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Peter Jackson’s unexpected cameo double

Peter Jackson stands on the set of Lake-Town

Peter Jackson stands on the set of Lake-town.

New Zealand actor and film writer Jeff Slaven was invited in 2011 to work on Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Cast as a Lake-town extra, on one particular day at Stone Street Studios he found himself unexpectedly thrown into the role of doubling for Peter Jackson himself. Here he writes about his once-in-a-lifetime experience.

An unexpected cameo double

By Jeff Slaven

It started out as just a normal day on the set of The Hobbit. I was a Lake-town extra. Just one of many on that particular day. It was early evening and I was in between shots as Peter was doing his cameo on the Lake-town stage. (more…)

Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Peter Jackson talks ‘Hobbit: BotFA’ and all Middle-earth with TheOneRing.net

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MIRAMAR, New Zealand — The director’s tent. Inside a sound stage or outside on location, it is a constant and central fixture on a movie shoot. It is home base for Peter Jackson and his team.

It is sacred ground – well almost.

The decisions made inside it, by the team, under Jackson’s direction, are crucial to the project where it is determined what will later happen in front of the camera.

So every day, whatever happens to a set or a soundstage overnight, the tent is there set up and waiting for the core of the shooting unit.

Editor Jabez Olssen, Script Supervisor Victoria Sullivan and First Assistant Director Carolynne Cunningham call it home during the shoot. Cunningham is out a lot, Olssen and Sullivan less so and Producer Zane Weiner is always near. Jackson’s assistant Sebastian Meek is in and out at all times, bringing badly needed tea and watching the door from outside to eliminate distractions inside.

Jackson lives on tea and Meek has a talent for having it handy at the perfect moment.

Jackson7SETTING THE SCENE

In April, 2012, as a representative of fandom via TheOneRing.net, to be on set during five weeks of the filming of the Hobbit films. At the time, it was still scheduled to be two movies and the production had just settled in to shoot in studio instead of on location. Much was unknown then, that now is completely familiar to fans.

When I first arrived at Stone Street Studios, the publicity team took me to set, showed me the ropes and left me to my own devices during the rest of my stay to meet folks and get interviews, which was great. No time and no need for babysitting.

I was there to be a good guest and to observe. Two weeks later I was definitely convinced I had no chance of talking to Peter Jackson, except for an occasional, “Hello, how are you getting on?” from him during my time there.

Fans world-wide know from production diaries, how exhausted Jackson gets during the shooting phase of filmmaking. It is important to really understand why.

Peter Jackson is a busy guy. Particularly when he is shooting, there is a lot to do in a day and a lot of people that need to understand his vision in order to do their jobs well; he is the hub of the great spinning wheel.

Peter JacksonHe is the director, a writer and a producer — each a big job on its own. Many films have one of each of those, or several of some, all working together. But Jackson was all of them at once and combining titles didn’t mean there was less work to be done. Just because he was reviewing shots didn’t mean the script didn’t need his touch or that the art department didn’t need his input as a director or the next day’s schedule didn’t need approval. Others were partners on all of these fronts but they also required Jackson.

In a day he might need to meet with the effects supervisor, set designers, concept designers, costume designers, the composer or see actual costumes for approval or changes to name just a few of the many things that require his time. He will confirm the schedule with his Assistant Director, producers and spend time with the Second Unit Director Andy Serkis to make sure all is to his liking. They need sets built, greens grown, sets decorated, concept guys working ahead, materials guys building everything, maximizing actors’ time, feeding all of those people, screening extras, bringing in the right number of prosthetic artists and on and on. In short, there is never a shortage of people who need Jackson’s input to work on his vision and it takes the logistics of, dare I say, planning a battle with five armies.

In short, he has to sign off on pretty much everything.

Those are the reasons “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and his other Hobbit movies are genuinely Peter Jackson movies. It also means he is booked.

Solid.

THE FINAL HOURS

And so it was, the last day of my time on The Hobbit set, after several assurances that it would happen — it did.

Lunch happened and on the location set of Dale, up on a hill, I was invited to that director’s tent to sit and talk with PJ, just the two of us alone. (One editor asked me if we ate together in the tent but I don’t think so, but why many memories are crystal clear of that meeting, I just have no idea.)

I had been inside before, but not often. The day I shadowed him, I spent several hours, trying to melt into the background. This was his sanctuary and office.

Posted in Alan Lee, Andy Serkis, Characters, Crew News, Director news, Director Rumors, Evangeline Lilly, Fans, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Production, Silmarillion, Studios, Terry Notary, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.

17 Year Journey – new video from Warner Bros.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens today in the UK! It’s been a epic journey for cast and crew (and fans!) to get to this point; in a video released by Warner Bros., Peter Jackson et al look back over those 17 years.

TheOneRing.net have been along for every step of that journey – and in the video, as the 2.17min mark, you can see images from our ‘Return of the One Party’, where PJ and crew celebrated their Oscar wins. Want to celebrate again, at a Party of Special Magnificence? Then join us at The One Last Party - tickets only available until December 31st! Don’t miss out – it will be a night to remember!

[Get tickets for The One Last Party here.]

Posted in Director news, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Oscar Parties, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The One Last Party, The One Last Party

EXCLUSIVE Video from the red carpet, BotFA World Premiere, London

As you know, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies had its world premiere in London last week. Members of the cast and crew gathered in the city, with some of them seeing the film the night before the premiere, but many heading down the red carpet to experience the completed movie for the first time.

TORn Senior Staffer greendragon was there to catch up with the folks in Leicester Square that night. Amongst those who stopped by to chat with her were stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen and others, as well as director Peter Jackson and screen writer Philippa Boyens. In addition to hearing what they thought of the film, and how it felt to be at the end of their (long expected? unexpected?) journey, greendragon made sure to invite them all to celebrate at The One Last Party in Los Angeles next February – which, of course, YOU can attend too. (Click here for more information.)

Enjoy this footage from that star-studded night in London:

 

 

[Special thanks to cameraman and editor Matthew Rodriguez; should you be looking for a film maker in London, you can reach him at rodriguezrmatthew at gmail.com]

[Buy tickets to The One Last Party here]

Posted in Adam Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Boyd, Crew News, Director news, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Ian McKellen, John Bell, Ken Stott, Lee Pace, LotR Cast News, Manu Bennett, Martin Freeman, Meet Ups, Oscar Parties, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Premieres, Richard Armitage, Ryan Gage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The One Last Party, The One Last Party, TheOneRing.net Community

Peter Jackson gets his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

Courtesy of Ron Hall

Courtesy of Ron Hall

HOLLYWOOD — Sir Peter Jackson received his star Monday on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, joining 2,500 others so honored from film, music, television and radio. The honor is another in the long list for the director who made it big by launching his career from Wellington, New Zealand.

Here is some media coverage of the day, starting with The New Zealand Herald who said:

“Peter Jackson has received his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame – and he’s scored some prime real estate.

Stars from Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies watched on as Jackson received his star on Hollywood Boulevard, just days before the final film in his Hobbit trilogy premieres in New Zealand.”

Read more with video: HERE

Stuff.co.nz said, (more…)

Posted in Andy Serkis, Director news, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit

Martin Freeman talks ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ with TheOneRing.net

DDP-0047

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — TheOneRing.net visited the set for a brief time during the final segment of filming, nearly entirely focused on the third film, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” On the day of this interview Peter Jackson was putting his characters through a highly emotional scene toward the end of the film when one or more characters was in grave peril, perhaps the gravest of peril. In fact, the scene puts the grave in grave peril.

But the production wasn’t filming the action sequence. The camera was on the other half of the scene so instead the camera was focused on Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins watching the grave peril unfold. Freeman’s face and voice spoke volumes about what Bilbo was experiencing. As of press time, I haven’t seen the film so perhaps those who have will know what we watched or perhaps it didn’t make the final cut. Either way, it was an acting lesson from a genuine professional.

The year previous I spent extensive time on set and for a myriad of reasons Freeman was the sole interview of the main cast that I failed to get so I was pleased to finally be able to sit down on set, in a tent on a sound stage and interview the guy who played the title character. There were perhaps five other reporters as well. If any of the following questions from the Q&A are bad, please blame them. A foot massage* for those who can spot the questions for TheOneRing.net (hint, it wasn’t the ones about the ring or feet.) A personal observation is that Freeman is often a thoughtful interview who doesn’t deliver canned answers but I find his words here to be particularly engaging. Sadly, the interview, while reasonable in length left us wishing for more. (more…)

Posted in Characters, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Martin Freeman, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Hobbit Fan Contest winners make ‘thank you’ video for Peter Jackson and New Zealand

The winners of last month’s Hobbit Fan Contest that got to go to New Zealand and watch an in-progress cut of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” and experience the beautiful scenes of the north and south islands and the hospitality of Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand, won their spots by producing short films.

As reports from the experience suggest, there was a great bonding of the 75 winners and their guests during the week-long tour of Middle-earth. These bonds are on display in a “thank you” video that the group organized to give to Peter Jackson and all the many folks who helped make the trip amazing. There is even a nod to TheOneRing.net which honestly touches us.

Turns out that crew can make a pretty great video with parts from all around the world. Their sincerity and appreciation really comes through and will make all fans proud. Enjoy! #HobbitFanContest

Posted in Contests, Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Fan Contest, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jed Brophy, John Callen, Locations Sets, Mark Hadlow, Meet Ups, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Richard Taylor, Stephen Hunter, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Warner Bros., Wellington, WETA Cave, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop

The Hobbit will be taking over Hollywood next week

Hobbit-The-Battle-Of-The-Five-Armies1-e1406558769186Should you find yourself in Los Angeles next week and the week after, there will be plenty of Hobbity goodness to go around. And if you are not in LA, a few of the events will be covered so that you don’t miss any of the fun.

1) First up on Monday, December 8 with Peter Jackson receiving a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This will begin at 11:30am and run till about 12:15pm. The Walk of Fame website will be live streaming the ceremony, which means everyone can enjoy it even if you can’t be here with us. For those who do decide to attend, TORn will be hosting a lunch moot at the Cabo Wabo Cantina inside the Hollywood and Highland complex. The Star Ceremonies are open to the public, but they do not allow chairs or step ladders or anything that would impede walking. The ceremony lasts for about 45 minutes once it is started and they expect everyone to clear out once it is over in order to reopen the sidewalk. Peter’s star is slated to be outside the Dolby Theater on Hollywood Blvd, so you can park in the Hollywood and Highland Complex. If you wish to attend you can check out our Facebook Event Page. Andy Serkis will be speaking during the ceremony and numerous other cast are scheduled to appear.

2) The Hollywood premiere for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will take place inside the Dolby Theater on Tuesday, December 9. The Red Carpet starts at 5pm, so do try and arrive before then. Last year’s Hollywood premiere was more of a press event and not very fan friendly, so just go into this with eyes open. Arrive early, bring lots of patience with you, be prepared to stand for a long while, bring water and comfy shoes, and be open to changing locations if security changes protocols 6 times on you. Regardless of what happens on the Red Carpet and with the screening, TORn will again be hosting a little moot in Cabo Wabo Cantina, which will be open until midnight. We do hope that we learn a few helpful hints for the Premiere at the Star Ceremony the day before, so stay tuned to our Facebook Event Page. Numerous cast are slated to attend the premiere.

One helpful suggestion for both events: If you wish to get autographs, make sure to bring with you everything you will need, including a good sharpie pen and the items you want signed. And while large posters or the Chronicles books are lovely items to get signed, you are best bringing something small and easy to carry.

billy-boyd-AAP3) Next up on the very busy Hollywood Hobbit tour is Billy Boyd doing a live performance and then CD signing for the new Soundtrack for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on Wednesday, December 10. The event will be at the Barnes and Noble at The Grove, starting at 6pm. This will be a Wristbanded event, and they will begin to hand out those wristbands on Tuesday, December 9 at 9am once the soundtrack officially goes on sale. So, if you will be heading to the Premiere, swing past the Grove, pick up your soundtrack and get a wristband. For more details, please visit our Facebook Event Page for more details.

 

That’s it for next week, but then the film will be released the week after and our line parties kick into full gear.

4) Marathon Monday at the TCL Chinese theater on Monday, December 15 starting at Noon. This will be the first publicly available screening of the final film, and TORn will be there with Trivia, games and prizes for one and all. Please visit the Facebook Event Page.

5) On Tuesday, December 16 at 7pm, the TCL Chinese will hold their first screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in IMAX HFR 3D. More fun and games will ensue. For more details, please visit the Facebook Event page.

Posted in Andy Serkis, Billy Boyd, Director news, Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Line Party, Meet Ups, Music, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Premieres, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – a ‘first thoughts’ review (spoiler free!)

HBFA_1sht_Main_INTLAnd so we come to it – the last Hobbit movie of our time…

Maybe not – but certainly this is the final film in what is now Peter Jackson’s sextuplet of Middle-earth movies. And I was lucky enough to see it today.

Here are some spoiler-free first impressions:

It is a beautiful film. So many lovely moments – great acting from our dwarf cast (who have very few lines amongst them, but who do wonderful, expressive things facially and with body language). Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans and Richard Armitage are as fabulous as they have been throughout these films.

John Bell (Bain, son of Bard) is a stand out ‘supporting role’ in this film. There is a scene between him and his father Bard which is especially moving – it was the first scene in the film to make me cry! From the dwarves, Ken Stott (Balin) and Graham McTavish (Dwalin) both have well scripted, skilfully played scenes.

Christopher Lee is fantastic – Saruman is a force to be reckoned with in this film, even though he only appears briefly!

There are some typically over the top, ‘PJ’ moments – bits which made me roll my eyes, but which, on the whole, we’ve come to expect from this playful director. Legolas does more than shield-surfing in this movie… But when it comes to the quiet, downplayed moments, this stellar cast don’t let us down. I was moved to tears often; the scene when Bilbo takes his final leave from the company of dwarves is beautifully touching.

Howard Shore’s score is as effective as ever, and of course the production and costume design are wonderful. Is this the best of the three Hobbit movies? Maybe. I need to see it again to decide. Does it rise to the height of the Lord of the Rings movies? In places, yes. There are scenes of spectacular depth and emotion, as well as that incredible New Zealand scenery. There are CGI moments which, for me, are jarring – vast hordes of soldiers where it is all too obvious that the same CGI character is repeated multiple times – but on the whole, not so many in this film as there were in The Desolation of Smaug.

There are small things I might wish to change, but overall, this is a satisfying end to this trilogy – and a pleasing ‘lead in’ to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Tonight on the red carpet, Peter Jackson asked me who would be the first person to watch all six films in order. I can’t wait to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies again; and I can’t wait to watch this film ‘in situ’ with the other five movies. It’s a worthy, emotional part of our Middle-earth journey; a three tissue film for me! We went there; we’ve come back again; and the journey has been well worth it.

Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party

one last party logo We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a final toast to all SIX movies, both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

We’re inviting you to join us and make it happen through our Indiegogo campaign — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!

Visit our campaign page and find out how you can help!

Posted in Christopher Lee, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, John Bell, Ken Stott, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Update: Variety, Empire and now Hollywood Reporter review ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’

BilboBOTFAPosterIt’s that time of the year again…

Following the World Premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, reviews have begun pouring in – and here we have two from Variety and Empire. (more…)

Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Freeman, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Premieres, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.

TheOneRing.net and Lee Pace on set to talk ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

Lee_PaceMIRAMAR, NEW ZEALAND — In the final few weeks of filming for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” a handful of journalists visited Peter Jackson’s set at Stone Street Studios near Wellington, New Zealand to do a final round of interviews during filming.

The invitation included TheOneRing.net. The pack of journos were given a lot of interviews in a short amount of time with the agreement with Warner Bros. to hold them until just before the final film. The veil is lifted and here is the interview, with minimal commentary. (Assume the less good questions aren’t from TORn!)

We met in the mess hall, empty except for us on a windy day. Pace is even more handsome in person than expected, dressed casually but smartly and he gave very thoughtful answers — as you will read — and appeared to be thinking while he spoke. In fact, at the time the interview seemed extraordinary, especially as he talked about his character. Some of these phrases could be engraved and hung somewhere. Reading through it more than a year later, I hope fans enjoy it as much as I do.

We were fresh from Weta Workshop, Academy Award winner Richard Taylor as well as interviewing Academy Award winner Dan Hennah and having a tour of the offices of the Art Department where we saw concept art and models and props of all kinds.

Here is the conversation: (more…)

Posted in Cate Blanchett, Dan Hennah, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, Lee Pace, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Peter Jackson to receive a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

peter-jacksonThe Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has announced that the 2,538th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will go to Peter Jackson in a ceremony to be held on Monday, December 8 at 11:30am. The star will be located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd in front of the Dolby Theater, with the ceremony taking place in that same location. Andy Serkis will be the guest speaker with additional celebrities in the form of Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood. With all these folks in Hollywood that day, it now seems pretty clear that the previously supposed New York premiere on the same date is no longer happening.

Everyone at TheOneRing.net would like to issue Sir Peter Jackson a heartfelt congratulations, you will always be welcome at any and all of our fan events. After all, you helped create this thriving community of fans we foster on TORn.

The complete press release can be read below.  (more…)

Posted in Andy Serkis, Director news, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Luke Evans, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Orlando Bloom, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug