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.
In just about 2 months from now, travelers from around the world will descend upon Wellington to celebrate the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Some will be cast and crew who worked on the film, others will be studio executives involved in the creation of the film, and still others will be an International Press Corp writing stories about the film. And mingling amongst all these creative types will be fans from around New Zealand and the rest of the world, including TheOneRing.net, and you can be amongst all this excitement by joining our tour. You will find further details at TORn’s Hobbit Premiere Tour.
Just today, it was announced that WETA is designing a welcome surprise for display at the Wellington Airport. It is said to be interactive and breathtaking, and this reporter can’t wait to see it for myself when I arrive there. You can read more about it in WETA’s newsletter. Join the discussion on our message boards and let us know who or what you think will be on display at the Wellington Airport here.
Welcome to our latest “Getting to know” questions that need answering. This month we’re talking to the one and only Balrog Showgirl, Nicole Roberts.
Hi Nicole and a very big thank you for taking part and for being so patient with me.
This first question is from Rosie-with-the-ribbons who’s latest costume for RingCon has been inspired by your Balrog Showgirl costume.
R-w-t-r: Do you make your costumes yourself?
Nicole: Rosie – that is awesome! Yes, for the most part the costumes I’ve been running around in for the past several years have all been of my own making. I only started sewing back in 2004, after I moved to Los Angeles and started hanging out with even more LOTR people. The first costume I made was to wear to Comic Con that year – I was the Mumak Mahud (the guy with the black and white painted face who steers the oliphaunt in ROTK), so you could definitely say I’ve always leaned towards costumes that were a little off the beaten path! I’ve done some costumes that were direct recreations (“Barf” from “Spaceballs”is the most well-known one), but as I’ve gotten more into the sewing, I really like doing things that are more of an original design, like the Balrog Showgirl. As someone who is not of supermodel proportions (and seriously, those chicks look like scary walking lollipops anyway), I like to have the opportunity to design something that I think is more flattering to me, and I always like to learn how to do something new, like dyeing feathers for the showgirl headdress.
In this One News reportRichard Taylor, Pietro Marson and Rod Sheeny (Weta Workshop Animatronics) talk about how Weta Workshop is using 3D printers to make weapons and props for The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings trilogy.
Animatronics engineer, Rod Sheehy, says that the printing technology is an advantage because it keeps costs down with the items made in-house, saving a lot of time and Taylor says that they’ve used the tech to make helmets, sword hilts and axes. Thanks to Ringer Marc for the heads-up!
Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis visit the WETA booth to say hello to Richard Taylor, Daniel Falconer and the crew.
The WETA team took the opportunity to show-off the full-size trolls they have on display. It’s the first time Frodo has seen the actual trolls. Andy Serkis was spotted with a Pocketses button from TheOneRing.net.
Wellywood may be the home of The Hobbit, but Wellington’s cinemas are yet to make the technological shift so Kiwis can see it in all its double-frame glory.
The Dominion Post reports that, while most cinemas plan to install technology necessary to watch the film in 48-frames-per-second (fps), none of those the paper spoke to today had yet upgraded.
According to the paper, Miramar’s Roxy Cinema — refitted with the help of Oscar-winning big names Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk — will have the tech in time for The Hobbit’s general release, but others such as Paramount Cinema in Courtenay Pl and Penthouse Cinema in Brooklyn have no plans to make the shift.
The finalists have been announced for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2012. Now into its third year, the awards recognise individuals, organisations and community groups for their outstanding contributions to the nation.
The shortlist for the main award, New Zealander of the Year, includes Dame Suzie Moncrieff, Sir Richard Taylor and Dr Sharad Paul.
Nominations were whittled down by panels of judges made up of such figures as Jim Bolger, Sir Ray Avery, Michael Basset, Teresa Gattung and Peri Drysdale. More..
Sohaib Awan from the radio show Fictional Frontiers also does a segment on SUVUDU that focuses on fantasy and science fiction books, movies and comics. He spoke with our own MrCere this week about his trip to New Zealand including Weta Workshop and Richard Taylor. They talk Hobbit of course, Hobbit trailer insights and a lot about travel possibilities for anybody. Listen to the segment right here.
Our story so far:Peter Jackson made three Middle-earth movies and people loved them. Now he is making two more and people already love them too. MrCere, Senior Staff, Writer and Photographer at TheOneRing.net (around since 1999) went to NZ to see what he could see. Landed in Queenstown, found lots of LOTR stuff, drove north to see the people of the ring, visited Hobbiton visited Wellington, center of NZ’s cinematic empire, and will soon leave NZ. However, much more content will follow.
I haven’t seen an insect weta before in my travels (until this trip, but not this story) but I have plenty of experience with the folks who run and work at the special effects shop who identify themselves as “wetas”. Several Comic-Cons, (including the 2011 edition in San Diego) lots of emails and various TORn functions have made the crew at Weta Workshop friendly acquaintances if not just plain old friends.
My time in Wellington would need to include a visit of some kind with the very busy people who are working on The Hobbit, but as I have often joked (even though it is at least partially true) Weta’s second best talent is making special effects for movies. What they are really best at is keeping secrets from TheOneRing.net. I had no illusions that anybody was going to tour me around the workshop (I asked anyway, just in case) during the height of The Hobbit production, but they were kind enough to invite me along to a group they were hosting from a cruise ship that included one of our own message board members. (Her identity is her own to reveal.) (more…)
Our story so far:Peter Jackson made three Middle-earth movies and people loved them. Now he is making two more and people already love them too. MrCere, Senior Staff, writer and photographer at TheOneRing.net (around since 1999) went to NZ to see what he could see. Landed in Queenstown, found lots of LOTR stuff, drove north to see the people of the ring, visited Hobbiton set and now is in Wellington, center of NZ’s cinematic empire.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — I thought, and it makes me chuckle now, that when I landed in Wellington I would finally be based in one place long enough to really crank out some copy. Ha!
Instead, Wellington has been a whirlwind but that is a great thing, not a bad thing. I often contemplate cancelling one of the events here so I can spend hours writing and posting photos but I haven’t cancelled anything yet and each time I go to do something, I find that I am very glad to have been along.
Some of those events have tourism ties and then end up having direct ties to things here at TheOneRing, even when I think they will not. Other things, like spending the day with the kids at Weta, are directly tied in. None of them so far have been worth sacrificing and time is running out fast. But stories I have in some stage of ready:
* Hobbit set visit with images
* An exclusive with Richard Taylor (more…)
The rest of the world is perfectly free to walk (or run) to the cinema and watch The Adventures of Tintin directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. But for once, the tables are turned on movie lovers in the U.S. and we must wait until December to see the motion capture film of the beloved comic strip character produced by Peter Jackson.
However, those who are anticipating Belgian writer and cartoonist Hergé’s collection of grand adventure stories put on screen can content themselves with The Art of The Adventures of Tintin book from special effects studio Weta and HarperCollins. (more…)
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