Once again it has been a long time since I posted in this series, but what with the run-up to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure and the reaction to it, TheOneRing.net has been a busy place, and now we’re coming up on The One Expected Party on Oscar night! But I’ll delay no longer.
In the first entry I recalled getting the permission to interview the filmmakers and going down to start my work, back in September-October of 2003. The second one dealt with my first interview and tours of the Three Foot Six office building and the Stone Street Studios. Now, more of the facilities I visited.
The Film Unit
My third full day in Wellington was Wednesday, October 1. Melissa Booth called and said I could come to the new Film Unit building to meet Barrie Osborne. He, as I cannot stress often enough, was the one responsible for getting me New Line’s permission to interview the filmmakers for my book. This meeting, though, wouldn’t be for an interview. (I interviewed Barrie twice for the book, first a couple of weeks later and again during my third Wellington visit in December, 2004.) He was driving out to the old Film Unit facility that afternoon to give the people working there, sound mixers, editors, and other post-production crew members, a pep talk.
As most readers know, the race to finish The Return of the King was on by that point, and a lot of people were working long hours. I was told that Barrie often gave these pep talks, and the filmmakers really appreciated them; it was part of what gave the production that feeling of being one big family. I could at least introduce myself to Barrie and ride with him to the Film Unit; the half-hour drives there and back would allow us time to talk about my project. (more…)
This week, Vanity fair is looking at Oscar nominated films in a recurring feature called “Sketch to Still.” The series focuses on the creative process of making movies. This week they are talking to Oscar nominee Peter Swords King about his work in makeup and hair design for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies.
The dwarves’ look is also influenced by their lifestyle. “They drink a lot—their manners are really bad at the table. Any person who’s drunk all their lives, their nose is going to get quite red. All they do is eat meat. It’s not a very good diet. They live outside, so they’re beaten, battered, and bruised,” says King.Once the sketches were perfected, the filmmakers began casting. At this point, the hair-and-makeup team fit the actors for wigs, as well as prosthetics.
On a day usually marked by celebrations, we are very sad to report the untimely death of our Kiwi friend, Mike Hopkins, who worked alongside American compatriot Ethan Van der Ryn as Sound Editors on the LOTR Trilogy. Mr. Hopkins (pictured on the left with Van der Ryn) would go on to win Academy Awards for Sound Editing on two of Peter Jackson’s films: The Two Towers and King Kong. He and his friends were rafting in the Tararua Range when their watercraft capsized. The complete story can be found here at Stuff.co.nz.
Ringer fans have in the past met Mr. Hopkins at public events and our own Oscar Parties held for LOTR cast & crew, where he showed extraordinary humility and appreciation for the love showed by our unique fandom. The staff of TheOneRing.net are deeply saddened at this tragic news and extend their sympathy and prayers to Mr. Hopkins’ surviving family and friends. We wish him godspeed on his new journey, certain that he can make the thunder of Heaven sound that much sweeter to the ears of the Divine.
This entry begins my recollections about the places where The Return of the King was still being worked on when I showed up at the end of September, 2003. They are scattered mostly around the Miramar peninsula, which was and is sometimes referred to as “Wellywood.” I gradually visited all of them to interview filmmakers or to get tours to familiarize me with the facilities that Peter Jackson and his colleagues had built up. That process had happened during the 1990s, but it accelerated to a breathless pace as the infrastructure for accomplishing the three parts of The Lord of the Rings were built and expanded.
Those facilities have grown even further as King Kong, Avatar, and now The Hobbit have been made. This is the story of how I discovered them in 2003 and 2004. (more…)
In this article, The New Zealand Herald’s Helen Frances speaks to Weta concept designers and illustrators Ben Wootten and Paul Tobin about how they got their starts in the industry.
Wootten joined Weta in 1996, and has worked on King Kong, The Lord of the Rings and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. His knowledge of animal anatomy and behavior (he studied zoology at university) was key to creating the dinosaurs for King Kong.
Paul Tobin began his career at Weta Workshop in 2003 when the first Narnia film and King Kong were underway. Tobin says he was “lousy at drawing dinosaurs” so he stayed with Narnian fantasy. His background in ancient history and archaeology proved the inspiration for concept designs for Peter and Edmund’s armour and weapons and Susan’s horn.
Ringers unite! A grievous wrong has been done to Dallas Poll, jeweler and prop-maker for the Lord of the Rings movies. On international Star Wars Day (May 4) thieves made off with thousands of dollars of movie memorabilia from his home in Paraparaumu, New Zeeland, including a replica sword he wielded while acting as an Aragorn double, and his precious stormtrooper outfit.
According to stuff.co.nz: Mr Poll, a jeweller, spent seven years in the police but over the past decade has worked mostly as a prop maker on The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, the Narnia films and Avatar. “We have been well and truly done over,” Mr Poll said yesterday. “They seemed to know what they were looking for.”
Please read the stuff.co.nz article and if you come across any suspicious collectibles for sale, email the New Zeeland police. Read More…
The sword-fighting trainer and choreographer passed away today, at the age of 89.
Bob Anderson was a behind-the-scenes name little known to many fans but who had a tremendous impact not only on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but on cinema itself. Anderson’s many credits include: Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Princess Bride, Highlander and much more. [Read obit from AP]
From thelordoftherings.net: “Bob Anderson, the world’s top sword master who has consulted on such films as Star Wars and trained the legendary Errol Flynn, was also brought in to train the actors in different fencing techniques. An expert in medieval arms, Anderson read the novel and then developed sparring methods based on Tolkien’s descriptions of each culture.”
10 years have passed since the release of the first of the films in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and fans will surely recall Frodo’s “chicken dance” at Bilbo’s Birthday party, Merry and Pippin singing in the Green Dragon Inn, Frodo and Sam watching the Wood-elves leaving Middle-earth, and Éowyn singing a dirge at the burial of her cousin Théodred.
The songs and the music for all these scenes, termed “diegetic” or “cultural” music, were composed and performed by Plan 9 (consisting of David Donaldson, Stephen Roche, and Janet Roddick) together with David Long, who also collaborated with them on certain aspects of the sound design for the Dead Marshes, the Ents, and the One Ring.
In celebration of the The Fellowship of the Ring’s 10th Anniversary, TheOneRing.net brings you an exclusive interview with Plan 9.
"The Elvish Impersonators" (from L to R: David Long, Steve Roche, Janet Roddick, David Donaldson) working on The Lord of the Rings in December 2002
Join us as we talk to them about how they came on board Peter Jackson’s crew working on the three films, and how they approached composing, performing, and selecting instruments that would lend credibility to the fictional cultures that inhabited Tolkien’s Middle-earth. All this, and also some talk of their as-yet-unreleased music for the films.
After watching the Fellowship of the Ring again, I was reminded how much I enjoyed the music and the songs. During the The Council of Elrond scene there is a song sung in Tolkien’s Elvish language “Sindarin“ called ‘Aniron (Theme for Aragorn And Arwen)’ . I did a little digging and have found an interview with Enya where she not only talks about her songs but her love for The Lord of The Rings, how she got involved with the production and Tolkien’s Elvish language’s. Enjoy!
For the folks at Weta to be successful they need super talented people to help bring the world of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to life. These folks are responsible for making the award-winning armor, weapons, costumes, and, of course, digital effects that have gained them so much acclaim. I thought for you all it would be great if we could sit down with one of these amazing individuals to find out what it’s like to help bring these worlds to life.
Well, Daniel Falconer one of the key artists at Weta has been kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for everyone. As many of you may know Daniel been apart of amazing pieces like Bag End, Rivendell, Treebeard’s bust, and books like The Art of District 9. Having had a chance to own or see many of these pieces I was quite eager to sit down with Daniel and get his thoughts on being apart of helping Weta create these amazing things. After, reading this Q&A I would suggest to all the readers to get one of these great collectibles Daniel and Weta have created. (more…)
Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week. If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Message Boards, here’s a great way to catch the highlights. Or if you’re new to TORn and want to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the links to some of our most popular discussions. Watch this space as every weekend we will spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards. Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join in the fun!
3Foot6 (the spy, not the company) sends this in: The popular website thechive.com has a post today showing a bunch of old behind the scenes photos from the trilogy. I thought fellow fans would enjoy them. More..
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