Moviescore, a site dedicated to tracking film music, reports that New Zealand composer and award-winning music editor Stephen Gallagher has been tapped to score the music for Kenji Kamiyama’s The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.
Gallagher is probably best-known to Tolkien fans for his work on The Hobbit where, as well as working as music editor on all three films, he composed the songs ‘Blunt the Knives’ and ‘The Torture Song’ for An Unexpected Journey.
Perusing IMDB reveals that Gallagher has previously composed music for a range of documentaries and short films, but arguably this is his most prominent compositional role to date.
He also has a decades-long career as music editor spanning big productions like Avatar: The Way of Water, District 9 and Wolf Warrior 2 to niche films such as Amy Berg’s West Of Memphis and Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones. Last year, he won an Emmy Award for his sound work on Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back.
IMDB states that he’s currently based at Park Road Post Production in Wellington — a facility that’s owned by Peter Jackson’s WingNut Films.
The War of the Rohirrim is slated to release on April 12, 2024. Director Kenji Kamiyama is also currently co-directing on the final season of Ultraman with Shinji Aramaki which will debut on Netflix sometime in 2023.
A speculatory post-script.
I was idly chatting with TORn staffer Justin about the leak/confirm and he wondered if the selection of Gallagher could indicate a return to the style of music that was the hallmark of the Rankin Bass animated features. After all, Blunt the Knives in An Unexpected Journey is very much a homage to the sing-along style of the animated Hobbit of 1977.
Personally, I’m inclined to say no.
I feel that both Blunt the Knives and The Torture Song (as sung by Barry Humphries) owe more to a combination of the children’s tale-nature of Tolkien’s novel and the comedic sensibilities of Peter Jackson (Meet the Feebles, anyone?).
On the other hand, the tale of Helm Hammerhand is far grimmer. It’s also a little tempting to add that Kamiyama animes typically play the material straight, but then the quirky Tachikomas (AI spider tanks/mechs) of the Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex animated series are a spectacular outlier. Kamiyama leverages them in multiple ways: surreal comics, action heroes, philosophers, and ultimately as beings capable of self-sacrifice. The “cute” Tachikoma moments don’t devalue the serious ones. In fact, they make them more rounded characters (I dare say, more human — a crucial point to the story Ghost in the Shell explores).
So, if Kamiyama could see a way that a quirky, lyrically focused tune would serve the needs of the Helm story, he absolutely has the chops to pull it off.
Neverthless, I think it’s probably better to calibrate musical expectations more in line with the thoroughly grounded nature of Kamiyama’s acclaimed adapatation of the fantasy story Serei no Moribito. If nothing else, it’s still difficult to get folks to take anime as a serious artform that’s not “just for kids” without hobbling your production with a bunch of cutesy tunes. I’m surer Warner Bros. will be keenly aware of that.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us on Twitter & Instagram DM’s.
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.Continue reading “There is a cornucopia of Tolkien stories coming this year”
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.”
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.