Of the three trips I took to New Zealand in 2003 and 2004 to conduct interviews for my book, only the first happened before the release of The Return of the King. I didn’t go thinking that I would suddenly be privy to spoilers and secrets. Shooting was over, I assumed (wrongly), and I figured my interviewees would not tell or show me anything confidential.
But at times they did. In my previous installment of this series, “Places Full of Magic,” I wrote about the facilities I visited. Now it’s time to reveal a few things I learned there—and kept quiet about. (more…)
Once again it has been a long time since I posted in this series, but what with the run-up to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure and the reaction to it, TheOneRing.net has been a busy place, and now we’re coming up on The One Expected Party on Oscar night! But I’ll delay no longer.
In the first entry I recalled getting the permission to interview the filmmakers and going down to start my work, back in September-October of 2003. The second one dealt with my first interview and tours of the Three Foot Six office building and the Stone Street Studios. Now, more of the facilities I visited.
The Film Unit
My third full day in Wellington was Wednesday, October 1. Melissa Booth called and said I could come to the new Film Unit building to meet Barrie Osborne. He, as I cannot stress often enough, was the one responsible for getting me New Line’s permission to interview the filmmakers for my book. This meeting, though, wouldn’t be for an interview. (I interviewed Barrie twice for the book, first a couple of weeks later and again during my third Wellington visit in December, 2004.) He was driving out to the old Film Unit facility that afternoon to give the people working there, sound mixers, editors, and other post-production crew members, a pep talk.
As most readers know, the race to finish The Return of the King was on by that point, and a lot of people were working long hours. I was told that Barrie often gave these pep talks, and the filmmakers really appreciated them; it was part of what gave the production that feeling of being one big family. I could at least introduce myself to Barrie and ride with him to the Film Unit; the half-hour drives there and back would allow us time to talk about my project. (more…)
Welcome to our latest “Getting to know” questions that need answering. This month we’re talking to the one and only Balrog Showgirl, Nicole Roberts.
Hi Nicole and a very big thank you for taking part and for being so patient with me.
This first question is from Rosie-with-the-ribbons who’s latest costume for RingCon has been inspired by your Balrog Showgirl costume.
R-w-t-r: Do you make your costumes yourself?
Nicole: Rosie – that is awesome! Yes, for the most part the costumes I’ve been running around in for the past several years have all been of my own making. I only started sewing back in 2004, after I moved to Los Angeles and started hanging out with even more LOTR people. The first costume I made was to wear to Comic Con that year – I was the Mumak Mahud (the guy with the black and white painted face who steers the oliphaunt in ROTK), so you could definitely say I’ve always leaned towards costumes that were a little off the beaten path! I’ve done some costumes that were direct recreations (“Barf” from “Spaceballs”is the most well-known one), but as I’ve gotten more into the sewing, I really like doing things that are more of an original design, like the Balrog Showgirl. As someone who is not of supermodel proportions (and seriously, those chicks look like scary walking lollipops anyway), I like to have the opportunity to design something that I think is more flattering to me, and I always like to learn how to do something new, like dyeing feathers for the showgirl headdress.
Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis visit the WETA booth to say hello to Richard Taylor, Daniel Falconer and the crew.
The WETA team took the opportunity to show-off the full-size trolls they have on display. It’s the first time Frodo has seen the actual trolls. Andy Serkis was spotted with a Pocketses button from TheOneRing.net.
Our story so far:Peter Jackson made three Middle-earth movies and people loved them. Now he is making two more and people already love them too. MrCere, Senior Staff, Writer and Photographer at TheOneRing.net (around since 1999) went to NZ to see what he could see. Landed in Queenstown, found lots of LOTR stuff, drove north to see the people of the ring, visited Hobbiton visited Wellington, center of NZ’s cinematic empire, and will soon leave NZ. However, much more content will follow.
I haven’t seen an insect weta before in my travels (until this trip, but not this story) but I have plenty of experience with the folks who run and work at the special effects shop who identify themselves as “wetas”. Several Comic-Cons, (including the 2011 edition in San Diego) lots of emails and various TORn functions have made the crew at Weta Workshop friendly acquaintances if not just plain old friends.
My time in Wellington would need to include a visit of some kind with the very busy people who are working on The Hobbit, but as I have often joked (even though it is at least partially true) Weta’s second best talent is making special effects for movies. What they are really best at is keeping secrets from TheOneRing.net. I had no illusions that anybody was going to tour me around the workshop (I asked anyway, just in case) during the height of The Hobbit production, but they were kind enough to invite me along to a group they were hosting from a cruise ship that included one of our own message board members. (Her identity is her own to reveal.) (more…)
‘District 9,’ produced by Peter Jackson, directed by Neill Blomkamp (both rumored to be directing some ‘Hobbit’ movie) and conceptually designed by folks at Weta Workshop is now celebrated in a 160-page hardcover book, “The Art of District 9: Weta Workshop.”
While at the Weta booth at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, we got our hands on a few pages of a prototype of this book and those few pages were pretty cool! Published by HarperCollins,
Richard Taylor, Weta’s Creative Director and five-time Academy Award winner, together with designers Greg Broadmore, David Meng, Leri Greer and Christian Pearce worked closely with Neill Blomkamp and have contributed many hundreds of pieces of conceptual art to this book. Authored by Daniel Falconer, you can order it directly from Weta or find it at bookstores.
The folks at Weta have made it possible to own your own Hobbiton. There are two versions, the Open Edition and the Collector’s Editon with interiors. While your eyes soak that in, don’t miss the four-part series by site-friend Daniel Falconer about how this collectible came together.
Linuxelf writes: I just posted another clip on YouTube this ones an interview with Daniel Falconer (WETA Workshop), talking about the level of detail that went into the making of the armour and weapons for the LOTR triology!
The regular Weta newsletter talks about the restoration of Hobbiton as well. The team at Weta including Daniel Falconer are happily involved in modelling a collectible sculpture of Bag End at them moment, which should be ready for purchase in 2010. “>Read Weta’s “News from the Shire”.
Thursday at Comic-Con, immediately following its about an unofficial and speculative (but informed) look at the forthcoming pair of films based on “The Hobbit,” TheOneRing.net, with a big assist from Weta, will launch a physical scavenger hunt for dragon’s gold at the San Diego Comic-Con. Prizes will be provided by Weta and include the book “The Art of the Fellowship of the Ring,” signed by Richard Taylor, Alan Lee, John Howe, Gino Acevedo and Daniel Falconer and 50 Weta Dollars. Read on for all the details! (more…)
TORn’s 10th Anniversary bash keeps getting better and better. Our good friend Magnus from Weta just posted a birthday card to TORn from Weta on in the VIP message thread on our Feedback board:
“Dear Tehanu, Xoanon, Corvar, Calisuri and thousands of other friends, No website has provided such a platform for fandom and creativity across literature and film as TheOneRing.net and for that we salute you! Past, current and future crew at Weta will be forever spiritually connected to TORn and we are absolutely relishing the opportunity to take on future journeys together – there… and back again… naturally. We have recorded a short tribute at http://www.wetanz.com/torn10bday/
Where you can also see your card in high resolution glory.”
Check out the high res version of the Weta birthday card (pictured) and the TORn tribute video at the link above. You won’t want to miss it.
The March 20th edition of the WETA Newsletter mentions TORN and our ‘Cruise to Middle-earth’ vacation we posted about earlier in the year. Ringers on the cruise stopped by the WETA Cave for a very special treat. From the newsletter: “Our friends from T.O.R.N visit the Weta Cave – On a Cruise To Middle-Earth, a large group of Tolkien fans from TheOneRing.Net came to visit us. It was a real pleasure to have you here and to show you around. It takes a special kind of fan to travel all the way to little New Zealand. In the photo you also see Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Daniel Falconer who hosted the group on their visit.” >wetanz.com
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