Half A Year into Middle-earth.

April 11th marks 6 months to the day that principal photography began on Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In a record 14 to 18 months shoot, the kind of which has never been seen before, Peter Jackson and his team at Three Foot Six and WETA are embarking on a mission of un-precedented scope and vision, using technologies and talent not even seen in that Galaxy Far far Away.

Work for this film began months before anyone yelled action, with casting and pre-production in full swing down in New Zealand, a country whose rich diversity of flora and fauna cannot help but aid Jackson into turning parts it into Middle-earth.

The Story So Far..

Jackson and his team of over 1000 cast and crew are filming all three film concurrently, not consecutively which means that at any one moment they could be working on scene 47 of part three, and then move onto scene 3 of part one. A daunting task indeed, but with the help of many Spies and Insider reports we think we can piece together what has been filmed up to today:

Hobbiton: Filmed on a local’s Kiwi farmland. This was the first place to be photographed and placed on the net. Filming took place there for a few weeks, and parts of it were later burned for filming certain scenes. The rest has been removed.

Bree: The first scenes to be filmed in the Trilogy were in and around Bree and The Prancing Pony Inn. Filmed on the military base at Fort Dorset, filming here took several nights and the use of ‘watermakers’ gave the illusion of a rainy night in Bree. This set has been destroyed.

Helms Deep: Filming continues at Helms Deep, located in the Hayward Hills quarry in Upper Hutt, This seems to be the center piece for all three films. Filming has been taking place at night and during the day. Epic battle scenes and stunt doubles have been reported.

Rivendell: Filmed deep inside Kaitoke Reserve, the exterior scenes for Rivendell were shot in a matter of days, and the set destroyed, and parts were moved indoors to film interior scenes.

Tongariro National Park: This will be the scene for ‘The Last Alliance Between Elves and Men’, the prologue to the entire Trilogy. As of April 11th, filming has yet to tart, but will include a large number of extras.

Miramar Chemical Factory: An abandoned chemical factory outside Miramar has been used to film some scenes, we are not yet certain.

Stone Street Studios: currently being used to film ‘Blue-Screen’ shots was also used for interior shots of Helms Deep and some marching Elves have been spotted in that area. We also know that scenes were filmed that consisted of Orthanc, Saruman’s Tower.

Dramatis Personae:

The first day this film was brought to our attention, casting was always a major question. Who will play these characters of ours that we love and admire?

Aragorn: Viggo Mortensen – Initially cast by Stuart Townsend, Viggo quickly replaced the Irishman after only 3 days of filming. Viggo’s casting news came to us on October 14, 1999; Stuart’s departure was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Arwen – Liv Tyler – The daughter of infamous rocker Steven Tyler, Liv’s natural beauty and grace seemed perfect for the part of Elf Arwen, some people had, and still do have problems with PJ’s choice. Liv’s casting announcement was on August 25, 1999, and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Bilbo Baggins – Ian Holm – The short, English thespian was also a perfect choice to play the aging Hobbit, Ian Holms casting announcement came on July 22, 1999.

Boromir – Sean Bean – Sean Bean, the Englishman who is most recognizable from is ‘Sharpe’ television series was my choice for Aragorn, but his casting as Boromir was a delight. Bean’s casting news came on September 9, 1999.

Celeborn – Marton Csokas – Marton, a relative unknown to the rest of the world, has been cast as Celeborn, Marton’s casting announcement was on March 11, 2000, and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Elrond – Hugo Weaving – Weaving, another relative newcomer, from Australia, Weaving is most recognizable as Agent Smith from ‘The Matrix’. Weavings casting announcement came on February 29, 2000, and was a TheOneRing.net exclusive.

Eowyn – Miranda Otto – The character of Eowyn was long debated as possibly being cut, but when news came that Aussie Miranda Otto got the role, all fears were calmed. Miranda’s casting announcement came on, February 24, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Faramir – David Wenham – Initially thought to be played by Ethan Hawke, David Wenham has snagged the role of Boromir’s younger brother. David’s casting news came on March 27, 2000.

Frodo Baggins – Elijah Wood – One, if not the first to be cast, was the ringbearer, Elijah Wood’s wide-eyed look and general appearance makes him the perfect hobbit. Elijah Wood’s casting news came on July 8, 1999.

Galadriel – Cate Blanchett – Australian born Cate Blanchett’s natural beauty and elegance makes her the perfect role for Elf Galadriel, Cate’s casting news came on July 22, 1999.

Gandalf – Ian McKellen – Long thought to be played by Sean Connery, the role of the old wizard Gandalf was snagged by English born thespian Sir Ian McKellen, his casting news came on July 22, 1999.

Gimli – John Rhys-Davies – Most recognizable from his ‘Indiana Jones’ films, John Rhys-Davies voice and stature make him the perfect Dwarf. John’s casting announcement came on September 6, 1999.

Haldir – Craig Parker – Native Kiwi Craig Parker has snagged the short role of Haldir in LOTR. Craig’s casting news came on October 20, 1999.

Legolas – Orlando Bloom – English born Bloom seems the perfect fit for this adventurous Elf, his body type and facial structure make him a great choice, Bloom’s casting news was on September 6, 1999.

Lotho -Paul Sutera – The 20-year-old American plays a Hobbit in LOTR, his casting news came on, and was a TheOneRing.net exclusive March 29, 2000.

Merry – Dominic Monaghan – Merry, one of the younger Hobbits in LOTR has been cast by English born Dominic Monaghan, a relative unknown to the world, Dominic seems a great choice. His casting news came on September 2, 1999.

Pippin – Billy Boyd – The other young Hobbit, Pippin, has gone to a Scottish star Billy Boyd, Billy’s young looks and body type make him a great Hobbit, Billy’s casting news was announced on July 19, 1999.

Sam Gamgee – Sean Astin – The second person to get cast, Sean Astin apparently went after this role with a vengeance and pushed himself into PJ’s view; PJ was obviously impressed by what he saw. Astin’s casting news was announced on July 8, 1999.

Saruman – Christopher Lee – In a great move, and seeming to bow under enormous fan pressure, PJ cast the brooding Christopher Lee as the evil wizard Saruman, a great choice indeed. Christopher Lee’s casting was announced on August 22, 1999.

Ted Sandyman – Brian Segent – Brian, a native kiwi, has appeared in a few of Peter Jackson’s films. Look out for him in the Shire! Ted’s casting news was announced on Sept 15, 1999.

Theoden -Bernard Hill – Hill, whose most famous role is of Captain Smith in ‘Titanic’, will be playing the hero king Theoden in LOTR. Hills casting news came on March 11, 2000, and was a TheOneRing.net exclusive

Grima Wormtongue – Brad Dourif – The creepy Brad Dourif was the perfect choice for the evil Grima Wormtongue, and no one can convince me otherwise:)Brad’s casting news was announced on July 14, 1999.

Eomer – Karl Urban – Native Kiwi son Urban, with his square jaw and muscular physique, was a natural for Eomer, brother to Eowyn. Karl’s casting announcement was on May 5, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Ugluk – Nathaniel Lees – With his harsh features, and black eyes, Lees was the perfect choice for Head Orc Ugluk, Lees casting announcement was May 15, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Hama – John Leigh – Last seen in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Frighteners’ Leigh has been cast in the role of Hama, the chief doorward of Theoden. Leigh’s casting announcement came to us on May 15, 2000 and was a TheOneRing.net Exclusive.

Morwen – Robyn Malcom – Native kiwi Robyn Malcom, last seen on ‘Shortland Street’ was tapped to play Morwen, a femal village elder in LOTR. Malcoms casting announcement came to us on June 11, 2000.

The Black Lieutenant – Bruce Spence – With his creepy, elongated features, and lanky waif body, Bruce Spence seems the creepy choice for The Black Lieutenant, or The Mouth of Sauron. Spence’s casting news came to us on June 1, 2000.

Gil Galad – Mark Ferguson – The casting of Gil Galad was great news, it showed even more evidence of the production shooting the backstory of the Ring. His square jaw and sharp features make him a good hero. Ferguson’s casting news came to us on July 27, 2000.

Denethor – John Noble – Long thought to be played by Kevin Conway, it was later found out that Aussie John Noble will play Denethor. The name John Noble appeared on my radar screens almost a year ago, a nameless emailer sent me a very cryptic letter along the lines of ‘John Noble will be in LOTR’, after all my digging I came up with naught, so I never posted it. Noble’s casting news came to us on September 7, 2000.

Rosie Cotton – Sarah Mcleod – I’m still unable to find a picture of this young actress, however we do know that she will play Sam Gamgee love interest Rosie Cotton. Mcleod’s casting news came to us on August 31, 2000.

Gamling – Bruce Hopkins – Yet another native Kiwi is cast as a character from LOTR, this time Bruce Hopkins, last seen in Herc, Xena and Cleopatra 2525, will play Gamling the Old. Hopkins’ casting news came to us on August 11, 2000.