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Archive for July, 2003

Blockbuster LOTR Deal

Witness writes: I was just at one of the Blockbuster Stores in Sioux City, IA, and they are offering a deal like they did last year with The Fellowship of the Ring. For $29.99, you get 7 rentals over 7 weeks and a copy of TTT when it is released. The manager told me that it was started on Tuesday nationwide, and that if someone has already ordered TTT from Blockbuster, they can upgrade to the deal. The sign out from says it is a deal worth over $50 for only $29.99.

Posted in Old Main News Goes Geek

Brown Radagast writes: has a promotional streaming video of some TTT special (.wmv format) which they offer you if you pre-order either of The Two Towers dvds (theater or extended edition). [TTT: EE DVD]

Posted in Old Main News

John Rhys-Davies Q&A at GenCon 2003

A HUGE Thanks to HannColl for getting this JRD Transcript down on paper for us! [More]

Posted in Old Main News

John Rhys-Davies Q&A at GenCon 2003

A HUGE Thanks to HannColl for getting this JRD Transcript down on paper for us! Take a look at part II

Click here for part I

Question: My father is into the really old vintage cars, like from the ’50s, like Thunderbirds. I was wondering what your favorite kind of car was.

JRD: Well, you know, for some of us the old vintage cars were a little bit earlier than the ’50s (laughter) I’m a 40’s vintage myself. But as Indiana says, it’s not the year; it’s the mileage, isn’t it? (laughter) There was a period when America made the best cars in the world, unquestionably. I think really that from about 1924 to about the mid-30s they were the best cars in the world. The best design.

Even the Rolls-Royces, the Springfield Rolls-Royces, were just I think the most elegant of all the Rolls-Royces. I’m still a British sports car fan, I mean the Triumphs, the TR-2s and 3s, and I have a Jensen Interceptor convertible as well, which is American power train and Italian design and English construction. It’s a real abortion, in fact, now that you think about it. (laughter) Um, but my favorite American car would probably.oh, I don’t know; I mean there’s so many of them, I mean the Duesenbergs and the [inaudible].I mean, just breathtakingly beautiful things. But practically.yeah, a T-Bird would be nice. I like the new T-Bird; have you seen the new T-Bird? Oh, I’d love to have one. If Father Christmas is nice to me this year (looks up) Are you listening up there? (laughter) You could give me a wee T-Bird. (laughter)

Question: This charming young woman had a question for you that she wanted to give you, so uh, having been immortalized in film several times over, was it a new experience for you to become an interactive character in a video game?

JRD: Well, video games are extraordinary things, aren’t they? I’m not very good with those interactive games basically because I’m not very good with computers.

I’ve had every damned Macintosh and then before that I had a Sinclair, and we had the Acorn, the BBC Acorn before, but the Sinclair was 1980, wasn’t it? 1981? But I realized that.I don’t even know why I bother to upgrade these things, because all I use it for is basically a word processor. And I’m a hunt-and-peck man anyway, so (demonstrates typing with two fingers) (laughter) I’m in agony. It’s agonizing; it takes me a day to write a letter. I need a secretary. I need someone who writes fast (several audience members raise their hands to volunteer for the position) Oh! (laughter)

Moderator: I think you’ll find no shortage of volunteers (laughter)

JRD: But I tell you what, I did once see a keyboard that I’m told was developed by an actor. Unfortunately what they wanted to do was to sort of own everything, all the rights and the marketing rights. It was an amazing thing. It consisted of six keys and you could do everything with six keys, and the keyboard was actually shaped like that (holds up hand in palm-out position with fingers spread) with a command key I said, six keys. So the vowels were (counts off on fingers) a, e, I, o, u. L, if you looked at it was actually like that (holds up thumb and first finger in L position). You could learn the keyboard – I learned the keyboard in 45 minutes. I’d never been able to type so fast as with that little keyboard. And it’s so interesting because it’s one of those little inventions that should’ve swept the world, and because of wrong decisions and bad marketing, no one’s ever heard of it and no one’s seen it. It is better to own 2 percent of $100,000,000 than 100 percent of nothing. Bear that in mind when you’re brilliant and innovative, because this thing should’ve swept the world. I can’t even remember what the name of it was now, and I’ve got two, but they don’t work anymore because you can’t get batteries. But God, they were good. And..what was the question, anyway? (laughter)

Question: The question was about becoming an interactive character in a video game and the difference from being immortalized on film.

JRD: Well, I suppose the difference is that you could end dying in a film in which you hadn’t actually thought about dying in. But, you lose control of it, I suppose.

You just say the lines and the computer wizards do what they do and you have lost the character. I mean, your character is somebody else’s imagining. But it’s all right.why not? There are 2,000 different ways that we can explore the world of entertainment and delight ourselves; let’s do it.

Question: Actually I have two questions. The first might be lengthy, but.when you were playing Gimli, how did you end up playing Treebeard as well and what did you do to make them two separate characters? And the other question is, a group of us have a birthday card for Billy Boyd and we would like to know if you would sign it for us.

JRD: It would be my pleasure to sign a card for Billy Boyd. (mumbles) Bloody little hobbit gets more bloody parties than I’ve ever had. (laughter) Bloody hobbits, they get everywhere, don’t they? (Gimli voice) But you’ve got to be nice to them because they’re hobbits. No one ever stomped on a hobbit and got away with it. (laughter) It’s the pity factor. (laughter) (regular voice) But anyway, um.yeah, do you want me to sign that damned card? (laughter) (signs card) Now the other question.well

Peter just said to me one day, ‘Do you want to do the voice of Treebeard as well?’ and I said ‘Oh, yes, go on.’ I have never had more trouble with a character than that, ’cause when you read it, I see this works in my imagining but gosh did it feel risky and dangerous because there’s a cartoon quality about [Treebeard], you know, the walking talking tree and how do you make him real? How do you make him believable? I mean, how does a tree talk? So we tried everything; we spent hours and hours of trying to sort of (demonstrates) breathe on the intake. Oh, and he’s slow, I mean he’s slow.and how the hell do you make that work on film? In film, we get it instantly – ‘OK, it’s a slow character, what’s he say? Next!’

So, one has to get the suggestion of the’s a very slow mental process that he is.delving into – he’s the oldest living thing on Earth. He remembers more than any of us ever will. And to get that over and at the same time have the age of the character and have the energy, the elemental rage of the character sometimes.Well, we tried everything. We tried.I wanted to make a layered effect of the (demonstrates) deep rumbling sounds and then (demonstrates) leaves just whishing away in the wind and layer them all together we tried it and it was just muddied. In the end we went back to our very early experiment of just almost doing it straight. And then the thing was to make it not sound too much like Gimli. The other thing is of course because he is a moving tree, he might have bits of accents from different parts of the country, and we tried it that way, with a bit of Lancashire and a bit of West Country and a bit of Wales and a bit of Scots. And with all these experiments they were interesting but in the end you have to make a decision. And if it works, I take full credit, and if it doesn’t work, blame Peter Jackson! (laughter and applause)

Question: My question actually goes back to Wales since you obviously have a strong identity with Wales and somewhat with Celts in general. How do you feel about the current drive, however limited, in Scotland for political autonomy from England? Do you see that as being at all realistic or would you in Wales see anything of that sort being attempted?

JRD: No, in Wales we really are quite adamant that.really don’t see ourselves as.we are an independent people anyway, we are an independent culture, we have our own language. We certainly don’t see the breakup of the United Kingdom as being a benefit to anybody, and we see it as a real disadvantage, actually. Scots independence? I might make sense for them, but I think it’s a disaster for the rest of us, really. Do you realize how much blood was shed uniting the kingdom? I don’t know; I see that there’s a process going on in Europe of breaking Britain down into sort of small, easily-divided communities and I think this is very deliberately designed to eliminate Britain from having any real say in Europe. But I’m talking politics now and I shouldn’t be talking politics, but I think it’s a disaster.

Question: You said before that at RADA you wasted your time there, and I was wondering if that was just a personal thing because I was actually thinking of applying at RADA.

JRD: Well, you should do it because you are intelligent, bright and will be very successful. I was an idiot who didn’t know how to learn to rehearse. (laughter) Rehearsal was that awkward period between reading the script and getting out there and doing it. There’s a difference between performers and real actors and I’ve got a lot of that performer in me. Real actors love the rehearsal period, and I sort of just get antsy just practicing [inaudible] and things like that.

There’s a compulsive chemistry that happens when the camera is rolling or when you’re onstage with a real audience and then you really have to burn energy and I find it easy in performance and I don’t much care for it in rehearsal. But then, I’m not a real actor by that definition. Ian loves rehearsal. He probably loves rehearsal.well, maybe I should leave it for him to say, but I suspect that he’s one of the sort of actors who actually prefers the rehearsal period to the actual performing, which is perverse, but. (laughter) [inaudible] is a bit peculiar.

But do go to RADA; it’s a very good school. But use the time there. I mean, do all the things that you don’t like doing. I remember Richard Harris saying, “For God’s sake, when you get there, do some singing, do some dancing, even if you never intend to do a musical,” he said, “because sometimes they ask you to do one.” And he was quite good, actually. I hated singing and dancing. I got thrown out of my makeup class basically because I was very shortsighted at the time and had these big glasses. I’d take the glasses off and put the makeup on couldn’t see a damned thing so you just thicken the lines up until you actually sort of looked like a bit of a gargoyle, really. They thought I was taking the mickey. But good luck; go there. I give you a future star. (applause)

[Transcriber’s note: at this point Sean Astin came onto the stage and fell to his knees before JRD, then bent and kissed his foot. He then stood up and the two embraced.]

(cheers and applause)

JRD: I give you a future Oscar nominee (cheers, SA shakes his head ‘no’), future president of the Screen Actors’ Guild (more cheers, SA gives a ‘sounds good’ nod) a future Governor of California (cheers, SA pumps his fist in the air) and a candidate for the [presidency] of the United States. (loud cheers)

SA, in Sallah voice: Indy! They are digging in the wrong place! (laughter) (sings a bit from Sallah’s song) .bad dates. (laughter and applause) (regular voice) I would do that on the set every time that John came on and finally one day, after the 4,000th time I did that he said (JRD voice) ‘you know Sean, my dear boy, it borders on parody’. (laughter and applause)

JRD: And if you CAN slip them Orlando Bloom’s phone number (cheers, one audience member yells ‘we don’t want it!’) it would really piss him off. (laughter)

Moderator: One last round of applause for John Rhys-Davies (loud cheers and applause)

Posted in Old Special Reports

John Rhys-Davies Q&A at GenCon 2003

A HUGE Thanks to HannColl for getting this JRD Transcript down on paper for us! Take a look at part I

(JRD comes onstage unannounced to cheers and applause)

GenCon Moderator: Well, he’s pre-empted me, but I suppose that goes without saying. John Rhys-Davies, everyone! (cheers and applause)

(JRD starts to speak into the microphone, but the moderator, whose back is to JRD, cuts him off)

Moderator: Well, what we’re going to do here today is uh .if you folks have some questions you want to ask him, there’s a microphone back there, and if you could go back there and form an orderly line we could slowly incorporate your questions as well as some of the questions I’ll be asking him. Welcome.

JRD, setting microphone down on table: Do I have to use this damned mike? Can you hear? Why don’t you all come a bit closer, hey? Come on!

Moderator, indicating catwalk part of the stage: Would you prefer just to come out here, sir?

JRD: Yeah!

Moderator: Why don’t we move the table out of your way and you can come out here? (GenCon people move the table to the side.)

JRD, using microphone anyway: All right, so who’s got the first damned fool question? Oops! (covers his mouth in mock-embarrassment) (laughter)

And let me go ahead and give you an answer ahead: Girls – I do not have Orlando Bloom’s phone number. (laughter) If I had it, however, I would indeed give it to you and to the world. And yes, I do know who Sean Astin is. (cheers) And incidentally, I should talk about Sean Astin, I kind of placed a small bet on Sean getting a nomination for his hard work. (loud cheers) An absolutely marvelous performance, and when you see it, take along a handkerchief to the cinema with you because it’s very moving, very moving.

All right (mock-frustration) well, come on, ask some questions, for God’s sake!

Question: Are you going to do Sallah for the next Indiana Jones movie, when it’s being done?

JRD: I’ve been asked that same question probably every year since 1988, and I suspect I shall be asked that question next year and then the year after that and the year after that. (laughter) IF they make a new one and IF it relates in any way to Egypt and the best digger in Cairo (laughter), um, IF I’m still alive, if Harrison Ford and I have not been moved into the geriatric ward (laughter), yes, I would love to do it. [inaudible] I would imagine that Paramount probably sends a very nice food hamper to each of those guys every Christmas, begging them to do another one, but I don’t really have any certain news about it.

Moderator: [Asks people to ask their questions into the microphone.]

JRD mock-mumbles and complains to nearby audience members.

Moderator: Is it safe to say you have a rebellious nature?

JRD: What? Who’s a stinker? (laughter)

Moderator: I was just speaking of your rebellious nature.

JRD: What? I don’t have a rebellious nature! (laughter) I’m the most conforming bloody dwarf you’ve ever met! (laughter)

Moderator: What kind of preparation did you do for the role? I mean, knowing that you have local fan collectees that have sort of protective instincts toward the character that they love:

JRD: Never mind about protective instincts; what about my knees? (laughter)

Question: Hey, John?

JRD: Yeah?

Question (from a young boy): I had heard that like you and everyone else in the fellowship got like a tattoo, and I wanted to know what it was and where it is? (laughter)

JRD: Dear, evil child. (laughter) if I had a tattoo for every movie that I’ve done, I would be a walking billboard. (laughter) And if you think I’m going to allow myself to have my skin pierced by a drunken Maori with a filthy needle, you are insane! (laughter) I did what any real actor does when faced with a stunt with real danger – I sent my stunt double. (laughter). And, frankly, I don’t CARE where he has his tattoo. (laughter) But nice question.

Question: Well, speaking of Orlando Bloom.(laughter, JRD rolls his eyes in mock exasperation) I think that it would be really great if they made the Hobbit with him playing Thranduil and you playing Gloin. Would you be interested in playing Gloin, your father, if they made the Hobbit?

JRD: I would not take a prosthetic part again for all the money in Hollywood. I would like to have a face. It gives me a complete skin peel every time I put it on, and it’s too much suffering. I’m not interested in that anymore. On the other hand, I am prepared for not an inconsiderable amount of money to give Legolas’s father. (laughter) I think I could do that; long wig. (JRD nances around the stage to laughter and applause) Or maybe Legolas’s mother if I have to. (laughter)

Moderator: The makeup was really that much trouble for you?

JRD: Oh, I hate that makeup.

Moderator: How long did you have to sit in the chair and do whatever it was to have them put.

JRD: Well, we got it down to about five hours, but that’s not the end of it, you see, because it takes.I mean right at the end of the day it takes virtually another hour to get it off, and you’ve got somebody fussing around in your face for at least eight hours a day.

Mod: What did you do during those five hours?

JRD: Well, you can’t do anything. You sit there and you have to remain awake because you’ve got to lift your eyes up and turn left and right and all that sort of thing. It’s very tedious. And you know, after about 50, 55 minutes it would start itching and you just have to sit there and try not to want to scratch, and that makes you insane. But actually on the very last day of pick-up shots.which I did actually just about three weeks ago I did actually hit on the real solution. I borrowed a couple of Valium from a friend (laughter) so the two Valium, the antihistamine, the aspirin and the Tylenol combined well and actually I had the first uninterrupted day of delight because I was sort of out of my mind. (laughter). If only I’d discovered that combination beforehand I would’ve been great. But you know, the skin cracks and you literally lose all the skin around your eyes and it gets worse each time and it’s getting further and further into the cheeks. So really, I wouldn’t do it again.

Mod: You mentioned that your knees were giving you trouble for the role?

JRD: My knees? Well, because I spent all my time on my knees all the time. Either that or there’d be somebody up here and I’d be down there, you know. (to audience member going to his seat nearby) Come, come here, my dear fellow (man doesn’t notice JRD speaking to him) Oh never mind.but anyway, uh, yes I spent a lot of time on my knees and that was AFTER getting the job (mock-groans and laughter from the audience) but it was.not good. I would demonstrate but it’s a brand-new suit. But I mean, you try fighting on your knees with an axe. You just swing that axe and bang, straight headfirst into the mud. (laughter) That was the first shot, first day. (laughter) First discovery that all that training with axe-work made no use whatsoever. Complete waste of time. Oh well.

Mod: You had a lot of time training with the axe then?

JRD: With the accent?

Mod: Uh, yeah.

JRD: Well, I just copied Sean Connery (laughter). Oh, did you say the axe or the accent?

Mod: Well, I said the axe, but you took the accent, so.

JRD: Oh all right then.

Mod: Next question here:

Question: Um, I heard that each of the cast members got to take home a prop from the set. Which prop did you get to take home:

JRD: They actually gave me my axe, (applause) which was rather lovely. The only snag is they had to send it home because you can’t really take an axe on an airplane, you see. I don’t know why (laughter). I mean, well just think about it. You wanted to hijack a plane, you know, an axe isn’t actually your first weapon of choice. (laughter) (Demonstrates in Gimli accent) ‘Oh, one moment while I get my actually this is my cousin Balin’s axe, and I’m gonna hold your plane for ransom!’ (laughter) Wouldn’t quite work. So it’s um.I hope it gets there because the two other things that they sent along as well, they’ve arrived but the axe hasn’t arrived. (‘ohh’s from the audience) But I’m hoping, I’m hoping that it will turn up. Her Majesty’s customs in England are probably saying “oh, this is a pretty suspicious-looking axe.” You know, trying it out, chopping wood somewhere. But ah well, there you are.

Question: I know you really get tired of hearing all this about Orlando, and you really need to know that there’s a lot of us who think that dwarves are quite hot. (cheers from other audience members)

JRD (in Gimli voice): I’ll see you later. (laughter)

Question: But my question. those of us who spend way too much time on the internet noticed that you get asked, or all the actors, get asked a lot of the same questions over and over again and so I just wondered what you wished fans or journalists would ask you about.

JRD: Well, I mean there’s a difference between fans and journalists; there’s a difference between talking about the film, which I think is one of the great pictures of all-time (applause and cheers). But the question I’d like to get asked is ‘Does it mean anything?’ and uh, I suspect it does. I think that Tolkien is a man living in a particular age of crisis and his life is quite uneventful, really, except for the fact that he’s a captain in the First World War. He was at the first battle of the Somme. The British army in the first DAY of the first battle of the Somme I think probably had 20,000 dead and maybe 60 or 80,000 wounded. And that was the first day. You don’t go through that sort of furnace without having to ask yourself questions: Why are we fighting? Is the cause we’re fighting for a just one? How can I justify the deaths of those men that I’m leading? And I think that

Tolkien found a justification for it. His justification is that there are certain times when your civilization is challenged and if you do not meet that challenge and overcome it, you will lose your civilization.

And I think that there’s a terrible resonance between that period of time and our period now. I do think that our civilization is being challenged. We’ve been challenged internally because I think we’ve lost so much character, moral fiber, decency, integrity, and I think it’s being challenged partly, because we have lost those, externally by fundamental Islam. And I think that if we do not pull ourselves together and recognize that that challenge is there, we’re going to end up with people taking a hammer to the Pieta and to know, defacing pictures and portraits in the National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

But you Americans I think are further along the way of realizing that. I actually think that you’re morally a stronger country than Britain is. I’m appalled by what I see in England these days. There was a time when an Englishman’s word was his bond and an Englishman didn’t steal. Even Welshmen. (laughter) The little town where I live in Wales, well not far from where I used to live in Wales, has one of the highest rates of carjacking in the world. More cars are stolen from Exely and Swansea and places like that than almost any other part of the world, including Bogotá and places like that. I’m ashamed and embarrassed by that but you, know unless we start to affirm that we are not going to steal, that we will not put up with theft, that we will not put up with drug-taking, we will lose our society, and then perhaps it will be for the best that fundamental Islam, which forbids these things, sweeps across the world. I personally dread that thought. I hope one day that I will have great-granddaughters and I am very adamant and determined that one should not lose one’s daughter’s fingernails to the local Taliban if she dares to paint them.

The resonance between Lord of the Rings and present time is that we need people of courage to take the real challenge to our civilization and meet it head-on and win.

And that is a very unpopular cause, often, and it is very easy to say ‘Oh, let somebody else do it’. And that is one of the questions that I wish somebody would ask. At least, one of the answers that I would give to one of the questions that I wish someone would ask (applause).

Mod: Well, I think you’re right and I hate to have to go back to what seems kinda frivolous (inaudible) but I know we have some more questions, so is there one there?

Question: Yeah. Uh, not to take away from the strong words you just said, but uh, I came here this weekend with the intention of saying just one thing to you.”Cairo!”

JRD: Was that ‘Cairo’ (laughter) City of the living. (applause) I like Cairo. Has anyone here been to the Cairo Museum? Oh, God, the stuff in there is just amazing. Including a copy of that head of Nefertiti.does anyone know that beautiful head of Nefertiti? (audience members say yes) You just know that the sculptor was so in love with his subject . just that probably artificial elongation of her neck to counterbalance that headpiece. Did anyone see that program which suggests that they may have found Nefertiti’s body? (a few audience members say yes) Yeah, it’s very sad, what happened to her. And Akhenaten, what a strange man. Yes, sorry?

Mod Question: You seem to have a fondness for your background, where you came from in Wales, and I had a chance to go out there myself. What’s your favorite place in Wales to be?

JRD: Well I love’s where my spiritual and human roots come from, so I have an affinity there. They’re surprisingly loyal to me there as a Welshman, some of them. The Celts are a BAD people really (laughter). There’s a saying in the Isle of Man, for instance which is the same, again, a Celtic people. They talk of the manx crab. When you go crabbing you get a bucket full of crabs and there’s one at the top and it’s trying to haul itself out and it’ll just about get over the rim of the bucket and then another crab pulls it back in. And there’s a curiously self-destructive quality about Celts, quite exemplified by Dylan Thomas and to a certain extent by Burton. The Celts often start off by shouting “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me, I’m a genius” and then when everyone is looking at them they go “Oh my God, everyone’s looking at me”. (laughter) “Now, watch me destroy my genius!” It’s a sad thing.

Mod Question: Well, with such a love of Wales, I’m curious what actually ended up bringing you over to the US and when you came over for the first time and what that was like for you. Was it culture shock, or.?

JRD: Well, you know, in my holidays when I was in Wales, I spent my short holidays in Wales with my grandmother and my Auntie Meggie. And I used to try to go to the movies as often as possible and they used to change the movies every three days in Wales. So there were three cinemas in the town and they’d show a different film on Sunday so I’d sometimes manage to persuade my grandmother that the best thing I could do was to just slip out of the house of an evening and I’d go sometimes to see six different films in a week. I knew Hollywood and America better than you guys did (laughter) as did Tony Hopkins, and most of us did actually. But coming here has been a hugely rewarding experience just in terms of work alone, but I grew to love America and Americans, and I have the greatest respect for you people.

Mod: So it was film and TV that brought you over originally?

JRD: Yes, I should’ve come over after I did Shelton actually, but I came over to do a little television series called “The Quest” which lasted one season and then got bucketed and they didn’t like it or something like that. But it was very nice.

Great times. And I’ve driven America which I love to do.I love long safaris by car. And I’ve had some great safaris. Actually in two separate trips I’ve driven really from the cape to Cairo and I have certainly driven you know (inaudible) to Cape Town a few times and driven up into ( ) coast. When I did that film with Virginia Hey, the Bond film, I had 21 days between Vienna and Morocco and just drove; got in a car and just drove; just a wonderful time. So, I’ve done Virginia to Vancouver; I’ve done London to.ah, what am I talking about, I’ve done New York to L.A., I’ve done Chicago to LA. I’ve done a few cross-countries.

Mod: You’ve adopted the love of the car that the Americans have.

JRD: Ah, I love it, yeah! And I love your cars, too!

Question: Yeah, getting back.not that your telling all about your life and where you came from and your roots is not very interesting, I love hearing about it. But back to the movies.(laughter) Gimli seems to be the butt of a lot of jokes…

JRD, in Gimli voice: WHAT? (laughter)

Question. especially in the Two Towers and it’s a little bit bothersome to me. I hate to see the jokes at the expense of Gimli. Some of the funny lines are great, like the dwarf-tossing lines are just wonderful, but some of them I don’t like and I wondered how you feel about that, and in Return of the King, are we gonna see Gimli as less a comic relief an more of a serious warrior character?

JRD, in Gimli voice: Ah, you’re astounding me, that people could be laughing at a dwarf?! (laughter) Oh, dear me, this is shocking news; I don’t know how to reevaluate this but. (regular voice) well, there’s probably something structural in filmmaking that .if you look at the way that Tolkien wrote the book, and you realize, he sold the rights I think for 100 pounds, ’cause he didn’t think anyone could make a movie out of it. And what’s the plot of Lord of the Rings? Well, nice things happen and then something unpleasant happens and things look a bit gloomy, and then worse things happen and things look worse and then there’s a fight and things look bad. And there’s another fight and it swells into a battle and things look even worse after that. Now, after the next battle, things look really, really bad and THEN, there’s another battle. (laughter) And um, it’s hard to make a film like that without being able to sort of modulate the amount of tension in it. And one of the vectors, we decided, had to be Gimli.

I think you’ll find that part three isn’t really Gimli’s story . well, neither were part two and part one, now that I think about it! (laughter). “John, it’s not about a dwarf.” But um, I think you’ll see a bit more of the Legolas/Gimli friendship (applause) and the great camaraderie between them I mean, it looks as if they are going to die together, and it looks pretty darn grim, but you know one of the reasons we love Gimli is, he doesn’t realize he’s small. (laughter) So it’s when he’s running across country with Strider and with this immortal elf that it occurs to him that short legs are an evolutionary disadvantage. (laughter.) (Switches to Gimli voice, panting) We dwarfs are wasted on cross-country. We’re natural sprinters. (laughter and applause) (Regular voice) Anyway, thank you for your concern about Gimli.

Question: I wondered if you have any stories about working on Raiders of the Lost Ark? And also, why were you killed off on “Sliders?” (several audience members say ‘yeah!’)

JRD: I’m told that legally I mustn’t talk about “Sliders” too much because otherwise I shall end up getting sued, but I think that there was something somewhat strangely repetitive about some of the plots that felt strangely reminiscent of other films that I’ve seen and I just thought that we could do better with “Sliders”. It seemed to me that we could go anywhere in the universe, and because of a concept called ‘relativistic time dilation’ you could actually go anywhere in time as well. Do you understand that? Any physicists here? I bet there are real physicists here. (a couple of audience members raise their hands) Well, if the.correct me WHEN I’m wrong, not IF.(laughter) If the Earth went round the sun just a couple of minutes slower, we would be living in a know, two worlds would be living in completely different sort of evolutionary era, if there were such things as parallel worlds. Because.well, um.well, it’s called ‘relativistic time dilation;’ do look it up! (laughter) We could have gone anywhere in the universe, anywhere in time and we should’ve done better than we did. We should have really explored the possibilities of different ways of living instead of cribbing other people’s plots from other people’s films, basically.

I loved working with the cast; we were all so close together, and yet in the end it seemed to me that. The average American child watches 14 hours of television a week. This gives you an enormous responsibility and if you cannot impart a bit of knowledge and a bit of good judgment along with that in the business of entertaining then it seems to me you’re wasting a) time and b) the very precious life of children (applause). I did not want to play the bad Professor in Lost in Space, which was one of the instructions some idiot gave me – ooh, did I say that out loud? (laughter) Uh, it seemed to me that one of the qualities that Arturo could bring was to show intellectual curiosity and intellectual excitement and of all things intellectual passion seems to me to be most the admirable thing that any teacher can offer any child. There’s an old paradox somewhere in me and one of the reasons why I think I sort of really wanted to make it a more interesting rather than (in deep voice) an evil character. Anyway, so that’s that. So I managed to get fired but believe me, you’ve no idea how hard it is to get fired if you’re really trying.

(laughter) I had to be SO rude to SO many people.and did I enjoy that? (laughter) Yes! Now, uh, Indy.what was the question about Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Moderator: Well, he just asked I think about stories about Raiders of the Lost Ark, if you have any. Any funny stories, behind the scenes.

JRD: Oh. Well, there’s all sorts of extraordinary stories about Raiders of the Lost Ark. My favorite, which I’m not going to tell you, but you must ask Karen Allen about that wonderful night we spent in the car when we broke down in the desert in Africa. And I love Karen Allen; wonderful lady. Uh, what else? She’s gotta tell you the story. And it is not true that I kicked the driver (laughter). Well.maybe not very hard. (laughter) This bloody idiot drives into the desert and suddenly the lights go out; the car stops and the lights go out. So, he gets out and he lifts the bonnet and starts hitting the battery. [I said] ‘What’s the matter?’ (in African accent) ‘Bad connection with the battery.’ I said, ‘Well, why don’t you take a spanner and tighten it up?’ He hadn’t got a spanner. So I said ‘Well, the next village why don’t we just stop and get a spanner and tighten it up.’ So, we go THROUGH the next village. The lights go out again. This happens two or three more times. I am a polite fellow.sometimes (laughter) but I’m trying to explain to him that one of the rules of being in Africa is you do not drive into a desert with a car that’s going to break down! (laughter) Finally we go through another village, it breaks down again, and I said ‘OK, I want to make this clear to you. If this happens again and we cannot get the battery started, you are going to have to walk back. I don’t care how far we are, I’m going to kick you out of this car and you’re going to have to go back, because this is what’s going to happen: you are hitting the terminal of the battery with your shoe. The terminal of the battery will detach itself and go into the plate of the actual battery and you will have ruined the battery and we will be stuck.’ Well, five miles along, lights go out again, car cuts out. He gets out, he lifts the bonnet, he takes his shoe off and hits the battery again, and guess what? (laughter) Terminal breaks off and goes into the battery, I get out of the car and I do kick him. (laughter and applause) So we had 24 (Tabs?) in the back of the car, and Karen and I spent a wonderful night in the desert singing all the bad songs we could find and having a marvelous time until, alas, we got rescued.

Question: I had another question, but he made me go back to the end of the line. The question is, there are people here from, which is Sam Gamgee’s official fan club. And we of course are excited to ask you questions but also to ask Sean questions, and we were wondering if you could give us any idea of something that we could ask Sean about that maybe nobody’s heard of that might bring us a bit of a laugh?

(JRD mock-glares. Laughter)

JRD (in Gollum voice) Dirty, stinking little hobbits! (laughter) (regular voice) Uh, you understand that I .the hobbits tended to work together. I had to spend my time in makeup, that’s all. (laughter) So, uh, all I can say is that they all displayed remarkable qualities and remarkable courage. I remember one time Sean had to go sort of rushing into this boggy water and there was this stalk underneath the water that went right through this artificial foot that he’d had put on and right into him. And, I mean, it was really quite a serious injury and he gamely plodded on and finished the shot and then was airlifted to a hospital or something like that. He was.I don’t really have any difficult, embarrassing questions. (audience awwws) He was there with his wife and his newborn and then there was another newborn coming along. Uh, he worked hard, he was a good family man; he loves and adores his family and rightly so; they’re fabulous. I think his eldest daughter is what, she must be getting on to nine now or something like that – nine going on about ninety-eight, dispensing advice to all of us men I think at the age of six or something like that. Um, I’ve got no difficult or embarrassing questions for Sean.

Darn! I wish I’d had notice of that; I could’ve made something up. (laughter) There must be some scandal that I can ferment here (laughter), all I can tell you is you’re looking at, I think an Oscar nominee (applause), I think uh.a future head of the Screen Actors’ Guild (applause and cheers), maybe a future Governor of California (cheers), and who knows?

Question: OK, getting back to “Sliders” (laughter) Earlier today my wife and her friend got your autograph, and I had the privilege of asking you about the final episode that you were in of “Sliders”, that you had a story credit for. And you mentioned that they didn’t actually use your story idea.

JRD: Uh, well, they took bits of it. Um, the story I had was basically that the sliders had landed on a world where there had been a nuclear winter brought on remember Schumacher-Levy hit Jupiter, didn’t it? In this particular universe, I was predicating that it had perhaps hit Earth and that created a nuclear winter and that essentially there was apparently no life on earth and then they got.but they managed to find themselves quite close to a Motorola factory or.and there was a huge pile of chips there and the professor and Quinn had decided that one of the characteristics of the device that they use to jump from world to world was due to a particular quirk of a chip and they worked through this huge pile of chips and actually found another chip that would get them directed back to the world where they wanted to be. At this point they were contacted by a sort of military recon group that was trying to put together all the survivors, and they realized that what they could do was to take all the survivors from.and there weren’t that another world by using this chip but by scaling it up.but by scaling it up so that in fact you held the wormhole open for a sufficient period of time so that you would literally drive a convoy of cars through it. The problem would be, of course, that the life of the chip would be infinitely reduced if it was opened on that sort of scale. And it was basically finding the right world, finding the opportunity to get through and there were one or two disastrous things because people wanted to bring through things that they shouldn’t take through to the next world and ended up kidnapping a couple of the sliders and we had to wait to find them and sort things out, at which point of course the wormhole burned out. We had got through but we were back in the same place again. That was basically the story that I wanted to write.

What we ended up doing was.see there is this characteristic of Hollywood which is so dumb and irritating.industrialists are always bad. The military is always bad. Generals, things like that, are all power-loving, evil people who are basically out to destroy democracy, etc., etc., etc. But there are all these awful clichés of left-wing Hollywood that I cannot, cannot abide, and so we ended up with this piece of crap. (laughter) But, it’s too painful.

Question: You seem to have a very strong moral and ethical voice inside of you, and I’m wondering how that has affected the roles you’ve chosen, or if you’ve maybe had to put that on the side for some roles?

JRD: Those roles are generally chosen by my bank manager. (laughter) Uh, not to offend anybody here, but when I was at Stratford in the Royal Shakespeare Company, we used to have a saying: ‘Art for art’s sake and money, for Christ’s sake.’ (laughter)

Question: Uh, I think that answered my question.

Question: Uh, I know you’ve done a lot of work in movies and TV and I also know that you’re a real big stage actor with Shakespearean-style stuff; have you done anything else entertainment-wise?

JRD: You mean, this week? (laughter) I’ve been a working actor for most of my life.

I taught for a year when I graduated and I went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and wasted my time; it was a big mistake, but then I didn’t quite know how else to get into the theatre, I suppose. I should have just applied to a theatre.

But I can do other things: I can weld, I can turn, I can build. I rebuilt the engine for my Rolls-Royce and there weren’t TOO many bits left over. (laughter) I have been known to fly an airplane, but I’m not current at the moment. You would want me if you were on a safari in Africa or someplace like that because I can get us there and not get us killed and get very close to big game. I grew up in Africa so I’m sort of a bit of an African really. I’m a semi-useful, fat old man, there you are. (laughter)

End of part I

Click here for part II

Posted in Old Special Reports

Double Take – 2004 RoTK Calendar!

It’s the 2004 RoTK Calendar! Or is it? Take a closer look at the picture – that’s not Arwen and Eowyn. Maybe it’s Smeagol and Gollum? Thanks to Ringer Spy Scorpio for the link. [More] [Scrapbook]

Posted in Old Main News

Elvish 101 Lesson 5 Transcript

Elvish experts Golrab (Kris Nelson) and Annatar (Paul Dunne) have been conducting lessons on Quenya and Sindarin for the past few weeks on our IRC Server Here’s a transcript of lesson five. Look out for a transcript of lesson six soon! [More]

The link for lesson three seems to have gone MIA. Here it is again. [More]

Posted in Barliman News

Elvish 101 Lesson 5 Transcript

<Gorlab> Wonderful! I suppose I shall begin and those who aren’t here soon will be and whoever is going to stop in later can do so then….
<Gorlab> Excellent!
<Demosthenes> hey Annatar
<Gorlab> As you all have probablly surmised our little lessons are actually leading somewhere…
<Gorlab> Soon we will be utilizing past lessons to construct sentences…
<TigerlillyTook> This is my first elvish lesson on here, otherwise I have taught myself what I could. Fyi.
<Gorlab> Well tonight’s lesson is all about Verbs…
<Gorlab> We should all understand that from an english point of view…
<Gorlab> (Unless of course you aren’t speaking English right now…)
<Gorlab> But of course Verbs denote action….
<Annatar> of various sorts
<Gorlab> Now, we have mentioned in the past some resources for people who really want to learn this kind of thing…
<Gorlab> and one of the most important is Book 5 of “The History of Middle Earth” series…
<Gorlab> because in this book is contained a section entitled “The Etymologies”
<Annatar> also volumes 11 and 12
<Gorlab> and is important because it contains lists of word roots for us to build our parts of speech with…
<Gorlab> The entries for the two Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin (that we are going over in these lessons)
<Gorlab> are contained within this document…
<Gorlab> The Quenya Verb entries normally follow a consonant-vowel-consonant root/stem formula…
<Gorlab> tul –
<Gorlab> sil –
<Gorlab> etc.
<Gorlab> these verbal root/stems are usually denoted by a hyphen…
<Gorlab> because these words are just begging to have something attatch to them…
<Gorlab> The Verb list comes in two important forms…
<Demosthenes> Okay, i vaguely follow that.
<Gorlab> Non-Derived, or Primary Verbs do NOT end in -ya, -ta, -na, or -a
<Gorlab> Derived, or Secondary Verbs DO end in -ya, -ta, -na, and -a
<Gorlab> for instance
<Gorlab> the root/stem word TUL- is a Primary Verb
<Gorlab> a form of that verb Tulta is a Secondary Verb
<Gorlab> (because it ends in -ta)
<Gorlab> everybody there so far?
<Demosthenes> Example time?
<Four-O-Nine> *nod*
<Gorlab> In the list of Verbs in the document known as “The Etymologies” they appear in these two forms:
<Gorlab> Primary (Not ending in -ta, -ya, na, -a)
<Gorlab> and Secondary (Ending in -ta, -ya, -na, -a)
<Annatar> which means that they are conjugated in different ways
<Gorlab> calya means “to illuminate”
<Gorlab> tulta means “to send for”
<Gorlab> harna means “to wound”
<Gorlab> and “mapa” means “to grasp”
<Gorlab> ALL of these Verbs are Secondary Verbs
<Annatar> let’s conjugate one, shall we?
<Gorlab> because they end in -ta, -na, -ya, or -a
<Gorlab> Ok, we’ll start with quet-
<Gorlab> quet- means “speak”
<Demosthenes> quendi is derived from it?
<Annatar> same root
<Demosthenes> okay
<Gorlab> (qu kind of stands for a consonant here in our consonant-vowel-consonant form)
<Gorlab> it is a Primary Verb
<Gorlab> because it doesn’t end in any of the “a” endings…
<Gorlab> so to conjugate the present tense of the verb…
<Gorlab> we simply add an “a” to it…
<Gorlab> So instead of Quet- “speak”
<Gorlab> We get Queta, “is speaking”
<Gorlab> but we also do one more thing to it…
<Gorlab> We lengthen the pronounciation of the stem-vowel
<Gorlab> so queta becomes quEta…
<Gorlab> (this is shown by an accent mark above the stem-vowel)
<Annatar> lengthening the vowel
<Gorlab> The stem-vowel is the vowel in that consonant-VOWEL-consonant Verb formation we keep mentioning…
<Aredhel> from “e” to “ay”?
<Gorlab> During pronunciation, yes…
<Gorlab> and you’d mark the pronunciation change with the accent mark…
<Annatar> How do you say “I speak”?
<Gorlab> now there is also a form of the verb that doesn’t mean doing something, but TO do something….
<Gorlab> I speak?
<Annatar> in Quenya, that is
<Renirk> take the stem of the infinitive and add the first person singular ending
<Annatar> which is…
<Elenath> so we’re learning elvish in here?
<Renirk> Queto ?
<Aredhel> yes
<Aredhel> to Elenath
<Aredhel> don’t take the time if it’s already been covered, but do we have a set of verb endings?
<Annatar> for Quenya grammar got to the old fave
<Gorlab> I believe “I speak” would be Naquetanye….
<Aredhel> okay thanks
<Catherine> Where does the Na- come form in front of that?
<Gorlab> Sorry…shouldn’t have hit enter…
<Gorlab> it should, of course, be Quetanye…
<Catherine> oh, sorry.
<Gorlab> I speak.
<Renirk> Hah
<Annatar> the “o” ending applies to Sindarin
<Annatar> We’ll be getting there in a moment
<Annatar> but back to Gorlab…
<Gorlab> now where was I?
<Gorlab> Oh yes…
<Gorlab> The Infinitive!
<Gorlab> add the ending -ie to your verbs…
<Gorlab> to form the infinitive…
<EmeraldSmeagol> all of this is very confusing to me. What is an infinitive?
<Gorlab> If these verbs have final vowels…
<Gorlab> (as all the Secondary ones do)
<Annatar> to be, or not to be
<Renirk> the infinitive is the “to” bit of the verb
<Gorlab> drop them to add this ending….
<Renirk> to eat, to go, etc
<EmeraldSmeagol> ok, got it
<Aeran> to brighten would be kalinie?
<Gorlab> well, what is the root?
<Annatar> Kal-?
<Aredhel> the root, son, the root
<Renirk> don’t you form the root from the infinitive, and not vice-versa
<Annatar> exactly
<Annatar> the root is the basic form, not the infinitive
<Gorlab> so if Kal means “brighten”
<Annatar> and the infinitive is derived therefrom
<Demosthenes> Kala?
<Gorlab> then Kalie should be “to brighten”
<Renirk> ok
<Maeglin_Lomion> What about “to speak?”
<Gorlab> except that with our spelling conventions, we turn all “K” s into “C” s..
<Roccovende> 🙂
<Annatar> and “he/she/it brightens” would be…
<Aredhel> what about you?
<Renirk> kalia ?
<Gorlab> “cala” would be the present tense of this…
<Aredhel> the gerund?
<Renirk> calanye for the 1st person ?
<Gorlab> I brighten…yes…
<Maeglin_Lomion> If quetanye is “I speak,” would quetalye be “you speak?” That is, if I remember the noun thing correctly from last week…?
<Gorlab> So there is also Past and Future Tense as well…
<Gorlab> yes
<Gorlab> the Secondary Verbs just get the ending -ne tacked on…
<Gorlab> Tultane…
<Gorlab> summoned
<Renirk> calyanë?
<Catherine> secondary verbs?
<Gorlab> Tulta is summoning
<Gorlab> secondary Verbs end in -ta, -ya, -na, or -a
<Catherine> oh, thank you.
<Annatar> Primary and Secondary verbs are not separated so much by meaning as by an almost arbitrary grammatical difference, think of regular and irregular verbs if that helps
<Elaran> or “Strong” and “weak” for that matter =)
<Gorlab> Primary verbs get the -ne ending IF they end in -r, -m, or -n
<Annatar> 😉
<Gorlab> but the ending -le if the verb ends in an -l
<Gorlab> and if the ending is -p, -t, or -c….
<Gorlab> we have to add a NASAL INFIXION….
<Gorlab> No, this is not something you stick in your nose…
<Annatar> let’s have an example
<Annatar> which would hurt
<Gorlab> the Quenya word Top-
<Gorlab> means “to cover”
<Gorlab> But because it ends in a -p
<Gorlab> We must place an “m” before this consonant…
<Gorlab> and add the “e” to the end…
<Catherine> Isn’t that past tense?
<Gorlab> making the Past tense of this word “Tompe”
<Catherine> oh, whoops.
<Gorlab> The FUTURE tense would be Topuva…
<Gorlab> except you drop the -a endings of all Secondary Verbs to form this…
<Gorlab> So Tulta would be Tultuva…will summon
<Annatar> and NOT tultAuva
<Gorlab> The last couple of things about Quenya Verbs is the aorist tense, and the agreement in number with subject…
<Maeglin_Lomion> “I will cover” would be topuvanye?
<Gorlab> an aorist is a verb tense that relates to a general timeless action….
<Gorlab> topuvanye, yes!!!
<Maeglin_Lomion> Thanks. I think I’m getting the hang of this. 🙂
<Gorlab> To get back to Quet-
<Gorlab> Quet- would be “speak”
<Gorlab> Quetie would be “to speak”
<Gorlab> Queta would be “is speaking”
<Gorlab> but the aorist would be Quete, with the “-e” ending meaning “speaks”
<Annatar> The Aorist would mean “always speaks” or “is always speaking”
<Drogo> hmmm
<Drogo> Bilbo! BIlbo! Bilbo Baggins
<Gorlab> The Quenya present tense always denotes the english “is, -ing” form
<Annatar> I am speaking (now)
<Annatar> vs.
<Gorlab> He speaks
<Annatar> I (always) speak
<blindeye> ash nazg
<Gorlab> The final big thing about Quenya is that all Verbs must agree with their subject in number…
<blindeye> lol
<Gorlab> So if the subject is Plural
<blindeye> all i know is the ring chant anyways
<Gorlab> The Verbs must be too…
<Gorlab> mercifully Professor Tolkien has given us one ending for plural verbs…
<Gorlab> -r
<Gorlab> So that about wraps it up for quenya verbs – how about Sindarin verbs, Annatar?
<Annatar> They got em’…
<Annatar> and next week we’l be covering the intricacies and delights of the Sindarin Verbal sysytem
<Elaran> lol
<Annatar> If you came back next week, many of the concepts that we’ve covered tonight will help with Sindarin verbs
<Gorlab> Thankyou one and all for showing up – one more lesson and we will begin to speak in sentences to one another…
<Maeglin_Lomion> Thank you Gorlab & Annatar.
<Annatar> in the mean time, here are a couple of URLs to check out
<Demosthenes> thanks Annatar. thanks gorlab
<Gorlab> Then we will have some lessons geared towards writing in Tengwar..
<Aeran> thanks
<Gorlab> Namarie!
<Maeglin_Lomion> Cool!
<Demosthenes> I’m hoping to have the previous lesson up soon btw
<Eowyn_Sister-Daughter> thanks Gorlab!!!
<blindeye> doodeedoo
<blindeye> lala
<Annatar> if you look under “verb” section of “Sindarin: the noble tongue” you will encounter an informing and formidable essay. I’ll try to break it down
<Eowyn_Sister-Daughter> I typed the log as we went if you want it
<Annatar> also, there is a less frightening discussion of Sindarin verbs at
<Annatar> This will be the primary document we’ll be discussing, so study up, and We’ll see y’all next week.

Posted in Old Special Reports

Elvish Lesson #6 Tonight

Tonight we finish our action packed series on Verbs! Join Annatar and Gorlab as we take a walk down Sindarin Verbal Lane. Join us in #TheHallofFire tonight at 8pm EST, 5pm PST 1am GMT. You can also now read through the Transcript for Lesson 5! [More]

Posted in Old Main News

Celebrity Autographs Available on Demand

Yahoo! has a story about, a website that specialises in celebrity autogtaphs on demand. “It absolutely feels good that I’m able to contribute cold, hard cash to some charities we support, and it’s coming from my fan base,” said Sean Astin, whose signature is one of the site’s biggest sellers, due in large part to his appearance in the “Lord of the Rings” films. [More]

Posted in Old Main News

Comic-Con 2003 Webcam Images

A precious few images were saved off of our live webcam feed from Comic-Con 2003. Take a look at some of these beauties! Calisuri and Tookish working hard at our booth, fans stopping by to say ‘hi’ and Sala Baker making his presence known! [More]

Posted in Old Main News

Comic-Con 2003 Webcam Images

A precious few images were saved off of our livewebcam feed from Comic-Con 2003. Take a look at some of these beauties! Calisuri and Tookish working hard at our booth, fans stopping by to say ‘hi’ and Sala Baker making his presence known!

Posted in Old Special Reports