Tehanu’s 3rd report is chalk full of news!

After being in Queenstown for a few days, I’ve chatted to a few people that know people in the production (well, that’s everyone in Queenstown actually) and I can answer some questions that have come up a few times.

1) Moria orcs have scaly skin – greenish, if I remember rightly. The Uruk-Hai are black and smooth-skinned. So, something for everyone there.

2)Legolas is fair-haired not dark, according to an orc I spoke to. You can all expend a lot of Internet bandwidth discussing this, I know. Legolas also wears two throwing-knives in a kind of back-holster (you’ll see the blades poking up over his shoulders) and a small bow which is beautifully made with laminated would and finely detailed inlay work. Let’s hope we get to see that ín close-up!

3)My source says that Orlando Bloom makes a great Legolas. He also had positive things to say about Liv as Arwen. I know some of you think that I’ve got a bias here (rah rah rah, everything’s going to be great etc.) but if so it’s one that all the extras I’ve spoken to share. Their bias could stem from the fact that they are having such a great time and are totally stoked to be involved in the film. On the other hand to offset that, I know that in New Zealand, the more famous somebody is, the more reluctant we are to be impressed by them. Especially if they’re from overseas. So if the local consensus is that Liv is doing a good job, then I’m looking forward to seeing her as Arwen.

4) Moria orc armour is leather and chainmail (actually fabric or knit mesh sprayed to look metallic, so my scepticism about that was unfounded!) with an overall spiky impression. The helmets are hard to see out of. In fact the layers of prosthetics are hard to see out of. Some of them had been in scenes to do with the breakup of the Fellowship, and several of them said that at first they were continually running into trees instead of doing whatever tightly-choreographed fight scene had been planned.

5) I asked about how PJ directed them, and they confirmed the impression I’d got from the ‘NZOnfilm’ article on the stuntmen: he keeps a close eye on things, but lets people work things out for themselves, and only offers suggestions when the result doesn’t work for him. One comment I heard was that he puts a good deal of trust in his assistant directors.

6) Somewone said of Boyd and Monaghan that they seem to have a naturally impish ‘hobbit-quality’ both in and out of character, and are pretty hilarious.

7) Ears-up for NZers – I heard a RNZ interview on the Kim Hill show with some guy who’d designed armoured boots to protect loggers from chainsaw injuries. The boots were co-designed by Warren Green, who’s one of the head armourers for LOTR. He came to armouring from a background in clothing design. I could hear Kim Hill’s interest perk up as Warren’s current fortunes on LOTR were described. “He must think all his Christmases have come at once!” she said, and I could almost hear her thinking, ‘Now THAT would be a good interview subject!. I wouldn’t be surprised if she tries to get an interview with him. If it happens, we want to hear about it!