Yesterday marked the 128th anniversary of the birth of our beloved and favorite author: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. From humble beginnings in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Tolkien went on to live a life filled with love, adventure, and accomplishment. Along the way, while in his twenties, he began putting some of the stories from his rich imagination down on paper: stories of the triumphs and tragedies of Elves, heroic Men and powerful, ethereal beings that became the foundation of the rich, complex history of a place called Middle-earth: a world that millions would eventually visit, both on the written page and on the big screen, and come to cherish.
This weekend, you might take some time to sit down with your favorite poem, you might be in the midst of your annual read-through of The Lord of the Rings, or you might venture away from Middle-earth by reading stories such as Smith of Wooten Major, or Leaf by Niggle. You might even raise a glass and toast: The Professor! Better yet! Raise a glass *while* you’re enjoying his works. However you celebrate, please join us in a rousing: “Thank you, Professor Tolkien!”
Looking for that perfect holiday gift for your favorite fan of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies? Look no further! Monday, December 16 could be your lucky day. That’s the day Julien’s Auctions, known for their auctions packed with Hollywood collectibles, will be auctioning off one of the original tobacco pipes used by Sir Ian Holm in his role as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring! The pipe will come fully documented for authenticity by both Peter Jackson and Animation Designer and Supervisor, Randall William Cook.
According to the Julien’s Auctions website: Jackson personally gifted this production artifact to animation supervisor Randall William Cook in celebration of Cook’s 50th birthday during the making of the film. Included with the prop is the original birthday card from Jackson to Cook when the gift was presented to Cook on his birthday as well as a letter of authenticity from Cook.
J.A. Bayona, director of the upcoming Amazon series set in the Second Age of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, has arrived in Auckland and filming has begun! Well, okay, the film clip he posted to Instagram features no actors, unless the small bird in Fraser’s cafe in the urban setting of Mount Eden, a suburb of Auckland, is somehow related to the thrush of The Hobbit fame. According to Stuff.co.nz “the first piece of film he appears to have shot in New Zealand is a snapshot from Frasers cafe in Mount Eden. Bayona shared the clip to Instagram this morning. The camera appears to be focused on the cafe, then swings down to track a hopeful sparrow as it hops around some tables in search of crumbs.”
Watch the short clip here. Considering the cafe is in a very urban setting, with narry a dragon or dwarf in sight, it’s likely it was just a spur-of-the-moment snap from his phone, but exciting nonetheless.
Quoted from Deadline by Stuff:
“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring
stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honour and a joy to
join this amazing team,” he said in a statement to Deadline.
“I can’t wait to take audiences around the world back to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story.”
In addition to directing, Bayona will also be an executive producer for the LOTR series alongside his producing partner Belén Atienza. He has been warmly welcomed by the writing team, lead by JD Payne and Patrick McKay and consulted by Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman.
Read more of the story at stuff.co.nz, and let us know, aside from the bird in the cafe, what in the Second Age you think the first ‘real’ filming will likely cover!
What lessons can Amazon learn from the team that’s been there & back again? Let’s find out! Join TORn Tuesday hosts Cliff Broadway and Justin Sewell for an epic All-Star LOTR panel tomorrow! Joining us will be Mark Ordesky (Executive Producer), Sean Astin (Actor – Sam Gamgee), Rick Porras (Co-producer), Jim Rygiel (Visual Effects Supervisor), Michael Pellerin (Producer, multiple LOTR & Hobbit documentaries), Keith Stern (Ian McKellen’s Digital Manager), and Sala Baker (Actor – Sauron), as we all relive memories of filming LORD OF THE RINGS. What were those early days on set like? Did producers follow the fan discussion online? What made this effort so special? Get your deep knowledge questions ready for this multi-Oscar winning team and join the Live chat tomorrow 5pm PT. There are three options to watch the live stream, each of which let you comment and ask questions of your own:
Collider announced earlier today that 23 year-old British actor Maxim Baldry “has landed a significant role” in the upcoming Amazon Middle-earth TV series. Baldry is perhaps best known so far for his role in the 2019 BBC/HBO joint production series Years and Years. According to Collider: “Character details are being kept under wraps along with plot details.” While that doesn’t give us a lot to go on, ok almost nothing to go on, we do know that the new series is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, which narrows down, if only slightly, what “significant role” might imply.
Talent, locations, infrastructure and a warm Kiwi welcome. According to Pam Ford from the Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development agency in this piece from Radio NZ, those were the determining factors in Amazon Studios’ decision, confirmed on Tuesday, to film the upcoming Middle-earth-based TV series in New Zealand.
Quoted in stuff.co.nz, showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay described New Zeland as indeed offering all of the criteria they were looking for: “As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle Earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff”.
“And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”
No doubt the prospect of a 20% to 25% rebate for every dollar spent also contributed to the ‘welcome’ factor. The good news for New Zealand is that Amazon will be spending approximately $1.0 billion of those dollars ($1.3 NZD) and will likely provide jobs that will spill over from the film industry to affect the rest of the economy for up to a decade.
Read more about the Auckland studios where filming will take place in our article from June, and be sure to listen to the full radio story linked above as it features our own staffer Garfeimao (Cathy Udovch)!
And so it begins! The first news of who will be cast in the Amazon series set in Middle-earth was announced yesterday. According to Variety.com, actress Markella Kavenagh is in talks to join the cast. Kavenagh is best known for her parts in several Australian TV series, including Picnic at Hanging Rock, and in 2018, won the Best New Talent award from the AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts).
The name of the character Kavenagh’s is set to play is rumored to be Tyra. This has some fans around the internet fretting due to 1) similar to Tauriel of Hobbit fame, the name Tyra isn’t found anywhere in Tolkien’s published literature, and 2) it sounds too much like Arya. However, as our sources tell us, it’s not uncommon to use code names for characters during the auditioning process. Still, even if the character’s name really is Tyra, character names outside of Tolkien’s legendarium are probably inevitable (Lurtz, anyone?), and don’t necessarily reflect badly on the entire endeavor.
If you’re one of the lucky fans attending San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, don’t forget to swing by our presentation tomorrow night, July 20, from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. in room 6DE. The room is already filling up, so be sure to get there early! For all of you Hobbits, Elves and Orcs who attend in costume, directly after the panel there will be a group photo taken on the steps behind the convention center, facing the Bay and the Coronado Bridge. In true Hobbity fashion, after the Cosplay photo, we’ll also be having in ice cream social at Ghirardelli, 643 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA 92101. Show up between 8:15pm through about 9pm or so and there may be a few little mathoms handed out as well.
More details about the panel below, and don’t forget to RSVP on the SDCC SCHED page for the panel linked below.
*** TheOneRing.net (TORn) staffers Josh “Elessar” Long (host of Collecting the Precious), Jon “Tookish” Ben-Asher (former associate editor for TORn), Hannah “Took” Greenwood (co-host of TORn Tuesday, associate staff at WETA Workshop), and Josh “Sarumann” Rubinstein (former host of TORn Bookclub) celebrate 20 years of talking Tolkien and all things Middle-earth. They will be discussing all the current known news and maybe a rumor or two, reminiscing about some of their biggest stories and events in the past, and laying out a schedule of some of their 20th anniversary events. The Tolkien movie has already hit theaters, but the Amazon Lord of the Rings (LOTR) series is full-steam ahead in preproduction and this panel’s got some tantalizing news on that front. Bring your favorite stories about a TORn event or story they posted to discuss-they really want to focus on the community that TheOneRing.net has created these past 20 years. Costumes are welcome and encouraged. Cathy “Garfeimao” Udovch (special events coordinator) moderates.
This just in from Newstalkzb.co.nz: according to an unidentified senior member of the Auckland film industry, a ‘huge’ part of Amazon’s new series will be filmed in NZ. According to the article, Kumeu Film Studios and Auckland Film Studios are mentioned specifically to be involved. The insider told the Herald that an announcement could be expected soon, as the leases are due to take effect in July. Apparently, the two studios mentioned have been working on pre-production for more than a year. However, everyone was required to sign confidentiality agreements. The insider source did mention that an official announcement should be coming soon, as the leases related to starting production are due to take effect in July.
According to their websites, both Kumeu Film Studios and Auckland film studios offer sound stages, workshops production offices and, at Kumeu studios, 12 hectares (30 acres) of forest and large water tanks (which could come in handy should the series include the destruction of Numenor at the end of the 2nds age). Of course, location shooting will also be an option in order to take advantage of the same natural beauty and diversity of the various landscapes that made The Lord of the Rings films so memorable.
How does this new rumor fit in with previous rumors that filming was going to be done in Scotland? Given the ease of communicating globally these days, there’s no reason both countries (or more) can’t be involved. The film industry insider’s comment that a ‘huge’ part of the series will be filmed in New Zealand also implies that at least part of it will not. In any case, it sounds like we’ll be getting more updates in the near future! Stay tuned to TheOneRing.net as we keep you posted!
In a TORn exclusive, we’ve learned Amazon Prime intends to not just break new ground in its new Middle-earth TV show, but blow fantasy apart with a bold move in the offing.Viewers will be able to interact with the show and decide what choices key characters will make. The choose-your-own-adventure approach could provide up to five hours of viewing per episode in the 10-episode first season.
Today we’re happy to bring you yet another Exclusive from our friends at FOX Searchlight Pictures: a brand new movie poster for the upcoming “Tolkien” movie. For the next two hours, from 7:00 a.m. PST to 9:00 a.m. PST, you’ll only be able to see the poster here on TORn!
Earlier today, Amazon Prime revealed yet another map of Middle-earth, along with text completing the Ring Verse, then the words: Welcome to the Second Age. True to those words, the new map reveals Numenor, which sunk beneath the ocean near the end of the Second Age. This confirms one thing at least, that Amazon’s film right extend beyond what’s between the covers of ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ as the only map of Numenor in Tolkien’s works appears in ‘Unfinished Tales.’ Other than that, the possibilities for the direction(s) the story will take us are almost endless both with respect to Numenor, and what was happening in Middle-earth at the time. Take a good look at the map and read on!
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