What a fun movie! Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck) came on board to be our wonderful narrator! Actually this film is a time capsule of many decades of pop culture history — giving us the full story on how the world has embraced Tolkien’s masterpiece THE LORD OF THE RINGS over 50 years and more!
Winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, RINGERS was produced in association with TheOneRing.net — this remarkable little film was forged BY fans and FOR fans, just like our website, with the production/writing talent of Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway (who hosts TORn TUESDAY every week), Jeff Marchelletta, and supercool director Carlene Cordova. It was executive produced by X-Men/Transformers guru Tom DeSanto.
With a wonderful rock-driven score and detailing all the outpouring of love bestowed on Tolkien over many generations, this film is a must-have for your digital collection! Get it on iTunes now for only $9.99!
From the original Sony Press Release:
“RINGERS is comprehensive, entertaining and informative pop culture history.” – The Toronto Star
“…Will always be a salient part of ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’ history…
See it, absorb it, love it.” – FilmThreat
Winner of “Outstanding Achievement” Award at the
Newport Beach Film Festival
FASCINATING DOCUMENTARY CAPTURES THE HISTORY, INFLUENCE AND PHENOMENON THAT IS LORD OF THE RINGS
CULVER CITY, Calif. (September 12, 2005) – Sony invites you to return to the Shirewith the release of the feature-length documentary RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS,direct to DVD.In association with the popular fan-site TheOneRing.net, Carlene Cordova produced, directed and wrote this award-winning film with executive producer Tom DeSanto(X-Men, X2: X-Men United and Transformers), which charts the incredible influence and ripple-effect that Lord of the Rings has had on worldwide pop culture over the past five decades.Whether you are a fan or first timer, critics agree, RINGERS, stands as the most comprehensive film documenting the ongoing impact of J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary achievement.
Dominic Monaghan (star of ABC’s Lost and the Academy Award® winning Lord of the Rings trilogy) narrates the documentary as it looks behind the curtain between Lord of the Rings andhow it inspired so many artists of different mediums.The film moves beyond “cult classic” and through different generations unearthing the way legendary rock musicians, filmmakers, professors, actors and authors all unite under the banner of ‘Ringer.’Interviewees included in the film are Lord of the Rings trilogy filmmaker Peter Jackson as well as Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin and David Carradine.Infused with a dynamic rock-driven score, irreverent cut-out animation (á la Terry Gilliam), and a centerpiece audience sing-a-long, RINGERS is a genre-busting documentary that shows how a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions.
RINGERS continues the momentum of the motion picture trilogy Lord of the Rings, a winner of 17 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson, who made history as the first person to direct three major feature films simultaneously.
From the official synopsis:
Ringers: Lord of the Fans is a feature-length documentary that reveals the ongoing cultural phenomenon created by The Lord of the Rings. Very funny and often moving, Ringers shows the hidden power behind Tolkien’s books — and how after 50 years a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions, across cultures and across time.
Shot with groundbreaking new digital technology in 24P, Ringers explores the real foundations of Middle-earth; a community of true fans who share a common bond. Moving beyond “cult classic” and over several different generations, the film unearths academics, musicians, authors, filmmakers, and a plethora of pop junkies — the people gathered under the banner of ‘Ringer.’ From the hippie counter-culture to the electronic age; from the Bakshi animated film to Jackson’s epic trilogy; this documentary brings together extensive footage from across the globe. With units in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Bonn, Germany, Wellington, New Zealand, and Oxford, England, our cameras capture the most fascinating “Ringers” and Lord of the Rings events.
What began as the private amusement of a tweedy Oxford professor has now become a new mythology for the 21st century. Ringers: Lord of the Fans shows how an adventure story published in 1954 has had dynamic ripple-effects through Western pop-culture. Ringers carefully pulls away the veil between Tolkien’s book and the creations of art, music, and community that have been inspired by it.
The new Gollum in The Hobbit is technologically updated from the LOTR trilogy.
Our own staffer Justin brought this excellent chat between Stuff magazine and Weta Digital’s Joe Letteri to light. Letteri discusses some of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the challenges of shooting in 3D at 48 fps, but he also has some interesting things to say about Smaug.
Letteri on Smaug: “Really, we could’ve done Smaug in the traditional way – just ask Benedict Cumberbatch to come into a voice booth and record his dialogue, and do everything entirely with keyframe animation. But when we record what Benedict’s body is doing, it frees him up to give us some idea of the physicality and intimate the poses, so that what he’s got on his mind can come through in how he’s performing it – and we’ll take that and extend it into what we do with the dragon.”
Letteri on revisiting Gollum: “I don’t think so – it’s not something that Peter’s ever indicated that he was interested in doing, and for my mind I’m happy to just have the film be finished as a film. We were lucky to be able to come back and do Gollum now with what we know ten years later – we have the best of both worlds, we can do that in new scenes. But even if that hadn’t been the case, I’m inclined to say a film exists in and of its time – and if you want to see something new, go and make a new film.”
You can read the rest of the excellent article right here!
Just this week with the arrival of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles, Creatures & Characters , fans got a sneak peek at an upcoming statue for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The character that was shown was Gollum, fully enraged at something down in his cave. Tonight, fans get to order this statue - and it’s a great companion, as you can see in the pictures, to the Bilbo statue previously released. Gollum comes in at $249 and will be shipping sometime in May/June. There is no announced edition size with this statue.
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.”
We’re not wishing to rub salt in the wounds of those who are not yet able to get their hands on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – but for many folks, Middle-earth is coming home today! If you’re a proud owner of a Hobbit DVD or Blu-ray, and a social media user, show us your pics of you and your preciousss by using the tag #TORNDVD
Meanwhile, to distract those who are still waiting, we’ve been sharing some interviews with various cast members. You can see our chats with Richard Armitage here and with Andy Serkis here, while a conversation with Bilbo himself, Martin Freeman, can be found here.
Our final interview is with the man who brought Bofur to life, James Nesbitt. This charming fellow chatted with staffer greendragon about the delights of being made into an action figure, what he hopes to see in the Extended Edition, and why three movies just aren’t enough. He even has a word to say about TORn’s own Oscar celebrations – and how he might party with us in future!
The wait is over and the day has finally arrived as the official release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is here! Special guest, Mr. Bilbo Baggins himself, Martin Freeman, answers several questions by Ringeer Peter Genovese, including whether or not he ever read “The Hobbit” before he was cast for the movie, his experience when he found out that he landed the role of Bilbo, mental preparations for playing a Hobbit, and his most memorable experiences on set.
Peter: Did you ever read the Hobbit before you auditioned for this movie?
Martin: No, I didn’t, no actually, especially to you, is the wrong answer! <laugh> I didn’t grow up a Tolkien fan. Obviously I knew of him. You certainly can’t be English and not know that name. No, it wasn’t part of my upbringing particularly but I obviously read it before I started the movie. <laugh> I came into it as an adult.
Peter: Do you recall the moment when you found out that you landed the role of Bilbo Baggins and what was your experience with that?
Martin: Well it was slightly staggered because I had found out that I had gotten the part early on. From the moment that I went on tape for Guillermo, when Guillermo was still director, all the way through for months and months there was no other traffic on the road, you know, it was me and I was being told by the artistic team “we want this to be you, there is nobody else we want it to be” but then it came to the point where I couldn’t do it due to my commitments to Sherlock which was a show I was doing in the UK and so I had to walk away, I had to turn it down, I had to not do The Hobbit anymore which was gutting and a very tedious statement of affairs. But, the real sort of changing call was that I was rehearsing a play in London at the time and my London agent Michael had called me and said that “Peter has rearranged the whole schedule around your availability on Sherlock and that you could do both” so I was delighted of course and very excited and very surprised, yeah.
Peter: With respect to mentally getting into character, did you do anything to make yourself feel smaller with respect to the size of a Hobbit, to get into a smaller frame of mind for the character?
Martin: No, because he (Bilbo) doesn’t think he’s small, of course. He is normal sized. You feel smaller when your house is inundated with Dwarves and bigger people and more imposing warrior figures so that makes you feel small but Bilbo is a very reactive character. Part of the pleasure of Bilbo and part of the comedy of it is in the reaction. I do what I do which probably doesn’t really bare a lot of talking about because it would be very boring but one does what you need to do to kind of feel that you’re something else. A lot of that is physical and a lot of that is just the doing of it. There wasn’t particularly a psychological thing, I just felt a way, I knew the way I wanted him to move and I knew that I wanted him to be slightly tentative and slightly cautious and if you walk around tentative and cautious, after a while, you mentally feel tentative and cautious so that was my way.
Peter: Many years from now when you think back on the experiences of making the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the upcoming two movies, was there anything that really stuck out with the whole experience that you’ll cherish, whether it be the wonderful cast that you worked with or even just the locations/scenery that you got to experience working at?
Martin: All of the above, really. I saw some beautiful geography in New Zealand, met some delightful people who I hope will stay friends with and got to work with one of the main directors of my time on one of the main books of our time. I’m kind of spoiled, really. And then there’s the films that are coming out, you know, that whole experience of going around the world and opening the films and doing the premieres was on a scale that few people get to see with the sort of madness of that, enjoyable madness, but it is still a kind of madness. All of that is so memorable and I’ll never forget any of that. I’m a very lucky man.
Also, don’t forget to submit your questions to Peter Jackson by today. Here’s more info:
Q&A with Peter Jackson
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson will host a live first look at “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second film in “The Hobbit” Trilogy, on Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern/12pm Pacific at www.hobbit.com/sneak. Just added: The live event will now include a Q&A with Jackson and fans! Video questions can be submitted beginning March 12 through March 19 on “The Hobbit” Facebook page, or through the Vine mobile app using the hashtag #askPeterJackson. Fans can also Tweet links to video questions using the hashtag #askPeterJackson. The live event will be limited to holders of an UltraViolet™ code, available by purchasing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and 2-disc DVD Special Edition on March 19. Visit thehobbit.com/sneak for more information.
Still eagerly awaiting the precioussss, aka a copy of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey of your very own? Although the release date in the USA is tomorrow, fans in other parts of the world have to wait a little longer. To help ease the wait, earlier today we shared a video of Thorin himself having a chat with a staffer from TORn. Here’s a second video from that press junket: Andy Serkis talks about what he is keen to see in the Extended Edition, what he’s working on next, and with whom he’d rather be locked in a room – Gollum or Smeagol??
Exciting times for Hobbit fans! Last week the Digital Download of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey became available, and tomorrow (March 19th) is the date when American fans can take home copies of the movie on DVD and Blu-ray; plus of course we’re all eagerly awaiting Peter Jackson’s live first look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Sunday 24th March! To help pass the time till then, TORn has some videos to share!
Staffer greendragon was fortunate enough to meet recently with Thorin, Bofur and Gollum – also known as those charming gents Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt and Andy Serkis. They discussed topics such as how it feels to be part of a billion dollar grossing movie, what they hope to see in the Extended Editions, and what went into creating the roles they play. In the first of three videos, here’s what Richard Armitage had to say.
Over on The Hobbit UK, Andy Serkis answers some fan questions about his work on An Unexpected Journey. This one is really interesting in particular: “Do you think that Gollum has a stronger relationship with the Ring in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings?” (more…)
Australian DVD and Blu-ray retailer Crave Online chats with Martin Freeman about his personal history with J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series, how the ending of An Unexpected Journey changed when the film split from two films into three, and Andy Serkis’s first turn behind the camera as Peter Jackson’s 2nd Unit Director.
On the script: “[Jackson] knows this world — as far as a filmmaker is concerned — better than anybody else in the world. I knew it would be good… and then I got the script and it was good. But we didn’t get the second script until way into shooting. Because they like to work on it and work on it. There’s no way they’re going to show you anything… I mean Like most writers, actually, they don’t want to show you their baby until they’re really, really happy with it. They’re no exception.”
On the original final scene of An Unexpected Journey: “The ending visual was the same. Smaug’s eye opening — it was the same. I loved that ending as a visual thing. But more had happened up to that point.”
On the casting of “Sherlock” co-star, Benedict Cumberbatch: “I saw his picture in the production office, and was, like ” yeah, that would really, really work”. And I knew he really wanted to do it. Because when we went up for it, we both went on tape for The Hobbit at the same time while we were shooting the first series of Sherlock. He read for Smaug. and that was Benedict’s childhood book, so he was delighted.”
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