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Archive for the ‘MrCere in New Zealand’ Category

Hobbit Fan Contest: Queenstown, gateway to Middle-earth adventure

NOTE: Click on any of the photos and then click again to see a much larger version. We think most of these are worth the clicks.

_MG_0928_smallYou can smell it in the air and see it in the water and there is just no disputing that Queenstown, New Zealand is a special place. The Hobbit Fan Contest winners left some pretty amazing experiences at Rotorua and especially Hobbiton Movie Set to climb on a plane at head to the south island of the two-island nation.

More than one fan wondered aloud, “How can they rest of the trip possibly live up to this?” And then Queenstown worked its charms. The area is heavily saturated with Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film lore. And while there was always tourism for the majestic Southern Alps and the Remarkables set around a ski resort town that also happens to be the gateway of the world, there will long be an impact there from the six episodes of Middle-earth Peter Jackson delivered. (more…)

Posted in Contests, Events, Fans, Hobbit Fan Contest, Hobbit Movie, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tours

Hobbit Fan Contest winners dispersing all over the world

smaugLOS ANGELES — The contest has ended for the winners to be the ultimate Hobbit fans and watch the in-progress “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” film with Peter Jackson. That happened Thursday in Wellington and by Friday fans were traveling home, slowly spreading out away from Middle-earth and back to the four corners of the globe. Friendship ran deep among the group and the late night Auckland to Los Angeles flight still contained a decent share of the group that saw New Zealand in a whirlwind. The plane was also the famed Smaug-decorated jet and that surely seemed appropriate.

Jackson is back to work on the film, fans are spreading back around the globe, going home after an unforgettable week. TORn has been very busy collecting photos and experiences and will get a big report and maybe some other stories out this weekend. For the rest, three weeks remain until the the world premiere in London. Three weeks for Jackson and his editing team to make final decisions about the film. Three weeks for hundreds or likely thousands of hands at Weta Digital to finish hundreds of shots. Three weeks for Warner Bros. to ramp up its publicity machine and three weeks for actors to get ready to promote the film at red carpets and premieres on several continents.

The ultimate fan contest to bring hardcore fans together to see the final film in Middle-earth was a massive undertaking for Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Warners. While not every single detail was perfect, there is little doubt for those who went, the week was the trip of a lifetime. Besides the screening there was an incredible day at the Hobbiton Movie Set, the cultural welcome at Rotorua, all kinds of adventures in Queenstown and then a dash through Wellington with glimpses into Weta Workship, Weta Digital and the rarest of movie experiences with Jackson and company.

Posted in Contests, Events, Hobbit Fan Contest, Hobbit Movie, MrCere in New Zealand, The Hobbit

A magical day at Hobbiton Movie Set features new ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ trailer

Fireworks2HOBBITON — A visit to Hobbiton Movie Set for winners of the Hobbit Fan Contest had, all-in-all, a pretty amazing day — and then they saw the trailer.

For readers who don’t know, the shooting set for exteriors of the Shire in Hobbit trilogy is preserved for visitors on the farm where it was originally used for the “Lord of the Rings,” films. It provides a fully immersive environment that fans worldwide agree is singularly special and it runs tours daily.

So besIt also didn’t hurt that actors Jed Brophy, John Callen, Mark Hadlow and Stephen Hunter surprised visitors at a feast inside the full-service eatery on site: The Green Dragon. Nor did the flowing drink, the plentiful food, the expertly guided tours, but what else can be done to delight 150 of the most die-hard fans in the world?

Have Peter Jackson, by way of recorded video, introduce the just-finished, and last, trailer for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” It brought the house down.

DwarvesIn the very Hobbity party tent behind The Green Dragon all the gathered fans and media were clearly and repeatedly instructed to turn off our cameras so it was obvious something different was happening. Even the most honored guests, the actors were placed in the front but looking forward with the audience.

Matthew Dravitzki, an Associate Producer on the trilogy and a key figure behind Jackson’s team who usually escapes the spotlight, spoke to the fans and introduced the video. He also required that we viewers not share the details, especially the specifics, so you will not read them here. But I think its okay if I say, it’s serious as a heart attack, gloomy as a storm front and as epic as battle of five armies.

And wow, do my fingers itch to type more.

Afterwards the groups of fans, split up for logistical purposes and took the new (to me) night tour around the set. Under the party tree the groups gathered to finally end a pretty amazing day. In fact, it may be difficult to match during the rest of the trip. To say fans were ecstatic is no exaggeration. There were, at several points, tears of joy and disbelief.

GondolaThe day started in the rain at the Skyline Rotorua. Fans and reporters were generously offered the opportunity to enjoy various activities that included wine tasting, a zip line, a luge and a skyswing. Then it was off to the movie set for a day that was absolutely packed.

TORn interviewed the four actors together in a group with hilarious results. We will post it at a later date, depending on how quickly we get the video and quickly I can possibly post it but it’s great fan service from four classy New Zealand gentlemen.

The owner of the sheep and cattle farm the set sits on and his son who run it, Ian and Russel Alaexander, were on hand for interviews as well. TORn didn’t catch up with them, but plenty of media outlets did. In the late afternoon, in the guise of introducing The Green Dragon, fans were led into the room where the actors and executives were enjoying dinner and where media was stationed to grab reactions. As anticipated, tears where shed, hugs were shared and memories were made. Staff working on the event expressed a lot of tender emotions while watching fans enjoy the surprise so much.

I was pleased to have time to mix and mingle with fans — and I met a lot of them and enjoyed it every time. Before long it was trailer time. Despite this group’s appointment this week to screen the actual film with director Peter Jackson, the trailer announcement was greeted with great excitement.

Dravitzki promised a triple showing and delivered. All three times fans hushed each other at the start, not wanting to miss any dialog.

Then it was outdoors for the night tour when fireworks were triggered. Then, off to buses and tomorrow, Queenstown.

Posted in Events, Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jed Brophy, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Meet Ups, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Stephen Hunter, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tours

New Zealand gives Hobbit winners a grand cultural welcome

AirNZWelcome

ROTORUA — The first full day is in the books in a historic gathering of Middle-earth fans from around the world. And while there were some tired eyes there were lots more genuine smiles and the excitement of anticipation of a fan’s trip of a lifetime. Along with 150 Hobbit fans, about 30 or so journalists met on the tarmac at Auckland airport to get a photo with the pride of Air New Zealand’s fleet, its Thorin-and-company-emblazoned carrier.

The logistics of making just that happen means many buses, many credentials, many places to store luggage and quite a lot of hustle and bustle.

Tourism New Zealand is out in force to get everybody where they need to be as is Warners Bros. and just some of the many faces behind the many travel details that had to come together to bring this world-wide collection together.

BarbadosThe winners are divided into groups that help everybody keep everybody else organized. Credential lanyards are color coded to signify who is who and where they are from. If you arrived from the Americas, including winner Rori Griffith and her father Derek from Barbados, you are signified a Hobbit and get a green lanyard. Australasia are yellow wizards, Asia are blue elves and Europeans are red dwarves. Anybody else instantly transported to the video game Gauntlet? Oh and the media are signified as white orcs. Oh yes, we media are villains! We find our bus with signs and banners with CGI Azog himself and yes, that is me down in the photo gallery taking a self-portrait to demonstrate our similar haircuts. Staff are purple with the ever-present black “staff” shirts. The very helpful and cheerful staff will be present and recognizable in many, many photos I have no doubt. (more…)

Posted in Contests, Events, Fans, Hobbit Fan Contest, Hobbit Movie, Meet Ups, MrCere in New Zealand, The Hobbit

TheOneRing.net will exclusively join with and report on Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ contest winners

Sunset near Twizel, New Zealand on the day of our story.

Sunset near Twizel, New Zealand.

Peter Jackson held a a world-wide contest for fans with the ultimate prize of traveling to New Zealand to watch “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” with the director. Fans world-wide responded and as promised, winners were announced from the four corners of the globe.

Today we can share the news that TheOneRing.net will be on the trip as well to bring the wonders of New Zealand and the experiences of the winners to fans just as fast as we can type. Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand are giving the winners a Middle-earth experience on the North and South Islands before viewing the film with Jackson. (TheOneRing has not been invited to see the film and will enjoy a nice walk during the screening!) (more…)

Posted in Events, Hobbit Movie, MrCere in New Zealand, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community, Warner Bros., WETA Cave, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop

Luke Evans talks Bard the Bowman and Bard the family man in ‘Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’

Luke Evans as Bard The Bowman and John Bell as his son Bain.

(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…)

Posted in Character Q&A, Characters, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Nesbitt, John Bell, Locations Sets, Luke Evans, Mary Nesbit, MrCere in New Zealand, Peggy Nesbit, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien

Evangeline Lilly explains the challenges of playing Tauriel in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’

Part one of this spotlight on Evangeline Lilly and her character Tauriel was published yesterday. Click here to read it.


(Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.)

(Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.)

In the first part of this story, Evangeline Lilly discussed her childhood love for “The Hobbit,” and her decision-making process that led her to move her family to New Zealand and work with director Peter Jackson as a character not found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s 75-year-old classic. She plays an elf in the forest kingdom of Thranduil where his son Legolas also lives.

How does an actor differentiate her character in a set of films stuffed full with grand, immortal elves?

“Somebody asked me, ‘Did you study a lot of the other elves? The performances of the elves from Rings to do this role?’ I said distinctly ‘no.’ I intentionally didn’t re-watch the movies because I was afraid of trying to copy someone’s performance and I wanted it to be original.”

bg_jFUFB“All the other elves you’ve ever seen in these movies are at least twice my age, at least twice Tauriel’s age, so they are very wise and they’re very well established in their power and their understanding of the world. I’ve intentionally tried to demonstrate that she’s not there yet. She’s young, she’s only 600 years old and in elven terms, that is so young. She’s just a baby.”

Lilly is even playing some layers of the role in a way she wants those diehard fans to understand.

“I like the idea of playing with a young elf, how would they behave? How would they be different from the aged elves? And I hope that it doesn’t come across as wrong, you know what I mean? I hope it doesn’t come across to people who really know the world as she’s not quite got it down. Because that’s my goal, to not quite have it.

“She wants to be as wise, she wants to be as much of a presence as all of her elders but she’s not. She’s a kid and there’s a part of her that is always a little too excited about things or maybe a little too engaged in the world, the way kids can get. And I think that was something I wanted to tell the really diehard fans.

“I want them to know that she is young so that when they look at the performance and they look at the character they understand the context.” (more…)

Posted in Andy Serkis, Characters, Crew News, Evangeline Lilly, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Leith McPherson, Locations Sets, MrCere in New Zealand, Terry Notary, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien

Evangeline Lilly gets personal with TORn about Tauriel and ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.

(Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.)

Desolation of Smaug poster artworkWELLINGTON, New Zealand — Those outside of the movie making business often don’t understand what The Producer does on a film. The quickest answer is: They get the movie made. They get things done.

In the case of Zane Weiner on “The Hobbit,” it meant getting in touch with someone nobody was meant to get in touch with.

Evangeline Lilly.

Living in Hawaii, she was a month removed from the birth of her child, email turned off, not taking calls about work and still confined to bed rest.

“So I was still in bed with the baby,” she told TheOneRing.net in full Tauriel outfit and gear during a lunch break on a full day of filming on “The Hobbit.”

This lunch tent, while perhaps not glamorous, is an essential part of Stone Street Studios and making Peter Jackson movies, designed to feed and shelter quite an enormous crowd. Breakfast was served there for anybody wanting to start the day off right. Coffee and tea were available on any sound stage but also in the tent — a first stop for many on a shoot. (more…)

Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Hadlow, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien

Set Visit Exclusive — Bringing Lake-town to Life for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

© Larry D. Curtis, TheOneRing.net

(The outdoor Lake-Town wet set with extras and crew assembled for a night shoot on “The Hobbit.”)

WELLINGTON — The great cities of history have risen up around rivers, lakes and on coasts. Water holds vast and replenishing stores of food, improves transportation of people and goods, encourages trade, and of course keeps a population hydrated. Paris. London. Hong Kong. New York. Tokyo. Moscow. Boston. On and on.

Lake-town benefitted from excellent transportation and presumably a wealth of fish and food and clean, fresh water but it was built on water for a different reason.

Smaug_eyeDragons.

One dragon in particular: Smaug The Terrible.

Tolkien’s Lake-town, like real-world Venice, was built on wooden pillars sunk into water. The lake men — with the destruction of Dale seared forever into their memory — built on water for safety. We watched it in the prolog of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” while they had to live with the fear of dragon every day. Water-based living provided at least a chance against the great and terrible worm if he ever attacked again.

Survival was the challenge for the city builders in Middle-earth but for Peter Jackson’s film version of Lake-town, dragon-sized demands included creating visuals to sell a water-based town to the audience and to provide a playground to let actors fully realize characters and moments. (more…)

Posted in Andy Serkis, Casting Rumors, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, Luke Evans, MrCere in New Zealand, Ra Vincent, Ryan Gage, Simon Bright, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Fictional Frontiers Podcast Talks Hobbit With TORn

Fictional FrontiersLong-time friend of TheOneRing.net, Sohaib Awan, has kicked off a new Fictional Frontiers podcast and invited our own MrCere to talk all things Hobbit. Long a radio program, Fictional Frontiers, with Shotglass Digital, is reaching a new audience with a new format that allows for a longer, more in-depth discussion. Awan has championed “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” and loves both the realms of Tolkien and the work of Peter Jackson. He has used MrCere (Larry D. Curtis) as a frequent guest and in this episode they discuss both the upcoming second installment of the film and the success of the first and Curtis talks big picture about his time in New Zealand. The podcast can be found right here! Awan says MrCere will return in future episodes to talk more Hobbit.

Posted in Conventions, DragonCon, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, Tolkien

Set visit exclusive — Extras: Living large in the background of ‘The Hobbit’

Bilbo looks over the trees in Mirkwood Forest.

Bilbo looks over the trees in Mirkwood Forest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of many set visit reports that will publish weekly from now until the premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” We will update this post with photos from the set visit as soon as possible.

Ian McKellen as Gandalf.

Ian McKellen as Gandalf.

WELLINGTON — Thousands of creative hands will have touched “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” by the time it hits movie screens. For those making the film it means long hours, pushing the limits of creativity, people and technology. It is accurate to say every frame is filled with passion, lots of passion.

Despite all the love for the project from every quarter, there is a group that may be the least-heralded, most overlooked, and yet whose passion for the project is surpassed by no man — or woman. They will receive no awards, no fame, no recognition and yet, they loved their work on “The Hobbit,” and legions of fans would have willingly taken their place in a heartbeat.

They are called “extras,” and for these films that meant extra passion, extra time and extra fun.

How would I know? Well, I was one of them!

I am a staffer here at TheOneRing.net (TORn), contributing for over a decade to the all-volunteer, not-for profit website forged by and for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien. In that time I formed a bond of trust and friendship with people on all sides of the production.

Warners Bros. and the production team on “The Hobbit,” invited me, as a representative of TORn, to not only visit the set but to be embedded there as a journalist for five weeks. Every working day for a month and a week in 2012, I woke up and reported to set near Wellington, New Zealand where Peter Jackson and his team of filmmakers were putting together the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved children’s book, “The Hobbit.”

I can hardly believe this happened even though I remember it with incredible clarity. It seems surreal now — as it did every day when I arrived, showed my badge to security and walked into the grounds where Middle-earth would be created for audiences world wide. Each day was appreciated.

For me, it was absolutely life changing.

Repeating for emphasis: Life changing. (more…)

Posted in Casting Calls, Director news, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Ryan Gage, Stephen Fry, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

Ten ways TORn serves Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fandom

TORn logoBeginning last Saturday and running through to September 4, TheOneRing.net is hosting a Pledge Drive (see the banner at the top) as well as a bunch of auctions for some really cool memorabilia and collectibles.

The day-to-day operation of the website, and the events we host, require a lot more resources than when we first started nearly 15 years ago. We sometimes find it hard to ask our readers for the help we need to keep running, so we began discussing what it is that makes TheOneRing.net worth helping out. It started out as a search for the Top Ten Moments of TORn, but the list got so long because each staff member had their own idea of important moments in TORn history. Here, instead, is something more encompassing: Ten Ways TORn helps serve Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fandom (listed in no specific order).

And, if you enjoy what we do, consider a donation (no amount too small, because every bit does help!) to keep us running!

If you can’t, that’s fine as well — keep reading, commenting and contributing. Because TORn is as much you as it is us!

If you’ve ever sent in an article, submitted a photo or report, posted on our messageboards, visited our chat, or commented on our twitter, facebook or g+, you’re the reason TheOneRing.net is among the largest and most-respected pillars of the Tolkien community on the web.

(more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Cannes 2001, Casting Rumors, ComicCon, Conventions, Costuming, Crew News, Director Rumors, DragonCon, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Film Screenings, Green Books, Hall of Fire, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Make the Hobbit Happen, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Old Cannes News, Old ComicCon News, Old DragonCon News, Old Main News, Old Oscar Party News, Old Spy Reports, Original TORn, Oscar Parties, Other Events, Other Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, PJ New Line, PJ's Other Films, Production, Return of the King, Rumors Spy News, Rumours Spy News, Studios, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Reading Day, Trailer, Wellington