Once again our friend Eirik Bull shares with us their exclusive interview, this time Eirik sat down to chat with Sir Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop. We think you will enjoy the journey they take, as they cover the early years of Weta, the making of the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Gollum, and much much more.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Exclusive Interview with Sir Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop”

The Hunt for Gollum Producer Peter Jackson has opened up to Deadline on why this story, and this character, are right for this crucial moment to extend a Middle-earth resume that’s reaped $6 billion at the box office. It is a follow-up discussion to the Middle-earth shattering announcement of two new The Lord of the Rings movies from last week.

There’s so much to digest from Deadline’s extended conversation with Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Andy Serkis.

“The Gollum/Sméagol character has always fascinated me because Gollum reflects the worst of human nature, whilst his Sméagol side is, arguably, quite sympathetic. I think he connects with readers and film audiences alike, because there’s a little bit of both of them in all of us. We really want to explore his backstory and delve into those parts of his journey we didn’t have time to cover in the earlier films. It’s too soon to know who will cross his path, but suffice to say we will take our lead from Professor Tolkien.”

Peter Jackson, via Deadline

The new feature film, The Hunt for Gollum (tentative title), seems to be a natural follow up from the writing and producing team behind The War of the Rohirrim. Newcomers Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou wrote Rohirrim under the watchful guidance of Oscar winner (and Phoebe’s mother) Philippa Boyens, and the results have been impressive enough that they are already been engaged to work on this second Middle-earth film.

Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh are not officially involved in Rohirrim, but the activity around Weta from all their old collaborators may have been enough inspiration to get back into the game. Just as his original plan for The Hobbit was to hand off directing duties to someone else, Jackson has brought in Gollum himself Andy Serkis. “Their search for excellence never ends, and now I get to help reach that bar again. It was Philippa who first called me actually and said, look, this is what we’re thinking. And I was just flushed with a sort of, oh my God, I’m going back in there,” says Serkis.

Andy was already shooting his shot early last year, telling BroBible he was ready to come back on one condition: that Jackson is involved.

The Imaginarium production company, founded by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, will help bring The Hunt for Gollum to life. They previously made Mowgli on Netflix and have three state-of-the-art motion capture studios in London, used on everything from Planet of the Apes movies to Napoleon. Andy is excited to film Gollum with complete mobility and freedom that the latest technology from Apes and Pirates movies now allow, and he is hyping up a more expressive full-body performance for this new iteration of the character.

Andy Serkis has kept busy directing feature films Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Breathe, and Animal Farm. Fans who have watched PJ’s The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Appendices will of course know Serkis was Second Unit Director on The Hobbit films. He has also received accolades playing Caesar in the recent Planet of the Apes movies, setting a new standard for digital character performance.

How does The Hunt for Gollum fit with the LOTR trilogy?

“We don’t want this film to be just the fourth film in the trilogy. This film has to work in its own way,” Jackson tells Deadline. “I know there’s plenty of people out there who will be like, oh no, why are they doing this? Why are they going back in? Well, that’s our job. Our job is going to have to be to prove why we think that it’s a good idea.”

So it’s absolutely thrilling to be able to go back and do a deep dive into his world again, and specifically into Gollum’s psychology. I know we’re all interested in investigating on a deeper level who that character is, and on top of that, to be able to direct and hopefully create a film which has its place within the canon, but also something that’s fresh and new and a different approach.”

Jackson confirms the films will shoot in and around New Zealand.

What characters will be in The Hunt for Gollum?

“We are just literally having very early state script discussions and ideas of exactly where and how we’re going to drop anchor with [Gollum] and his journey and how he is or comes into contact with other characters, and the characters that we know and don’t know. So still, I would hate to say anything that’s going to commit us at this point, because it’s literally all up for grabs.”

“We have the right to The Lord of the Rings and the appendices, and that’s it,” says Philippa Boyens. “Fans always get nervous that there’s only so much story that is in there. But look at War of the Rohirrim. It’s a page and a half at first glance in the books. But there are lots of threads in there throughout the book.”

But really, why Gollum?

“Gollum’s story is one of the most compelling to us in terms of a character that we couldn’t go as deeply into as we wanted to before, which sounds strange when you say that, given how familiar he is to everybody,” Boyens told Deadline. Gollum had 34 minutes of screen time in the LOTR trilogy, just above Legolas and Gimli who both have 31 minutes, plus he’s featured in The Hobbit in a big way. According to LOTRProject Gollum is the most-mentioned antagonist in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books. Only eight characters receive more mentions across all the books, and they are all the main heroes. Of course, the data may be skewed because he always coughs his name twice.

Read the whole interview with Andy, Peter, and Philippa at Deadline.

Headline Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic (Getty Images)

As fans in the US no doubt already know, this summer Fathom Events are screening the Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings movies! June 8, 9, 10, and then again June 22, 23, 24, Peter Jackson’s trilogy will be screened in AMC, Cinemark and Regal theatres across America.

If, like us, you never miss a chance to see these epic films on the big screen, then we have good news for you: we have 60 pairs of tickets to giveaway! That’s 20 pairs for each of the three movies, to be given away at random to lucky winners in the United States.

To be in with a chance to win, all you need to do is fill in the form below, letting us know which film (and date) you’d like, and your local participating theatre where you’d like to attend. Complete the form by 8pm EST May 15th, and we’ll be in touch if you’re a lucky winner!

The giveaway is now closed; thanks to all who entered! Winners chosen at random will be contacted soon.

It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Bernard Hill, who brilliantly embodied King Théoden of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He passed away today, May 5, 2024, at the age of 79. Hill’s portrayal of Théoden is etched in the memory of us all, expertly capturing the noble and transformative journey of the Rohan king, from despair to heroic resurgence.

His performance delivered lines that have resonated deeply within all of fandom. Potentially most memorably on the Battle of the Pelennor Fields…”Ride now, ride for ruin, and the world’s ending!” Bernard Hill holds a rather unique record in that he has starred in not one, but two films that grossed over $1 Billion and won 11 Academy Awards each.

While Hill also famously appeared as Captain Edward John Smith in Titanic, his legacy is particularly revered in our community for his role as Théoden, which brought to life a beloved literary character with profound respect and fidelity to the source material. Bernard Hill’s artistic contributions have left an indelible mark, ensuring his memory will live on through his significant impact on film and particularly within the Tolkien legendarium.

The staff at the OneRing.net extend our deepest condolences to Bernard Hill’s family, friends, and colleagues around the world. The cast of the LOTR films are known to be a close-knit family, so here are a few photos of those happy times.

The Cast of The Lord of the Rings won the SAG Ensemble award.
The Return of the King premiere in Westwood, CA in December, 2003 outside the Bruin Theater.

We’re delighted to share an exclusive interview from fellow Tolkien fanatic Eirik Bull – a journalist from Norway. He recently sat down with our friend, Weta Workshop’s own Daniel Falconer.

In Eirik’s interview with Daniel they cover a lot of topics, looking at Daniel’s history in working in Tolkien’s amazing world, as seen in Sir Peter Jackson’s brilliant adaptations over 20 years ago. Eirik and our friends at Weta asked us to share this interview – and you can look forward to another interview coming soon, with Sir Richard Taylor. We all hope you enjoy this amazing look at Daniel Falconer’s journey in Middle-earth.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – time spent with Weta Workshop’s Daniel Falconer”

VICE News has published a feature-length documentary on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, including new interviews with cast and crew of the epic film series. Rare new interviews with LOTR Executive Producer Barrie Osborne, Peter “Swords” King, the Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen, Variety’s Tim Gray, and fan favorite actors like Jed Brophy, all tell the story of the history of Rings adaptations from Bakshi to Jackson.

Watch the full documentary here:

VICE has earned a reputation for unblemished deep dives in interesting cultural moments such as the series Dark Side of the Ring about professional wrestling. The parent company VICE Media has been in the news lately shutting down its operations, and the quality of this documentary implies this was originally meant for the VICE channel on cable TV. Possibly because of changes in the marketplace, fans can also access to the full doc for free on YouTube.

Shout out to staffer Thorongil for first spotting this doc, and our friend Varking for sharing the viewing link. Be the first to know what’s going on in Tolkien by joining our Discord.