As we all know, this year is the 20th anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, first in his Lord of the Rings film trilogy. To celebrate, New Zealand Post are bringing out some spectacular new stamps, with brand new artwork inspired by the movie – and we’re delighted to have an EXCLUSIVE first look for you here at TheOneRing.net. Fans will NOT want to miss adding these gorgeous works of art to any collection!

Here’s what our friends at NZ Post have to say:

Continue reading “EXCLUSIVE First Look – new NZ Post stamps”

Deadline reports The Witcher alumn is responsible for two episodes of the billion dollar series.

Director Charlotte Brändström, at work on a set.

Amazon continues to pull from its bench of creatives as director Charlotte Brändström joins the LORD OF THE RINGS TV series. The accomplished director previously worked on Amazon’s Man in the High Castle, and more recently worked on Netflix’s two fantasy series The Witcher and Jupiter’s Legacy. Interestingly, most of her TV work is limited to two episodes per show, and the current rumors from @FansFellowship (who first reported her hiring) indicate she is working on the last two episodes of the first season of LOTR.

Brändström is the first female Middle-earth director to hold the full title, following in the legacy of Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who helped Peter Jackson direct some key scenes in his LOTR series (uncredited). She is based in Los Angeles as a graduate of the AFI film program, and speaks 4 languages: French, Swedish, English and Spanish, the latter to be very helpful as a collaborator with Spanish director JA Bayona, who is setting the tone for the entire series. She is currently in New Zealand directing the key episodes to close out the first season. Amazon has already committed to 5 seasons minimum, with S2 and S3 already in pre-production.

The incredible 'Fantasy Film' section in WETA's 'Unleashed'
This is the Fantasy film section. Photo by Jason Dorday/Stuff

On December 15, 2020, WETA Workshop opened up Unleashed, a hybrid entertainment experience in Auckland that is part film set and part creative workshop. This project started as an idea about 3 years ago, but it was 18 months ago when they landed on the concept that would become Unleashed – A Fantastical Film FX Experience. WETA took over an entire floor at the SkyCity entertainment precinct in Auckland, at the foot of the Sky Tower. This finally gives WETA the space to grow and flesh out what they began with the WETA Cave and the Window on the Workshop experience they have in Wellington. 

The Health and Safety officer named Jeff, who greets visitors to the attraction - an otherworldly looking character.
Jeff, Health and Safety officer Photo by Sylvie Whinray

Upon entering, guests are greeted by Jeff, head of security and health and safety; who happens to be an animatronic character, voiced by Mark Hadlow, with 40 points of articulation. Guests will go on a 90-minute immersive journey, through several rooms that aren’t always what they appear to be. Jeff will get you started on your adventure to learn about the creation of three original films in the Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction genres. Each room will offer hands-on, interactive activities, such as sculpting, making armor, or tracing creatures. The concept is to show the creative process involved in filmmaking from the beginning through the final stages before release, and leave the guests inspired to take that creativity home with them.

Some sculpture work on display
Photo by Jason Dorday/Stuff

In addition to being a fun day tour experience for movie fans and tourists, this facility is big enough to be an event venue, a themed event venue at that: from small groups of 15 or more for things like Birthday or Anniversary parties, all the way up to large corporate or professional groups. There is room for receptions up to 700 people, or banquets of 300. And to add atmosphere, you can include an SFX make-up demo, hands-on workshops, guest speakers, and Middle-earth themed feasts. Makes one wonder if they will have space for some 20th anniversary partying next December…?

For details on where to find WETA Workshop Unleashed and all of their various tours and venue options, simply head over to WETA Workshop Unleashed

An incredible display at WETA Workshop Unleashed
Photo by Jason Dorday/Stuff

Welcome to part two of our tips for touring New Zealand as Middle-earth. In our first segment, we covered getting around NZ and the Top Ten Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit locations.

Today we’ll offer a few options for itineraries as well some helpful additional resources.

Continue reading “Can We Please Go There and Back Again? Touring New Zealand As Middle-earth (Part Two)”

Twenty years. On December 19, 2000, a young TheOneRing.net was abuzz with news of LotR Christmas parties, a new spy photo of four battle-ready hobbits, and the big one: New Line Cinema was starting the countdown clock. Only 365 sleeps until The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring would make its long-awaited debut.

At the time, we hoped that the movie could live up to crushingly high expectations; that we would be transported, live-action style, into Tolkien’s Middle-earth. What many of us did not appreciate, though, was the thorough gob-smacking we would experience through Aotearoa – how completely transporting, impossibly immersive, and mind-bendingly beautiful this remote archipelago of New Zealand could be.

Now here we are, on the cusp of 2021 and a series of 20th anniversaries for movies that have never faded in their grandeur and emotional impact (not to mention meme generation power).  And like Bilbo, pandemic or no, the heart stirs and we long to see mountains again, Gandalf, mountains! And lakes, rivers, forests, fields, and fens. New Zealand is calling.

For the LotR-lover, this is mandatory bucket list territory. But did I mention remote? New Zealand is a long flight from literally everywhere. Even flying from Sydney to Auckland covers more than three hours and two time zones. One does not simply pop by.  That means you need a plan, aspiring Kiwi-connoisseur. And TORn is at your service, with some thoughts on must-see filming destinations, an example itinerary or two, and some resources that might prove useful, should 2021 prove kinder than this last year to those itching to get out into the World again.

Note: This is the first part of a two part series. In this portion, we will review getting around NZ and the Top Ten Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit locations.

Continue reading “Can We Please Go There and Back Again? Touring New Zealand As Middle-earth (Part One)”