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Archive for December, 2006

TORn’s Holiday Giveaway!

Enter the TORn Holiday Giveaway! is teaming up with New Line Home Entertainment, EA Games and Sideshow Collectibles to present our 2006 Holiday Giveaway! Ten lucky Ringers will walk away with a prize pack worth nearly $450! It is excessively easy to enter – simply click on the following link, enter your information and check back on January 8th to see who wins! Happy Holidays from TORn and our sponsors! [Enter Today]

Posted in Contests, Events, Old Main News

Sideshow Updates

Be sure to check out our weekly Sideshow Collectibles update! Each week we provide an update on your favorite Sideshow goodies, from busts to premium figures and more! Take a look! [More]

Posted in Collectibles, Merchandise, Old Main News, Sideshow Collectibles

TV Watch: Dominic Monaghan on ‘Late Late Show’

Dominic Monaghan is slated to be a guest on ‘Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson’ tonight (December 22nd) on CBS. It is not known if this interview took place before or after the fire that destroyed his ‘Lost’ co-star and girlfriend Evangeline Lilly’s home in Hawaii. The Late Show airs on CBS at 12:35AM EST.

Posted in Dominic Monaghan, Old Main News, Television

TV Watch: Blanchett on ‘Letterman’

Cate Blanchett is slated to be a guest on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ tonight (December 22nd) on CBS. She is there to promote her latest film ‘The Good German’, and may talk about her other film ‘Babel’ as well. The Late Show airs on CBS at 11:35PM EST.

Posted in Old Main News

McKellen’s ‘Sir Gawain’ Radio Play

Ringer Spy Wannabe “Michelf” writes: A few weeks ago, TORN posted a notice about BBC Radio 4 FM playing “Sir Gawain & the Green Knight” narrated by Ian McKellen, as part of its “Afternoon Play” series on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 2:15-3:00 PM GMT. That date is upon us, and here are a few listening tips for those of us in the Western Hemisphere: The time to listen is Thursday morning from 9:15 AM to 10:00 AM EST. Live streaming audio from BBC Radio 4 FM can be accessed here. If you miss the live broadcast, this “Afternoon Play” episode is archived for a week and playable here.

Posted in Old Main News

Peter Jackson’s Netflix Art

Jackson's Netflix Art Peter Jackson has offered up some of his art for Netflix customers. For the holidays Netflix is sending out DVDs in specially designed envelopes like the seen here. [More]

Posted in Old Main News

Ted Nasmith Talks ‘THE HOBBIT’

Ted Nasmith is a Canadian artist, illustrator and architectural renderer. He is best known as one of the world’s most prominent illustrators of J. R. R. Tolkien’s works — The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. More than just an artist, Nasmith is also considered a Tolkien scholar who is well-read in ancient history, religion, and other areas. His talent and knowledge makes Nasmith a highly sought-after guest speaker at Tolkien-related gatherings and conventions — and he is a prominent member of several Tolkien-related organizations (such as the Tolkien Society, the Mythopoeic Society, and Mensa’s Beyond Bree). asked Ted to comment on the recent activity regarding The Hobbit, here is what he had to say:

The Hobbit film: Will Peter Jackson direct, or …?

After King Kong came out I lost respect for PJ, unfortunately. I remember someone in our group raving at the time, hoping PJ would surely direct The Hobbit soon, but I wasn’t feeling quite so impressed. As it happened, I was having a difficult night then for unrelated reasons, and wasn’t well disposed in general. King Kong, in true LotR epic fashion (as we expected) ran about 3 hours, but which for me was roughly 60 minutes too long for that particular tale, and was a clear case of style and seemingly unlimited budget over substance, if ever there was. Mr. Jackson is nothing if not ambitious, and whatever else you can say about his chosen projects, he is a director who undeniably loves the Big Spectacle, and who is clearly the man of the hour for CGI epics now and to come.

With The Lord of the Rings, PJ undeniably achieved a far greater epic piece of cinema, though. Here there simply was plenty of substance, more than enough. He had something to prove, too, having had the normal constraints imposed on him by his financiers, as we know (and to be quite fair, often dealing with blatant interference; its downside). And yet here too, he still went for the Big Shot more often than the more nuanced, exquisitely poignant moments, at least ones I missed seeing. The ironic thing is, PJ has demonstrated his ability to convey certain terrible beauties in Tolkien, such as Arwen and Aragorn’s bittersweet love, but his adaptation and emphasis too often seemed more geared to set up the cast of thousands mayhem and other mainstream staples like comic relief via Gimli and Legolas than it was the melancholy or solemn scenes and moods of the original. However, one expects these compromises in Hollywood cinema, and PJ ultimately gave us the grand epic we’d so long anticipated, lovingly and painstakingly realized.

I now think that PJ probably can and will do a perfectly unique and effective re-imagining of The Hobbit, but I also still believe other directors might produce a different but no less loving adaptation, too—just not with the same continuity. There’s the rub. Continuity is obviously a problem if you want to link the two stories up via a 3rd, LotR prequel, a la Star Wars. The main argument then is of course that it’s agreeable and important to keep Mr. Jackson at the helm, his having already established the actors in their roles, and in order to have the artistic continuity of both actors, settings and the rest of the established apparatus. It makes eminent sense, and I do hope cooler heads prevail and Peter can decide freely whether he wishes to take it on after all this.

As to the your specific questions, I think there are other locations available with easily as great a resemblance to Middle-earth; you’ve got the breadth of Europe to consider, places like Russia, Poland, Scandinavia, Germany, or beautiful lesser known regions such as Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria or Ukraine—and of course Britain itself! Like many, I love Sir Ian McKellen’s portrayal of Gandalf, but I think audiences have accepted key casting switches in the past, and Gandalf isn’t quite as prominent a role in The Hobbit as in LotR. (How many Supermans and Batmans have we seen just in recent years, for instance?)

On the question of a LotR prequel, scripted from the LotR appendices etc.; I think it is an interesting proposition, and if handled intelligently it could be worthwhile. It would certainly be fun to have a full trilogy of stories, but many will rightly question it. If it’s the third of three films, in which the first two complete the tale of The Hobbit, then presumably you’ve got a problem with what sort of story you’re telling and whether it amounts to just a pastiche of apocryphal material. Would this final installment end up a bit of an anti-climactic dud? If it were to give us glimpses of the sinking of Numenor, the history of Sauron and his occupying, then abandonment of Dol Guldur in Mirkwood, or Gollum’s capture, and other episodes normally ‘offstage’, then it could be quite intriguing, but is it a proper story?

– Ted Nasmith

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Make the Hobbit Happen, Old Special Reports, Peter Jackson

Anne Petty Talks ‘THE HOBBIT’

Anne Petty is a recognized Tolkien scholar and specialist in Mythology and Finnish folkore. She is the author of a dark fantasy novel, three books of literary criticism, and many essays on writing, literary analysis, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. She is also a published poet, with poems, articles, and photos appearing in arts and lifestyle magazines. Anne is a frequent speaker at literary conferences such as the Florida Gulf Coast Writers and Storytellers Conference, the Florida First Coast Writers’ Conference, Seven Hills Writers Conference, and Florida Literary Arts Coalition. Visit asked Anne to comment on the recent activity regarding The Hobbit, she was more than happy to oblige!

Would I prefer that Peter Jackson direct a film version of The Hobbit? Generally, yes, mostly because I’d like to see a continuity of the visual imagery and sense of place that Jackson established in the three Lord of the Rings films. I thought the way Jackon’s Middle-earth looked and moved and sounded was breathtaking. It was also amazingly close to the way my imagination saw many of these places and events when I began reading the books so many years ago. For example, the film moment when the Rohirrim emerge onto the field of battle with Théoden’s rousing battle cry ringing over the hills, still brings tears to my eyes. I think it would be unpleasantly jarring to see a very different depiction of Middle-earth at this point. Bringing back the entire New Zealand crew who so artfully brought Middle-earth to life would be a plus, in my opinion.

A case in point is the third Harry Potter film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. In that film, the familiar setting for Hogwarts was replaced by an incredibly precipitous landscape, especially the approach and immediate surroundings of Hagrid’s hut, and the interior for the school we thought we knew so well emerged in highly disorienting camera angles with ”House of Usher” look and feel. The effect was so distracting that I found it hard to lose myself in the flow of events on the screen. The casual costuming and general direction of the children constituted somewhat of a culture shock as well. Cuarón’s film is certainly as competent as any of the others in the series, but his vision of Hogwarts was so radically different that I had trouble relating to the characters as part of the established Potter universe.

I would also hate to think that someone other than Ian McKellen would be cast as Gandalf. I greatly enjoyed his nuanced portrayal of our favorite wizard and feel that anyone else’s performance (however competent it might be) would suffer by being constantly compared to McKellen’s gold standard. For example again, as others have pointed out, Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore suffers by comparison with Richard Harris’ portrayal. I might also mention that an unfortunate result of all the lengthy dithering over the Hobbit film rights is that Ian Holm is probably now too old to play Bilbo, even with the wonders of movie makeup, which is a considerable loss for the film.

If Jackson directs, I assume the same scriptwriters (Jackson, Boyens, Walsh) would be included on the project. This is the least positive element for me. I had serious issues with the way Jackson and his scriptwriters altered Tolkien’s carefully wrought storyline. When you unravel a major thread, such as Faramir, many of the plot’s other underpinnings come loose as well, resulting in skewed character motivations (Aragorn, anyone?). So, I have trepidations about this same trio adapting The Hobbit into a screenplay. There is a significant difference, however, that might make this a non-issue, and that is that The Hobbit is largely episodic with a single straight-ahead storyline. Also, the material does not have the gravitas of The Lord of the Rings until Thorin and company reach the Lonely Mountain. I feel that a large part of the problem with Jackson’s LOTR adaptation was that the screenwriters simply lost control of Tolkien’s complex storyline and every attempt to simplify it or reduce it only made things worse as they went along. This probably wouldn’t be the case with The Hobbit. It’s also possible that the frequent flattening of Tolkien’s majestic prose into cringe-worthy banal movie dialogue wouldn’t be as out of place in the lighter material of The Hobbit. It’s also possible (maybe even probable) that different scriptwriters working for a different direct would do much worse.

So, with considerable caveats, I’d prefer to see Jackson & Company take on The Hobbit.

– Anne Petty

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Old Special Reports

Maxim India Talks LOTR

utkarsh sends along these scans from Maxim India. They feature a map of New Zealand with the locations used in the Trilogy. [More]

Posted in Old Main News

Thomas Robins’ “Killian Curse” Hits

Thomas Robins, the actor who played Deagol, writes: As much as I’d like to think of myself as an actor, the truth is I am more of a director/producer and have recently completed a TV horror series entitled “The Killian Curse”. This show played on air here in NZ and has just recently been available for sale on DVD. It is a series I created, produced and directed and we are currently in preproduction for series two which will begin shooting early next year. The series has some guest appearances from fellow LOTR actors (Jed Brophy, Nathaniel Lees, Stephen Ure and even myself!) and also has creatures designed by the team from WETA – Richard Taylor was incredibly supportive of the show.

Posted in Old Main News

Laura Michelle Kelly to Join London Lord of the Rings

Laura Michelle Kelly, who won a 2005 Olivier for her title role performance in Mary Poppins, will join the cast of Lord of the Rings when the musical spectacular opens at London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on June 19, 2007. Kelly will play Galadriel, the character played by Cate Blanchett in the movie versions. Kelly joins British actor James Loye who, as previously announced, will reprise his Toronto performance as Frodo Baggins. The J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired musical received its premiere at Toronto’s 2,000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre on March 23. Matthew Warchus’ $27 million (Canadian), three-act production is the first stage adaptation of the literary epic and follows the hugely successful film trilogy. [More]

Posted in Old Main News

TORN speaks up on The Hobbit

There are many views amongst LOTR fans on what should happen to make The Hobbit film a reality. TORN aims to provide a forum to all those opinions – and we believe the studios would benefit from hearing them too. [More]

Posted in Old Main News