August 4-6 saw LeakyCon happening in Chicago, and various cast members from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies were there. (LeakyCon fully supported SAG-AFTRA members appearing at the con, stating, ‘… we have removed direct reference to their projects that fall under TV/Theatrical Contracts so that they can continue to appear without promoting these projects.’) So the fun was able to go ahead – and staffer Entmaiden attended for TORn. Here’s her write up:
ELIJAH WOOD AND SEAN ASTIN AT LEAKYCON
Since 2009, LeakyCon has been a community-focused fan event that provides opportunities to celebrate magical movie franchises with creators, artists and fans. TORn staffer Entmaiden was able to attend this weekend’s event in Chicago. LeakyCon originated with a focus on the Harry Potter movie series, but recently the organizers invited cast members from The Lord of the Rings movies. Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Miranda Otto and Kiran Shah participated this year.
Entmaiden was delighted to attend the spotlight sessions with Elijah Wood and Sean Astin on Saturday. In support of the on-going strike by members of SAG/AFTRA actors and WGA writers, Elijah and Sean did not speak specifically about their filming experiences. While we might not have been able to explore the behind-the-scenes film stories, the spotlight sessions gave the audience a chance to learn how Elijah and Sean became actors, and uncover a couple secrets about their personalities. Some elements of the journey for both Elijah and Sean are well-known: both started acting very young, and their early acting experience helped prepare them for the enormous success of LOTR films.
It’s been 20+ years since the first film was released, and both Sean and Elijah have seen changes in their lives. Sean’s youngest daughter is about to turn 21 and he is NOT READY! He reflected on his own childhood, where even as the son of famous parents (Patty Duke and John Astin), Sean was able to play Little League like the other kids. His daughters also had to navigate childhood with a famous father, with the complication of social media. Did you know that Sean is a ferocious Monopoly player? He has a thorough understanding of the rules, and applies them rigorously. Sean takes no prisoners when it comes to Monopoly, and some friends and family members avoid playing with him!
While Sean was married with children when filming in New Zealand, Elijah was single. He recently revealed he has two children with long-time partner Mette-Marie Kongsved, a Danish film producer. He didn’t speak much about his children at LeakyCon, but he frequently referenced how his life has changed now he’s a father. But some of the things long-time fans know are the same: Elijah is still a massive music lover, and a big-time foodie. He even gave the fans tips about good frozen pizza, which he confessed to eating as often as he can.
Thanks to LeakyCon for inviting TORn, and for such a fun event!
The folks at Mischief Management have just announced that Frodo Baggins himself, actor Elijah Wood will be joining Sean Astin and others at LeakyCon next month! Here’s the official press release:
FILM STARELIJAH WOOD JOINS LEAKYCON SPECIAL GUEST LINEUP
New York, NY (July 19, 2023) – Film star Elijah Wood has joined the special guest lineup for LeakyCon 2023, the fan convention celebrating fandom, fun, and some of our favorite magical worlds. LeakyCon 2023 will take place at McCormick Place South in Chicago, Illinois, August 4-6, 2023. Tickets are available now at LeakyCon.com
Wood will appear on panels and programming on Friday, August 4, and Saturday, August 5, as well as participate in autograph and photograph sessions with fans. A joint photograph session with Wood and Sean Astin is also available.
LeakyCon has also announced the addition of the Heroes’ Journey Pass ($625) which includes Friday and Saturday access to LeakyCon, a priority duo photograph session with Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, a priority autograph session with Elijah Wood, a priority autograph session with Sean Astin, and guaranteed reserved seating in individual spotlight sessions with Elijah Wood and Sean Astin.
Wood joins fellow actors Sean Astin, Miranda Otto, Tom Felton, Sean Biggerstaff, Miltos Yerolemou, Ellie Darcey-Alden, Rohan Gotobed, James Payton, Chris Rankin, Stanislav Yanevski, Walles Hamonde, Kiran Shah, and Flick Miles, fandom creators Chanel Williams (TikTok: @chanwills0), Trey Beachum (Instagram: @iamblackharry), and Em Wallbank (Instagram: @emwallbank), and fandom podcasts Potterless, Pottercast, Mugglecast, and more.
LeakyCon stands in solidarity with the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. In coordination with SAG-AFTRA members appearing at LeakyCon, we have removed direct reference to their projects that fall under TV/Theatrical Contracts so that they can continue to appear without promoting these projects.
Actor Kiran Shah is joining Lord of the Rings cast mates Sean Astin and Miranda Otto at LeakyCon in Chicago this August. Here’s the official press release:
THE LORD OF THE RINGS ACTORKIRAN SHAHJOINS LEAKYCON SPECIAL GUEST LINEUP
NEW YORK (June 13, 2023) – LeakyCon welcomes television and film veteran Kiran Shah to LeakyCon 2023, the fan convention celebrating magical worlds like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and more. LeakyCon 2023 will take place in Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, August 4-6, 2023.
Shah is best known for his roles in blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and many Star Wars films. Shah will appear on panels and programming on Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6. He will also participate in autograph and photograph experiences with fans. Tickets are available now at LeakyCon.com.
Shah joins The Lord of the Rings actors Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee) and Miranda Otto (Éowyn), Harry Potter film actors Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood), Ellie Darcey-Alden (Young Lily Potter), Rohan Gotobed (Young Sirius Black), James Payton (Frank Longbottom), Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley), Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum), Walles Hamonde (Auror), and Flick Miles (stunt double), fandom creators Chanel Williams (TikTok: @chanwills0), Trey Beachum (Instagram: @iamblackharry), and Em Wallbank (Instagram: @emwallbank), and fandom podcasts Potterless, Pottercast, Mugglecast, and more. Additional guests will be announced at a later date.
LeakyCon is a fan convention celebrating fandom, fun, and magic. From August 4-6, 2023 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, join some of the biggest fans, actors, and creators to celebrate the world’s most popular magical franchises. LeakyCon will feature panels, interviews, discussions, workshops, and more, all packed into an epic three-day weekend. LeakyCon is produced by Mischief Management.
The Amazon production of its Middle-Earth stories has been ongoing, but now we are in a time when the arrival of information from them concerning this production is accelerating.
The One Ring staff has been fans of J.R.R. Tolkien for quite some time, and it has always seen its core mission to be defined by its tagline: “By and For the Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien.” This site tries to do many things in support of this mission: support and celebrate fandom and fan activities – from costuming, to open invite events, to the line parties during the films, to group re-reads of Tolkien’s works, to so much more. However, this site has been humbly privileged to not only be supported by fans of Tolkien, but to be given access to many people involved in the production of adaptations of Tolkien’s work. The One Ring takes this gift of access seriously, and wants to do what’s best by the fans to make the most of this access, and to represent the best interests of the fans to these productions, so that the best possible adaptations of Tolkien’s work are made.
A few things have become clear to the staff of The One Ring (TORn) over the twenty years of its existence – time spent discussing and dissecting 6 major films, a handful of stage productions, multiple audio recordings, collectible figurines, and so much more. TORn has learned that what matters most is this:
“The more an adaptation sticks to the spirit and the motivation behind Tolkien’s work, the more successful it becomes, in both the short and long term, in both critical reception, and financial return.”
Over the years, TORn has learned an important lesson: if we, as fans, wish to have any influence over adaptations, we need to follow two important rules: first, we try to avoid quibbling over tiny details, and second, we gladly support the assignment of production staff, both in front of and behind the camera.
So, in terms of offering any constructive critique (pro or con), The One Ring will focus on trying to influence the productions to stay fidelitous to Tolkien’s spirit. For example, those who adapt Tolkien’s work would do well to read his letter #246 in “The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien” to understand some of Tolkien’s subtle thoughts concerning the concept of ‘both intent and actions have consequences.’
As it concerns details of scripting and plot, TORn recognizes that adaptations will need to modify the story in various ways. While everyone will have their opinions on each and every detail, TORn realizes that changes need to be made, and the director and production company need to have freedom in telling the story. Without some degree of freedom, the best people will simply be uninterested in adapting a work. Therefore, while TORn will report on non-spoiling plot details that it becomes aware of, TORn commentary will be focused on, as stated above, encouraging production companies to stay true to the core spirit of Tolkien’s work. This is why, a few months ago, TORn pushed hard against even the possibility of gratuitous sexuality in adaptations.
As it concerns casting and the assignment of production staff, what TORn has seen, time and again, is that there is incredible initial fan reaction for or against newly named cast members, but that all the support or angst over an acting choice disappears once the adaptation is released. To quote a far better author than I, all of that angst is ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ Therefore, at this point, TORn almost universally celebrates the announcement of new cast and production staff, and wants to use whatever influence it has with them to encourage them to create performances that are fidelitous to the spirit of Tolkien’s work.
For some examples of this ‘unfounded sound and fury’ go back twenty years and consider how people were asking “Who is Ian McKellen? Can he play a convincing Gandalf?” “Who is Viggo Mortensen?” Can he carry 3 films as the action hero lead?” “Why is Elijah Wood – and isn’t he too young to play Frodo?” “Do we really want Rudy as Samwise Gamgee?” “Who is Miranda Otto? Can she play a convincing Eowyn?” My goodness; what time has taught us!
Again, one point is crucial so it bears repeating: TORn celebrates – universally – when staff is added to a production – both cast and crew. TORn does this because it has found that celebrating and supporting them encourages them in ways large and small to put in their best work – and to take more seriously comments TORn may make on choices that impact the core spirit of Tolkien’s work (as the staff of TORn best understands it.) TORn does this because it wants the best possible adaptations of Tolkien’s work to be released, so it focuses on what is most important.
Again, TORn has found that almost every debate about cast choice dies down once an adaptation is released, and then, it’s all about the strength of the performance of that cast, as individuals and as an ensemble. This is not just seen in casting of Tolkien-based productions, as shown in the examples above, but in every production, everywhere. For example, there was quite a bit of debate concerning the diversity of the original cast of ‘Hamilton’ – until it was released to pretty much universal acclaim.
Why does TORn focus on fidelity to the spirit of Tolkien? Why does it work to not get sidelined by other issues? To paraphrase a line from the Jackson adaptation of The Lord of the Rings…
“There was some good in the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien that motivated him to create his imaginary world in just the way he did. And it’s worth fighting for.”
Editor Note: Join TheOneRing.net as we focus on the recent cast member announcements for Amazon TV’s The Lord of the Rings inspired TV series. Throughout the month, and as part of our Tolkien Advent Calendar celebration, we will posting articles and cast profiles, as well as some other fun, all relating that to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien.
We are now about halfway through the first Round of our Middle-earth March Madness, and some of the match ups are really close, while others have one contestant running away with the race. Because this year’s bracket has the newly added twist of featuring characters portrayed by the actors who brought our most beloved Middle-earth characters to life, this rundown will include a little about those non-Middle-earth characters.
The traditional match ups first: Boromir is facing off with Gimli in a close race, make sure you vote before the evening of March 22, this one is close enough that your vote will definitely matter. The contest between Samwise and Merry has the acclaimed gardener running away with nearly all the points on this one. Surprisingly, the other match up of Hobbits is unexpectedly close, with Frodo holding a slim lead over Pippin. To cap off the Fellowship match ups, Aragorn is soundly beating Legolas.
With the non-ME characters, there is just as much variety in vote percentages. Sean Bean’s portrayal of Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones has a narrow lead over Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner, from Pirates of the Caribbean. The next race is just as close, between Viggo’s portrayal of real life long distance, endurance horse racer Frank Hopkins with a slim lead over John Rhys Davies’ Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There is a neck and neck contest going on between Dom’s Charlie Pace, the recovering addict rock star from Lost has a very narrow lead over Billy Boyd’s Barrett Bonden, the coxswain on the HMS Surprise in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Not close is the fact that Sean Astin’s earnest performance of Rudy is decidedly running away with the race, leaving Elijah Wood’s Ryan Newman from Wilfred.
“You All Everybody” should get out and vote before 10pm et on March 22.
In this division, the ME match ups are as follows: Galadriel has firm control of the contest with Eomer, the Lady of Light is not easily taken out of events. Faramir has a small lead over Old Bilbo, so you may still be able to give a helping hand to the Hobbit that found the One Ring in the first place. Eowyn and Gollum are nearly neck and neck, can the Shieldmaiden of Rohan defeat the sneakiness of Smeagol? Her uncle Theoden, however, is wiping the floor with Denethor, who became tainted by his contact with the Palantir.
The non-ME roles are proving interesting as well: Cate Blanchett’s Hela, the Goddess of Death from Thor: Ragnarok has a decent lead over Andy Serkis’ Caesar, the ape leader from Planet of the Apes. At the same time, Karl Urban’s Dr. ‘Bones’ McCoy is soundly beating Sir Ian Holm’s Ash, the rather inhuman android from the original Alien movie, who admired the xenomorph just a little more than he valued human life. There are two battles that are very close and would benefit from a last fit of voting on your part. Those are between David Wenham’s Carl from Van Helsing just edging out Bernard Hill’s Captain Smith from Titanic, who did his duty and went down with the ship. The other close battle is between Miranda Otto’s Mary Ann from War of the World with a slim margin over John Noble’s brilliant, but crazy Walter Bishop from Fringe.
On the other side of the bracket, let’s see who is doing well for the traditional match ups: Believe it or not, Gandalf is stomping all over Young Bilbo, guess that is punishment for not telling the truth about finding the One Ring. Dwalin has a sizable lead over Radagast, but then, he does have a massive War Hammer, this is not surprising. Amongst the Dwarves from The Hobbit, Kili is slaying pick pocket Nori, while Thorin is not really faring well against Saruman. Feel free to give a boost to those you wish to support and share with your friends, it’s all in good fun.
The non-ME side of things has: Sir Ian McKellen’s Magneto soundly thrashing Richard Armitage’s John Thornton from North and South, the clever mutant is probably dismantling all of Thorton’s looms as this is written. Graham MacTavish’s Dougal from Outlander is all but finished at the hands of Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson, it’s those modern Doctors he can’t handle, clearly. As expected, Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is trouncing Jed Brophy’s Dagda More from the Shannara, this writer would love to see this battle realized on screen. A little less expected, but even cooler for that is that Sylvestor McCoy’s Doctor has the upper hand on Aiden Turner’s Ross Poldark, Time Lords really do know how to come out on top when needed.
Last division match ups, for the traditional segment: Elrond has a decent lead over Smaug, which is fascinating to see. The Master of Laketown is no match for Tauriel, she saw his selfishness and is leaving him to his own ruin. There is a relatively close match between Thranduil and Bard, with the Elven King of Mirkwood edging out the Bowman of Laketown. Bard’s son Bain is faring even worse in his match up with Azog. This calls for some voter help, Bain came to his father’s aid while the town was burning under the wrath of an angry dragon, the least we can do is vote for them and see how things play out.
Over on the final division of non-ME characters: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is so soundly beating Stephen Fry’s Oscar Wilde, it’s almost as if something very large has been dropped on him. This writer’s favorite match up in this round is Luke Evan’s Gaston from Beauty and the Beast against Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith from the Matrix. A battle of the bragalicious Gaston up against the master manipulator within the Matrix is just something that should be onscreen. Right now, Agent Smith is defeating Gaston. A match that is all but over is that of Lee Pace’s Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy wiping the floor with John Bell’s Young Iain from Outland, poor lad never stood a chance. And the very last match up to get coverage tonight see’s a near tie between Evangeline Lilly’s Kate Austen from Lost squaring off with Manu Bennet’s Deathstroke from Arrow, another match up I would love to see on screen.
Last chance to vote in Round 1 is 10pm et on Thursday, March 22. Round 2 will begin on Friday, March 23.
As I mention in the video, one of the great things about Weta is that they listen to us, the fans, about which statues we want to see. They run polls via the Flame of Udun, the official Weta forums, which allows fans to chime in with something that means a lot to them and often enough those pieces eventually get made.
The Lady Eowyn of Rohan statue is one of the pieces that we’ve been asking for since The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers came out. This beautiful piece captures Eowyn just after she’s stormed out of the Golden Hall, looking out of Rohan in both frustration as well as sadness. If you’re one of the collectors that has the Eowyn as Dernhelm statue, you have a wonderful bookend set of two very pivotal moments for this character. If you’re looking to add this statue it is currently in-stock in the US and NZ Warehouses. For fans in the EU, it is in pre-order status until they get more in stock. Eowyn is priced at US$275 and has a small edition size of only 750 pieces worldwide. Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Lady Eowyn of Rohan Statue Review”