or less, as they were for filming of “The Hobbit,” movies. It seems safe to assume we will see more of The Shire in subsequent movies and in the Extended Edition on home video before the end of the year.
At the Green Dragon
Meanwhile, not far from Auckland, sits this unique and amazing tourism experience. The still functioning sheep and cattle farm where the now-permanent movie set is placed, is owned by the Alexander family, as it was when discovered for “The Lord of the Rings,” films. Their television rugby match interrupted by strangers led to parts of the family farm being among the most beloved locations in fantasy film and literature. Now visitors take tours daily, either by booking directly through the farm or through travel agents, tours or cruise ships. There are several options available, including overnight farm stays, private tours and lunch options. Matamata, as authentic a small New Zealand town as you will find, serves as a gateway to the farm, offering transportation daily and had just opened a visitor’s center when we visited.
Hamilton is also near with more accommodations and an airport. Not far from Auckland, 160 kilometers in fact, visitors can easily manage the two hour car ride. It goes without saying that driving through the countryside is spectacular as well. My dream would be to meet with TheOneRing.net staff and friends in The Green Dragon, which can be reserved for private functions. They serve food and drink and I just bet you can guess what size the ale comes in. Weddings have and will happen here. The atmosphere and the finish on the place are just as good as you hope they are. In truth, for movies fans and Tolkien fans, the entire movie set experience is simply magic.
Waitomo Caves Black Water Rafting
Some tourists will hop off the cruise ship or land in Auckland and make the farm their only stop in the region and in my opinion if you made it all the way to New Zealand and don’t see more of the region you are doing it all wrong. The tour also provided us the opportunity to visit the world famous Waitomo caves. They contain the exceptionally cool glow worms and there are different ways to experience it all, including the black water rafting experience that I couldn’t resist. Hamilton serves as a good gateway to both spots and neither is to be missed. In the gallery below I will drop in a few Waitomo photos but it is an entirely different story to be told and if there is any need to explain the importance of caves to Middle-earth, you might be at the wrong website.
The region is full of food and drink, excellent accommodations and plenty more worth-while excursions. We will tackle them all in a future story. But add the farm visit and Waitomo Caves to your bucket lists. They really are wold-class destinations not to be missed but especially not by Tolkienites.
While you are here, please enjoy other videos from the premiere. First, actors talking about rings:
And Red Carpet highlights.
A map of the New Zealand region with Auckland and Matamata.
A detailed map of where The Hobbit Move Set is located near Matamata.
The door of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
Seems like a good place for a party
An average human male (Dan McBride) stands in front of a small Hobbit door.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
Water at Hobbiton Movie set
They may not like boats but Hobbits have docks.
The visitor’s center in Matamata, New Zealand.
Flower at Hobbiton Movie Set
Actors look on at the opening ceremony of the Green Dragon
Still water, a view of Hobbiton Movie Set
For scale, an average sized adult (MrCere) at a Hobbit door.
A Hobbit window at Hobbiton Movie Set
Flowers and door at Hobbiton Movie Set
The interior of the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
By the lake and the mill sits the Green Dragon
The exterior of the Green Dragon
The bar at The Green Dragon
Detail of the carved green dragon in the Green Dragon
Floor plan on the wall of the Green Dragon of the Green Dragon.
Inside the Green Dragon
Door and menu at the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
Interior of the Green Dragon
Waitomo Caves black water rafting with glow worms.
The creative forces behind television’s “The Amazing Race” wants to put Tolkienites, including TheOneRing.net readers, in a competition based reality show with a fantasy flair. TheOneRing.net spoke with casting director Paul Gordon about the new series that is coming to a major television network this year. Expect an announcement and promotion soon.
“There is a potential for people to live out their dreams and we want to give them a platform,” Gordon said.
The concept of the show, called “The Quest,” is to put fans of genre entertainment in a competitive environment tailored to highlight participants’ love of fantasy and adventure.
“It is cool, it is “The Amazing Race” in Middle-earth.”
A “Lord of the Rings,” Executive Producer is also on board. The project has been on the drawing board for a while, but now all the pieces are together – except finding the cast.
“We don’t do profile shows – this is not ‘Jersey Shore.’ This is not ‘Honey Boo Boo.’ The drama here is not, ‘That B!#@% stole my milk!’ There is no contrived drama, we don’t need it.”
Instead, the show wants to find people willing dive in fully and accept the quest to be a hero.
“We want people who are willing to go there with us. We want people who love this stuff. We are definitely looking for personalities – competitive people – not people sitting in a house. You are competing. Where it is LARP or D&D or baseball or basketball, you are going to get revved up.”
TORn tried to find a lead on age or interest or demographic or type that would help land roles but Gordon insisted that on a big network, they were casting a wide net, looking for personality and especially one character trait: “We love people who are competitive – we want this to be important, we want to see them go for it. They might be quiet competitive, might be sneaky competitive, there are many different ways to be competitive.”
He also tried to stress that there are television shows around that poke fun at those invested in niche entertainment and that is not this show.
“Big networks go after everybody (for their audience) and we also look at it as a teaching show. People look at things like DragonCon as unusual – we want people to understand why people do this.
“People laugh at this and say that is not our thing and a lot of what we like to do is teach people.”
“It is so similar, it is shocking to me. It is more familiar than you realize. There are whole sections at Eagles games – people go there and pretend they are something else and think they affect this thing. If they only knew how similar they are!”
Those wishing to enter the selection process can do so by email or by showing up in select cities at early-season conventions to meet with the Emmy winning folks behind the camera. Anybody able to show up in person at the following events, he promised, will be considered.”If you show up to an event, we will look at every single person. ”
The production will be looking in the following cities:
Seattle (coinciding with EMP Fantasy Exhibit Opening) – April 25
Chicago- C2E2 – April 27
Texas – Dallas Comic Con – May 18th
Phoenix – Comic Con - May 25
New York - No event planned yet, will hold VIP invite event for those in the area who apply
Philadelphia – Wizard Con – May 1
This Thursday Gordon will be in Seattle to meet potential candidates, mail TheQuestCasting@gmail.com with the subject RSVP Seattle. They want your name, age, location, a photo, your interest and why you would be perfect for the show.
But anybody in fandom can send in an application to TheQuestCasting@gmail.com, Seattle or no. Include in that email: Your name:
Your hobby/fascination: (Tolkien, Game of Thrones, LARPing, Cosplay) What makes you perfect for a show like this:
If they like what they see, they can schedule an interview or, worst case, they will Skype with candidates.
“We have 13 Emmy’s, nine with Amazing Race. No one (in reality shows) can say that. We are doing award-winning stuff and we never do a show that is fake.”
Profiles Television is behind the show.
So where will all this happen?
“I can’t tell you,” Gordon said, “But it is pretty freaking cool.”
Empire Magazine chatted with the man behind the performance capture of Azog, Manu Bennett and in the conversation he confirms what many suspected: the CGI Azog was late to the party. (Our story is late to the party too, released a couple of weeks ago but definitely still worth bringing to readers’ attention.) The protagonist and key villain from Thorin Oakenshield’s past says he was the last ingredient to the film and didn’t even meet Armitage, who he acts against in some scenes, until the film premiered. Best known as a veteran of television series Spartacus, Bennett’s character spoke in black speech.
“I was in the studio doing things for Azog four weeks before the premiere! In some ways I was the final ingredient to the whole thing,” he told Empire. Can we expect more Azog in the extended editions due for the holidays?
“No, because when I was brought in they’d already cut the film. For some of the scenes I had to move through frames.” He also confirms he will return for filming this year but hasn’t seen the script. The entire interview is available at Empire Online Thanks to the many spies who brought this one to our attention.
Bolg, son of Azog
Azog holds aloft the head of the Dwarven King, Thorin Oakenshield’s grandfather.
2-disc DVD edition of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
After dominating home video sales (which isn’t video at all anymore but remains the common term) the week of its release, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” is back on top of the sales leader board in its fourth week in release. Its opening release pitted it against strong Oscar-winning competition, “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” but its sales outpaced those title by more than a 3-1 ratio each. (TORn doesn’t have an official opinion of either film but this writer recommends both) And a month later after losing the top spot to “The Bible,” around the Easter holiday, Peter Jackson’s film is back on top.
Despite mostly positive but mixed reviews and media reports of mediocre box office (which proved to be incorrect after its $302 million run in the U.S. and its more than $1 billion world-wide) the film is also impressive with its home-use sales figures. Warner Bros. promoted the initial sales with an exclusive look at this December’s “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug,” but that has come and gone while sales remain strong. We don’t mean to cheerlead for the film’s financial outcome and nobody from the studio is sending TheOneRing.net money, but some bad buzz lingers despite the film being embraced culturally and financially by viewers and it seems perception might not quite match reality. It will be fascinating to see if 48 fps, 3D and the decision to tell the book’s story over three films will remain a topic of media focus or if the film’s success and its impressive cast will shift into the spotlight.
LAS VEGAS – One year ago the first significant screening of footage from “The Hobbit,” made its debut in Las Vegas and at 48 fps. Warner Bros. hoped to wow media and convince cinema owners to upgrade technology. There was a significant mixed reaction from the media and screeners but $1 billion later, nobody seems at all worried and word out of Vegas is, those in the cinema business can’t wait to get another Jackson movie.
But, Warner Bros. has a lineup of loaded films for 2013 and “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” is only a part. Three big time directors were also on hand to introduce their films. Guillermo del Toro, co-writer on “The Hobbit” films was there to introduce “Pacific Rim,” the film he eventually made after historical and monumental delays on the Middle-earth production forced him to leave the project. Zach Snyder was at CinemaCon as director of “Man of Steel,” and Todd Philips for “Hangover 3.” Stockholders must be ecstatic. Snyder is hoping to do with WB’s Superman franchise what Christopher Nolan has done for the company with its Batman flagship. Nolan is a producer on the project.
Variety said the following about “The Hobbit.”
““The Hobbit” director Peter Jackson also appeared in a video with a few brief clips from the “Desolation of Smaug” with Evangeline Lilly and Orlando Bloom appearing.
Jackson’s matter-of-fact presentation was in sharp contrast with last year’s CinemaCon event when WB’s presentation — including 10 minutes of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” — generated a mixed reaction over the pic’s 48 frames-per-second format.”
There are yet more ways to buy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” including downloading it. In what is called the Xbox SmartGlass Exclusive, thanks to spy TheSilentSon we have a feature to share showcasing Thorin (Richard Armitage), Fili (Dean O’Gorman) and Kili (Aiden Turner) that talks about the relationship of the three in the subtext of the film. This is clearly behind-the-scenes content from the same people who are bringing us production diaries from Pellerin Multimedia. It spells out the Dwarven lineage as written by J.R.R. Tolkien and has some great making-of shots as well as snippets of interviews. And, if you haven’t put it together yet, these are likely the hottest of the hot dwarves. While the Xbox stuff obviously is tied in with HBO (I see you John Snow) and a commercial push, it isn’t completely clear how viewers could download the film. Feel free to alert Microsoft to send us further info (and, as an Xbox owner, I just might give it a whirl and report back.) In the meantime, fans will really enjoy all three minutes and six seconds of this feature.
Several good Tolkienites have written in to tell us about a podcast involving Sylvester McCoy (Radagast – of course) and Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent). McCoy discusses his involvement in further “Hobbit” installments. Hedgehogs also come up. Give it a listen right about here.
This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.