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Dinotopia author sketches for Weta Workshop

James Gurney, author of Dinotopia, the best-selling fantasy series, has just written in his blog about some sketches he did for the folks at Weta. Simon Haupt of Weta’s digital creature department,  gave a gift to the team:  copies of Gurney’s latest book:  Color and Light. Mr. Gurney personally sketched each of the copies. After the jump, you can also find some very nice comments made about the Weta team.

James Gurney is the best-selling author of the Dinotopia series, which was described by the Los Angeles Daily News as “…in the tradition of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and J.R.R. Tolkien… a triumph of the imagination.” His blog, Gurney Journey, is one the five most visited art blogs in the world. His two art books, Imaginative Realism and Color and Light are among amazon’s best-sellers in the category. Mr. Gurney has also painted for the National Geographic Magazine.

Posted in Uncategorized, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop

Tolkien & Co. Return in The Dragon’s Apprentice

For the past four years we have covered the releases of The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, a series by James A. Owen, in which Tolkien and fellow Inklings C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams are the Caretakers of the Atlas of the Imaginary Lands. October 19 marks the release of Book 5 in the series: The Dragon’s Apprentice.

The Caretakers must fight against their most fearsome enemy ever and attempt to restore Time. They must journey through a forgotten Door from the destroyed Keep of Time in order to seek out the Dragon’s Apprentice. If they fail, it will mean the end of both of the worlds. But success will carry its own price–a price that may be too high even for the Caretakers to bear.

James A. Owen is the author of hit series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. He was Guest of Honor at Myth Con 2009. Here, There be Dragons, Book 1 in the series, is being prepared for the big screen by producers Rick Porras and Mark Ordesky, who worked in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.

Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Miscellaneous, Rick Porras, Tolkien

Tolkien fights evil again… this time with Don Quixote

Shadow Dragons“The Shadow Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica),” released October 27, 2009, is the fourth installment of James Owen’s The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. In this installment, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, members of the Ancient Society of the Caretakers of the Imaginarum Geographica, are back to protect the Archipelago of Dreams and our world. Legendary Caretakers, past and present, will have to join forces with the mythical Don Quixote to prevent Mordred and his lieutenant, Sir Richard Burton, from rebuilding the collapsed Keep of Time and take over the world –both the Imaginary and our own. Time, space, legendary writers and larger than life characters meet as the Inklings take on the adventure of The Shadow Dragons.

Posted in Books Publications, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Tolkien

The Inklings return… in The Indigo King

The Indigo King, third book of James A. Owen’s Chronicles of The Imaginarium Geographica, has been officially released. The series features J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as lead characters in a story that spans the world of fantasy and ours:

On a September evening in 1931, John and Jack, two of the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, discover a cryptic warning on a medieval manuscript — which is not only addressed to them but seems to have been written by their friend, Hugo Dyson! But before they can discover the origin of the strange book, Hugo walks through a door in time — and vanishes into the past.

The Indigo King is available at and in bookstores. Also, be sure to pick up the first two parts of the series: Here, There Be Dragons and The Search for the Red Dragon.

Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien

Sir Ian McKellen confirms return (again), loves director choice

gandalf.jpgForummer diedye posted this piece of news from Empire:

Speaking at a special screening of The Dark Knight at London’s Imax cinema on Monday night, he [Ian McKellen] said: “Well, I haven’t had the contract yet but it’s everyone’s intention that I play Gandalf so yes, I will be returning to the role. Although it’s not until 2010, I’m very much excited about returning.

When asked about del Toro and the look of the movie, Sir Ian answered:

Well, if you’re not going to have Peter Jackson, who else can handle the job? To get an international film-maker of his standing who adores the original trilogy, well I don’t think you could possibly find a better replacement, I think the look will be very much as it was, Weta is still involved, it’s still the same workshops, the same designers, I’ll be there, Andy Serkis (now confirmed to return as Gollum) will be there and Peter Jackson will still be around – not that he’ll interfere too much – so it’ll seem like the old family is getting back together again.

So there you go, further confirmation of several things: no one has been officially cast yet (nothing is signed), Sir Ian and Andy Serkis are to return, everyone’s on board with Guillermo del Toro and the look of the movie is expected to be relatively similar to that of the trilogy. [Empire]

Posted in Casting Rumors, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

Christopher Lee offers his voice for Smaug… won’t go back to NZ.

Christopher Lee

In a bittersweet note, forummer DiveTwin reports this note that appeared in Cinematical:

Lee isn’t interested in filming in New Zealand again because it is simply too far away, for too long of a time. You can hear the tiredness in his voice — and perhaps a bit of regret too.
That doesn’t mean Lee isn’t interested in being in The Hobbit at all, however! He’ll appear in the film as long as he can stay in London, and there’s a character he’s quite keen to play. Or rather, voice.

Cinematical gives a link to the original video interview in which Mr. Lee talks about Return of the King, Saruman not appearing in The Hobbit, him not returning to New Zealand and his offer to voice Smaug. [Cinematical] []

Posted in Casting Rumors, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

GDT on talking animals, the powers of the Ring and more.

Guillermo Del Toro HobbitForummer Empedocles has found a video interview (divided in 12 parts) with Guillermo del Toro in Rotten Tomatoes. This particular one touches several interesting points ranging from his views on talking animals in The Hobbit, to how the power of the Ring will be shown in the movie.

Parts one through 6 are now up, the following 6 parts coming in the weekend. Part 5 of the interview seems like the one with most “new” information that concerns The Hobbit, so take a look! [Rotten Tomatoes interview index] [Interview part 5]

Posted in Director Rumors, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

GDT to write The Hobbit and PJ et al to write Film 2?

Jackson del ToroForummer Sunflower has pointed us to this USA Today article, which contains interesting information. According to USA Today:

Del Toro will write the first film’s screenplay. Jackson, his filmmaking partner-wife, Fran Walsh, and their writing partner, Philippa Boyens, will work on the second. Then they plan to switch and rewrite each other.

This is the first time this format is mentioned, and it should be taken cautiously until Guillermo del Toro confirms it here in forums.

UPDATE: GDT tells us the screenwriting team will “initiate the process in parallel and then we would rewrite each other.” Follow the “Discuss” link below to find out what else he had to say.

Posted in Director Rumors, Hobbit Movie, Rumors Spy News, The Hobbit

Is Silver Surfer an Elven King?

doug-jonesForummer Elven has shared with us a great piece that appeared in MTV Movies Blog. In interview, Doug Jones, a regular in Guillermo del Toro’s movies, and better known for his roles as Silver Surfer, Abe Sapien in Hellboy and the Faun in Pan’s Labyrinth, said that while nothing is official yet,

“There’s been lots of speculation. I wouldn’t want to ruin anything. Guillermo creates things with me in mind and he’s got a better image of what I can do than I do,” […] “However, there might be an elf king, father of Legolas kind of character that I would love.”

That would be King Thranduil of Mirkwood. What do you think? Do you like Doug Jones as the Elven King? Come discuss it in our forums! [MTV Movies Blog] [TORn Forums] [Doug Jones on]

Posted in Casting Rumors, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

Could there NOT be a second film?

Guillermo Del Toro HobbitDefamer is reporting an interesting bit Guillermo del Toro said this week at the Los Angeles Film Festival, first mentioned by Del Toro himself more than a month ago right here on the TORn message boards. When asked about the second movie, Del Toro answered:

We believe there is a second movie, if there isn’t, there will not be. If we find it, we will shoot it, but by God, if we do not find it, we will not shoot it. I am anxious to shoot the book, and I’m willing and able to dedicate myself to shooting the [second film].

Guillermo Del Toro also confirmed what material can be used for building the second film:

In the four books that are in the domain of the copyright, there are appendices and ideas and things that can be traced without risk. But I have to be careful not to overstep. We believe there is a way to create this film and make it interesting, but it’s too early.

The article goes on to mistakenly say Jackson owns the rights to those four novels, but as we know, the rights are owned by Saul Zaentz and can be used by New Line Cinema through a concession. Language warning for those who follow the link. [Defamer]

Posted in Director news, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

New Line still has irons in fire… and the million dollar question

Warner New LineVariety is reporting on New Line’s present and near future status, clearing up several things that have been said in the past several months:

“There’s no mandate to make a particular kind of movie,” Horn states. “We’re not going to wind up bidding against each other across the table. And New Line will not just be doing genre, since that’s a space filled pretty well by Lionsgate, Screen Gems and Dark Castle […] There’s no budget number required. They’ll be doing about six per year, though the number may go from four to seven; it’s not going to be 10.

The article also touches an aspect many have wondered about in our forums:

There are also the two “Hobbit” films and a possible sequel to “The Golden Compass”. The question is how much Warner Bros. will get involved in those tentpoles.

We will just have to wait and see! [Variety]

Posted in Production, Studios

McAvoy loves Tolkien… and wants Holm as Bilbo

James McAvoy

Forummer LordotRings93 has shared this note in the forums, from MTV Movie Blog, which have followed The Hobbit process closely:

“I’m a huge fan of the Tolkien saga, everything to do with Middle-earth,” he reiterated this weekend to MTV News. “But no there’s no truth in the fact that they’ve approached me yet.”

But that won’t stop McAvoy from playing along with our readers. So who would he cast in the role made famous by Ian Holm?

“Ian Holm!” McAvoy proclaimed as if the answer was self-evident. “I don’t know if he’d be able to go back, but he SHOULD do it.”

He said he hadn’t been approached yet. Could he be later? Either way, we will find about casting decisions straight from Guillermo del Toro, as he, himself told us a couple weeks ago. [MTV Movie Blog]

Posted in Casting Rumors, The Hobbit, Uncategorized