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Archive for February, 2006

Moviefone Moviegoer Award Winners! collected millions of votes from movie fans everywhere and the results are now official. According to moviegoers, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the Movie of the Year! Although each Harry Potter film has been nominated for Movie of the Year, Goblet of Fire is the first movie in the series to take the top prize.

In addition, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were voted Actor and Actress of the Year, respectively, for their roles in Walk the Line. Click below to see the full list of winners including Sexiest Kiss, Most Hysterical Performance, Biggest Badass and more. [More]

Posted in Miscellaneous, Old Main News

Visit Frodo’s Restaurant on Tolkien Reading Day

Anthony and Jessica, Chairs of the North East Tolkien Society write: We would like to organize a trip to Frodo’s Restaurant on Tolkien Reading Day March 25th aka Downfall of Sauron and the onset of the 4th Age. We a planning to make reservations and need to know exactly how many of our readers/members would like to join us. The day will consist of fine hobbit-ish food, attendees reading from various parts of Tolkien’s work and good fellowship all around! We shall be sending out further details in the next week as to the trip i.e. time and travelling arrangements. If you plan on attending please notify Anthony and Jessica at

Posted in Events, Fans, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Meet Ups, Old Main News, Other Events, Return of the King

Cynthia Cummens Interview

Cynthia Cummens Interview MrCere writes: Cynthia Cummens attended the ORC 2006 show as a guest of and participated in several aspects of the show including the ‘Iron Artist’ contest and she taught a drawing workshop. She was a big hit both on stage and off, bringing enthusiasm to the show and her warmth to those who had a chance to speak with her in person.

She has been working on a line of new Lord of the Rings cards for Topps that will feature her original sketches inserted into packs of cards. Cynthia was kind enough to take some time at ORC and talk to about her projects and also included a sneak of her cards scheduled for release on March 1. Not only was TORn pleased to have her at the ORC event but was thrilled to build a relationship with such a talented and kind artist. Tell me about your artistic roots and training and I am particularly interested how you grew into such a genre (or geek) centric artist?

Cynthia Cummens: Hi Larry. Thanks for talking with me. I started drawing as a kid, about age 3, and knew at a young age it was wanted to do for the rest of my life. It seems my creative influences came from the sci-fi/fantasy TV shows that appealed to me – Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers, Godzilla, among others. Luckily, my mom supported my love for drawing, even though she herself isn’t an artist. When she took me to see Star Wars, which I don’t actually remember seeing (believe it or not), I was immediately obsessed (thanks, Mom!) and it became the subject of almost everything I drew for many years. Later, in high school and college, I went into the fine arts programs, which provided a wonderful foundation for painting and drawing. I had a variety of art jobs during and after college, and explored different subject matters in my paintings, most of which were often about very personal experiences and not at all related to sci-fi or fantasy. Then about 6 years ago, I worked as a portrait artist in a local Renaissance Faire, which empowered me to launch my career as a freelance illustrator.

TORn: And how did you get hooked into the Lucasfilm and Lord of the Rings franchises?

CC: While I worked at the Ren Faire, it was suggested that I should look into exhibiting at conventions, which until then I never knew about. The idea appealed to me, and I took the advice to get to Star Wars Celebration II in 2002 (my first convention). I spoke with some of the artists who were exhibiting there, and the advice was the same – get to San Diego Comic Con, which I attended in 2002, along with Wizard World Chicago. Both conventions provided many opportunities to get my work seen by professionals in the industry. At SDCC in 2004, Star Wars artist Randy Martinez recommended me to Topps, the trading card company, who was hiring artists to work on Star Wars trading cards. Lucas Licensing reviewed and approved my portfolio to work on the cards, and since then I’ve been involved with different projects for them. At the end of 2005, Topps also invited me to work on their LOTR sketch cards which required approval by licensing at New Line Cinema.

TORn: Lets talk about this card project. How was it working on this series?

CC: It was a very exciting project to be involved with being a fan of the books and movies. For those who might not know what sketch cards are, they are one of-a-kind, hand-drawn sketches on trading cards. Fans of the movies and trading card collectors love them because they are original pieces of art, not reproductions. For the LOTR set, I drew 350 cards, which were based on movie likenesses, not an interpretation of Tolkien characters. At times it was grueling, as I tend to work very detailed even though the cards are meant to be sketches, not highly rendered works of art. I used pencil on each card, occasionally adding some white conte for highlighting. That’s just my approach to sketching. Overall, it was a thrill for me. It was actually was kind of sad when I sent the cards back to Topps, knowing they’d never be in my hands again.

TORn: Were you able to pick subjects and scenes and moments from the films to depict or were they assigned?

CC: Since this is a character-based set, I drew portraits of the characters from the films. There were no limits to which characters I could draw, or from which films. So there was no shortage of inspiration!

TORn: Can you tell us about the working process? Did you use visuals
directly from the film?

CC: Yes, I used the DVD’s as reference, spending many hours glued to the tv, remote control in one hand, pencil and cards in the other (not a bad way to spend the day)! I also have a steadily growing stockpile of internet references and books that I used intermittently.

TORn: How much time did you allow yourself to spend on each card?

CC: At the minimum, I spent 20 minutes on a card, depending on the character. Ring Wraiths were the quickest to draw, while human likenesses require a bit more time, sometimes as much as an hour depending on how detailed I wanted the piece to be.

TORn: As an artist and/or as a fan, how did you view the films from your creative perspective?

Cynthia Cummens Interview CC: These movies re-ignited my creativity when I saw them, and even as I continue to watch them I find myself in awe, studying the lighting and composition of scenes, the color schemes and the moods they create. I really enjoy costuming (even though I can barely sew a hole in my sock!) and am inspired by the level of craftsmanship in the costumes, the attention to the smallest detail in a gown or sword, the colors and textures in the flesh of creatures like Gollum and Lurtz, not to mention the landscapes, the environments. It’s just amazing how it all connects so seamlessly. I try to borrow from that energy and creativity and bring it back into my work, whether it’s a sketch card or some painting, unrelated to the books/movies that I may for do just for myself.

TORn: Do you have a favorite illustration from the cards?

CC: I don’t necessarily have a favorite illustration, though I enjoyed drawing the hobbits, particularly Frodo, whose expressions are so amazing and challenging to capture.

TORn: How about something you wish you could have illustrated?

CC: I would have liked to have illustrated interior scenes and landscapes, or perhaps have drawn characters from the books that weren’t in the films.

TORn: What are some other projects you would like to work on?

CC: I’ve got a bunch of exciting projects lined up for 2006. Unfortunately, the way it works is that I often can’t reveal anything them until some official announcement is made about the project or product. I have a couple possible book projects in the works, one about a well-known UFO incident, which I’m looking forward to illustrating. I plan to continue working on sketch cards – anything sci-fi or fantasy related is always enjoyable! Since I do a lot of conventions, I hope to continue adding more to the line-up this year, and teach more drawing workshops like the one I taught at ORC and maybe even do another Iron Artist event if the opportunity comes up. I’ll be updating my site with news about upcoming projects and additional convention appearances.

TORn: Any artists you particularly admire?

CC: I love the work of Norwegian figurative painter Odd Nerdrum. I also enjoy the work of Roger Dean who is known for his album cover art for Yes, a prog rock band from the 70’s. Of course I think Alan Lee’s work is so elegant and delicate. There are a lot of children’s book illustrators that I enjoy, such as Patricia Polacco. The list, like the road, goes ever on…

TORn: Will you be attending any other events?

CC: Absolutely!

TORn: Anything else?

CC: Lord of the Rings: Evolution from Topps will be released March 1st. If you don’t pull one of my cards from the hobby boxes, and are still interested in owning one, you can check that well known-auction site. Or you can commission me for custom artwork through my site:

Posted in Collectibles, Conventions, Fans, Merchandise, Old Special Reports, Other Events, Posters Prints

Ziegfeld Theater Trilogy Report

Laithaine writes: For all of New York’s previous Theater Glory, there are very few one-screen movie theaters left to remind us of the majesty that used to exist before the institutional multiplex mega movie houses. The Ziegfeld is one of them! All weekend, this hidden treasure has been running a Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon and if it ever happens again, I urge everyone who can to get there and see the spectacle!

Although the movies didn’t begin until 1:00, fans began lining up outside the doors by 12:00. A sharp cold wind was diving in between the building to assail us with biting frost, but nobody minded (although some did compare it to the gusts on mighty Caradhras). People who felt an instant community with one another were chatting amiably with expressive recounts of their favorite scenes and vigorous discussions on the points of the films that diverge from the book. One thing was for sure, we were all so happy to be there.

The theater showed us incredible compassion by swinging the doors open by 12:20 and we all quickly piled in to escape the cold. There were 2 authentic black bordered ticket pick up and purchase windows with real live people behind them to greet and help you. I thanked the cashier for the three precious tickets that would let me into the films and practically dragged my friend down the luscious red carpet to the ticket taker. A couple of rippity rips and we were in! A mad dash up more carpeted steps and we stumbled into a marvelous rotunda with mirrors, circular high back couches and two old style concession stands. All of it the same deep Art Deco red. Contrary to the usual indifferent movie house staff that us constant moviegoers have grown accustomed to, remarkably friendly ushers herded us in the direction we were to go with smiles and greetings.

Enormous black doors were swung wide for us and we wandered through with wide-eyed amazement. Nothing can compare to the utter grandness of the theater itself. In my mind, it was even more elegant than Radio City. The magnificent size of the room itself was overpowering. Not to mention that every wall was covered in Red Velvet from base to the 50-foot ceiling and the entire floor was wall-to-wall carpet giving you the feeling of incredible elegance combined with the comfort of a well provided living room.

Contrary to what I read, the seats were well padded and comfortable with a bit more legroom that was expected. The orchestra was gently but deeply tiered so that a head in front of you didn’t block the screen and the mezzanine in the back ramped straight up to provide excellent distance viewing, if you’re into that sort of thing. There was even an honest to God heavy brocade curtain covering the unbelievably wide screen with yellow sheers as a compliment.

Before we knew it, the curtains pulled back and the lights darkened. The first thing you notice after the thrill of hearing the projector begin is the absolutely incredible sound system. It engulfs you with its quality and power. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed
Such a richness of sound! It could easily have been the best I have heard in many years.

The previews came and went, and so did the 70’s movie manners reminder cartoon.


The beginning music, those mournful violins with deep mysterious cellos…and Galadriel’s ghostly voice:

I amar prestar aen.
Han mathon ne nen.
Han mathon ne chae.
A han noston ned ‘wilith.

We were RAPT with awe; it sounded like she was whispering right in our ears and as the film unfolded, it’s breath and scope drew us into Middle-earth utterly and completely.

The fireworks display was staggering and with the expansive woofers slung on the wall, each explosion rattled the room. We were there. We were really there!

The cry of the Ringwraiths literally hurt your ears (I swear to Manwe, I had to cover my ears more than a few times in earmuff fashion just to handle it) and Asfaloth’s hoof beats forced your heart to drum in time. We were pulled in so deeply that most people let go of their normal self-restraint to weep openly during the tragic slaying of Boromir and gasp out load as the great wall of Helm’s Deep exploded into the sky. We chuckled at Gimli’s refusal to be tossed and then his request to be tossed later. And I’m convinced that those who didn’t laugh when Sam proclaimed himself not the bodyguard but the gardener are missing some humor gene. Personally, I lost my self-control when the Eagles arrived at the Black Gate to open a world of hurt on the Fell Beasts. I just love that scene; Gwaihir in action is not only powerful, but also comprised of nearly perfect grace and dignity. And, no matter how many times we’ve all seen it, the tears just pour out when Frodo tells Sam, “I’m glad you’re with me, Samwise Gamgee. Here at the end of all things.”

And all of us were glad, too, to be with each other. There was a strong sense of community between us all even though it was the first time we laid eyes on one another. We took food orders when we stepped out to grab dinner from kindly strangers who were staying behind to watch over everyone’s stuff. Extra Snacks were passed around while in between movie debates carried on wildly. There are few opportunities for Tolkien fans to get together without having to pilgrimage to a large and costly convention and so it was wonderful that for under $20 you could sit in the comforting presence of like-minded company. If a viewing like this ever comes around again in NY, I enthusiastically encourage fans to go. It was a wonderful day, or rather, escape from the real world and a much-needed fix for all of us who are despondently missing Middle-earth.

Posted in Events, Fans, Film Screenings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Old Special Reports

Living is artistic for Viggo

For Viggo Mortensen, acting in big budget Hollywood films is just one form of artistic release. Voted one of the world’s most beautiful men by numerous magazines, Mortensen is also an artist, photographer and a jazz musician. “It is all one thing, there are all different ways of expressing yourself,” said Mortensen, in Sydney to promote his Oscar nominated film A History of Violence. “You don’t have to make something that people call art. Living is an artistic activity, there is an art to getting through the day.” [More]

Posted in LotR Cast News, Old Main News, Viggo Mortensen

Sean Astin on “24”

Be sure to tune into FOX tonight at 9PM (it has now moved to 10PM in Canada) EST to catch a new episode of “24” with Sean Astin. Sean has joined the cast of the hit show in it’s fifth season, he plays a savvy government agent who has taken control of ‘CTU’ the Counter Terrorism Unit.

Posted in LotR Cast News, Old Main News, Sean Astin, Television

ORC Fan Film Online Soon!

Watch this space soon for news about the Fan Films seen at ORC: 2006! More news soon!

Posted in Conventions, Events, Fans, Meet Ups, Old Main News, Other Events, Announcements

Mortensen in Sydney Report

LeafOfHumanTree writes: Viggo Mortensen was at the Sydney premiere of A History of Violence tonight at the George St cinemas. Viggo was an absolute gentleman and generous with his time. He signed everything for everyone, posing for photos, chatting to fans in different languages and shaking hands.

Before the film started, Viggo slowly worked his way down the red carpet, signing books, film postcards, DVD covers, calendars, etc for the fans. After the invitees had entered the cinema, cinema staff allowed fans to take down the posters and poster boards promoting A History of Violence, so I took one. Viggo then disappeared briefly to introduce the film to those VIPs invited to the screening and returned to sign more paraphernalia.

On his first trip down the carpet, Viggo was kind enough to sign a LOTR CD cover for me. When he returned from introducing the film, he was kind enough to sign my A History of Violence poster.

Here is a link to one of the few photos I took before my camera batteries died. I wish I could have taken a photo when he was smiling and turned my way, but the batteries were dead. [More]

Here is a link to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about Viggo’s appearance at the premiere. [More]

Viggo is even more gorgeous in person than on film. Softly spoken, polite, patient and kind. He was a little serious, but smiled readily for photos and conversation.

I wish I could say that I said or asked something incredibly clever or gracious but I was dumbstruck and he had to say ‘And this is for…?’ when he came to sign my LOTR picture. ‘Is this how you spell it?’, he asked, as he wrote my name. I didn’t care – he could have signed it ‘To Rumpelstiltskin’ for all I cared!

Posted in Fans, Film Screenings, LotR Cast News, Old Special Reports, Premieres, Viggo Mortensen

Open Casting Call for Vacaville ME Festival

Celebriel writes: The second annual Vacaville Middle Earth Festival is seeking volunteers of all acting skill levels to perform at the April 21-23, 2006 Festival. Please come to the open call audition Saturday March 4, 2006 at 10 am at New Town Square, Main St., Vacaville CA. Please bring or wear your costume if you have one. This a volunteer gig but will be great fun and a chance to strut your LOTR stuff. Questions? Call Shirley @ (707) 451-7539 (between 10am – 9pm) or Chris @ (707) 450-6758.

Posted in Events, Fans, Old Main News, Other Events

Trilogy Screening in Westerly, RI

FanofFrodo writes: I wanted to let all the LOTR fans in the RI/CT area know about a trilogy showing. The Revival House in downtown Westerly will be showing the three movies starting at 12:00 noon today (February 26th). Here’s the link for their site and showtimes. It’s a small theater, so I hope it will be packed with faithful fans! [More]

Posted in Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Old Main News

New Decipher ‘WETA’ LOTR Cards

New Decipher LOTR Cards Jonotrek writes: Decipher just released a new set of 15 cards including nine all-new WETA Collection cards (cards created by WETA specifically for the game). New companions appear from outside of the movies such as Halbarad, Grimbeorn, and Elrohir! The cards will be found in three different fixed boxes. Each box contains ten premium cards (two copies of five different cards) and four booster packs from the last three expansions. This product has been created for the popular booster draft tournament format. [More]

Posted in Collectibles, Crew News, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Old Main News, Posters Prints, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop

Happy Birthday Sean Astin!

Today is Sean Astin’s birthday! Sean Patrick Astin was born February 25, 1971 in Santa Monica, California. That makes him 35 years old today! Happy Birthday Sean!

Posted in LotR Cast News, Old Main News, Sean Astin