How time flies! Exactly a year ago today, February 21st 2015, many of us gathered in Hollywood for The One Last Party. Fans and TheOneRing.net staffers were joined by movie cast and crew members, brought together by a love of Tolkien and of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth trilogies. Many more fans around the world tuned in to watch TORn’s live stream coverage, led by staffers Quickbeam and Justin. Bruce Hopkins (Gamling) acted as MC for the night, PJ himself sent a special video greeting, and the Professor’s great-grandson Royd Tolkien came all the way from Britain for the celebration. Partygoers danced the night away to the music of Emerald Rose and William Kircher’s group The California Dreamers. It was indeed a night to remember!
Staffer Mithril posted recently about the beautiful Red Book she made, containing the names of all who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign to make The One Last Party happen; this lovely book was sent to Sir Peter as a ‘thank you’ from all of us to whom his movies have meant so much. In another look back to that wonderful night a year ago, here are just a few moments captured from that night, and put together by film maker and TORn friend Dan McBride. Let’s reminisce – and hope that it isn’t really the last such event. We may yet have an excuse, one day, for an unexpected party…
Another of my favorite pieces from Comic-Con 2015 is now available for Pre-Order. This statue really impressed me with the likeness, detail, and the amazing metallic paint job. Lord Elrond at Dol Guldur is the next piece from The Hobbit Trilogy that fans can get ready to add to their collections. Sculpted by Gary Hunt this amazing piece is available right now for $299(there is a NRD at the time of purchase) with an edition size of only 1500 pieces world wide. Due to ship in quarter two of this year the wait won’t be long until we have Lord Elrond in our collections.
Weta Digital has been nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-time Project by the Visual Effects Society for the virtual reality demo “The Hobbit: A Thief in the Shadows.” The virtual reality (VR) experience, a collaboration between Weta Digital, Epic Games, NVIDIA and Oculus is designed to let someone wearing the Oculus virtual reality headset take Bilbo’s place as he first encounters Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) in his lair.
Autumn had finally arrived in northern California when I boarded a plane to head into spring on the other side of the planet in New Zealand. To say I wasn’t frightened would be a lie. I felt very much like Frodo heading out into the wide world, for I was about to be away from my family and my continent for longer than I ever had. The weather in Wellington had been pleasant until I arrived, or so I’m told, and as more and more cold rainstorms blew into the bay off the Pacific, my co-workers at Weta Workshop teased that I had brought winter with me to their beautiful island nation.
The flight from Auckland to Wellington, NZ
Like most fans of the TheLord of the Rings films, I had long dreamed of visiting New Zealand and seeing as much of its Middle-earth landscape as I could. However, also like most fans, the cost of such an adventure always held me back. As such, if someone had told me that I would have gone to Aotearoa twice in 2015, I would’ve thought they were as full of tall tales as old mad Baggins! But step out my front door I did, each time with a little nudge.
We all love to love the male characters of the Lord of the Rings movies. Who’s heart doesn’t go out to Frodo and Sam? Who doesn’t cheer at Gandalf and Aragorn’s strength or cringe at the sheer evilness of Saruman and the Witch King? These and other male characters are front and center in terms of movie screen-time, and rightly so, but it also makes the appearance of the women of the movies that much more special.
Over at Bustle, the women of The Lord of the Rings movies get the limelight in this article that ranks nine of The Lord of the Rings women in terms of character development. Rosie Cotton, Galadriel and even Shelob get a mention! Read more…
Congratulations to actor James Nesbitt! In the UK today, the Queen’s ‘New Year Honours List’ has been announced, and Nesbitt has been made an OBE (Order of the British Empire) ‘for services to drama and to the community in Northern Ireland’.
Check out this wonderful Entertainment Weekly interview with Peter Jackson about his experiences with, and memories of, the actor who brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s wizard Saruman to life for millions of loving fans. You’ll chuckle at PJ recalling some comical moments, but have a box of tissues ready because you just might shed a tear too. Read more…
You know what Bilbo had to say about adventures: ‘Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!’ But Professor Tolkien’s own great-grandson, Royd Tolkien, is ignoring all that Bilbo had to say and taking the plunge into a significant adventure of his own!
Royd very sadly lost his younger brother, Mike, earlier this year. Mike had ALS, also known as Motor Neurone Disease, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Royd had to watch his active, thrill-seeking brother succumb to a terrible disease, for which there is currently no cure.
But Mike left Royd a legacy – a ‘bucket list’ of fifty challenges for the much more Bilbo-like (ie less thrill-seeking, more cake-and-tea-enjoying!) older brother Royd to undertake. And Royd is going to fulfil that list, with the help of none other than actor Jed Brophy, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Middle-earth – by which I mean, of course, New Zealand.
This is a remarkable quest, and one which you will be able to see – because Royd is going to make a film of his adventures! Read more about the amazing journey the Professor’s great-grandson has ahead of him at Royd’s website, here. You can also get involved, support Royd on his odyssey, and maybe grab yourself a pretty amazing perk with some Middle-earth cast or crew (including Richard Taylor and folks at Weta!) – learn more here.
It’s a dangerous business, going out your front door – especially when you have no idea what challenges your little brother has left, to test, stretch and possibly humiliate you! Here at TORn we wish Royd every success, and joyful travels; and we honour the memory of Mike, of TORn’s friend Mel, who also sailed into the West far too early, and to all who battle ALS.
In celebration of the release today of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-ray and DVD, we have another EXCLUSIVE clip to share with you! From the behind the scenes footage in the Bonus Features, this gives us a little more insight into dwarven armour. (Cosplayers, who will be the first to make Thorin’s unseen ‘Ram’s head’ armour??)
As you know, last week a select group of fans in London were treated to a screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition. Some pretty special guests were in attendance – we hope many of you were able to watch via the live stream!
The organisers behind the event have sent us along this report:
“On Saturday, 7th November 2015, a number of the world’s biggest and most passionate fans of TheHobbitfilm trilogy assembled in London for a very special screening event, where they were joined by a host of special guests, to celebrate the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital release, and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of last year’s incredible The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest competition. The Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release is the final film in the globally popular The Hobbit Trilogy, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.
Kyle Pedley of (A)musings Media, who was among the UK-based winners of the global fan competition, organised and hosted the event along with fellow members of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship, with help from Warner Bros. Pictures UK and Tourism New Zealand. International winners flew in from all over the globe – from as far afield as the United States, Mexico and Eastern Europe – to take part in an evening full of surprises and special appearances.
Guests were not only treated to an exclusive UK screening of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit Trilogy’s epic conclusion at Warner Bros. Pictures’ own private screening theatre ahead of its home entertainment release, but were also treated to surprises including a video message from director Sir Peter Jackson all the way from New Zealand, and a Q&A session with a panel of distinguished guests.
These included Royd Tolkien, great-grandson of author J.R.R. Tolkien and long-time advocate and supporter of the film adaptations (who made a cameo appearance in 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), and writer / broadcaster Brian Sibley, who has long been involved in the community celebrating the author’s legacy, having been jointly responsible for the acclaimed 1981 BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and penning a number of official behind-the-scenes books and guides for both of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth trilogies. Finally, to the excitement and disbelief of fans – met with an uproarious standing ovation – came the surprise appearance of film, theatre and television icon Sir Ian McKellen, known and beloved around the world for his defining portrayal of the Wizard Gandalf in Jackson’s Middle-earth and the only principle cast member to appear in all six films across both celebrated film trilogies.
Other special guests in attendance included a contingent of Middle-earth ‘cosplayers’ – The Galactic Knights, who showcased some of their terrific Hobbit- and Rings-inspired costumes and replicas; Chairman of The Tolkien Society, Shaun Gunner; and Rachel Sprackett of Tourism New Zealand.
Kyle Pedley, The Hobbit Fan Fellowship member and host of the event, said:
“This was an incredible, unprecedented celebration of the impact both these films and also last year’s incredible competition have had on people from all corners of the globe. To have such a dedicated group of fans, who last year formed their own genuine fellowship over the course of a magical week in New Zealand, reunite for this special occasion was just an absolute joy to behold and be part of. To be joined by the likes of Royd Tolkien, Brian Sibley and Sir Ian McKellen, and have such a fantastic personal video message from Sir Peter Jackson over in New Zealand, was an absolute thrill and honour. The guests were not aware or expecting any of it, and their reactions to not only the surprises, but also getting to see one another again, were a moving reminder of how indelible and genuine the bonds of fellowship formed in New Zealand really were.”
The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest was an international search conducted in 2014 by Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Warner Bros. to find 75 of the world’s biggest Hobbit fans. Over 140,000 people registered for the competition, and over a two month period were required to complete a series of tasks and challenges, including testing their knowledge of New Zealand as the cinematic Middle-earth, designing a postcard for Peter Jackson, and also producing their own two-minute videos detailing their favourite memories of Middle-earth and demonstrating why they were the biggest fans of the franchise.
The winners and their +1s were then flown to New Zealand for an incredible, all-expenses paid trip which spanned both Islands and included visits to the actual filming locations from the movies, a special tour of the Hobbiton Set itself in Matamata, a special Maori Cultural welcome ceremony and Hangi Banquet, a visit to Weta Workshop where all of the creatures, costumes, weapons and special effects of the Middle Earth films were made, and finally a private screening of the final film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in the company of Peter Jackson himself, over a month before its theatrical release.”
Those of you lucky enough to live in the L.A. area can catch an appearance by Sir Ian McKellen at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica on Tuesday, November 17th at 7:30 p.m. He will be appearing before a special showing of Mr Holmes, in which he portrays an aging Sherlock Holmes struggling to put closure on his last case from thirty years earlier. As we all know, our favorite wizard from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies is always entertaining and gracious to his fans, and may even discuss or take questions on his role as Gandalf, so get thee to the Aero on November 17th if you can! Tickets can be purchased here.
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