What’s Next for Tolkien Fans
From cast and crew interviews to having a staffer assigned as an embedded reporter on set, TheOneRing.net has had a front row seat these past 16 years as Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth films were created. Now that all the films have been released, the only thing remaining for fans is the extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies and rumors of possible Tolkien biopics on the horizon. Join staffers Cathy Udovch (special events coordinator), Clifford Broadway (TORn tuesday), Josh Rubinstein (TORn bookclub), Kellie Rice (Happy Hobbit), and Larry Curtis (senior staff writer) for an in-depth discussion full of expert analysis, behind-the-scenes stories and audience participation with the website forged by and for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien. Friday July 10, 2015 4:00pm – 5:00pm Room 25ABC
The 2015 edition of San Diego Comic Con is coming up in just 3 short weeks, and TheOneRing.net will be there. We will not have a booth this year, but we will be hosting a panel on Friday afternoon, July 10, called “What’s next for Tolkien Fans”. We just can’t give any further details until the official schedule is posted next week.Please do plan to wear your Tolkien finery on Friday if you are able. That means costumes, TORn shirts, whatever you have that shows your affinity for all things Middle-earth. Since this may well be TORn’s final big appearance at SDCC (we won’t know until next year if they will invite us back), so let’s go out in style. There will be a mass photo of fans in TORn shirts or other Tolkien themed tees, Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and other denizens of Middle-earth, directly after the panel out on the front steps between Ballroom 20 and the Sails Pavillion. You will have to take the escalators to the ground floor in order to exit to get to the front steps, but this will allow any non-ticket holders to participate. So do plan to represent Middle-earth and we’ll see you on Friday, July 10, Costumes or geeky shirts are equally welcome, this photo event will take place between 5:15pm and 5:30pm.
There will also be a TORn Moot that Friday evening, but instead of the Laketown Luau we had last year, which forced us to charge money to attend, we decided to go a little more casual. So, without further ado, all Tolkien fans attending SDCC and those locals that are not attending are invited to an ‘Ice Cream Social’ at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in the Gaslamp District, located at 643 5th ave. We’ll begin at 7:30pm, giving everyone time to make it into the Gaslamp District after the hall closes, and run till 10pm.You can RSVP at our Facebook Event page for “We’re Taking the Hobbits to IceCreamGard”
Now here’s the rub, Ghirardelli does not take reservations, so everyone will just have to show up, grab whatever chair or table is available, and eat their yummy goodness. We may end up scattered about the place, but that’s OK, we are all Tolkien fans and we can socialize with the best of them. The shop is always rather popular and busy, the turn over is pretty quick, so just show up and have some fun with your fellow Tolkien fans, and there may even be a few prizes to win.
Our friends at Tolkien Italia have info that the release date of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Extended Edition, for the folks in the United Kingdom, is November 16. They don’t cite a source but the good people there don’t make these things up. There are no further details available but it gives us all a target date and it sounds about right. We do know the Extended Edition team is working hard to put the finished product together and like all the excellent home video extras, they will deliver top-notch quality, completing the six-part documentary of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films.
Incidentally, TheOneRing.net will be talking about this very thing at some event people call the San Diego Comic-Con, happening in San Diego. (Apparently a bunch of stars go there and it is like, the biggest popular culture celebration in the world or something.) Also, ice cream.
As many of you already know, there is sad news in our community of fans today: Sir Christopher Lee passed away Sunday morning at the age of 93 due to respiratory problems and heart failure. Of course, we all came to know and love him for his role as the evil wizard, Saruman, in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, a role that came at the end of a long, and very distinguished career as an actor in horror movies and other dramas. For many of us, it’s difficult to picture a better Count Dracula than Christopher Lee. But, for many more of us, it’s impossible to think of anyone else playing the role of Saruman. All of the professionalism, passion and dedication of his long career shone out in that role, making it perfection.
From the U.K. telegraph website, here is a nice obituary, and a short video of his career highlights. Námarië, Sir Christopher. You are dearly loved and will be dearly missed!
Discussion Forum member Ethel Duath recently posted a link to an article on slate.com regarding a simple answer to a simple question: why is The Lord of the Rings considered such a classic? Did I say a simple? Ernest W. Adams, who answered the question on Quora, considered it to be J.R.R. Tolkien’s development of languages and back-story for Middle-earth and each of its races. A great answer! But, is it that simple? No doubt we each have our opinions on the best answer, or answers, to that question. Why do you think The Lord of the Rings is such a classic? Let us know in the article comments and/or weigh in on our poll. While you’re thinking about it, check out Mr. Adams’ reasoning in the slate.com article here.
TORn is looking to host another Laketown Luau during San Diego Comic Con in July. In fact, we may well make this an annual event so that Tolkien fans can stay connected at one of the biggest Pop Culture events in the world. But we’d like to ask you, the readers, if this is something that would really interest you.
The Laketown Luau is a mashup event with both a Tolkien theme and a Luau theme mixed together, resulting in costumed hula contests, Pin the Black Arrow on the Dragon games and lots of fun and fellowship. The advantage of holding the event during San Diego Comic Con is that Tolkien fans attending the convention from all over the world will be in town that week and can attend. Even better, holding the event off-site means that non-attendee fans from So Cal can also attend the party.
HobbitCon 3 took place just a couple weeks ago in Germany and our friends at Henneth-Annun were on-hand to get the low-down.
They’ve compiled an extensive English-language report on the three-day convention, as well as many quotes from Q&A panels featuring Luke Evans, Graham McTavish, Sylvester McCoy, Lawrence Makaore, John Bell and more.
Don’t forget to click the link at the bottom to read the complete report.
HobbitCon 3: third time’s a charm!
by Peter “TheHutt” Klassen
I do remember the very first HobbitCon. When FedCon GmbH, the organizing company, announced a new convention during the RingCon 2012 dedicated exclusively to “The Hobbit”, with the participation of 11 dwarves from Thorin’s Company (although two of them cancelled later), I didn’t know what to think about it. That was even before the first movie from PJ’s second trilogy was released, and the dwarf actors were only known to us from the director’s video blogs. And in fact, the first HobbitCon proved to be a commercial failure, though it had a very pleasant and homely atmosphere.
Luckily, the organizers didn’t give up, and the second HobbitCon fared much better than the first one. And now, after the third HobbitCon (christened by Mark Ferguson “HobbitCon DREI”, which is German for “three”) has passed, you can really tell that there was barely room to swing a cat. If the first HobbitCon had just 800 visitors during the weekend, the third one had 5500 guests from over 27 countries! The Maritim hotel in Bonn was bursting, and the amount of Fili & Kili cosplay couples was staggering.
Speaking objectively, the HobbitCon is a unique event in the whole world. International conventions usually work with several mixed genres, there are many different fandoms present at a convention, with each fandom represented by just one or two actors. These are giant commercial vehicles, with an airplane hangar-like atmosphere. The HobbitCon is very different. You do not need to stay in a line overnight to get into a Q&A panel hall. You can be partying in a bar and suddenly find yourself on the dance floor together with Graham McTavish, Jed Brophy or even Luke Evans. Of course it is not for free – but still, three days of positive emotions, homely atmosphere and the feeling that the movie actors have become your friends, are worth it.
We’ve just heard the sad news that Andrew Lesnie has died of a heart attack at the age of 59.
The filmmaker from Sydney, Australia, won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Peter Jackson‘s “The Fellowship Of The Ring” in 2002. He is most associated for his work with Peter Jackson on the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” trilogy and on “The Hobbit.” But his film catalog is much larger, including the just released Russell Crow-directed film, “The Water Diviner.”
He also served as director of photography for the Australian “Babe,” movies which led Jackson to him. In an interview with DigitalProducer.com, Jackson talked about the series of events, including Lesnie leaving “Mission Impossible 2,” to come to the Tolkien films. Said Jackson:
“I’d never worked with him or even met him before, but he’d shot the Babe films and I thought they looked amazing, the way he’d used backlight and the sun and natural light to create a very magical effect. And Babe had that larger-than-life feel about it that I wanted. So when we began looking for DPs in early 1999, I first decided to get either an Australian or New Zealand DP as they’d be used to the way we make films. Every country is slightly different in that way, and I immediately thought of Andrew. But he was shooting MI2 in Sydney, so I was a bit stuck then. But then after three weeks he left MI2 — apparently there was a lot of friction on the set, and we called him the next day and persuaded him to fly over to meet. Then we showed him all the designs and sets and he got very excited, and I liked him a lot.”
Jackson and Lesnie made the six Tolkien films together but they also collaborated on “King Kong,” and “The Lovely Bones.” Other notable films he worked on:
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and “I Am Legend,” among others.
He can be seen as a painter acting in the Sean Astin-directed short film, “The Long and Short of It.” He made a cameo in “Return of the King,” as a Corsair of Umbar sailing to battle. By all accounts and from personal observations, Lesnie was excellent to work with. He is immortalized through his work.
All of us here at TheOneRing.net send our best wishes and condolences to his family and friends.
Below is the video of Lesnie winning his Academy Award for “Fellowship,” where he is graceful, humorous and thanks many people person-to-person before walking on stage to accept the award. It is a fine example of his professionalism and good nature.
Artist Jerry Vanderstelt released four new items today covering both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. First up is the final entry of The Fellowship series with the fantastic Boromir print. If you’ve been holding off buying any of them you can now snag all nine of The Fellowship of the Ring set. Jerry is also unveiling one of the most beautiful prints I’ve ever seen: the print featured to the right that captures all nine members of The Fellowship in one amazing print. Finally, The Hobbit gets a little love with a print of Tauriel. The new prints range in size from 12×16 to 17×35 and prices ranging from $39-$325, depending on what print you get. Whatever your choice, you’ll be adding something to your collection that captures the heart and soul of Middle-earth.
On March 28, 2015 TheOneRing.net livestreamed an interview with animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi to discuss the first-ever “The Lord of the Rings” film (1978), and to parse the differences between homage and rip-off (and the not-so-nebulous chains of inspiration from one artist to another).
Bakshi revealed to us that his Studio’s “LOTR” character designs and artwork were sent down to Three Foot Six in New Zealand; elevating the conversation of his impact on the live-action epic.
The subversive director has lived through numerous controversies, yet remains undervalued by Ringer fans and feels personally slighted by Jackson. He carries on vigorously at 77 years old with a new crowdfunded animated work, “The Last Days of Coney Island” and his intent to direct a “Wizards 2” follow-up to his 1977 cult hit.(more…)
We know that many fans are in New York this week, enjoying the fabulous Lord of the Rings in Concert performances at Lincoln Center. For those of you who can’t be there, here’s a short video to enjoy, which captures the excitement of seeing these great films with live orchestra:
We hope that everyone who is there is having a great time in the Big Apple!
While fans of basketball were enjoying a Duke victory in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Middle-earth fans were preparing for the epic final of Middle-earth March Madness: Gandalf vs. Bilbo Baggins! This year we decided to keep the poll results hidden to heighten the suspense. I must admit, I took full advantage of my special access to watch the results intently. When we first opened the battle, Bilbo took an early (hobbit-sized) lead of only 1%. Over the next 48 hours, the combatants exchanged that lead nearly every hour. It was a neck and neck competition that only revealed a clear winner in the last 12 hours.
We closely watched for voter fraud and we are pleased to report that no over-voting was recorded. Each vote had a unique IP. So without further delay, we are pleased to announce that the 2015 Middle-earth March Madness Champion is….
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