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Archive for the ‘Old Special Reports’ Category

Polish composer Wojciech Kilar dies, aged 81

220px-Wojciech_Kilar_2 Polish classical and film music composer Wojciech Kilar has died aged 81 after a long illness.

Kilar became known internationally as the author of dozens of film soundtracks such as Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, Jane Campion’s The Portrait of a Lady, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He also composed symphonic music, chamber works and works for solo instruments.

He was also, for a time, a frontrunner to compose the score for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films. (more…)

Posted in Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Old Main News, Old Special Reports, Old Spy Reports, Original TORn, Production, soundtrack

New WETA Book: Grordbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory

Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory Weta Publishing is pleased to announce its upcoming Weta Originals/Dark Horse Comics publication: Doctor Grordbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory.

The book is a thirty-two-page catalogue that chronicles the world of Doctor Grordbort. Inventor extraordinaire, Dr Grordbort has a gadget for everything, and in this meticulous catalogue of weaponry, he showcases a world where chivalry is not dead, advertising is beautiful, and rayguns look too pretty to be lethal.

Inside the book you will find the shiniest new bifurnilizers, metal manservants, and automated travel loungers. Also included for entertainment and scientific education is a compartmentalised picture story (some call them comics) of the world-famous naturalist, Lord Cockswain.

Lord Cockswain was the hit of this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, as convention-goers stopped agape at Weta’s hauntingly realistic, life-size memorial statue, celebrating Lord Cockswain and the Moon Mistress’ heroic endeavors on Venus.

Written and illustrated by Weta Workshop conceptual designer Greg Broadmore, Doctor Grordbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory showcases dozens of arcane inventions and contraptions. “As a kid I was massively inspired and awed by the black-and-white serials on Sunday afternoon TV, in particular the 1930s Flash Gordon and the many sci-fi movies of that era,” says Greg. “This book allowed me to pay homage to that world of science fiction and create something new at the same time. And it’s full of guns, did I mention guns? Rayguns actually, the best type.”

The stars of the show are, of course, Doctor Grordbort’s Infallible Aether Oscillators, the unique range of Rayguns available to purchase via

This hardcover book will be available in January 2008. Pre-ordering of the comic is now open to Weta VIP clients via

Posted in Old Special Reports, Other Merchandise

John Howe’s Journal: Paint Your Dragon

(Or Of The Topography of Tesseracts and the Ineffable Benefits of Entasis) – By John Howe

I spend a fair bit of time pondering the imponderables (that’s why it takes time) of fantasy imagery.

Fantasy imagery has been happening for a long time. In fact no culture, ever, has created ONLY realistic, down-to-earth, day-to-day and otherwise familiar imagery. Everything we set our eyes upon is deified, vilifeid, praised or ridiculed, or, with surprising regularity, sublimated by our desires and aspirations. Hence our dawning century of fantasy art, with little fantasy artists scattered the world over, who peer into looking glasses darkly Alice-fashion, hoping for a glimpse of the invisible, a hint of the ineffable, in the hopes of transcribing the sparkle of that particular glamour on paper/canvas/screen.

Sometimes it seems a shame we don’t build any more temples to Poseidon or Odin or commission artists to decorate the entrances to sacred groves or sculpt pillars for Irminsul. Of course, we can’t any more, at least not with a straight face, not with the scientific age disputing monotheisms for our attention and belief. Serious business, that, and not to be tampered with. So fantasy has packed its gypsy tricks in its tatterdemalion cloak and gone a different road, into make-believe.

Perhaps that’s where the saving grace of all this lies. It’s not entirely serious. Because from our extraordinary viewing platform we can see stars for real, poke around inside atoms and count all the numbers everywhere. Quite an accomplishment.

We can believe, often in the face of all evidence, often with grace and happiness, often simply with motions gone through, in whatever ultimate felicity or fate we inherit or choose. Quite a program.

Rather like a buffet – you know those salad bars, where you always try to cram too much on your plate? Sometimes opinions and beliefs to me feel just like that. Something we diligently or dutifully apply to our world rather than something we allow the world to offer because understanding is neither counting atoms nor having an exclusive on the truth. [More]

Posted in John Howe, Old Special Reports

The Complete ROTK Score Tracklisting!

Magpie writes: The track titles at for the CR-ROTK are now listed. At this moment, I can’t find track titles at any other site (Barnes & Noble,, or I don’t doubt these are right, but some lines are cut off an there’s probably at least one typo. I will extrapolate or comment on the list below.1. Roots And Beginnings
2. Journey To The Cross-roads
3. The Road To Isengard
4. The Foot Of Orthanc
5. Return To Edoras
6. The Chalice Passed
7. The Green Dragon [Featuring Billy Boyd]
8. Gollum’s Villainy
9. Éowyns Dream
10. The Palant’r
11. Flight From Edoras
12. The Grace Of Undómiel [Featuring Renée Fleming]
13. The Eyes Of The White Tower
14. A Coronal Of Silver And Gold
15. The Lighting Of The Beacons
16. Osgiliath Invaded [Featuring Ben Del Maestro]
17. The Stairs Of Cirith Ungol
18. Allegiance To Denethor
19. The Sacrifice Of Faramir [Featuring Ulrich Herkenhoff]
20. The Parting Of Sam And Frodo
21. Marshalling At Dunharrow
22. Andúril – Flame Of The West
23. The Passing Of The Grey Company
24. Dwimorberg – The Haunted Mountain
25. Master Meriadoc, Swordthain
26. The Paths Of The Dead
27. The Siege Of Gondor
28. Shelobs Lair
29. Merrys Simple Courage
30. Grond – The Hammer Of The Underworld
31. Shelob The Great
32. The Tomb Of The Stewards
33. The Battle Of The Pelennor Fields
34. The Pyre Of Denethor
35. The Mûmakil
36. Dernhelm In Battle
37. A Far Green Country
38. Shieldmaiden Of Rohan
39. The Passing Of Théoden
40. The Houses Of Healing [Featuring Liv Tyler]
41. The Tower Of Cirith Ungol
42. The Last Debate [Featuring Sissel] (this is probably Sissel’s Song from the ROTK EE Fan Credits restored for some previously intended scene. I’m not sure, at the moment, what scene this would be.)
43. The Land Of Shadow
44. The Mouth Of Sauron [Featuring Sir James Galway]
45. For Frodo [Featuring Ben Del Maestro]
46. Mount Doom [Featuring Renée Flemin g]
47. The Crack Of Doom
48. The Eagles [Featuring Renée Fleming]
49. The Fellowship Reunited [Featuring ??] (This must be a long track to include all that happens between the Eagles and the Grey Havens. I’m guessing the list would include James Galway, Renée Fleming, and Viggo Mortensen are in this track but there may be more.)
50. The Journey To The Grey Havens
51. Elanor [Featuring Sir James Galway ] (I have no idea what this is.)
52. Days Of The Ring [Featuring Annie Lennox] (but I don’t know if this contains Into the West or if Into the West would be in track 50 and this is something else. I could contain the song Use Well the Days. The track title might be a typo for “Days of the King”.)
53. Bilbos Song – (This is the final song heard on the ROTK EE Fan Credits. It is an Elvish translation of “I sit beside the fire and think” and is sung by a boy’s choir. It is exquisitely, almost painfully beautiful and was written just for this spot by Howard Shore as a thank you and goodbye to the fans.)

Posted in Howard Shore, Movie Return of the King, Music, Old Special Reports

Peter Jackson Wanted for the Deathly Hallows

Kevin Johns, (Cult)u’re Magazine Cinema Editor, writes: Over at we’ve started a campaign called “Peter Jackson for The Hallows!”.

Under whelmed with the quality of the last Harry Potter film, we have decided that no one other than Peter Jackson has the skills necessary to make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the film it deserves to be. We’re using the commenting function at the bottom of the article (here) as an online petition and we hope to get lots of names signed up.

Obviously we don’t expect Jackson to actually direct the film, but we thought this would be a fun event that could get people talking and dreaming about how great a Jackson directed Potter film would be.

The (Cult)u’re Magazine editorial team has had a great time talking about this amazing pipe dream, and we’d love to spread the discussion out into the greater Peter Jackson online community. As the most respected Jackson site out there, we would love the support of If you could mention the article on your News page, or somehow direct your faithful readers in our direction, that would be just wonderful!

We are big fans of your site, and we greatly appreciate your time and assistance!

Posted in Old Special Reports, PJ's Other Films

Orlando Bloom is ‘Knocked Up’

While perusing the Special Edition of ‘Knocked Up’ on DVD my wife came across a little Orlando Bloom cameo in the ‘Finding Ben Stone’ mocumentary. This clip features Orlando Bloom in the lead role getting into a fight with the director.

Watch out for the language in this clip

Posted in Old Special Reports, Orlando Bloom

John Howe’s Journal: Heroes & Heorot

(Or Ages Dark & Light) – By John Howe

New books are always a welcome event, especially as they provide an excuse to briefly escape from the studio and get out into the rest of the world a moment. (Like many illustrators, the time spent proportionately in the former as opposed to the latter is sadly inferior in quantity; quality, of course, not being issue open to debate or even wise to contemplate.)

And, yet another chance to set thoughts to paper. A portion of this is my personal ramblings for the book itself, but has been considerably restructured and augmented thanks to the kind prodding (ignore illustrator’s hesitations, uncertainty, unsureness, doubt, irresolution, indecision, equivocation, vacillation, waffling, wavering, second thoughts, dithering, stalling, dawdling, temporization, delay, reluctance, disinclination, unease, and dubiety too) and pertinent questions (“Can you repeat that? Intelligibly. Please?”) of Ruth Prickett at Illustration Magazine. See their FALL 2007 issue. Buy a copy. Subscribe. (Buy a back copy – there is a lovely article in the Spring 2007 issue which should be in the libraries of all self-respecting admirers of Mervyn Peake.) [More]

Posted in John Howe, Old Special Reports

Hall Of Fire & Bilbo Birthday Pic Photos

Tolkien Forever's Hall Of Fire, Sept 22, 2007
Arwen writes: The fifth edition of TORN’s annual Baggins Birthday picnic celebration in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park was a well attended, joyful, fun filled event. Due to the area next to the Merry-Go-round occupied all day by the UN’s “Day Of Peace” activities, the Baggins picnic had to be moved to a different location, and there was some fear that partygoers may get lost, but eventually everyone found their way to the grounds (probably guided by some wizardry from Gandalf!).

After the torrential rains of the previous day, the sun was shining. Of course there was no avoiding the usual bees and yellow jackets (our friend Saruman was stung and showed a badly swollen hand), but overall everything was ideal. There was plenty of food, and everyone ate their fill (it’s not a hobbit picnic for nothing!). Games were played (Golfimbul…), trivia questions were asked and answered, scenes from the movies and the books were re-enacted. And lots of trophies were won. Two birthday cakes were devoured, and raffle prizes were distributed.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for participating in this weekend’s events, both the picnic and the wonderful Hall of Fire organized by our friends from Tolkien Forever on Saturday. It was a great Tolkien weekend in the LA area, and we look forward to seeing everyone soon again!

Posted in Meet Ups, Old Special Reports

TV Watch: Viggo Mortensen on ‘Letterman’ Clips

Earlier this month Viggo Mortensen was a guest on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’. He was there to promote his new film ‘Eastern Promises’. Take a look at the clips below for that interview!

Posted in Old Special Reports, Television, Viggo Mortensen

WETA Newsletter: September 2007

G’day from New Zealand, Weta supporters!

Well it’s been another busy month here at Weta HQ, with lots of exciting developments!

The Bungie team recently had a test drive of the Warthog we created for the Halo shorts, and we caught it on vid! Check out the hilarious carpark derby, complete with ‘commentary’!

Weta Bug recently revealed our work on two Radical Publishing projects, Hercules and Medieval. The design team had a great time coming up with illustrations for these very cool stories, and you can check out the inspiration behind these here.

The world of Dr Grordbort’s continues to expand. The testimonials page has had four new character additions and two web exclusive comics from the adventures of Lord Cockswain!

Dr Grordbort’s fans and artists around the globe have been busy getting involved, too. This month on the Weta Forums, we held a competition asking punters to send in their craziest, wackiest and most entertaining acronym for the F.M.O.M. Industries Wave Disrupter Gun. And the winners are…
1st Prize: Future Masters Of Mankind
Highly Commended: Formerly Mike’s of Massapequa and Flouroquantum Moleculular Oscillating Munitions.

Across the world, a Lord Cockswain lookalike was spotted in a faraway jungle, a new art piece from a Raygun inspired artist graced the web pages of WetaHolics and the ManMelter was named Most Stunning Raygun‘ in a fan poll dedicated to the weapon!

The web team recently revealed an exclusive preview of the upcoming game, Hellgate: London on WetaHolics – which teased and tantalised fans who are looking forward to the October 31 release date. Next month, we’ll be revealing an exciting new Hellgate: London competition … more details coming soon!

Meanwhile, we have released further details of our work on the second film from The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian, with concept illustrations from the design files, and more details of exactly what armour, weapons and miniatures we have been working on.

Weta Co-Director Richard Taylor, designers Chris Guise and Daniel Falconer and Weta Bug headed down to the book launch of ‘Champ The Chopper’ earlier this month. It was a great success, with Author Rebekah Palmer wrapped at the feedback she received from kids and families alike.

Wellingtonians can now get their Raygun fix by checking out Pop Up, a very cool local gallery here in the Capital. They are our first Wellington stockist of the Dr Grordbort’s range – check out their site and online store here.

Talking of the Capital, the city has been abuzz with excitement as the WOW Wearable Art Awards™ take place. Richard Taylor was on hand to present the Weta Award to the entry that best fused film and costume. Congratulations from the Weta team to David Walker from Alaska, who designed a beautiful piece with wooden shutters, titled Prehistoric Princess.

That’s it from the Weta team for now – we’ll keep you posted!

If you have any feedback or suggestions, please feel free to contact our friendly Customer Services team on and drop us a line.

Weta Limited . Po Box 15-208 . Miramar . Wellington . New Zealand
Email: . Website:
Click below to buy from one of our ranges of exclusive collectibles:
Posted in Old Special Reports, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop

Baggins Birthday Picnic

Southern Californian hobbits, elves, rangers and even orcses, or simply Tolkien fans, are invited to join in the merriment of TORN’s Annual Baggins Birhday Picnic which will take place on Sunday Sept 23 starting at noon in Griffith Park near the Merry-Go-Round. Costumes are encouraged, and prizes will be bestowed upon the most beautifully or most creatively attired lads and ladies. There will also be games, trivia, and maybe even the traditional impersonation contest (if partygoers are up to it). And wonderful prizes to be won. The picnic is potluck so bring something to share. RSVP to


From south: Take the 5 North to the Griffith Park exit. At the first stop sign you reach, turn right onto Crystal Springs Drive. When you reach the first stop sign, there should be a big sign for the “Merry Go Round.” Turn left, and follow the road up to the top of the hill. Pull into the parking lot on your right (don’t worry, there’s plenty of parking). Follow the music to the Merry Go Round.

From north: Take the 5 south to Los Feliz Blvd West. At the intersection with Riverside Drive, turn right. Riverside Drive will turn into Crystal Springs Drive.When you reach the first stop sign, there should be a big sign for the “Merry Go Round.” Turn left, and follow the road up to the top of the hill. Pull into the parking lot on your right (don’t worry, there’s plenty of parking). Follow the music to the Merry Go Round.

From Hollywood/LA: Take Western Ave north. It will turn into Los Feliz Blvd. When you reach the intersection with Riverside Drive, turn left. Riverside Drive will turn into Crystal Springs Drive. When you reach the first stop sign, there should be a big sign for the “Merry Go Round.” Turn left, and follow the road up to the top of the hill. Pull into the parking lot on your right (don’t worry, there’s plenty of parking). Follow the music to the Merry Go Round.

Posted in Old Special Reports, Other Events

Celebriel’s Dragon*Con Report: Making “The Hobbit” Happen

Celebriel’s Dragon*Con Report: Making “The Hobbit” Happen
TORn’s panel, “Making The Hobbit Happen,” presented by staffer Larry Curtis and co-founders Chris Pirotta (Calisuri) and Bill Thomas (Corvar) was a centerpiece of Tolkien Track programming, given on Saturday and again on Monday in the Hilton’s International Ballroom.

They took us through the Power Point presentation now posted here, which reviews the complicated publication and film rights history of Tolkien’s works, especially as they relate to “The Hobbit.” Critical dates in this history to keep in mind are:

1969: Tolkien sells the film rights to his works to United Artists/MGM.

1970: UA/MGM sells the film rights to Saul Zaentz for $10,000.

1997: Saul Zaentz sells the film rights to Miramax (Harvey and Weinstein).

1998: New Line purchases rights from Miramax.

2004: In its annual April Fool’s Day parody article, TORn announced that Paul Anderson (director of “Alien Versus Predator” and “Resident Evil,” among others) was set to direct “The Hobbit,” generating lots of attention from fans, studios, and attorneys alike.

TORn also launched the Help the Hobbit Happen web site in support of the film.

A petition signature campaign was led by Lynn Machie (LithQ) to rally fan support. (See this site) On September 22, 2006 the petition, over 2000 pages containing over 62,000 signatures, was delivered to MGM and New Line Cinema.

March 2005: Peter Jackson initiates suit against New Line, requesting a audit of the books of The Fellowship of the Ring. Often, this type of court is settled out of court, but Peter felt strongly, and continues to feel, that there were important underlying issues which needed to be brought to light about film production and revenue accounting.

November 2006: In an open letter to TORn, Peter Jackson releases the project, providing background on his reasons why. (Read the letter here) In the same month, Saul Zaentz reaffirms his support of Peter Jackson as director of The Hobbit.

January 2007: Bob Shaye essentially blacklists Peter Jackson from his studio, and Peter responds on Aint It Cool News.

July 2007: Bob Shaye begins to soften his stance. While Sam Raimi continues to be mentioned as director, discussions suggest that Peter Jackson could exec produce, thereby able to bring his vision for “The Hobbit” to the screen while remaining free to develop other projects.

Discussion at the panel was very lively. The TORn presenters outlined the possibility of “The Hobbit” as two films: one a straightforward adaptation of “The Hobbit” and the second a bridge film that would carry the story over to “The Fellowship of the Ring.” There is material in Tolkien’s works that could be developed in a second film, remaining true to the characters and the spirit of the books. For example, the death of Frodo’s parents and the development of his relationship with Bilbo, the White Council, Gandalf’s earlier activities in Middle Earth, Gollum’s earlier life and history, back story on other members of the fellowship, on the relationship of Aragorn and Arwen, on Aragorn’s personal history, travels and time spent in Gondor and Rohan, and much more.

Presenters and audience had a great deal of fun speculating about characters, cast, and locations for “The Hobbit.” For example:

Bilbo: probably not Ian Holm due to age/infirmity, nor Elijah Wood.

Gandalf and Gollum: No reason Ian McKellan could not return to play Gandalf and Andy Serkis to play Gollum, dates and contracts permitting.

Gloin: John Rhys Davies could play Gloin, father of Gimli, though he’s expressed a strong desire not to wear the makeup and prostheses for the dwarf costume again.

Dwarfs: Some of the dwarfs would be fully developed as characters, like Thorin and Balin, but most would remain unnamed, or at least undeveloped, in the film.

Elrond: Hugo Weaving could reprise his role as Elrond. Another suggestion offered was David Bowie.

Bard: Bard will be the high profile hunk of “The Hobbit.” Who should play him? Clive Owen? Gerald Butler? Hugh Jackman?

Smaug: Smaug the dragon will most likely be a WETA Digital creation, but as with Gollum, the voice of the actor playing him is critical to establishing character. Alan Rickman? Jeremy Irons? Morgan Freeman? Edward James Olmos? Michael Clarke Duncan?

Locations: The New Zealand public park used for Rivendell and the private land used for Hobbiton could be most likely be used again.

Props and Sets: A great many of the props and set materials still exist, though they are the property of New Line Cinema.

There was discussion consensus at the panel that “The Hobbit” will be made, as one or two films, simply because of the huge revenue potential from theatrical release, DVD sales and rentals, and associated merchandising/licensing. “Star Wars” (6 films) and “Harry Potter” (5 so far, 2 more to come) are only two franchises that demonstrate fans aren’t satisfied with just three films. The financial potential is big enough to bring together industry people to get the project funded, produced, and distributed, regardless of personal feelings or history. Even the rights issues can be resolved with the promise of a big enough financial pie to split.

At the end of the session, various prizes were given away, including a copy of Kristen Thompson’s “The Frodo Franchise: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood.” Larry, Chris, and Bill also encouraged fans to stay active in the fan community and to let Dragon*Con organizers know how important, valuable, and enjoyable the Tolkien Track is. (Staff and email links here)

A Google search of “The Hobbit + Movie” yields over 1.1 million results, with only some relating to the 1977 Rankin-Bass film. Studios, licensors, suppliers and manufacturers, producers and directors, cast, crew, the nation of New Zealand, and especially fans worldwide stand to win if the film/s come about. So let’s “Make the Hobbit Happen!”

Posted in DragonCon, Hobbit Movie, Make the Hobbit Happen, Old Special Reports