Hooded figures seen in the dense forest under cover of night!
Here’s a phrase we haven’t used in a long, long time: A Spy Report from the set of Lord of the Rings! Ringer “David” sends word of “Hooded Guys” from the riverbanks of Auckland:
The photos were made in or near the circle. Although I walked pretty much around it nothing could be seen. Maybe there wasn’t a set anymore, maybe trees/hills got in the way. One of the people who lived there told me there was filming in the dark with bright lights on for 4 hours (I think Monday last week). He didn’t know what it was. Afterwards he saw hooded guys (which normally doesn’t mean good things) so he walked up and spoke to them. They were telling it was for filming ‘the new Lord of the Rings’.
The “circle” he references is the blue one on the far right edge of this map, while the photos below indicate a heavily wooded area where vans full of production gear were loading out.
Photos provided in the Spy Report show what is possibly the codename for the production: “GIN”
It always comes down to some wacky code word they use on set location signs. Back in the day of filming the O.G. Trilogy as Peter Jackson and team were traipsing around both North and South Islands with multiple Film Units the dead giveaway was any sign that said “JAMBOREE.” Even script pages and daily Call Sheets were printed with the pretend Boy Scout name. Many of our community members remember that code word from twenty years ago!
What can we really tell from these spy photos? Just that they’re quick to arrive and quick to leave. These actual set locations are in the past tense, so to speak. Production has already moved on from these woods as Amazon’s “2nd Age of Middle-earth” series pilot episode director J.A. Bayona posted a photo from a dry field area.
Only days ago one of the new cast members of Amazon’s $1-Billion production posted the words: “Calm before the storm.” British stage actress Sophia Nomvete is filming her first days on set for a brand new character to the Tolkien Film Legendarium.
How many of you are familiar with the physical features in this area? Any Kiwis down there who can tell us the lay of the land — what types of trees, the slope of the elevation, any such unique features that might suggest a location in Númenor or the mainland of Eregion, things like that — would be a great place to start our guesswork!
Thank you for the first Amazon LOTR Spy Report, David! If anyone else in the Auckland area notices anything… unnatural… please email email@example.com or hit us on Twitter & Instagram DM’s.
J.R.R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt, soon to be Tolkien
Tolkien fandom finds itself with an embarrassment of riches in 2018. The Tolkien Biopic has wrapped principal photography and is currently in post-production. There will be a new book out featuring Gondolin, edited by Christopher Tolkien. The most recent update about the Amazon Studios’ TV series is now confirmed to be a 5 season commitment. And then word starts to filter through that there are current negotiations for an actual Middle-earth Theme Park.(more…)
If, like many of us, you heard about the making of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies before they even started production (and were old enough to read at the time, haha), you probably remember the good old days of endless debates and discussions around casting rumors! Was Sean Connery really considered to portray Gandalf? Was Sylvester McCoy considered for a role long before he brought Radagast to life in The Hobbit movies? This interesting article over at moviepilot.com puts a number of those rumors to rest.
Do you think Patrick Stewart would have made a good Gandalf? What about Jake Gyllenhaal as Frodo? If there are any rumors left over from the olden days that aren’t covered in this article, let us know in the comments section and we’ll see what we can find out. Read the full article here.
*Please Note: This was one of TheOneRing.net’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not going anywhere…at least we don’t think we are!* KENOSHA, WISCONSIN — An official press release is scheduled for tomorrow, but we, the TORn founders and staff, want to notify all those who have supported us for the past 15 years that TheOneRing.net is shutting down.
The final decision was communicated in an all-staff conference call over the weekend, but it has been discussed for months, speculated about for years, and we’ve cracked jokes about it from podiums at conventions (that nobody took seriously at the time), but now the long-dreaded hour is finally upon us.
The four TORn Founders (Erica Challis, Chris Pirrotta, Mike Regina and William Thomas) reached a tentative decision last week, discussed it with Senior Staff (identities top secret), then included world-wide staff, active and inactive, on the weekend conference call.
“We have a real sense of accomplishment that the purpose of the website has been fulfilled,” said Regina on the call. “Erica and I were interested in “some guy” in New Zealand adapting “The Lord of the Rings” into movies, and when Chris and Bill found us it really elevated the effort. The next thing you know it became far more than the hobby we envisioned.”
“It’s the perfect time to go out on a high note, fresh off the recent success of the Hobbit movies and The One Last Party,” said Challis. “It is still our collective baby, but the four of us just feel content that it has run its course. We don’t want to be like a “Transformers” sequel.”
Pirrotta agreed with her, pointing out how much of a commitment 15 years is: “I was in college when this started with time to sit in a computer lab. All of us have jobs and kids and responsibilities now. We stayed true to our vision, didn’t sell the website for millions when offered, and we can all feel good about that.”
Thomas offered more practical reasons: “We made a commitment to not make a profit and to give the money away to charity if we did. We accomplished that and I’m proud that we kept the site pure. Plus, Star Wars is back, so we can all follow our true love again. Remember, TORn was just an ode to The Force dot net anyway.”
Not all staff agreed with the decision and there was a period of open discussion about different ways the site might change hands. While we will not tell the media or general public, we can share with true fans, there were audible sobs during the conference call. (more…)
Could the Disney theme parks be the next potential location for a Lord of the Rings-themed attraction? We reported back in January and also in February that tongues were wagging about a possible Middle-earth theme park partnership between Warner Brothers and Universal. There was even documentation that the Saul Zaentz Company had registered “several uses for Middle-earth properties that includes theme parks.” But those rumors seemed to have fizzled.
Now it seems that, “Disney and Warner Brothers have either signed or are very close to singing an agreement that will bring “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movie-inspired areas to the Disney Parks.” WDW News Today is reporting that the partnership has been in the works since late last year and is now practically a fait accompli. The story claims that Disney may incorporate a Middle-earth attraction as part of an overhaul at the California Adventure park in Anaheim, CA. It also suggests that Disney may be looking for Hobbits to give them an edge over Hogwarts in order to compete with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area at Universal Studio’s theme park.
WDW News today says, “As with any rumor, you should take this with a grain of salt until it is actually announced.” Is it likely that Disney would be able to overcome the hurdles that have hung up similar ventures? That they could overcome the long-held anti-Disney prejudice from within the Tolkien Estate itself? TORn staffer Demosthenes points out Tolkien’s Letter #13, where he famously insisted that he would “veto anything from or influenced by the Disney Studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing).”
Additionally, should the supposed negotiations be happening on the studio level, making an end-run around the Tolkien Estate, it seems unlikely that Warner Brothers would be keen to work together after Disney stole Oz out from under them when they released Oz the Great and Powerful earlier this year. “The Walt Disney Company did not own rights to the original 1939 The Wizard of Oz movie but moved stealthily to mount an audacious raid on the story and leave a rival studio flat-footed.”
But perhaps TheOneRing.net’s April Fools’ story this year was actually prescient and we will enter an era where Hobbit feet and Mouse ears can coexist in one big glorious theme park universe. Or maybe we’ll all just have to aspire to visit the real Hobbiton for a while longer.
Beginning last Saturday and running through to September 4, TheOneRing.net is hosting a Pledge Drive (see the banner at the top) as well as a bunch of auctions for some really cool memorabilia and collectibles.
The day-to-day operation of the website, and the events we host, require a lot more resources than when we first started nearly 15 years ago. We sometimes find it hard to ask our readers for the help we need to keep running, so we began discussing what it is that makes TheOneRing.net worth helping out. It started out as a search for the Top Ten Moments of TORn, but the list got so long because each staff member had their own idea of important moments in TORn history. Here, instead, is something more encompassing: Ten Ways TORn helps serve Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fandom (listed in no specific order).
And, if you enjoy what we do, consider a donation (no amount too small, because every bit does help!) to keep us running!
If you can’t, that’s fine as well — keep reading, commenting and contributing. Because TORn is as much you as it is us!
TORn staffer Saystine found us another great interview video from Yahoo! Movies UK in which Hobbit cast members Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, and Andy Serkis discuss how the second film in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, will differ from An Unexpected Journey.
“It will get more dangerous and dark as Bilbo gets further away from home and in more jeopardy,” says Andy Serkis, who, in addition to playing Gollum in the films, is Second Unit Director on the trilogy.
Will we enjoy the departure from the more lighthearted nature of Unexpected Journey? Well Richard Armitage will, at least. He says, “Obviously I favor the dark.”
Our sister site tolkienbrasil.com has posted and sent word of some very interesting verification that there is at least a possibility of a J.R.R. Tolkien inspired Middle-earth theme park. In records obtained by the website from the U.S. Patent office, the Saul Zaents Company, has registered in a goods and services document, several uses for Middle-earth properties that includes theme parks. When rumors of this first surfaced there was no credible source, or even really any source, that this was being explored. It didn’t even rise to the level of a rumor but now, those floating ideas are officially documented.
The Zaents Company owns Middle-earth Enterprises and that company gives Warner Bros. and other studios the right to produce Hobbit films and all that springs from them. The author, Tolkien sold his movie rights before his death to pay for medical expenses.
The found document is below, click it for a larger version:
The document, dated January 22, 2013, could be the company simply protecting its rights to develop a theme park in response to the message board rumors late last year or it could be actively considering such a development as a real possibility. It isn’t clear if this park would be in New Zealand or in one of the established theme-park regions of the U.S., such as Flordia or California, or perhaps both. Warners recently had a successful port of its Harry Potter movie franchise to a well-received theme park experience. The possibilities of what to do with such a park, is a nearly limitless source of message board content.
Thanks again to Tolkienbrasil.com for the heads up. You can read the story right here or below is a rough translation:
Warner Bross and Univeral are already thinking of a theme park ride on Middle Earth and it looks like the rumors are true.
The first news about occurred in early January in a post on micro site Micechat.com. In saying only: “Great news in the world of theme parks. Universal is negotiating the possibility of bringing the sights and scenery of The Lord of the Rings at a theme park near you. Heated with the success of the magical world of Harry Potter, Universal is unwilling to let Disney take the reins of the market with parks Avatar or Star Wars. We will have an exciting time for fans of theme parks. ”
Many took no credibility with the post, why not present any kind of source on this information. And there is no announcement from Universal about. Thus, the information was taken as mere rumor.
Given the recent process of merchandising products on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Tolkien Estate promoted by the companies face in administering the films (Warner Bros, New Line and Saulz Company), started to think that a theme park would still be far from becoming reality.
However, recently the site parkrumors.com presented what appears to be a piece of a document relating to the transaction that is like a theme park. This is the trademark registration of the name “Middle Earth”, which is the company Saulz Company. But that was extended with the possibility of doing a theme park.
The document presented by Parkrumors site is authentic?
Well, the document that the site has not parkrumors has its source, ie, we do not know its origin, since it is not told what department this document originou.O that could still form the opinion that it is only a rumor from fact.
Lawyer Site Tolkien Brazil came into contact with the industry patent records from the U.S. government on this information and the veracity of the document. And it was confirmed as true in an email received this morning. In that email it was confirmed that no such document exists and can be found on-site records of U.S. patents (see HERE).
Click on image to enlarge
In this document we see that is dated on January 22, 2013, with the word mark “Middle Earth”. Taking as the record owner of the company The Saul Zaentz COMPANY (which is the company that holds the rights to produce adaptations of the hobbit, lord of the rings and that makes the licenses of any products derived from these stories). Below is the translation of the terms of the document:
IC 028. U.S. 022023038050. G & S: Amusement
IC 035. U.S. 100101102. G & S: Management facilities for camping; Providing consumer information services and making referrals in the field of entertainment services for products, services, events, activities, facilities and locations
IC 039. U.S. 100 105. G & S: Organization of excursions; Organization of sightseeing trips, providing information, news and commentary in the field of travel, providing links to websites of other guidebooks, transportation of passengers and / or goods by car, boat and rail, transportation services, namely, providing transport services by bus services travel information
IC 041. U.S. 100101107. G & S: Salas games, entertainment centers for children, interactive play areas; entertainment as amusement, entertainment services in the form of an amusement park to show, entertainment services, namely, arranging and conducting special events at an amusement park, entertainment services, namely, arranging for ticket reservations amusement park attractions; Organizing and organizing exhibitions for entertainment purposes; Providing amusement parks; Provide recreation facilities; Provision of park thematic
IC 043. U.S. 100 101. G & S: Reservation of accommodation for camping, camping facilities provide services Resort Hotel
The document is official. And we see clearly that this is a trademark registration document for the purpose of producing a theme park. It remains now await negotiations to be made quickly and it becomes reality theme park on the middle ground.
A pity that the park “Middle Earth” will have no character of Silmarillon stories …
Unconfirmed rumours are circulating that Universal is talking with Tolkien Estate about creating a Middle-earth theme park. The rumours emerged on New Year’s day on the Orlando United forum where a user reported claims that Universal Studios asked Warner Bros. to raise the topic with Tolkien Estate. At this point, it is unclear whether the user has insider knowledge, or is simply reporting what others have said.
“…here is how I heard that it played out. Universal asked Warner Bros. to approach the Tolkien family since the Tolkien’s trust WB with the success of the LOTR series. WB described how Universal was willing to work with JK Rowling and how the 2 of them (WB and JK) held Universal’s feet to the fire to uphold Rowling’s vision of the IP. And I believe that the Tolkien’s may have actually talked to JK Rowling. This was before Universal said a word to the Tolkien’s. So after WB stoked the fire, Universal entered the picture with an impressive plan.
As of now there is a lot of hammering out to go, but Universal has gotten a lot farther than Disney ever did.”
Tolkien aficionados would recall, of course, that the professor had a notoriously low estimation of the creative works of Walt Disney. Letter #13 in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien makes his position clear:
“It might be advisable […] to let the Americans do what seems good to them — as long as it was possible […] to veto anything from or influenced by the Disney studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing).”
Micechat, a site that specialises in theme park news, claims Universal “is very close to acquiring the rights to develop and produce attractions based on the successful Lord of the Rings franchise of films”. So we might see whether there’s anything to this rumour quite soon.
An official WB press release came out today that includes some Plot detail. One new Cast member is in the list, a John Bell, who appears to be about 10 years old or so. No official listing on IMDB yet for this casting, so no idea if he is Bain or Estel, or some other youngster. I’m including a link to an interview with the young actor under the press release.
What we know: Peter Jackson began rolling film on The Hobbit back in April, 2011 and will be adapting this story as a Duology, two films instead of just the one like the book. They’ve had periods of shooting in the studio, a hiatus on filming while post production was being done, and now they are in the midst of Location shooting, with another hiatus and more studio shooting scheduled through June of 2012. The existence of the first Teaser was mentioned by both Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood several weeks ago, and it had its world debut at BNAT13 this past weekend. The mass release of the Teaser has not yet happened, and that is where we pick up our story.
Glaurung writes: Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh were at the Skyline Gondola park in Queenstown today – Peter and Fran went past me on the chairlift for the Skyline Luge twice. Perhaps they were scouting locations? Or merely sightseeing.
From skyline.co.nz: Reputed to be the steepest lift in the Southern Hemisphere, the gondola carries visitors high above Queenstown to the Skyline complex located on Bob’s Peak. Situated an easy five minute walk from central Queenstown, the gondola is an all weather tourist attraction in its own right. Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold while you journey to the Skyline complex. The best vistas in the region are found here, spread out in a spectacular 220 degree panorama. Numerous observation decks around the complex offer breathtaking views of Coronet Peak & The Remarkables, over Queenstown and across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peaks. Truly magnificent and awe-inspiring.
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