Welcome to the latest “Getting to know” – questions that need answering. It’s based on the old Getting to know you threads that I occasionally post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.
This month we’re asking questions of self-described Online guy at Weta Workshop and all round top bloke, Magnus Hjert.
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…)
Richard Taylor and John Rhys-Davies are both connected to the film project “Glastonbury: Isle of Light,” which is in development. Taylor is in place as part of the team that handles design, production and marketing that also includes Star Wars casting director Robin Gurland.
Rhys-Davies recently was in the region and talked about the film and its importance to the region and the help it might lend tourism. You can view that video right here. A full press release about the film can be found here.
Greetings all — as the Golden Globes have upset the table of this year’s Awards season (away from LINCOLN and in favor of ARGO), we have much shared excitement for upcoming HOBBIT: AUJ nominees Peter King (pictured here with WETA’s Richard Taylor), Dan Hennah, Joe Letteri, among others! TheOneRing.net is planning a big to-do here in Hollywood on the night of February 24th, THE ONE EXPECTED PARTY, in the tradition of our grand Oscar Parties of years past. Today on our *live* webcast TORn TUESDAY, your genial host Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway will discuss the rarified air of Hollywood’s awards season and how THE HOBBIT is performing worldwide as fans eat it up. Our webcast begins in a few minutes at 5:00PM Pacific Time, watch and join our innovative chat here on our Live Event page or here at Stickam (where you can turn on your camera or login with your smartphone)! Everyone join the mischief — we have a party to plan!
Ever wondered exactly what they do at Weta Workshop and Weta Digital? Richard Taylor talks about their work in this neat little clip. Plus there’s some footage and red carpet interviews from the Wellington premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that you may not have sen previously. (more…)
Courtesy of Warner Bros Belgium, here is an amazing 13-minute look into The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It features behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and many, many other key cast and crew members where they discuss the inspiration for, and direction of, the story the first film reveals. Plus there’s plenty of new, previously unseen (at least by me!) sneak previews of what you’ll see on the big screen! So I guess I’ll add: spoilers! (more…)
WELLINGTON — Our story so far: On behalf of TheOneRing.net, I was invited by Warner Bros., supported by the good folks in Peter Jackson’s camp, to come to Wellington and relate the experience of the World Premiere of The Hobbit to fans worldwide. This is a personal thrill for me but I feel also the responsibility to convey as much of the experience as possible to TORn readers and everybody who cannot come. It is 5 a.m. in Wellington on HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey premiere day. (More photos after the red carpet so we don’t bog down the site.)(more…)
We received a message from Weta Workshop saying that Richard Taylor would like to set the record straight about who built the installation at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington. Everyone has been ooh-ing and aah-ing over the amazing Hobbit themed installations popping up all over the ‘Middle of Middle-earth’ – and Weta were concerned that 3Foot7 were not getting the kudos due to them. Here’s what they had to say:
To all our friends and readers at TORn – Please note that although our local newspaper has kindly credited Weta Workshop as having built the Gandalf on the front of the Embassy, this is not in fact the case. It is very important to us as a company to not receive credit for others’ work and we therefore wish to confirm that the Gandalf is the work of friends and colleagues of ours from 3foot7’s art department. We congratulate them on the opportunity to do this prize commission.
Warner Brothers has kicked off their Awards Season website for many of their films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey among them. The page links to the Official Website and trailer, gives a brief synopsis of the story, and then lists all the names of the people who worked in eligible categories, from the Writers to the Sound Effects people, and a few of the actors. And just as a tease, there is a list of screenings, but those screenings are for Academy voters and members of the various Guilds (Screen Actors, Writers, Directors, etc) only. A full list of eligible names and categories below. Hopefully this means we will have a lot to celebrate at our own Oscar Party! [Website]
While visiting Wellington in New Zealand, Prince Charles – who is here for the Queen’s diamond jubilee tour - made a stop over at Weta Workshop, where he meet Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor, and Dori (Mark Hadlow), who makes a special request of the Prince. Watch below!
Prince Charles clearly enjoyed his time at Weta Workshop; it made an unusual part of his 64th birthday celebrations, which he also spent with 64 New Zealanders who shared the same birthday. You can read more about the Prince’s visit to Wellington here, here and here (if you look closely at that last article, you may notice some interesting concept art and some familiar faces on the wall behind Prince Charles and Peter Hambleton!) Thanks to all the Ringers who emailed us about this news!
A tired but jubilant Weta crew unveiled their new Gollum statue at a press function at Wellington Airport this morning. Working almost around the clock for three days, Gollum was hoisted up overnight to hover over diners at the airport’s main lounge. The 13m sculpture was designed and produced by Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop supervisors
Rob Gillies and Sarah Morris. Richard made a short speech to thank the team that made the incredibly realistic sculpture – a testament not only to their talent and hard work, but also to the technology and skills Weta has developed. He also thanked the “excellent” team at Wellington Airport, who have been a pleasure to work with in creating something that would bring delight to Wellington’s visitors. Airport CEO Steve Sanderson said the airport was proud to work with Weta and have such a magnificent sculpture on display. “Everyone will be amazed when they enter the terminal.”
Martin Bayton, creator of Jane and the Dragon, is spearheadng an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for Sandcastle building on Sunday, November 25 starting at 8am. This is not just a passing social event, funds are being raised for the Neonatal Trust of New Zealand. Wellingtonians, Kiwis, and everyone else visiting the city that weekend are invited to participate, and to encourage that, there are some benefits. WETA and Air New Zealand have come on board to offer some support and sponsorship, including a Pair of Tickets from any Air New Zealand gateway city to Wellington for the week in order to help build a Sandcastle and see all the Premiere activities. For New Zealanders, you simply need to join Adventure Wellington and then RSVP, everyone else would want to donate a minimum of $10NZD, which includes a ticket to the event and en entry to win the trip. You can find all the details at WETA supports world Record Attempt WETA is even making custom molds to help make sure the Sandcastles are built up to the required specs to meet the Guinness requirements.
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