Brian Sibley, whos credits include The Film Art Cover Box set of LOTR and The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide, recently held a small Q&A session and Shelagh has the transcript for us!

Irascian: Do you have any plans to do speaking in the US?

Brian Sibley: I was asked to go to Comi-con, but my publisher decided it was too expensive especially7 with my last book being almost a year old by then! However, I may be coming to the US in December (still not sure) to promote the NEXT book about the films.

Lithilien Quicksilver: Hullo, Brian. If you do come in Dec., do you know where you will be? I assume either NY or LA?

Brian Sibley (Irascian answering): Brian says If he comes it will be 6 cities including the two you mention. It’s basically one day in a city, one day’s flying for 12 days. But it’s a question of whether I can manage it because I should be working on the third book ROTK in December.

Primula: Brian, welcome! What started you in this – was it the radio adaptation work or something before that?

Brian Sibley: Long before the radio series! When I first read THE HOBBIT when I was 11 or 12 and then (ten years later read TLOTR): that – coupled with seeing the Ralph Bakshi film – kept my interest – no, PASSION! – for JRRT’s books on the boil — and then I heard that PJ was going to film the LOTR with MY Frodo as his Bilbo! How could I resist begging and pleading with HarperCollins to let me write the books about the film?

StefBaggins: How are the sales going for the Official Guide, and is it what you expected?

Brian Sibley: What did I expect??? Sixteen weeks on the New York Times ‘Best-Seller’ List getting to No. 2 was a very pleasing thing to happen – but I’m still waiting to earn some royalties: probably because my % is rather small — but who cares about Dragon-gold or Orc-hordes!

Goldilocks Brownlock: I very much enjoyed your book! It had quite a bit much more information and covered areas (such as the dialog coaching) that I hadn’t thought about. It was very well laid out too, quite easy to read, and lovely photos. Do you do your own layout or do you have a designer to work with at HM? I’m looking forward to the next book very much! 🙂

Brian Sibley: I have a designer. And if you think the first book has a lot of behind the scenes information, you ain’t seen nothing yet. There will be a lot more stuff in the next book TTT.

Dandy: Before I bombard you with my questions, welcome to the PP Now Can I throw them at you. If there is one scene you would do over again- for the radio program what would it be and why.. If you could add a new scene what would that be. and a thank you for the wonderful book…and for the ones coming out in the future.. Sitting back with a Spatan to await the answers.. Welcome again Dandy Baggins

Brian Sibley: Yes! The final battle at Bag End. It was supposed to be the Battle of Bywater (as in the book). But the closing episodes were over-running and cuts had to be made – so, overnight, I re-wrote the episode to include the fight AT Bag End! It was never quite the way I wanted… And as for a NEW scene — why, yes! TOM BOMBADIL! Then people wouldn’t keep asking why I left him out!! Actually, I later dramatised Tom’s exploits in TALES OF THE PERILOUS REALM (See BBC Tapes), but I wished he’d been there to start with…

Tinidril: Concerning some of the content of future Movie Guides, Hi and welcome to this online madness!! It seems that most the basic topics of movie making were covered in the FOTR Movie Guide, will you be covering any of these same topics in more detail in subsequent uides since all three movies were filmed at the same time? Things such as the Weta Workshop, language and speech coaching, scenery, sets, etc… Or, will there be totally new topics? (besides the additional actor bios) Thank you so much and God bless! from a grateful 3-yr. charter member of the fan club, Tinidril

Brian Sibley: Some new topics… Some dealt with in OMG but now explored in greater detail: lots of stuff on make-up and costume (How do you give Grima dandruff? Why is Gandalf’s hat kept in a dustbin?) as well as such things as an account of Howard Shore’s music for TFOTR.

Hobbitlove: How much input did PJ have on the book, where you under certain restrictions as to what you put in the book?

Brian Sibley: Peter spared what time he could while I was in NZ . And, yes, of course there were limitations on what I coulkd talk about – or SHOW! Hence no pix of Gollum in the first book – or the Balrog. The next book will be quite different with much more info and (I hope) insight into the film-makinh process.

Yavanna Kementari: hullo Brian, i was wondering, about how long did it take for the BBC Radio adaption to be completed? I think that it’s brilliant!!

Brian Sibley: Years! Well from the day that I first read LOTR . But I took two or three months to write the sysnopsis for the original 26 (later 13) episodes and 6 months to write the episodes and another 4 to record. Glad you enjoyed it!

deliz: Do you have any sneak-peeks or news you can give us? Hints? ANYTHING? 🙂

Brian Sibley: What can I tell you? You’ll love seeing the transformation of Smeagol into Gollum after the murder of Deagol as he goes further and further into the passageways beneath the Misty Mountains; you’ll love the Battle of Healm’s Deep and the transition of Gandalf the Grey into Gandalf the White – oh, yes, and seeing Grima Wormtongue and the fabulous scene in which Gandalf liberates King Theoden from Grima (and Saruman’s) power… There’s so much to look forward to – Treebeard… Well, you KNOW and, like me, can’t wait! The new book also tells you how Weta produced a ARTIFICIAL Boromir for that scene where he goes over the falls of Rauros! Loadsa goodies! Promise!

Sauron’s Truss: Do you think HM and yourself might include a ref to the incredible upwelling of fan support in one of the upcoming guides?

Brian Sibley (Irascian answering): Brian says there will be some public response and fan response in “The making of a film trilogy” (the title of the next book). It also opens with a description of the premiere in London and ends with a selection of critical responses from around the world.

Arwenbloomer: Do you know of any plans to have some convetions or talks in Toronto Canada??

Brian Sibley (Irascian answering): Brian says he doesn’t know of any conventions/visits to Canada

Eridana… What is it like watching someone adapting something that you did yourself?

Brian Sibley: Fascinating! I envied Peter Jackson being able to do things I couldn’t do in sound – the Balrog for example – but I was lucky in being able to include many of the songs and poems that would have slowed down the visuals!

Hobbitlove: How long where you in NZ?

Brian Sibley (Ironscan answering): How long was Brian in NZ? Answer: 6 weeks.

Garoc: Do you think Peter Jackson has drew some inspiration for his adaption from your BBC adaption?

Brian Sibley (Ian answering): Brian says Many of the cast, executives, technical crew etc listened to the series as a way of getting to know the story. Sean Astin told me that the two most helpful pieces of research in his process of getting to understand the character were Alan Lee’s illustrations and my radio version.

Rosie: It is such a pleasure to have you Brian. You must be getting hungry with all this typing!! ::offers a slice of fresh strawberry pie, and a mug of ale:: It is wonderful of you to take the time to visit us here in the Prancing Pony. Ian has been great to fill me in on some of the background into the making of the BBC production.

It has been an incredible experience to have another window into Middle Earth, via the BBC radio production. It is a piece of art in itself. The new
prologue done by Ian Holm, as well as the extra CD are fantastic, and I don’t go a day without at least listening to the music.

My question is: What was your first introduction to Tolkien, Hobbits, and LOTR, and how did it affect your life. Thank You again Brian!! (((((((((Brian Sibley))))))) It is an honor to have you with us!!

Brian Sibley: Hi, Rosie, and thank YOU! For your enthusiasm AND for the fab picture which you sent of the hobbits in the Prancing Pony. I love it! First read THE HOBBIT, the all the short fiction: Farmer Giles, Tom Bombadil, etc – but I found LOTR VERY hard to get to grips with. Then when I was 21, I was in hospital for 4 weeks and finally got to read The Big One! Yes, it has changed my life and I have been very, very lucky…

Primula: Do you have a background in journalism or writing – or was this a “new” career for you?

Brian Sibley: I started writing for radio 25 years ago and will give a list of all my publications eg CS Lewis Narnia, Winnie the Pooh, film animation etc.