From: Philly News

Cyberspying on ‘Rings’ films

Announcement of the “Lord of the Rings” movies confirmed reports and rumors that have long been flying on the Internet.

By Christopher Cornell


Score one for the Internet movie spies – and brace yourself for years of cyberbuzz so fierce it could rival Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

The J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings, long thought to be unfilmable, is being brought to the screen by New Line Cinema. The series of three live-action films, the first scheduled to reach theaters in late 2001, will feature a cast including Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian Holm as Bilbo, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, and Ian McKellan as Gandalf.

“Like Frodo, the hero of this saga, we’re on a film `quest,’ ” New Line head Michael De Luca said Oct. 8 in an announcement that confirmed months of rumors. Director Peter Jackson – best known for 1994’s dark fantasy Heavenly Creatures and the 1996 paranormal slasher comedy The Frighteners – began principal photography last Monday in his native New Zealand.

Set in a pre-industrial world called Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings – which comprises the volumes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King – chronicles a group of civilizations as they struggle against a malevolent supernatural being bent on enslaving them. Required reading by teenagers and college students in the trippy ’60s and early ’70s, the saga has sold more than 50 million copies in more than 30 languages since it was published between 1954 and 1956, according to Houghton-Mifflin, Tolkien’s U.S. publisher.

New Line’s budget for the series is said to be between $120 million and $150 million. A good chunk of that will go to Jackson’s digital special-effects company, which will shrink full-sized actors to play Tolkien’s pint-sized hobbits and simulate the clashes of massive armies depicted in the story. Several roles will be played by “digital actors,” creations the filmmaker surely hopes will meet with greater public acceptance than Phantom Menace’s much-maligned Jar Jar Binks…

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Thanks to Mike O for the tip!