Archive for the ‘Tolkien Estate’ Category
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 — more or less.
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 sound stage 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 outside of the director’s tent 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.
SETTING THE SCENE
In April, 2012, as a representative of fandom via TheOneRing.net, I was invited 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.
He 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 or the next day’s schedule didn’t need approval. Others were partners on all of these roles 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, existing 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 for the day’s schedule of actors and extras 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, everything goes through Peter Jackson.
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.
THE FINAL HOURS
And so it was, the last day of my time on The Hobbit set, after several assurances that my interview with Peter Jackson would happen — it did.
Lunch happened and on the location set of Dale, up on a hill overlooking Evans Bay to Wellington, I was invited to that nearly sacred 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, anything we ate or didn’t eat isn’t clear. 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.
In 1974, Argo Records released a dramatised four-record LP audio abridgement of The Hobbit.
In an interesting quirk of history, the narrator and performer of this abridgement was the legendary Scottish-born actor Nicol Williamson — who would later go on to play the role of Merlin the wizard in John Boorman’s remarkable 1981 film Excalibur.
The circular part, of course, is that in the late 70s, Boorman was involved in a collaborative attempt with United Artists to produce a film of The Lord of the Rings. The script, notorious within fan circles for the liberties it intended to take with Tolkien’s work (which you can read about here) was never produced. However, Boorman re-purposed much of his imagery and concepts in Excalibur. (more…)
Posted in Green Books, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate
Fairly wide-ranging interview from Deadline with Peter Jackon conducted around the time of the San Diego Comic-Con.
It actually contains little that’s new: the fact that The Dam Busters film is still on the cards will be of interest to war-buffs who remember the 1955 original. And apparently Jackson and Mortensen have chatted about those 3D comments that Viggo made to press a couple of months back, too. Something something misquote. Supposedly.
Anyway, here’s the meatiest bit of the entire interview about The Hobbit: (more…)
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, PJ's Other Films, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.
Apparently there is some confusion floating around about Michael Drout’s involvement in the forthcoming publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Beowulf translation by Chris Tolkien.
(Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary will be published on May 22. You can pre-order your hardcover copy now from Amazon by going here.) (more…)
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Other Tolkien books, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate
Tolkien scholar John Garth previews the forthcoming publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf and outlines why the Professor’s expertise with the Anglo-Saxon epic means this new book is to be highly anticipated. Click through the read more link at the bottom to access the complete essay.
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, Headlines, J.R.R. Tolkien, Languages, Other Tolkien books, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate
Raynor Memorial Library at Marquette University. Credit: Marquette University. Creative Commons.
The Raynor Memorial Library at Marquette University in Milwaukee is home to original manuscripts and working drafts for three of the J.R.R. Tolkien’s most celebrated works: The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, and The Lord of the Rings. It also holds the original copy of the children’s book Mr. Bliss and has, over the years, grown to become one of the largest repositories of secondary works on Tolkien and his writing.
If you’ve never visited the Tolkien Collection or are unaware of the contents of the archive, this two-part report from Tolkienist and Norse mythologist Dr Karl Seigfried documents just some of the literary treasures it holds. (more…)
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate
It’s the film project that many of us fear we may never see. Yet surely, with time, all may be possible. In this article, Rud the Spud takes a look at how a trilogy based on Professor Tolkien’s The Silmarillion might be constructed – should such a project ever come to fruition – and discusses whether or not it could possibily live up to the Professor’s massive collection of stories. (more…)
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family
Tolkien scholar and researcher John Garth writes about how the roots of Tolkien’s Middle-earth made their first public appearance exactly 100 years ago (plus a few days). It’s not in the form you might expect — but it is quite fascinating.
One hundred years of Middle-earth
by John Garth
Tolkien’s Middle-earth began in 1914. That may come as a surprise, considering The Lord of the Rings was published in 1954–5 and even The Hobbit appeared no further back than 1937. But the fact is that before and beneath those two books there already existed a huge foundation of creative work: the vastly ambitious cycle of stories that became The Silmarillion, as well as annals, cosmographical description, poetry, illustrations, maps and, of course, several invented languages and writing systems.
The first identifiable fragment of Middle-earth emerged on 24 September 1914, when Tolkien (pictured here in June) was staying as a guest at his aunt’s Nottinghamshire farm. War had just broken out in Europe, the whole world seemed in ferment, and Tolkien set foot on the path he would follow for the rest of his life. But we’ll come to that in due course.
Today, 26 January 2014, is the 100th anniversary of the first known public reading of Tolkien’s epic prose. It’s not what you might expect: there are no cavalry charges here, nor mythological monsters, nor swordplay. These are the official minutes of a college meeting – a session of Stapeldon Society, the body of undergraduates attending Exeter College, Oxford.
Posted in Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Today in Middle-earth, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate
What’s a Tolkien fan to do when the extended cut of There and Back Again has come and gone after the holiday season of 2014? With the rights for his other books held by the Tolkien Estate,
Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, Tolkien Estate
it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing further adaptations anytime soon. But over the past couple of days, we’ve been hearing rumblings of a new project in the works that will take a look at the Professor’s life – focusing on his time in college and in the Great War, as well as how his works were influenced by those experiences. (more…)
“In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.”
One of the great joys of these words is that they are available in so many different languages, as are the countless sentences that follow. They are accessible to so many different cultures and nationalities. Now, for the very first time, Professor Tolkien’s brilliant classic “The Hobbit” is available in the official Yiddish translation, approved by the Tolkien Estate – through Harvard Book Store. (more…)
Posted in Books Publications, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Languages, Merchandise, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate
Could the Disney theme parks be the next potential location for a Lord of the Rings-themed attraction? We reported back in January and also in February that tongues were wagging about a possible Middle-earth theme park partnership between Warner Brothers and Universal. There was even documentation that the Saul Zaentz Company had registered “several uses for Middle-earth properties that includes theme parks.” But those rumors seemed to have fizzled.
Now it seems that, “Disney and Warner Brothers have either signed or are very close to singing an agreement that will bring “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movie-inspired areas to the Disney Parks.” WDW News Today is reporting that the partnership has been in the works since late last year and is now practically a fait accompli. The story claims that Disney may incorporate a Middle-earth attraction as part of an overhaul at the California Adventure park in Anaheim, CA. It also suggests that Disney may be looking for Hobbits to give them an edge over Hogwarts in order to compete with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area at Universal Studio’s theme park.
WDW News today says, “As with any rumor, you should take this with a grain of salt until it is actually announced.” Is it likely that Disney would be able to overcome the hurdles that have hung up similar ventures? That they could overcome the long-held anti-Disney prejudice from within the Tolkien Estate itself? TORn staffer Demosthenes points out Tolkien’s Letter #13, where he famously insisted that he would “veto anything from or influenced by the Disney Studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing).”
Additionally, should the supposed negotiations be happening on the studio level, making an end-run around the Tolkien Estate, it seems unlikely that Warner Brothers would be keen to work together after Disney stole Oz out from under them when they released Oz the Great and Powerful earlier this year. “The Walt Disney Company did not own rights to the original 1939 The Wizard of Oz movie but moved stealthily to mount an audacious raid on the story and leave a rival studio flat-footed.”
But perhaps TheOneRing.net’s April Fools’ story this year was actually prescient and we will enter an era where Hobbit feet and Mouse ears can coexist in one big glorious theme park universe. Or maybe we’ll all just have to aspire to visit the real Hobbiton for a while longer.
[Read the original story here.]
Posted in Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Rumors Spy News, Rumours Spy News, Studios, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.
By now you’re undoubtedly aware of the newest edition of The Hobbit, illustrated in gorgeous and whimsical fashion by Jemima Catlin.
She was just 23 when artwork she’d created for a personal project on Tolkien’s short story Rover Random came to the notice of literary giants Harper Collins -– and eventually landed her a contract to illustrate The Hobbit.
Here, Tolkien Library chats with her about how it all happened. (more…)
Posted in Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate