(Luke Evans as Bard The Bowman and John Bell as his son Bain.)
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Ever wonder what you gave Luke Evans for his birthday? Few realized it, but the staff and readers of TheOneRing.net gave him a present back in April of 2011.
Evans celebrated his 32nd year with a party at Gas Works, a bar and grill just walking distance from Stone Street Studios, the movie lot where Peter Jackson makes movies, including the forthcoming “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
In the mess tent of that set, on the white refrigerator that holds cream and milk and sundry items, near the always playing iPod, there hung a solicitation for all eyes to see: An open invitation from Luke Evans to celebrate his birthday on a Saturday night. (Regrettably I didn’t take a photo of the fridge.) The invitation was right there in perhaps the most trafficked spot on the lot, available for all, specified for none.
Are on-set reporters invited to cast and crew events? Advised by somebody from costume that it was absolutely okay (Jasmine I think, a real favorite), I decided to go only if could find a suitable gift from all of us, readers and staff of TORn. What would you buy an actor on behalf of the largest online Tolkien community? What does a guy making a living acting in New Zealand and away from home really want or need anyway? (more…)
A flood of trailers, interviews and TV spots have raised all sorts of questions over exactly how events will pan out across The Desolation of Smaug. Here, Captain Salt takes a long hard look at the implications for character development among our beardy friends who are so keen to reclaim their heritage, and the lost treasures of Erebor.
Needless to say, lots of speculation and lots of potential movie spoilers. If you’re avoiding these, look away now! (more…)
You’ve seen the dwarven cast members of The Hobbit without make-up. And you’ve seen them all kitted out as well. But have you seen each side-by-side: actor versus character, before versus after?
I hadn’t, not all at once, which was why I thought I’d share these images that I stumbled on, out there in the wild reaches of the internet (okay, Imgur, to be precise). Looking at them as a group, it struck me quite forcefully how they crew had chosen to work with the facial structure of each actor, rather than create something entirely new. Jed Brophy and Mark Hadlow are probably the most striking examples. Anyway, enjoy! (more…)
I can’t recall if this has been previously revealed, but this official synopsis — more complete than the short version currently on The Hobbit website — actually has some really interesting implications if you have a read through and examine who’s listed and (more importantly), who’s not.
As folks observed after the debut of the second Desolation of Smaug trailer, Guillermo del Toro is back in the credits for his work on the screenplay. There’s a co-producer nod for the late Eileen Moran as well. Highlight the space below to read the key omissions, and some fairly hefty spoiler analysis of what those omissions could mean for the movie.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. (more…)
Tolkien’s love of Anglo-Saxon history is well-known, as are his influences from such Nordic works as Beowulf and the Finnish Kalevala. His passion for these cultures is evident in every race he created for Middle-earth, including the dwarves. Yet as has been highlighted in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, some of the inspiration for the dwarven race may have come from an understated influence: the Celts. (more…)
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.
We may be too late for his birthday in New Zealand, but it’s still his day in some parts of the world! Amidst all the hard work going on in New Zealand just now, the Hobbit gang found time to celebrate Ori’s birthday – and co-star Stephen Hunter tweeted this great photo of some of the cast gathered for birthday fun! (After TORn retweeted Stephen’s pic, James Nesbitt and John Callen retweeted us! We’re all connected on one great big web; just like the dwarves in Mirkwood…)
Happy birthday to the dwarf who makes braids and chunky knits look good!
(Photo shows, left to right: Stephen Hunter (Bombur), James Nesbitt (Bofur), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Adam Brown (Ori) and Aidan Turner (Kili).)
Welcome to our weekly live webcast — TORn TUESDAY — now on the 5th part of our ongoing series of discussions on the History of the Dwarves who undertake the Quest of Erebor. Today we talk about BIFUR, BOFUR and the immensely overweight and endearing BOMBUR (Go #TeamBombur on Twitter!). Bring your questions and join us LIVE for a fascinating chat about how these characters are all intertwined. (more…)
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.
TORn staffer Saystine found us another great interview video from Yahoo! Movies UK in which Hobbit cast members Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, and Andy Serkis discuss how the second film in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, will differ from An Unexpected Journey.
“It will get more dangerous and dark as Bilbo gets further away from home and in more jeopardy,” says Andy Serkis, who, in addition to playing Gollum in the films, is Second Unit Director on the trilogy.
Will we enjoy the departure from the more lighthearted nature of Unexpected Journey? Well Richard Armitage will, at least. He says, “Obviously I favor the dark.”
Observant Net watchers from the Tolkien Forever group in Los Angeles spotted these two new videos this week in which cast members, including Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, and Andy Serkis, weigh in on the dragon we’re all waiting for and on the decision to make three ‘Hobbit’ films.
In the first video from IGN, cast members discuss what they know (or don’t) about the mysterious Smaug, and what we can expect to see of the dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Richard Armitage (Thorin) says, “I haven’t seen the dragon, and I begged them to show me the dragon!” And James Nesbitt (Bofur) tantalizes us, saying, “I think it will blow people away… I think it will be an important and exciting cinematic moment.”
In the second video from Yahoo! Movies, cast members address the questions why The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is quite long, and why there was a need for three full films to tell the full Hobbit story. Andy Serkis (Gollum) sums it up by saying, “Pete likes to make long films.” But Richard Armitage assures us that, “come the Battle of the Five Armies, you’re going to be glad you took the time in Bag End.”
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