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Archive for the ‘Fran Walsh’ Category

The Desolation of Smaug receives eight Saturn nominations

220px-Saturn_Award The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films has just released the nomination list for the 40th annual installment of the Saturn Awards, and The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug has tied with ‘Gravity’ for the most nominations. Both received eight.

The gongs that The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug is up for are: (more…)

Posted in Benedict Cumberbatch, Crew News, Dan Hennah, Director news, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fran Walsh, Guillermo Del Toro, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, Joe Letteri, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, Richard Taylor, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Extended Edition among best home video editions — ever

Extended Edition national Blu-ray 3D

Extended Edition national Blu-ray 3D

The home video market is dead or dying — so they say.  The digital age has brought on massive changes on how we view movies and in a relatively short time.  The ways we consumed the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy is vastly different from how we tackle “The Hobbit.”

Many consumers actually jumped to the DVD format from VHS tapes with “Fellowship of the Ring.”  But in the digital revolution, that was ages ago, back when everybody bought movies for home use and there was seemingly ever growing stacks of money to be made from that market.

Studios once had a cash cow in DVDs but the milk has dried up now.  Once, extravagant DVDs and box sets ruled store shelves while today we visit Red Box and Netflix.

So when a Blu-ray like “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Extended Edition,” comes to market it is going against the grain, against conventional wisdom and against market trends.  It’s also the best home release of 2013.

The film is still the film.  If you loved it you will love it more.  If you had problems with it, you will still have problems with it.  The added time didn’t fix what people say is broken.  But if you haven’t seen the film, for the home experience, I do recommend the Extended Edition.  The length includes some character moments that make the film more a little more satisfying but not in a major way.  A bathroom break is close to mandatory and while you can’t pause a theater, its easy from your own couch.

But while many think about the movie, make no mistake, the real prize here are The Appendicies content; Those who are only looking at this for the film are missing the point entirely.  In fact, this collection, is itself a tremendous film that would be worth buying even without the cinema release.  The movie itself is essential in the package, but what launches these discs into rare air is everything else that comes with it.

Prone to exercise laudatory caution because I write for TheOneRing, and I realize too much praise causes readers to become dismissive and classify the writer as a fan boy, I still proclaim with no hesitation that this is among the finest home video releases in history.  It sits on a shelf in rarefied air with a very few discs that can even compare.  Among those are the Extended LOTR editions, of which this is a companion piece.

While we are here talking credentials, let me fully disclose that I was on set to witness “The Hobbit,” being filmed for five weeks and I know (and like) many on all sides of the camera.  More than that, I also interned for a couple of weeks with the producers of the behind-the-scenes content.  I am even credited for extra interviews, so take my perceptions as you wish.

Even if you didn’t love the movie, the exploration of the process is a wonder to behold and the whole is a triumph.  And, this triumph comes with WB and MGM financing this content behind-the-scenes content.  This level of excellence doesn’t just happen and it isn’t cheap.  It takes financial commitment, planning and time.  With rumors of late delivery circulating, creating a shortage of discs in some places, I believe I speak for many fans who emphatically say, “So what?  The wait is worth it.”

Despite all the greatness on the discs, there are a few things that are disappointing, so lets start with those.

PACKAGING

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition

There is nothing about these covers that are exceptional or especially tasteful to tell consumers that these aren’t just another release on a store shelf.  For some reason, with few exceptions, the marketing at Warner Bros. insists on slapping a bunch of floating character mugshots in a college for these films at every opportunity.  More isn’t better and especially when even the casual audience knows what “The Hobbit,” is.  Nobody is saying, “What? Gandalf is also in this movie?!”

A cover with a central visual idea would be a vast improvement and for these discs, there should be a graceful, classic cover, not a garish collection of floating heads.  Better still would have been a style match with the LOTR EEs. The back of the 3-disc Blu-ray is actually great and would serve as a nice cover.

While we are here, the Bilbo in front of Erebor “Desolation of Smaug,” poster was infinitely more powerful that the nightmare LSD trip of Middle-earth’s usual suspects in the latest one.  Boo.  Very much related, if the Hobbit home video release couldn’t be a stylized match with the LOTR releases, at least we could have had a strong central character instead of a collection of them that says nothing.

Gollum and Bilbo exchanging riddles in the dark might be a place to start.  The film’s strongest sequence, virtually perfect even, highlights a key moment in Middle-earth, sells us a familiar character and gives us an absolute iconic moment from literature.  If things were right in the world, WB would issue an inexpensive replacement slip cover for a couple of dollars that ties this release back to the LOTR EEs.  Seriously.

The art on the discs are quite good.

COMMENTARIES

The commentaries with Philippa Boyens (writer, producer) and Peter Jackson (writer, director, producer) are good, but again, this is meant to be a companion disc and viewers really want more commentary perspectives as they were given in the LOTR discs.  Obviously the filmmaker’s take are essential but including cast or key figures like Dan Hennah or Richard Taylor might be expensive, and not financially viable by the studios, but they are sorely missed.  An unrealistic dream commentary might be to have all 13 main dwarf actors on one track or two tracks with half on each.  Careful sound editing would be needed but Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Graham McTavish, John Callen and William Kircher and all the rest, would be brilliant.  There are two movies left to get this right.

I am sure there are many who will take exception to comparing the discs but for certain, many consumers are doing it. These are intellectually built to go together.

But, lets move on to the good (great) with a look at what is included on most versions of the film.  It is worth noting that there is a Wal-Mart version of the Extended Editions available with minimal extras. (Hate to call them extras because they are main featured content.)  Even if consumers think they want to save a few dollars and get that version, they actually don’t.  There is no circumstance where that option is a wise choice.  Any viewer willing to commit to a three-hour Extended Edition deserves to have the story of the film as well for a few dollars difference.  Friends don’t let friends buy foolishly.

Cate BlanchettDISC 1

Extended Edition of the film with filmmakers’ commentary and
“New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth”

The commentary is mentioned above but the video feature sounds like it might be a commercial for New Zealand.  It is actually, with celebrity endorsements.  Newsflash: New Zealand is amazing.

DISC 2

The Appendices Part 7: A Long-Expected Journey -

This is a timeline of the movie that breaks down into parts how it was made, more or less, following the chronology of the film.  Of course films aren’t made chronologically, but following the organization of the film is helpful.   And the docs aren’t strictly about “how we did this,” as much as they highlight interesting stories from a particular segment of the production.

The beefiest is the first, “The Journey Back to Middle-earth,” which also happens to be excellent.  It follows the almost absurd series of roadblocks that threatened to keep this film from being made.  Viewers who followed TheOneRing will recall those days when it seemed time and again, fate had conspired to kill the film.  This is excellent content that wouldn’t be included on many DVDs of other films.

The studios bravely allowed the team to tackle subjects like the financial problems that almost derailed the films and the hiring and departure of Guillermo del Toro.

It would have been much safer to sanitize these events and it happens on many Hollywood “extras” projects but here they are addressed head on — an impressive inclusion.  That first documentary is a definite highlight but every single one of them holds up high standards of storytelling and visuals that feel as though the essential moments were not only talked about but captured.

Christopher LeeIt is in fact the best big-story view on this topic available in either print or film.  To better understand sitting down and watching “The Hobbit,” in the cinema, this is essential viewing.  It is also great not to start with the first day of pre-production but to have a wider view of the whole works.

One of the best segments, perhaps my favorite, is “A Short Rest: Rivendell and London.”  The fact that the production went to London to film Sir Christopher Lee and Ian Holm is common knowledge.  A lesser documentary might spend its time making just the fact of traveling from New Zealand to London to shoot the focus of the story.  Instead, that is established and then the focus is placed on something far more interesting than it just happening: Lee and Holm.

Jackson and Lee are on camera holding up production so those gathered around can listen to Lee remember parts of his life that are legendary on the silver screen.  He also gives Jackson some good-natured crap and it is respectfully returned.  Graham McTavish and Adam Brown are also on hand, despite not filming, to listen to Lee and help the storytelling by putting his presence in perspective.  It is gold and in fact, it is a pity somebody doesn’t produce an entire film based on the man behind Saruman.

Included in the same section is a pretty incredible give-and-take between Jackson, Cate Blanchett, Fran Walsh on a telephone and Ian McKellen.  They discussed character motivations and all the bigger questions behind the dialog on the script page.  It is pretty incredible.  There are some excellent moments with Hugo Weaving.  It all felt intimate, rare and was fascinating.

There are a lot of bright spots here and in fact they are more or less all bright spots, or will be to somebody.   The producers and director Michael Pellerin seemingly pushed for excellence and achieved it.

HobbitEE_1400x2100_USChapters include:

  • The Journey Back to Middle-earth
  • Riddles in the Dark: Gollum’s Cave
  • An Unexpected Party: Bag End
  • Roast Mutton: Trollshaws Forest
  • Bastion of the Greenwood: Rhosgobel
  • A Short Rest: Rivendell and London
  • Over Hill: The Misty Mountains
  • Under Hill: Goblin Town
  • Out of the Frying Pan: The Forest Ledge
  • Return to Hobbiton: The Shire
  • The Epic of Scene 88: Strath Taieri
  • The Battle of Moria: Azanulbizar
  • Edge of the Wilderland: Pick-ups and the Carrock
  • Home Is Behind, the World Is Ahead

Jackson also appears on an introduction to promise more extended editions with DOS and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”

DISC 3

The Appendices Part 8: RePeter Jackson Laketownturn to Middle-Earth -

This disc delivers production details, some conspicuously missing from the film. For example:

The Company of Thorin -

The families of the dwarves are grouped together to give us more details and insights into these characters and actors. These associations are pretty tough to pick out on screen but are well presented here.  Knowing more about these characters will likely enhance view of “The Desolation of Smaug.”  Pity some of this wasn’t woven into the narrative. If you aren’t keeping score the chapters are, by family:

  • Assembling the Dwarves
  • Thorin, Fili & Kili
  • Balin & Dwalin
  • Oin & Gloin
  • Dori, Nori & Ori
  • Bifur, Bofur & Bombur

Martin Freeman enjoys telling the behind-the-scenes cameras they are number one, always with his middle finger or fingers. Here is another case of content many studios would shy away from, but a short collection of Freeman giving the one-fingered salute is part of the reveal of who this Martin Freeman is.

So in the next segment, and perhaps my favorite on this disc, we meet:

Software brought Gollum's skin to life for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," earning it an Oscar for technology and science

Software brought Gollum’s skin to life for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” earning it an Oscar for technology and science

Mr. Baggins: The 14th Member

Next we get more tasty features:

  • Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves
  • The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-earth
  • These are broken into chapters:
  • The Stone Trolls
  • Radagast the Brown
  • Goblins
  • Azog the Defiler

Realms of the Third Age: From Bag End to Goblin Town — We spend an hour with locations, time well spent.

  • Hobbiton
  • Rhosgobel
  • The Misty Mountains
  • Goblin Town

The Songs of The Hobbit – A look at the realization of Tolkien’s songs in An Unexpected Journey.

This last item is another of my favorites.  It demonstrates that despite being last, it isn’t any less interesting that what came before.  There isn’t fat here to pad out the disc but instead highly polished, carefully produced, interesting, quality content.

TECHNICAL STUFF

wideDwarves0712The movie looks and sounds great, showing off how good Andrew Lesnie and his team are at shooting moving pictures.  How great does it look?  If you go to the audio, visual, home theater or electronics stores, bring the Blu-ray version of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with you to test out the things you might buy.  The picture is lovely with great details in blacks (Riddles in the Dark) excellent color and all the rich details coming to life.  Hate to sound hyperbolic, but when it comes to audio and visual excellence, this disc is leading the industry.

The sound comes in 7.1 surround, meaning it can send seven sounds to seven speakers to create a sound atmosphere, if you home is equipped, showing off the genuine excellence in sound design through out the film.  This is a noisy movie with loud characters, loud animals and orcs, some dragon scenes, deep rumbling stone giants and lots of general chaos.

But, the dialog is always ready and easy to hear, including some pretty subtle Ian McKellen lines that come through just fine.  In fact, if you have the proper system in your home, sitting in the middle of the sound environment, closing your eyes and just listening is a real pleasure.

FINAL TAKE

This movie is worth owning a Blu-ray player for.  The film, no matter how much you like it or don’t, is technically amazing.  The extra scenes improve it slightly but just as importantly, there is a wealth of documentaries that are collectively and individually great and paint an excellent picture of what made “The Hobbit,” happen.  I meant it when I said it above, this is among the finest home video releases in history.  Minor quibbles aside, MGM and Warner Bros. did right by fans and this does stand alongside its LOTR EE predecessors.  While this film doesn’t extended as much or as importantly, its extras are as good and perhaps better.

 

 

DVD-Infographic_v2

Posted in Blu-Ray, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Director news, DVDs, Fran Walsh, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Merchandise, MGM, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Bros.

Evangeline Lilly gets personal with TORn about Tauriel and ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.

(Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.)

Desolation of Smaug poster artworkWELLINGTON, New Zealand — Those outside of the movie making business often don’t understand what The Producer does on a film. The quickest answer is: They get the movie made. They get things done.

In the case of Zane Weiner on “The Hobbit,” it meant getting in touch with someone nobody was meant to get in touch with.

Evangeline Lilly.

Living in Hawaii, she was a month removed from the birth of her child, email turned off, not taking calls about work and still confined to bed rest.

“So I was still in bed with the baby,” she told TheOneRing.net in full Tauriel outfit and gear during a lunch break on a full day of filming on “The Hobbit.”

This lunch tent, while perhaps not glamorous, is an essential part of Stone Street Studios and making Peter Jackson movies, designed to feed and shelter quite an enormous crowd. Breakfast was served there for anybody wanting to start the day off right. Coffee and tea were available on any sound stage but also in the tent — a first stop for many on a shoot. (more…)

Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Hadlow, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien

Peter Jackson talks about the musical score for The Desolation of Smaug

Director Peter Jackson in the gallery of the Wellington Town Hall during the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's recording sessions for 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'. Photo / Hagen Hopkins.

Director Peter Jackson in the gallery of the Wellington Town Hall during the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s recording sessions for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’. Photo / Hagen Hopkins.

Russell Baille from The New Zealand Herald gets the low-down on the recording process at Wellington Town Hall last month. He was present last month as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra laboured mightily with orchestrator Conrad Pope, Peter Jackson and senior audio engineer Peter Cobbin to bring composer Howard Shore’s musical vision to life.

My favourite quote from Conrad Pope:

“It always pays to have great performers. Whenever you are in front of an orchestra you are in front of almost 2000 years of musical experience if you think about it. So you are taking that expressiveness and you are unleashing that. If you have a digital thing it is only one person. That is why it’s so remarkable to have that kind of power in this orchestra here.”

(more…)

Posted in Director news, Fran Walsh, Guillermo Del Toro, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, Peter Jackson, Production, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Warner Bros. full synopsis for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug provides some plot hints?

desolation of smaug poster I can’t recall if this has been previously revealed, but this official synopsis — more complete than the short version currently on The Hobbit website — actually has some really interesting implications if you have a read through and examine who’s listed and (more importantly), who’s not.

As folks observed after the debut of the second Desolation of Smaug trailer, Guillermo del Toro is back in the credits for his work on the screenplay. There’s a co-producer nod for the late Eileen Moran as well. Highlight the space below to read the key omissions, and some fairly hefty spoiler analysis of what those omissions could mean for the movie.

 


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. (more…)

Posted in Adam Brown, Aidan Turner, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dean O'Gorman, Evangeline Lilly, Fran Walsh, Graham McTavish, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, Howard Shore, Ian McKellen, James Nesbitt, Jed Brophy, John Bell, John Callen, Ken Stott, Lawrence Makoare, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Manu Bennett, Mark Hadlow, Martin Freeman, Mikael Persbrandt, Peter Hambleton, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Richard Armitage, Stephen Hunter, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit, William Kircher

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition now showing on Air New Zealand. New, extra scenes revealed.

art-Air-New-Zealand-Hobbit-1-620x349Air New Zealand is showing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey EXTENDED EDITION before any of the rest of us have a chance to get our hands on it!  And one lucky fan got to see it.  Based on what she could remember, here’s her account — from her blog, ‘fortysixthhour’ – of the new scenes you can expect.  TORn’s own comments are added in [bold and square brackets]:

Oh, and a warning for significant movie spoiler material!
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(more…)

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVDs, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Confirmed: ‘Hobbit’ filming resumes Monday

Peter Jackson talks to Graham McTavish while Martin Freeman, dressed as Bilbo Baggins, looks on.

Peter Jackson talks to Graham McTavish while Martin Freeman, dressed as Bilbo Baggins, looks on.

There have been a smattering of reports about when filming (actually there is no film, it is all digital these days) resumes for this set of pick-ups on “The Hobbit.” TheOneRing.net can confirm (from the very best of sources) that work starts Monday, May 20 in Wellington. Everybody seems to know that a chunk of the work to be done is for the Battle of Five Armies but it seems likely there are other things to be done as well. Often, in the editing room, where all the shooting comes together and the movie transforms from a plan into a finished product, the director (Peter Jackson in this case) or perhaps one of the screen writers (Philippa Boyens or Fran Walsh) wants something extra to flesh out a scene or a character. No details of this have been provided for this film, but that is the way movie making works. Lots of actors have reported through social media that they are returning and we know this block of filming has always been in the plans. Estimates are that up to 10 weeks of work remain to be done with bits for both “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” It seems likely that most of the principal cast will return for the segment, although not all are specifically confirmed.

Benedict Cumberbatch in the Star Trek franchise.

Benedict Cumberbatch in the Star Trek franchise.

Meanwhile some Hobbit actors have big movies in theaters now. Benedict Cumberbatch joins the space crew in “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” this weekend while Luke Evans hops into the Fast and Furious franchise. Both are expected to be significant money makers for Hollywood and will raise the profile of both actors before they his screens in Middle-earth in December. Cumberbatch voices the highly anticipated dragon Smaug while Evans plays the enigmatic Bard The Bowman. Casting calls for those living and legally working in New Zealand have already gone out and actors, such as Adam Brown (see below) on our own weekly TORn Tuesday show talked about his return to New Zealand. It is not believed that Andy Serkis, second unit director, will not return to set which means shooting will likely be a one-unit production. More details as and when they become available.

Posted in Adam Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch, Characters, Director news, Fran Walsh, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, The Hobbit

Peter Jackson planning novelisation of The Hobbit

ANDREW GORRIE/The Dominion Post Kiwi satire website The Civilian pokes some fun at Peter Jackson, envisioning a scenario where the three Hobbit screenwriters plan to novelise the three Hobbit films.

 

AWARD-WINNING New Zealand director Peter Jackson has said he’s considering a novel adaptation of his popular film trilogy The Hobbit.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film in the series, was released late last year to widespread popularity, grossing more than $1,000,000,000 worldwide at the box office. That success has inspired Jackson – who was reportedly “captivated” by his story – to make it available in other mediums. (more…)

Posted in Fool, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit

An Interview with the Elusive Fran Walsh!

Fans of the Lord of the Rings film know that of the three screenwriters, Fran Walsh is the one who avoids interviews and other sorts of publicity. When I was doing my research for The Frodo Franchise, I managed to talk with Peter and Philippa, but not Fran, who sent word that she was too wrapped up in working on King Kong to think back to her previous project. Fair enough, as Bilbo says in agreeing to a certain riddling game. Still, fans of the trilogy can’t help but be intrigued by this talented lady. After all, she not only helped write the LOTR scripts, but she did some directing and came up with the idea for the famous “Gollum talks to himself” scene.

But yesterday the New York Times published a substantial piece on Ms Walsh, written by Brooks Barnes, who is obviously a lucky fellow. Last summer, he says, he “largely roamed without supervision” during a two-day visit to the Hobbit set–spotting, among other things, Ian McKellen in full Gandalf mode catching a snooze between scenes.

Even so, his eventual interview with Fran had to be done via long-distance telephone. Philippa chimed in as well, which makes sense, given how closely these two collaborate on the scripts. Very closely, in fact, since they reveal that they often work in bed together in their pajamas, surrounded by dogs! (When I interviewed Philippa, she was living next door to Fran and Peter, and I suppose she still does.) It saves the trouble of commuting the short distance to the Miramar filmmaking facilities.

Posted in Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, LotR Movies, Philippa Boyens

Blanchett among stars to attend Wellington premiere

Australians Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Barry Humphries will all attend the world premiere of the first Hobbit movie in New Zealand next week.

Warner Bros. has announced the stars who will attend the first screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in Wellington.

Filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will also be joined by Martin Freeman, who plays the central role of Bilbo Baggins; Richard Armitage, who stars as the dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield; Andy Serkis who plays Gollum and Elijah Wood who plays Frodo Baggins.

There may be a nearly 10-metre statue of Gandalf the Grey above Wellington’s Embassy Theatre, but the actor who plays the character, Sir Ian McKellen, won’t be there to see it for himself.

McKellen said he was sorry he could not attend. “I know they (the cast) will have a wonderful welcome from the fans and I envy them. As ever, my heart is in Wellington, and I send my love.”

[More]

Posted in Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Events, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Premieres, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit

TheOneRing.net headed for embed on Hobbit set

TheOneRing.net is pleased to announce it is headed to an embedded set visit in Wellington, New Zealand during the filming of “The Hobbit: There And Back Again,”. The site and writer Larry D. Curtis accepted the invitation from Warner Bros. and Wingnut Films. The production is currently filming the second of the two films in studio, so all of the content from the visit will reach audiences in 2013, after this year’s release (December 14) of the first of the pair of films, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

The films are a two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” celebrating its 75th year of publication in 2012. Peter Jackson is directing the films after helming a three-part adaptation of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” book that appeared in print 17 years after “The Hobbit.” Jackson scripted the films with his writing team of Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh with the addition of one-time-director Guillermo del Toro. Fans will remember the many agonizing delays before the film’s start that eventually forced del Toro to bow out.

Curtis, reporting from the film set, is part of TORn’s Senior Staff, a writer and photographer known to the TORn community at MrCere. He has contributed to TheOneRing.net for more than a decade in a variety of roles. In December he visited and toured New Zealand including an exclusive report from the Hobbiton Movie Set after being granted permission to publish impressions and photos from the site, rebuilt for “The Hobbit.” The location can be visited as a fully dressed film set accessible to by tour. The first block of filming on “The Hobbit,” included production from the site, set on a working livestock farm near Matamata, New Zealand. (more…)

Posted in Fans, Fran Walsh, Guillermo Del Toro, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, Old Spy Reports, Original TORn, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Studios, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Announcements, Warner Bros.

Fans will see Peter Jackson’s ‘West of Memphis’

Sony Pictures Classic announced last week that the Amy Berg-directed and Peter Jackson-produced film, West of Memphis will be coming to a theater near you. Several TORn readers wondered if they would be able to view the film after TORn was invited to see the film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film is powerful, important and deserving of a wide audience and the answer is officially “yes.” The film will be available in theaters to many fans.

Jackson and wife Fran Walsh have been involved with two subjects of the film who are also producers and had a chance to contribute to telling their own story. Damien Echols, who sat on death row for 18 years and his wife Lori Davis, fought to have Echols exonerated for the murder of three eight year old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Echols and the other two men (Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr.) were teens when convicted, were released late in 2011 by entering an Alford guilty plea while maintaining their innocence.

West of Memphis, takes a long look at one of the victim’s stepfathers and recently a $100,000 reward, provided by an anonymous donor, was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer in the case. The film, especially when it hits a wide release, may force the justice system of Arkansas to take a further look into the case. Those defending the three, including Jackson and Walsh, want the West Memphi Three’s names completely cleared, now that they have gained their freedom. (Video and the official press release after the break). (more…)

Posted in Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson