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Archive for August, 2007

New Middle-earth Boardgame Announced

TORN Staffer Ostadan writes: Fantasy Flight Games, who pretty much own all the licenses for Tolkien-themed boardgames in the U.S., have announced a new game to be released in late 2008, “Middle-Earth Quest”. The press release doesn’t give a hint as to what _kind_ of boardgame it will be, nor who the designer is, but indicates that players will be represented by individual character types, during the years prior to the main action of Lord of the Rings. [More]

Posted in Gaming, Old Main News

New Yorker Talks McKellen

Lee writes: In this week’s New Yorker magazine there is a very long article on Ian McKellen. There’s only a mention of his role as Gandalf; they aren’t really interested in that. But for his fans, or those interested in the theatre or acting, this article seems like a must-read. It has a lot of information and analysis I haven’t seen in other pieces on him. Their web site has a picture of the issue, and its table of contents, but to read the article you need to buy the magazine. [More]

Posted in Ian McKellen, LotR Cast News, Old Main News

McKellen eyes role in popular kiwi soap

Proving his acting repertoire is not restricted to the highbrow, Sir Ian McKellen is planning to make a brief appearance in popular Kiwi soap Shortland Street. McKellen has been playing the title role of King Lear in Auckland with the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of a five-nation tour but is hoping to swap his crown for hospital scrubs on the “Shortie” set on Monday, The New Zealand Herald reported on Saturday. The 68-year-old star, who played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, may appear in a walk-on role, possibly as a nurse or hospital cleaner, after saying he had always wanted to star in the medical drama. [More]

Posted in Ian McKellen, LotR Cast News, Old Main News

LOTR – Best Film Score of All Time?

Christopher Coleman from writes: Just thought you’d like to mobilize the LOTR fans to help vote Howard Shore’s LOTR scores as the “best of all time.” Of course the competition is tough: Star Wars, Braveheart, Lawrence of Arabia, The Magnificent Seven, The Godfather…and many other classic film scores. The voting is happening at

Posted in Crew News, Howard Shore, LotR Movies, Old Main News

Peter Jackson’s mini masterpiece

For years speculation has raged that director Peter Jackson was making a World War I movie. Then secretly, in April this year, he did. The film, Crossing the Line, features biplane dogfights, bayonet charges and 30 cast and crew. It was filmed in Jackson’s second home-town of Masterton – home to his palatial mansion and estate – and has had rave reviews at audience screenings. It’s length? Fifteen minutes. Time taken to shoot? Just a few days. [More]

Posted in Old Main News, Peter Jackson, PJ's Other Films

Film technology applied to wounds

The technology that brought Gollum to life in the Lord of the Rings movies is now being used to treat injuries. Until recently, wound care nurses had to rely on their eyes and their memory to monitor progress, commonly injecting probes to test the depth of a wound. But now it is all hands off. The Silhouette Mobile uses lasers to record not only a wound’s width, but its depth. The measurements are stored on the camera’s computer and then compared to previous recordings, mapping the wounds exact progress. [More]

Posted in Old Main News

DragonCon is only a week away!

Ringer Celebriel sends this pre-con report:

Just over a week to go!

Fans start gathering next Thursday night for the 21st annual Dragon*Con convention in Atlanta, which runs through Labor Day. Tolkien Track programming this year covers art, costuming, music, literary discussion, live action role play, film screenings, fan fiction, collectibles, and New Zealand travel, not to mention Saturday morning’s Parade, Friday night’s Evening in Bree with Emerald Rose
and the Brobdingnagian Bards, authors Peter S. Beagle and Sherrilyn Kenyon, Tolkien scholar Anne Petty, and “Making the Hobbit Happen,” led by TORn founders William Thomas, Chris Pirrotta and staffer Larry Curtis. (Corvar, Calisuri and MrCere respectively).

Many of the panels will be given twice during the weekend, to accommodate your wish to see the Weasley twins over on the Young Adult track or check out the Miss Klingon Beauty Contest on TrekTrac.
The main Tolkien Track room (except for parties and such) is the Clayton Room on the second floor of the Atlanta Hilton. Also, we are trying to get a few copies of Kristin Thompson’s “The Frodo Franchise” to give away as prizes!

Highlights include:
Meet & Greet: Find old friends and make some new ones before An Evening in Bree! (5:30PM Friday)

TORn panel: Join William Thomas, Chris Pirrotta and Larry Curtis for “Making the Hobbit Happen” (Saturday at 2:30PM and Sunday at 1:00PM)

Music: Emerald Rose, with their new “Con Suite” CD, plays Friday night at “An Evening in Bree” (8:30PM) and Sunday night at the Yule Ball (8:30PM)

The Brobdingnagian Bards play at An Evening in Bree and at Sunday’s late night Pirate party (11:30PM)

Film: Saturday night’s film program (10:00PM) includes “Ringers: Lord of the Fans” and MARS Productions’ “Middle Earth Idol,” along with some surprises!

Peter Beagle and Felix Silla talk about Ralph Bakshi’s animated Lord of the Rings (1972) at 4:00PM on Saturday. Catch Peter showing The Last Unicorn on the Young Adult track at 8:30PM on Saturday.

Dragon Smackdown: Come prepared to support your favorite dragon in Anne Petty’s discussion of Glaurung vs. Smaug. (Friday at 2:30PM and Sunday at 11:00AM)

Costuming: Join professional armor and sword maker Michael Cook of Celebrate Studios and award-winning master costumers Marcia Banach and Jules Kelly for their Saturday afternoon double session on “Bringing Your Costume to Life.”
(Oh yeah, and watch for Marcia’s new LOTR costume this year – A Return of the King character you’ve never seen before!)

Art: Discuss artists who have brought Middle Earth to life in a panel discussion featuring LOTR and Star Wars artist Sarah Wilkinson. Saturday at 5:30PM
and Monday at 10:00AM.

FanFic: Join Zhie and friends at the FanFiction Luau, Sunday night at 10PM. Age 18+ or with parent/guardian – IDs will be checked!

Travel: Thinking about New Zealand or been there and want share your story? New Zealand IS Middle Earth – Sunday at 1:00PM

Parade: The Dragon*Con parade is Saturday morning at 10:00AM. If you haven’t registered yet, please do so at the Parade Table when you arrive in Atlanta. You’ll see it when you pick up your convention badge.

Some Essential Links: Print your Tolkien Track Dragon*Con schedule at:

Anne Petty:

Arms of Middle Earth: (Atlanta area Tolkien group)

The Brobdingnagian Bards:

Celebrate Studios:

Dragon*Con Main:

Emerald Rose:

Peter Beagle:

Sarah Wilkinson:

Posted in Conventions, DragonCon, Events, Hobbit Movie, Make the Hobbit Happen, Old Special Reports

From Gollum to gangster

Andy Serkis has swapped the technical difficulties of playing characters such as Gollum in Lord of the Rings, and the giant ape in King Kong, for a role as Hoodwink, a tough local kingpin on a rundown London council estate in Sugarhouse. “He’s a very visceral character and he’s a very physical character. I suppose the fact of the matter is I’m surprised that more people aren’t like Hoodwink,” says Serkis. “I think most people live on the edge. How many times have you got into a car and someone’s beeping their horn behind you – there’s only that much between them getting out of their car and doing serious damage? The thing is [Hoodwink] doesn’t have a limiter.” [More]

Posted in Andy Serkis, Old Main News

Happy Birthday John Noble!

London Film And Comic Con Images
Today is also John Noble’s birthday! John Noble (born August 20, 1948) is an Australian film, television actor and theatre director of more than 80 plays. He was born in Port Pirie, South Australia, Australia.

He makes occasional appearances on the television series All Saints. He is internationally best known for his performance as Denethor in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King film. His latest films are White Noise: The Light and One Night with the King. He stands 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) in height.

He played Russian Consul Anatoly Markov in the sixth season of 24. He was also the Artistic Director of Stage Company of South Australia from 1977 to 1987 and Head of Drama, Brent St. School of Arts (Sydney) 1997-2000.

Posted in John Noble, Old Main News

Happy Birthday Alan Lee!

Alan Lee a hit in San Francisco
Today is Alan Lee’s Birthday! Alan Lee (born August 20, 1947) is an English book illustrator and movie conceptual designer.

He has illustrated several fantasy books such as the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings, The Children of Húrin, Faeries (with Brian Froud), Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock (as well as the cover of an early print of this book), The Mabinogion, Castles and Merlin Dreams. He won the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in 1993 for Black Ships Before Troy and the Best Artist Award at the World Fantasy Awards of 1998.

Lee and John Howe were the lead concept artists of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies. He illustrated many of the scenarios for the movies, including objects and weapons for the actors. In 2004, he won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for his work on the third film in the trilogy, The Return of the King. Lee has also worked as a conceptual designer on the films Legend, Erik the Viking, King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the television mini-series Merlin. Lee recently released a portfolio of his conceptual artwork for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, entitled The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook.

Posted in Alan Lee, Old Main News

Turbine Releases Second Content Update to LOTR Online

WESTWOOD, MA – August 20, 2007 – Today, Turbine, Inc. released the second free update for subscribers to The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™. Book 10: The City of the Kings, the second of many planned free updates to the world of Middle-earth, continues the epic story, adds over 100 new quests, implements significant enhancements to monster play and introduces the Reputation and Bartering systems. [More]

Posted in Gaming, Old Main News

From King Lear to The Seagull

On Saturday night Sir Ian McKellen entered the stage at Auckland’s ASB Theatre as a regal king draped in ceremonial costume. He left as a broken man, in an unequivocal and heart rendering performance as King Lear, a monarch whose course of suffering is sparked by his blind, proud affection for his three daughters. From the elaborate opening scene, McKellen and his velvet-gravel voice carry the audience through Lear’s journey of sadness and disbelief at the betrayal of his two eldest daughters, through the haze of madness, to new hope in his youngest child, then down to the deep pit of eventual despair. It was a gripping ride. [More]

Posted in Ian McKellen, Old Main News