Making the complex simple and easy to digest has great value. A fellow on YouTube has been doing this for a while and now he has picked the mythology of Middle-earth to break down in a four-minute video. (And yes, we immediately wondered why we didn’t do this!) He uses spoken words, simple illustrations and iconic figures to blow through J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythology. The big overview ads value to the movie-going experience — like if you went to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” for example — or any of the various Middle-earth movies and gives viewers some idea of what all the ruins sitting around might be from. Finally, it might encourage somebody to go pick up a book!
Here it is, the broad view of old Middle-earth in four minutes:
Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party
We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a final toast to all SIX movies, both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.
We’re inviting you to join us and make it happen through our Indiegogo campaign — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!
Visit our campaign page and find out how you can help!
Posted in Hobbit Book, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien
MIRAMAR, New Zealand — The director’s tent. Inside a sound stage or outside on location, it is a constant and central fixture on a movie shoot. It is home base for Peter Jackson and his team.
It is sacred ground – well almost.
The decisions made inside it, by the team, under Jackson’s direction, are crucial to the project where it is determined what will later happen in front of the camera.
So every day, whatever happens to a set or a soundstage overnight, the tent is there set up and waiting for the core of the shooting unit.
Editor Jabez Olssen, Script Supervisor Victoria Sullivan and First Assistant Director Carolynne Cunningham call it home during the shoot. Cunningham is out a lot, Olssen and Sullivan less so and Producer Zane Weiner is always near. Jackson’s assistant Sebastian Meek is in and out at all times, bringing badly needed tea and watching the door from outside to eliminate distractions inside.
Jackson lives on tea and Meek has a talent for having it handy at the perfect moment.
SETTING THE SCENE
In April, 2012, as a representative of fandom via TheOneRing.net, to be on set during five weeks of the filming of the Hobbit films. At the time, it was still scheduled to be two movies and the production had just settled in to shoot in studio instead of on location. Much was unknown then, that now is completely familiar to fans.
When I first arrived at Stone Street Studios, the publicity team took me to set, showed me the ropes and left me to my own devices during the rest of my stay to meet folks and get interviews, which was great. No time and no need for babysitting.
I was there to be a good guest and to observe. Two weeks later I was definitely convinced I had no chance of talking to Peter Jackson, except for an occasional, “Hello, how are you getting on?” from him during my time there.
Fans world-wide know from production diaries, how exhausted Jackson gets during the shooting phase of filmmaking. It is important to really understand why.
Peter Jackson is a busy guy. Particularly when he is shooting, there is a lot to do in a day and a lot of people that need to understand his vision in order to do their jobs well; he is the hub of the great spinning wheel.
He is the director, a writer and a producer — each a big job on its own. Many films have one of each of those, or several of some, all working together. But Jackson was all of them at once and combining titles didn’t mean there was less work to be done. Just because he was reviewing shots didn’t mean the script didn’t need his touch or that the art department didn’t need his input as a director or the next day’s schedule didn’t need approval. Others were partners on all of these fronts but they also required Jackson.
In a day he might need to meet with the effects supervisor, set designers, concept designers, costume designers, the composer or see actual costumes for approval or changes to name just a few of the many things that require his time. He will confirm the schedule with his Assistant Director, producers and spend time with the Second Unit Director Andy Serkis to make sure all is to his liking. They need sets built, greens grown, sets decorated, concept guys working ahead, materials guys building everything, maximizing actors’ time, feeding all of those people, screening extras, bringing in the right number of prosthetic artists and on and on. In short, there is never a shortage of people who need Jackson’s input to work on his vision and it takes the logistics of, dare I say, planning a battle with five armies.
In short, he has to sign off on pretty much everything.
Those are the reasons “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and his other Hobbit movies are genuinely Peter Jackson movies. It also means he is booked.
THE FINAL HOURS
And so it was, the last day of my time on The Hobbit set, after several assurances that it would happen — it did.
Lunch happened and on the location set of Dale, up on a hill, I was invited to that director’s tent to sit and talk with PJ, just the two of us alone. (One editor asked me if we ate together in the tent but I don’t think so, but why many memories are crystal clear of that meeting, I just have no idea.)
I had been inside before, but not often. The day I shadowed him, I spent several hours, trying to melt into the background. This was his sanctuary and office.
Posted in Alan Lee, Andy Serkis, Characters, Crew News, Director news, Director Rumors, Evangeline Lilly, Fans, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Production, Silmarillion, Studios, Terry Notary, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — TheOneRing.net visited the set for a brief time during the final segment of filming, nearly entirely focused on the third film, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” On the day of this interview Peter Jackson was putting his characters through a highly emotional scene toward the end of the film when one or more characters was in grave peril, perhaps the gravest of peril. In fact, the scene puts the grave in grave peril.
But the production wasn’t filming the action sequence. The camera was on the other half of the scene so instead the camera was focused on Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins watching the grave peril unfold. Freeman’s face and voice spoke volumes about what Bilbo was experiencing. As of press time, I haven’t seen the film so perhaps those who have will know what we watched or perhaps it didn’t make the final cut. Either way, it was an acting lesson from a genuine professional.
The year previous I spent extensive time on set and for a myriad of reasons Freeman was the sole interview of the main cast that I failed to get so I was pleased to finally be able to sit down on set, in a tent on a sound stage and interview the guy who played the title character. There were perhaps five other reporters as well. If any of the following questions from the Q&A are bad, please blame them. A foot massage* for those who can spot the questions for TheOneRing.net (hint, it wasn’t the ones about the ring or feet.) A personal observation is that Freeman is often a thoughtful interview who doesn’t deliver canned answers but I find his words here to be particularly engaging. Sadly, the interview, while reasonable in length left us wishing for more. (more…)
Posted in Characters, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Martin Freeman, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The BBC’s Jane Ciabattari writes about the ’60s counter-culture influence of J.R.R. Tolkien. It seems a bit of a reach to call Tolkien a figurehead for the movement, but certainly his works struck a chord — and inspired — with people.
A couple of nitpicks and clarifications:
It’s Middle-earth not Middle Earth.
The note (which is from Letter #226) about the influence of the Somme on the Morannon scenes is incomplete. It reads in full: “The Dead Marshes and the approaches to the Morannon owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme. They owe more to William Morris and his Huns and Romans, as in The House of the Wolflings or The Roots of the Mountains.” (more…)
Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien
It’s the stuff that fuels never-ending internet arguments: would X beat Y?
In a long interview with 92 Y, George R.R. Martin revealed that a reader had asked him that exact question about Daenerys’ dragon, Drogon, versus Smaug. And, refreshingly, Martin conceded that Smaug would win… (more…)
Posted in Characters, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Tolkien
In our latest Library piece, TORn feature writer Tedoras delves deep into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth to examine what we really know about Thranduil, the Sindarin lord of Mirkwood — a realm largely populated by Silvan elves. How does this make him different? What were the big influences in his political vision for his people? What, in essence, makes him tick?
It’s good stuff, and inadvertently, it’s almost a companion piece to my own musings on Thranduil’s strongest character traits from earlier this year.
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Tolkien