From: KcM

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Just got back from seeing Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Howard Shore, and Christopher Lee at the Union Square Barnes & Noble here in NYC. I’m not sure what the thousands of people stuff is about. I showed up 90 minutes before it started and got a great seat. Anyway, all of the panel members were as charming, witty, and personable as you might imagine. Here’s what I thought was the most important stuff:

* The Scouring IS NOT HAPPENING. There’s been a bit of back and forth on this on the web, but PJ says it just didn’t work for the film version. The scene in Galadriel’s mirror in Fellowship is an homage to the Scouring, and that’s all there’ll be.

* Shelob WILL NOT BE in The Two Towers. Apparently, they’ve expanded the Frodo-Sam-Gollum-Faramir stuff quite a bit, and as such Shelob has been kicked to the beginning of ROTK. No word on how they’ll end TTT. PJ wanted us to know so that “we wouldn’t be disappointed.” More Arwen too, they said.

* Fran Walsh wrote AND directed Gollum‘s backstory. So flashbacks of Smeagol and his birthday present will be in TTT.

* March 22 is the day the new last reel goes out to theaters. I assume that means you’ll be able to see the 3.5 minutes of footage that night.

* DVD information was repeated (August and November.) Galadriel gift-giving and more Fellowship character development will be included. PJ doesn’t like the term “director’s cut” so it’s an alternate version. It’s got an extra half hour and it’s been completed, except…

* Howard Shore is composing new music for the 30 minutes of Fellowship footage, which they said was a first.

* PJ and Chris Lee went to great pains to kill “the Internet stuff” about a rivalry between SW and LOTR. PJ said that the Lucasfilm folks were very helpful about suggesting animatics technology, etc., and Mr. Lee (who looked tired of the question) said there is NO comparison between the two films. (As he put it, LOTR happens on Earth and SW happens in Outer Space.)

* PJ was honored to be nominated for the Oscars, but doesn’t think LOTR stands much of a shot for anything but the technical awards. But, as he noted, getting nominated is basically as good as winning and “Fellowship got 13 nominations and nobody can take that from us.”

– KcM


From: Ashwise Gamgee

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Hi there, I am a newbie that has been lurking on since the release of the film and my subsequent devouring of the books.

I also, however, was in the front row at the Barnes and Noble discussion today in New York. Here is my report and some pictures attached to the email. I am horrible with computer techie stuff, so I apologize if this method of reporting is unorthodox.

The Report:

After reading the reports from the LA book signing and hearing that Fran, Peter, Howard Shore, and Christopher Lee would be making their way to New York, I was eager to catch a glimpse of such talents. I arrived in Union Square at 7am out of paranoia that there would be a mass assembly. I was, of course, the first one around so I sat in Starbucks. As I am a very close friend of Cassandra Claire (author of the Very Secret Diaries of the Lord of the Rings), I came clad in a homemade “Sam will kill me if I try anything” shirt and carrying multiple printed copies of the diaries.

At about 9am, I went over to the Barnes and Noble and met a fellow LotR fan waiting outside. Moments later, four members of the Official Fan Club arrived, two from Ohio and two from North Carolina. Everyone was friendly and excited. As 10am, opening time, approached, a small crowd of Rings fans had formed and were chatting eagerly.

The doors opened and we were directed to the fourth floor where there were rows upon rows of chairs set up. I took a seat front and center, settling down for the next seven hours. As a newbie to the nature of the Lord of the Rings fandom, I was soaking up as much as I could from the veterans around me. I received many compliments on my shirt and I showed people Cassie’s diaries.

Throughout the day, one of the Barnes and Noble officials kept going up to the microphone and lecturing us that this event would be strictly a discussion and that no books nor memorabilia would be signed. We would not be able to take pictures…. But hope remained and our company held true to the belief that these restrictions would change. And lo and behold, they did.

6pm rolled around, and what had started as our small 10am group of twenty fans had blossomed into over two hundred people. I felt my excitement mounting, seeing as I was a mere two feet away from the stage, in the front row and had been waiting all day. And, we were told that, yes, we could take pictures! I had my digital camera ready!

Peter Jackson entered first, then Fran Walsh, then Howard Shore, and finally Christopher Lee. They were trailed by a film crew from NBC for Access Hollywood, so keep your eyes peeled for it on television. The applause was explosive and they looked genuinely relieved to be in front of fans as opposed to the media appearances they had been doing all day. The discussion was moderated by an obnoxious unknown comedian, but after introductions, questions were left open to us, the fans. And PJ was WONDERFUL with his answers, as were Fran, Howard, and Christopher. The Major News:

* The new reels with the Two Towers footage will be shown starting March 22nd. PJ emphasized that he wants this to be just for the fans who continue to go out and support the film. Thus, he has requested that New Line NOT put the footage on the net nor on television. He also said that WETA has been working very hard and he has tossed in some amazing shots in there. 3 and a half minutes worth.

* He explained in detail how he put together the extended DVD that will be released in November. He has actually re-cut the film, adding in the scenes like the Gift Giving and more Elves/Dwarf stuff. And, he told us that not only are the new scenes being put in seamlessly to the film, BUT Howard Shore is actually composing new music to go with the new footage. Peter is very excited about it.


* Peter explained that the actual book The Two Towers is too short for a film so they have expanded a lot of the material. He emphasized that the film will be heavy in the development of Frodo and Sam with Smeagol and that there is a lot of development with Frodo and Faramir. So much in fact, that Shelob has BEEN MOVED TO RETURN OF THE KING.

* A fan asked if the Slinker/Stinker would be included and PJ said yes.

* Fran actually recently wrote and directed a piece to TT that is all about the background of Gollum. We will get to see how he transformed into the creature that he is… PJ pridefully pointed out that Fran had written and directed it all on her own.

* A fan asked about the Ents storming Isengard and PJ confirmed that we will see this. “Oh yes” he said.

* Two Towers is written to cut back and forth between the three story lines that are taking place.

* Again, PJ confirmed that the scouring of the Shire is out of the film. He explained that it just didn’t fit cinematically and that the scene of the Shire destroyed in the mirror in FotR was their way of paying homage to Tolkien’s message about the destruction of the English countryside with industrialization.

* One fan asked what was the most difficult thing in the book to pull from his mind’s visualization and translate it to the screen. PJ’s answer was very funny, answering that Sauron posed the biggest on screen problem. He made jokes about the big enemy being a giant eyeball and described having a figure in armor and then lifting the helmet and there only being this big red eye. Everyone was laughing. But he explained that the matter of portraying Sauron continues to give them trouble through the next two films.

Also, Peter gave a long explanation about the separation New Line and the film have had from Christopher Tolkien and the Tolkien estate. He has never spoken to Christopher and he explained the complications and how legally it just worked out better to not have a “Tolkien estate” endorsement of the film.

Howard Shore spoke a bit about his research and process in making the music. He was very sincere and well-spoken. The Official Club members presented him with a poem that a member of their club had written. He looked like he was about to burst into tears. It was very nice.

Christopher Lee was asked many questions that tied in The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. I suspect that there were some diehard Star Wars fans in the crowd. Lee explained emphatically that comparisons cannot be made between the two films because they are completely different. He gave tons of praise to New Line for having the guts to stick by the project and gave wonderful compliments to PJ. He was also asked about working with Blue Screen and how one acts when there is nothing to respond with. He made a strong point that there was little blue screen in LotR, as opposed to Star Wars and spoke about his active imagination.

When the hour expired, Peter pulled aside the officials and said that they did indeed want to give us a chance to have something signed. He is so wonderful, he did not have to do that, as I am sure he had a very long day and had to go to Charlie Rose next. However, I was ecstatic when they announced that they would take us row by row. Being in the first row, I got to speak to Peter and Fran while they signed my movie poster. A copy of Cassie’s Secret Diaries was passed into Fran’s hands and I complimented Peter for bringing me back to Tolkien.

Fran made a wonderful comment at the end of the discussion. She said that of all the places they had been, the fans of New York had been the best they had seen. She was grinning ear to ear and it was very touching.

– Ashwise Gamgee

From: elanor

Elanor here. You have been kind enough to post reports of mine in the past so I thought you might be interested in some great scoop from the Q & A with Peter and Fran et al
at the Barnes & Noble Union Square NYC. He let loose with some cool information that LOTR fans will want to hear about. T2T and ROTK SPOILERS
I just got back from the NYC Barnes & Noble where I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. By sheer luck (and being a clever hobbit-lass) I was able to thank both of them personally for making their movie.

I got there late – at about 4:45 (I do work for a living!) and found the place jammed and buzzing. (This was exactly the same set up as for Sir Ian in November – it was packed then but this was ridiculous!). You couldn’t see the ample seating area for all the standees. I made an attempt to find a spot where I could see over the heads or between shoulders (I am short) but realized it was a lost cause. I wandered back behind the escalator and noticed a corridor being kept guarded and clear. Hmm. This is where Sir Ian entered last time. I decide to stay put. After 15 minutes the entire New Zealand/New Line entourage came forward from their hiding places behind tall bookcases.

A lady in front keeps the way clear. There is Peter Jackson himself. I smile at him and he sees me. I say “Mr. Jackson, thank you for your movie”. He smiles more broadly and stops. I say “You know, I haven’t had a single bad day since it opened”. He grins and laughs, and says “great” looking back at Fran kind of twinkley-eyed. The handler-lady gently urges him to keep moving and he does. Suddenly I am right next to Fran Walsh. I smile at her and she smiles at me and I say “Thank you, Ms. Walsh, you wrote a beautiful script”. She beams and says “thank you”. She seems much more shy than Peter but still she seems genuinely pleased. They move on through the corridor and I watch them, not realizing that Howard Shore just passed me.

By this time other fans have caught on that they are all coming out now and suddenly I am surrounded. Striding tall above the throng is Christopher Lee, looking thin but fit and quite friendly. The handlers step around to protect him from the gathering fans. Then the whole room erupts in applause as Peter is seen by those lucky folks in the seats. All the guests make their way to the front and sit at a long table. There is some strange jokey guy who serves as MC who I would have been happier without. I miss a lot of the beginning talk because the room is buzzing so much and I am too far away and I can’t see them at all. Eventually I move to where I can hear better but still never get to see them due to my being so short. HOWEVER – here are the high points of what was said.

Peter reiterated several details we already know about the DVD. August for the Theatrical version, November for the “special edition”. This will have 30 minutes of extra footage and it will be integrated into the existing film and will include specifically the Galadriel gift-giving scene as well as others mentioned already. He mentioned “rope” as a gift and I believe he meant that Sam receives rope from Galadriel (as opposed to the soil and seeds box) – more on this in a minute. Peter explained that the gift scene was cut for momentum. That they looked at the movie and knew that they had to get it going again towards its climax. Howard Shore will compose NEW music to go with these scenes, which Peter said he thinks is the first time that will ever have been done –that usually when scenes are “put back in” the music is “lifted ” from other sections of the existing score.

He said he found the hardest character to create visually (and that they are STILL working on it) to be Sauron. He said they’ve had many laughs about it and have envisioned many Monty Python-esque moments of a visor being lifted to reveal a giant flaming eyeball.

He talked of CHANGES TO T2T. He said there is more character development and stuff we won’t expect. He mentioned several newsworthy bits: Shelob is NOT in the second film but in the third. This of course means that T2T cannot end on the “cliffhanger” as in the book. Also that the bulk of T2T is focused on Frodo/Sam/Gollum; that the Slinker/Stinker scene is IN, that Faramir’s role is expanded in some way and that he will indeed cut between three story lines: Frodo’s, The Three Hunters and Hobbits/Ents. He says that’s very cinematic anyway and sort of a no-brainer. He said it may include a scene that Fran directed and shot with Andy Serkis showing how Smeagol became Gollum. Fran said Peter isn’t finished editing T2T yet. lThere were several questions that I could not hear and a few times I could not hear the answer and twice these got laughs. I hope someone else will report on them. One of the questions involved Isengard.

ROTK – BIG SHOCKER – Peter was asked how he plans to deal with the ending of the story…since the SOTS is sort of a downbeat ending how do they plan to deal with that? PJ: “There won’t be a downbeat ending because it’s not there”. A bit of stunned silence in the room. I find myself still in denial. Peter goes on to explain how he knows that the SOTS was important to Tolkien, that seeing the English countryside destroyed was a big theme but that they did not plan to end the film this way. He said that’s why they paid a sort of homage to it in the mirror of Galadriel scene. He also said he found it the most awkward chapter personally. But he stressed that in order to make a film like this of Frodo and The Ring and his journey to Mordor, you “just couldn’t do it”. I called out “yes you can!” but was only heard by those near me.

I will have to ponder this awhile and, I suppose, get used to it as I got used to the several other changes. I don’t know HOW he plans to end the movie, but I see plenty of indication that he will not let us down.

Christopher Lee spoke a bit and let me tell you how fantastic it was to hear that VOICE! Lord you could just be so lulled by that voice. He has a wicked wit, too, and such delectable diction. I was in heaven. I love PJ’s voice too but it’s very different. His is more about the lovely Kiki accent where Lee’s is all about the timbre and melody. Anyway Lee praised the cast, New Line, Peter and Fran, Ian McKellen and the crew. He said the “rivalry” between SW and LOTR was ridiculous because the films are not comparable at all and he should know since he is in both! Then he went on to tease us by making wicked comparisons anyway, all in LOTR’s favor. Peter chimed in saying the rivalry was all made up – that he and GL have great respect for each other’s work, that the productions were supportive of each other and shared information frequently.

PJ explained the non-relationship with the Tolkien estate in a most gracious way (this has already appeared in print) and re-iterated that he does not know if Christopher Tolkien has seen the film or not. They were asked if they plan to publish their scripts and they said not at the moment as there seems to be a problem with legal rights to do so, but lawyers are working on it.

Peter said there will be a one minute teaser for the general public at some point before the release of T2T but MARCH 22nd is the day when the new final reels with the 3 ½ minute PREVIEW will be shown in theatres worldwide. He said he convinced the studio to do it FOR THE FANS.

They were friendly and gracious throughout. Peter and Fran stayed a while to sign autographs and I snapped some pictures with a crappy flash camera. I am so glad I went. After all, we New Yorkers are entitled to some perks this year!

– elanor

From: Mammo

I know that some of this information is well known but I thought I would just report on what I heard today. Several hundred JRRT fans gathered at Barnes & Noble in Union Square for what was billed as a panel discussion on The Lord of the Rings. The panelists were Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Christopher Lee and Howard Shore. The moderator opened the discussion by introducing a number of topics and then opened up an question and answer session to the audience.

PJ was asked when the DVD would be released – The theatrical version comes out in August. In November he will release another DVD – He stressed it was not a Director’s cut as he was very happy with the movie – but with an additional 30 minutes of material.

PJ said the feedback received was that the characters needed background to flesh them out, specifically the feud between Legolas and Gimli and the development from Strider to Aragorn and the romance between Aragorn and Arwen. He completed the cut last week and has integrated them into the movie. Also Howard Shore has written more music as score to accompany the additions which PJ believes is a first! Usually the score is “cut and paste” from the original movie.

Also there were scenes shot of Galadriel giving the gifts to the fellowship. PJ said he had panicked about the gifts as they become very necessary in the next two movies and he felt they had to be included. Why were they not left in ? mainly because he didn’t want to lose momentum in the movie at that point.

PJ was asked the hardest character to translate from book to screen and he said without a doubt, Sauron. He said having the main villain be a “flaming red eye” risked being almost Monty Pythonesque and very difficult to portray – another reason why he fleshed out Saruman somewhat and made him the villain of the piece.

Fran Walsh and PJ confirmed that Gollum’s role has been intensified and there will be Slinker vs.Stinker stuff going on. PJ said that Fran worked to a large extent with Andy S. on the role and examined the development from Smeagol to Gollum. FW directed these scenes.

PJ went into a great deal of detail about the use of the CG when AS filmed Gollum’s scenes. AS would play the scene with motion detectors linked to the computer so PJ could see the CG Gollum simultaneously. AS could also study his movements and tweak as necessary.

PJ said that he “intensified” the scenes between Sam, Frodo and Gollum. He also said that TTT was too short in many ways and he addresses that by expanding the relationship between Faramir, Frodo and Sam. AND…..Major Spoiler…. Shelob will NOT be in the TTT. ( There was an audible gasp followed by a low moan through the audience! )

PJ was asked about the scouring of the shire and he confirmed it will not be included. He said he paid “homage” to that chapter by showing it briefly in Galadriel’s mirror but he would not include it as it seemed to him to go off on a tangent. He said he had a problem with it even in the book – which like the movies track Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring and he doesn’t see how it fits. ( PJ mentioned JRRT felt strongly about industrialization creeping into England’s rural areas, destroying them. )

PJ was asked about the trailer to TTT. He confirmed that it would be 3 minutes thirty seconds and would be released on March 22 to the movie theaters showing FOTR at that time. He said it is a thank you for the fans who go to the movies and he will not release it to TV or the internet.

Confirmation too that the Ents are in TTT bigtime!

PJ was asked how he split up books 3 and 4 and responded that in TTT he has intertwined the story of Merry and Pippin ending in Isengard with that of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli’s mission to Rohan along with Sam and Frodo’s journey to Mordor and their relationship with Gollum and meeting with Faramir.

There were other questions to Christopher Lee and Howard Shore and PJ talked at length about his relationship with George Lucas and some of the guys working on TPM and AOTC. PJ also recommended strongly a book, “The Art of FOTR ” which comes out in June this year.

I was incredibly taken by the graciousness and good humor of the members of the panel. It must be incredibly tedious to have the same questions asked and then to sit for over an hour autographing books, posters, magazines for a motley crew! Both PJ and FW thanked all those who went up to get an autograph.

– Mammo

From: Shana Írima

I took my digicam to tonight’s panel discussion and thought I’d share the wealth. Enjoy!

Assuming I’m doing this correctly, there should be three compressed jpegs attached to this message. There’s a shot of the four panelists and the moderator; a shot of the panelists admiring a plaque (or possibly certificate) that was presented to Howard Shore by a local Tolkien appreciation society; and finally a close-up of Peter and Fran signing things.

—Shana Írima

From: Tim Kelly

My wife and I were also at the NYC Barnes and Noble meeting with PJ and company. A couple of things/impressions not in Maegwen’s excellent report.

The Union Square Barnes and Noble was literally jammed, and quite a few people had even lined up outside before the doors opened at 10am that day. The response of the crowd was as if they were heroes returning to their home city. At the very end Fran Walsh took pains to say, ‘no one has received us like NYC has’. And that fact in itself deserves some reflection.

As someone who has lived here for many years, I was amazed by the whole event. On the one hand, the NYrs were very un-NY like. We see celebrities here all the time on the street, and when the President shows up it doesn’t merit even a line in the New York Times. But jaded NYrs were falling all over themselves for Peter and Fran. Standing ovations, joy, celebration. Field of Cormallen stuff. On the other hand, PJ and company were extremely un-Hollywood. They showed nothing of the soul-lessness and robotic polish and slickness that is so common among ‘big names’. They struck everyone has being tremendously down-to-earth and “real”. It was obvious these were independent film-makers who had made it big. It couldn’t happen to better people.

NYC is incredibly snobbish artistically, and I thought LOTR would continue to get brushed off as light-weight, as the books commonly are. But this whole event shows that people are really recognizing, even in the traditional bastions of the ‘elites’ that Jackson has accomplished something truly extraordinary from nearly any perspective. And this is having a major effect on the reading of the book. I know some curators of some of the very ‘top’ modern art galleries and museums who say they see the most avant garde young artists now with LOTR in their backpacks.

And as a New Yorker who loves this city, it was wonderful to hear the affirmation from Fran. “The praise of the praiseworth is above all rewards.”

– Tim Keller

From: Roseann

Just want to say that the Barnes & Noble event in NYC was really great. Lots of people. It was amazing to see Christopher Lee, Howard Shore, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson. After a panel discussion they opened up to floor questions. Some of the things I remember are (some spoilers)

It was announced that the soundtrack went gold and Howard Shore will be composing 30 minutes of additional music for the extended DVD due out in November. It will include more Legolas-Gimli, more of the hobbit relationships, and Galadriel’s gifts

Christopher Lee’s love for the book was evident and said there is no comparision of LOTR with Star Wars. He said LOTR is real and Star Wars it outer space. (I don’t believe he was ragging on SW but there is a difference).

No Shelob in TTT will be ROTK, the Frodo, Sam, Gollum relationship will be expanded and so will the Faramir Frodo relationship. Peter said Fran directed a segment with Andy Serkis showing how Smeagol detoriated into Gollum. No Scourging of the Shire in any film except for the glimpse in the Mirror of Galadriel. Gollum’s appearance will be CGI but the movements will be mostly Andy Serkis’.

No script publication due to legal matters.

The TTT stuff will be added to FOTR on March 22.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable time. After, Fran and Peter were kind enough to stay and sign autographs. They really are lovely people and were most considerate of the fans and would like to say thank you to them.

– Roseann

From: Arien

It’s a bit long, but I tried to capture everything that was said.

What. an. amazing. experience.

I hadn’t expected the turnout to be as large as it was. I figured that if I got there an hour early, I would get a decent spot. (What the hell was I thinking?!) All of the 200+ seats were occupied and people were standing against the walls surrounding the seating and stage area. Luckily, I managed to get a spot along the back bookcase that had a straight-on view of the stage. There were several camera crews there; one was from Access Hollywood, so there’s a slim chance there will be some TV coverage of the event.

By 4:15, the whole 4th floor was packed to the point where we posed a potential fire hazard. I don’t know how crowded it was on the 3rd floor, where there were screens televising the event.

At 5:00, Peter, Fran, Howard, and Christopher arrived. Of course, everyone in the room stood, applauded, and cheered. After everyone had quieted down, the fun began. Here are some of the things I recall about the discussion (which was, of course, moderated). Hope you don’t mind, but I’ve separated them into categories instead of doing it chronologically. Here we go:

—WARNING: spoilers ahead—

*********DVD/Trailer News*********

-A minute trailer will be added onto the end of FOTR on March 22nd. According to Peter, it will not be advertised, nor will it be put on the official site. Later in the year, a regular 1-minute teaser will be released.

-The theatrical version of FOTR will be available in August.

-The ‘director’s cut’ [see ‘Peter Jackson’ section] will be available in November. It will include 30 minutes of new footage and, accordingly, 30 minutes of new music to be composed by Howard Shore. As anticipated, the new footage includes the gift-giving scene in Lothlorien. (Amid the buzz, I also heard some talk of build-up of the relationship between Gimli and Legolas, and Aragorn’s character, but I’m not exactly sure in what context it was being discussed. Sorry.)

*********General Spoilers*********

-Shelob will be in ROTK, not TTT. [See ‘Peter Jackson’ section].

-The relationship between Gollum, Sam, and Frodo will be ‘intensified.’

-Faramir will get an expanded role and his relationship with Frodo will be more defined and developed than it was in the books.

-TTT will also include more about the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen. (This could either refer to their history together or ‘Helm’s Deep’?)

-We may see Smeagol’s demise and his transformation into Gollum. Fran directed this part of the story.

-The Scouring of the Shire is OUT. Peter said that it doesnt fit quite right in the end. He wants to avoid going off on a tangent, especially because the movie deals so much with Frodo’s quest to get to Mordor and to destroy the ring. The scenes in Galadriel’s mirror were his way of ‘paying homage’ to Tolkien’s idea.

*********Peter Jackson*********

All I can say is: Wow. This man has such a wonderful presence about him. He just seems so honest and natural that it draws your unwavering attention. Really, I just stared at him like a freak. Oh, and what a lovely, melodic accent he has. I could listen to him talk for ages. Ok, enough mindless gushing’

-Once again, Peter spoke about how New Zealand was the ideal location for shooting the movies. The moderator asked the crowd: ‘How many of you are seriously considering visiting NZ because of the movie?’ to which a dozen or so (as far as I could see) people raised their hands. Peter then said that, while some may have plans to go, he doesn’t think anyone has actually landed in NZ yet.

-Peter, as well as many others, got a good laugh when asked if there were any plans for making ‘The Silmarillion’ into a movie.

-The moderator brought up the exclusion of Baz Luhrmann in the Academy Awards’ Best Director category. Peter said some kind words for Baz, praising his ‘amazing’ directorial work in Moulin Rouge.

-While speaking about the DVD releases, Peter commented about the so-called ‘director’s cut.’ Basically, he said that calling it a ‘director’s cut’ implies that the director wasn’t happy/satisfied with what ended up in theatres. He firmly states that he was very pleased with the theatrical version.

-He joked about how the villain in the movie is a ‘big flaming eye.’

-It was pretty great when he acknowledged that some people may have been disappointed with the lack of development of the relationship between Legolas and Gimli. (Yes!) Also acknowledged was the fact that some of Galadriel’s gifts (which were not shown) will be used in the next movies. He said that the additional footage in the November DVD will hopefully solve that problem.

-He seemed understandably pleased with the idea that 30 minutes of new music would be included in the November DVD. Other movies just take music from other scenes and ‘paste’ it into a new situation, but not FOTR. Awesome.

-Peter visited the Skywalker Ranch (Who in the what where? Sorry, I’m not a big Star Wars/George Lucas fan). Apparently he met with George Lucas, who was ‘very nice,’ and the technical crew. There was some laughter as Peter told us that the crew helped him out by showing him around and giving him a list of things to buy to facilitate the special effects.

-A lot of praise was given to Andy Serkis because he not only does the voice of Gollum, but acts as the moving model for him as well. That is, Serkis was the one who had the electrodes taped to him and slinked along in Gollum-like fashion against the blue screen.

-Although Shelob will be in ROTK and not TTT, Peter assures us: ‘She’s still there. She’s great.’

-He thinks that TTT, the book, is ‘almost too short’ for a full movie.

-One guy asked Peter: ‘What are you going to do WHEN you win the Oscar for best director?’ [Insert raucous applause here] Peter just chuckled. I don’t recall his exact words, but he basically sounded unsure of winning and remarked that it was an honor to be nominated. Thirteen nominations say a lot.

-A question about Christopher Tolkien seemed to annoy Peter just a little. But Mr. Jackson was very cordial and reasonably explained that the Tolkien’s did not want to be exploited by the movie. There was no contact between himself and Christopher Tolkien; everything was handled by lawyers. Getting the Tolkien estate involved would have been messy anyway because their involvement would have been perceived as an endorsement of the movie, sort of making it into the ‘official’ LOTR movies. Peter argues that it would not have been in anyones best interest to have the Tolkien’s involved because the ‘power of veto’ wouldn’t have been granted to them (e.g. they wouldn’t be able to control who was or was not cast for a certain role.)

*********Fran Walsh*********

She didn’t say very much but she has a very charming way of speaking and a beautiful voice.

-As stated in the ‘General Spoilers’ section, Fran directed the scenes that deal with Smeagol’s transformation into Gollum.

-Fran stated that the script will not be published because of some sort of copyright laws (?). She then went on to say ‘But you can buy it,’ which elicited a lot of laughs.

*********Howard Shore*********

I dont have much on Mr. Shore; he didn’t speak very much, but was seemed like a very pleasant man.

-A club devoted to Mr. Shore was in attendance and they presented him with a plaque thanking him for his music in LOTR.

-He says that he read LOTR in the sixties.

*********Christopher Lee*********

Great voice, great wardrobe, great sense of humor, great guy. Sigh. I love him. Did I mention he was great?

-The moderator, while doing introductions, made a funny comment about how Christopher ‘scared the hell out of [him].’ Someone, I don’t remember who, said that it was Saruman’s ‘hands’ that were scary. Chris then hovered his hand over his water bottle a la Saruman’s hand over the palantir. Very convincing and completely hilarious.

-As many of us already know, he is a long-time reader of Tolkien and has read LOTR annually since they were first published. He also met Tolkien once, ‘by chance,’ and ‘it was all [he] could do to keep [himself] from kneeling.’

-He was very affable and heaped praise on the cast and crew. He said he ‘[couldn’t] imagine anyone else playing those roles.’

-Christopher also praised New Line Cinema for bankrupting itself’ in order to produce the films. The moderator then asked us to ‘give a hand for bankruptcy,’ and we heartily cheered.

-He firmly stated, and reiterated, that there is absolutely no way of comparing LOTR with Star Wars. He was very humorous as he pointed out some of their differences, which I can’t readily recall, sorry.

-The moderator asked which set (Star Wars or LOTR) had better food. The answer: the set of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Thus ends my account of the event. I had a great time. Hope you enjoyed.


– arien