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Archive for the ‘MrCere in New Zealand’ Category

Want to visit Middle-earth? Try the Hobbiton Movie Set

Note: A photo gallery follows the text and videos, click for larger versions.

The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set

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. 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

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 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

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.

Posted in Adam Brown, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Nesbitt, Jed Brophy, John Callen, Locations Sets, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Mark Hadlow, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Hambleton, Peter Jackson, Premieres, Stephen Hunter, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, William Kircher

Our Special Desolation of Smaug Panel TODAY at WonderCon in Anaheim!

WonderCon Anaheim 1HAPPY EASTER and welcome to WonderCon! Join us today as we bring amazing Hobbity goodness to all the attendees waiting for a real insider’s scoop! Today, March 31st, join TORn Staffers Garfeimao and Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway at WonderCon in Anaheim, California, for our special panel presentation at 12:00pm PDT in Room 207. The panel is titled’s Unauthorized Sneak Peek: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This will be a wildly fun discussion regarding all things Hobbit… with special insights from those who have been on the New Zealand sets!

WonderCon is one of three conventions hosted by Comic Con International, the others being APE (Alternative Press Expo) and San Diego Comic-Con. Wondercon follows the same general format as San Diego Comic Con, but on a much smaller size, making it easier to attend the panels you wish and still have time to shop. It is returning to the Anahim Convention Center for the second year while the Moscone Center in San Francisco is getting a major renovation. If you have had problems getting into San Diego Comic Con the last few years, this is a really great alternative. See you all on Sunday.

Posted in Blu-Ray, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, Merchandise, Miscellaneous, MrCere in New Zealand, Other Events, Production, WonderCon

Top photos of NZ ‘Hobbit’ press conference

Richard Armitage listens to a question during a press conference before the World Premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington, New Zealand.

Only hours before the stars walked the red carpet in front of 100,000 fans on the street of Wellington, nearly the entire cast gathered at Te Papa Museum for a pair of press conferences.

Peter Jackson and stars Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman attended both press events while most of the rest of the principal cast and screenwriter Philippa Boyens attended one event or the other.

Media was invited by Warner Bros., the studio that was handling press from around the world during the week. was included in the press invite, not the only online fan site to get the call, as our friends from herr-der-ringe were also there. MGM and New Line were also announced as presenting the press conferences.

John Callen sits with his “Team Oin” jacket on during the press conference at Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand. Each actor choose a unique approach to wardrobe, just as in the movie, showing their personality when there was little dialog to go around.

Te Papa, a world-class museum, arranged a long table for the events and switched name cards in front of native Maori art. Called a Marae, translated as “big house” but serving as the symbolic center of Maori tradition, the event started with singing and then a forehead-to-forehead welcome to the participants. With the unique and beautiful colors behind, each of the question and answer sessions lasted about 40 minutes and was moderated.

Flash photography was not allowed, although clearly TheOneRing took quite a few stills. In the back of the room rows of cameras shot video, including for TORn. We audio recorded the event as well and hope to present a transcript of it in a day or two. Meanwhile enjoy some of the best handful of photos. The participants included: Cate Blanchette, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Stephen Hunter, Peter Hambleton William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood.

Posted in Adam Brown, Aidan Turner, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Dean O'Gorman, Elijah Wood, Events, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Movie, James Nesbitt, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Martin Freeman, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Hambleton, Press Conferences, Richard Armitage, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit

TORn TUESDAY *Live* Webcast Dishes on Our Premiere Party AND MORE!

Be sure to check out our *LIVE* webcast happening in about 1/2 an hour! Every week Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway hosts TORn TUESDAY, bringing very cool live chat technology right to your computer; allowing Ringer fans from across the world to interact and join hobbit actors, authors, artists, and more for a lively virtual moot and discussion! We have extra special guest Erica Challis today, one of the original founding members of community, coming to us via Skype from Wellington, New Zealand — where she and RED CARPET TOURS are preparing a fantastic HOBBIT Pre-Premiere Party! Learn how you can attend! Join our Live Event page here and be part of the show — it all begins 5:00pm Pacific Time (Tuesday) and 2:00pm New Zealand time (Wednesday)!

Posted in Barlimans, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Meet Ups, MrCere in New Zealand, Other Events, Premieres, The Hobbit, Announcements, Community, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

A secret look inside Air NZ’s Middle-earth safety video

Weta’s Ben Hawker is a brilliant guy and he worked with the creative and fun folks at Air New Zealand to create the ideas that became perhaps the most popular airline safety video in the world, collecting 8 million hits since it was launched a week ago. TheOneRing was honored to play a part with Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway and I (Larry “MrCere” Curtis) appearing to help represent fans from across the globe. Well, they also asked us to chime in on the behind-the-scenes video which features J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandsons Royd and Mike, the genuinely excellent and beautiful airline employees Kara, Mark and Will (plus others not in the video), the film’s director Josh, the soon-to-be superstar Dean O’Gorman, Peter Jackson and that Hawker guy. TORn may have its own version of a story and photos from that set before long but Air New Zealand has a great video to follow up last week’s starting off with a familiar face. Also fun, many of the crew making this video also worked on The Hobbit. Check out the short clip on the next page! (more…)

Posted in Dean O'Gorman, Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Community, Tolkien, Tours

TORn TUESDAY *Live* Webcast with HOBBIT Mischief Today at 5pm PDT!

Join us in about 30 minutes for our *live* weekly webcast TORn TUESDAY! Your congenial host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway will bring in fellow TORn Staffer and esteemed Middle-earth journalist Larry “MrCere” Curtis to talk about new Line Parties co-crafted by YOU the *fans* using’s exclusive Line Party interface — and also the Wellington premiere party for THE HOBBIT; and we’ll even check out the new T.V. spot! Perhaps we may even begin the OFFICIAL TORn HOBBIT LIVE READING straight from the original book, time permitting. Join us at 5pm Pacific Daylight Time and be part of the chat at our *LIVE Event Page* right here, which includes Barliman’s Chat!  or even turn on your webcam and join us at our Stickam page here —

Posted in Barlimans, Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, Line Party, Miscellaneous, MrCere in New Zealand, Premieres, The Hobbit, Announcements, Community, Tolkien, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

The bold ‘Hobbit’ trilogy decision and what to expect

We all listened to and read Peter Jackson’s words from Comic-Con about three possible “Hobbit,” movies carefully. But we didn’t listen to all the words and we missed a few things.

He told us. He told us — he did.

He said exactly what he meant, he said it plainly and the media and fans (and me) tried to figure out what he meant when he told us in plainness. Monday, Jackson dropped an atomic bomb of news and fandom reacted accordingly.

“The Hobbit,” adapted for the screen from the 300-page, 75-year-old book by J.R.R. Tolkien changed from from two movies to three in the blink of a Facebook post.

More on the words we ignored in a minute. We need to figure out when these films break, what it means for fans and websites and studios and cinema and the director, but lets not rush past the size and scope of this news. Lets not walk around Paris admiring all the cafes and churches without also pausing and noticing the big tower in the center of town.

We witnessed, the last few weeks since Comic-Con, something monumental, unprecedented, unparalleled and a little bit crazy. Jackson (and when we say “Jackson” we always mean the director and Walsh, Boyens and a team of others supporting their vision) is in unchartered territory here. (more…)

Posted in Blu-Ray, Books Publications, Cast Q&A, Character Q&A, Collectibles, Director news, Director Q&A, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, LEGO, Location Q&A, Merchandise, MGM, MrCere in New Zealand, New Line Cinema, Other Merchandise, Peter Jackson, Rumors Spy News, Sideshow Collectibles, Studios, The Hobbit, Toys, Warner Bros., Weta Collectibles, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop

*Live* on TORn TUESDAY Today: Quickbeam’s Grand Tour of NZ and Hobbit Set!

THERE AND BACK: today on our *Live* webcast TORn TUESDAY, our intrepid host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway has just returned from New Zealand where many magical things were witnessed ON THE ACTUAL SET OF THE HOBBIT, but secrecy abounds! Be tantalized and teased with a unique 1st person account of travels to the real Middle-earth! We also pay tribute to our fallen friend and Memorial Day remembrance for our brave heroes abroad. Come join the show via Stickam (account “theoneringnet”) using your own Skype login or via our Live Event Page with our unique Barliman’s chat embedded in the show!

Tune into our show at 5:00pm PDT (that’s L.A. time folks — click here to see when it is in your city!), and just click to our Live Event page.

Posted in Adam Brown, Barlimans, Billy Connolly, Crew News, Director news, Fans, Green Books, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, John Callen, Locations Sets, Mark Hadlow, Miscellaneous, MrCere in New Zealand, Out on a Limb, Peter Jackson, Production, Richard Armitage, Announcements, Community, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, WETA Cave, WETA Workshop

SPOILER ALERT: CinemaCon Hobbit Footage Quick-hits! TORn Tuesday Moves to 5:30PM PT

SPOILERS! We just got off the phone with Cliff (Quickbeam) to discuss what he witness during today’s WB presentation at CinemaCon 2012 in Las Vegas. He is literally on the road right now, driving back to LA, but wanted to pass along a few quick-hit items to share with you all before he goes into extreme detail during our LIVE TORn Tuesday show. (Which btw will now be pushed to 5:30pm PT today because of the trip) Please note, If you are fearful of spoilers…stop reading now!


Posted in Barlimans, Casting Rumors, Conventions, Events, Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, MrCere in New Zealand, Other Events, Production, Rumors Spy News, The Hobbit, Announcements, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

CinemaCon Hobbit Footage and More on TORn TUESDAY Live Webcast today 5pm Pacific!

We’ve got a very special TORn Tuesday lined up for you today as our host Clifford Broadway (Quickbeam) will recount his experiences at CinemaCon Las Vegas! Yes, that’s right…Quickbeam journeyed to Las Vegas, NV and was granted access to the special screening of 10 minutes of  3D 48fps footage from ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.’ During tonight’s LIVE TORn Tuesday show, he will relay what he saw exclusively on As always, you can participate and present your questions to Quickbeam starting at 5:00pm PDT — There’s a built-in Barliman’s chat room or come in via Skype in’s Stickam page. Check out our LIVE Event section right here every week! [LIVE Event Area] (See All Times)

Posted in Barlimans, Casting Rumors, Conventions, Events, Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, MrCere in New Zealand, Other Events, Production, Rumors Spy News, The Hobbit, Announcements, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

Big Chicago Splash at C2E2 and More on TORn TUESDAY Live Webcast today 5pm Pacific!

Today Justin and Cliff host our *Live* webcast, covering all the exciting happenings in the world of Tolkien fandom! We just hit Chicago this past weekend at the C2E2 show, where our staffers Corvar & Entmaiden stood before record crowds to give a presentation on THE HOBBIT films in a larger room! Also on the hit list, we are excited that our reporter Larry Curtis is embedded on THE HOBBIT set down in New Zealand. Needless to say, we have many surprises up our sleeves for the coming year! Come join the TORn TUESDAY chat show and be part of the mischief. As always, you can participate and present your questions to show hosts Justin Sewell and Clifford Broadway (Quickbeam) starting at 5:00pm PDT — There’s a built-in Barliman’s chat room or come in via Skype in’s Stickam page. Check out our LIVE Event section right here every week! [LIVE Event Area] (See All Times)

Posted in Barlimans, Casting Rumors, ComicCon, Conventions, DragonCon, Events, Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, MrCere in New Zealand, NYCC, Other Events, Production, Rumors Spy News, The Hobbit, Announcements, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

Blast From the Bakshi Past on TORn TUESDAY Live Webcast today 5pm Pacific!

We have much to celebrate at as our intrepid reporter MrCere arrives today in the heart of New Zealand to visit THE HOBBIT set; and our show today will likewise cover some exciting territory! Come re-live the wild animation of the 70′s on our *live* webcast today (affectionately known as TORn TUESDAY!).  We will explore the works of animation trailblazer RALPH BAKSHI and consider his contributions to “The Lord of the Rings” history. We look forward in time as well, anticipating the newest wizard of Middle-earth to arrive, and so sink our teeth into Quickbeam’s recent editorial “Where Exactly Art Thou, Radagast?”   As always, you can join the *live* chat today and present your questions to show host Clifford Broadway (Quickbeam)! Today’s webcast launches at 5:00pm PDT — There’s a built-in Barliman’s chat room or come in via Skype in’s Stickam page. Check out our LIVE Event section right here every week! [LIVE Event Area] (See All Times)

Posted in Barlimans, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, The Hobbit, TORn TUESDAYS Live!