Both CRIMES OF THE FUTURE and THIRTEEN LIVES featured the Aragorn actor in top fashion, yet there was no fan discussion nor viewership numbers worth reporting from any studio. Taking into consideration this was the year of the inescapable RINGS OF POWER, the most expensive TV season ever telling the story of Aragorn’s heritage, we have to ask: what happened?
Crimes of the Movie Going
Viggo Mortensen re-teaming with Howard Shore should be enough to grab any LOTR fans attention, then add in that it’s David Cronenberg returning to his shock-scifi roots. There should be an ongoing buzz about this in 2022 right? But CRIMES OF THE FUTURE came and went with barely a whisper. According to Rotten Tomatoes it is a respectable 80% Fresh, and JustWatch says it is currently streaming on Hulu.
Not only does it have a new Howard Shore score (who has worked with Cronenberg on most of his films), CRIMES OF THE FUTURE is the fourth collaboration between the director and Mortensen – who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for their hit EASTERN PROMISES. Yet there’s been close to zero conversation on our message boards or twitter feed, as if nobody gave this film a try.
To be clear, Cronenberg films can an acquired taste and you the viewer should be prepared for full dark, body-shock genre storytelling. This movie was never going to be a blockbuster, but with a very fervent fanbase for both LOTR and Cronenberg and Shore, it’s surprising this film didn’t find its footing in cinemas or streaming.
THIRTEEN LIVES, NO THEATERS
The other Viggo Mortensen film that should have been a huge 2022 hit is THIRTEEN LIVES, directed by Ron Howard and co-starring Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton. Critics and audiences agree that this is a great movie! An all-star cast, story ripped from the headlines, with one of the top directors of all time. It also was the best test-scores in MGM studios history.
THIRTEEN LIVES tells the story of the cave-diving rescue of a team of kids stuck underground in a Thailand monsoon. There’s also a meta-cultural touchpoint since this is the rescue event where Elon Musk called rescuers horrible names and promised a technological solution that never materialized, and Elon is one of the most talked about persons on the internet in 2022 with his takeover of Twitter. So between cultural relevance, meme opportunities, a real human story of heroics, epic test scores, this had all the hallmarks of a huge box office hit. Plus, THIRTEEN LIVES is produced by Amazon Studios, home to RINGS OF POWER.
We can guess why this film was direct-to-streaming, as Amazon wants people to sign up for Prime Video. But this film is a perfect theatrical experience where every thrilling hold-your-breath moment would be shared with strangers in a dark cinema. Prime Video has stated it still believes in theatrical distribution with its recent acquisition of MGM studios, so why didn’t this get a summer release? Top Gun Maverick is Tom Cruise’s biggest film of his career, while WB released several blockbusters on both HBO Max and theaters simultaneously.
Why wasn’t THIRTEEN LIVES put in theaters?
Why didn’t Prime offer this movie after each episode of RINGS OF POWER?
Why did Amazon make a movie with Isildur’s heir, in a year with their show about Isildur, and not promote it?
Does this movie show up in your Prime dashboard after watching the entirety of Rings of Powers?
Viggo Mortensen is turning in some of the best performances in 2022. As the movie industry enters awards season, maybe these films will get renewed interest and some nominations. Fans of Viggo Mortensen should definitely give THIRTEEN LIVES a go on Amazon Prime, and if you can stomach a jaunt with CRIMES OF THE FUTURE on Hulu.
With many new Lord of the Rings projects on the horizon, maybe there’s room for Viggo Mortensen to direct, write, score or star in more Middle-earth. Amazon or Embracer, give him a call.
Prime Video has announced that Charlotte Brändström, Sanaa Hamri, and Louise Hooper will each helm multiple episodes for Season Two of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Readers will, of course, recall that Brändström directed a pair of Season One’s episodes: (1X06/“Udûn” and 1X07/“The Eye”).
Hamri, an acclaimed music video director who has collaborated with artists such as Mariah Carey, Prince, and Snoop Dogg, recently completed executive producing and directing The Wheel of Time’s second season. Hooper has directed episodes of The Witcher, as well the season finale of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.
The announcement states that Hamri and Hooper will each direct two episodes, with Brändström to oversee the remaining four and serve as co-executive producer for the eight-episode season.
Season 2 is currently in production in the UK.
The Rings of Power Season Two’s directors
Charlotte Brändström is an award-winning director and graduate of the directing program at the American Film Institute. She recently finished directing a pilot for Netflix Sweden titled The Unlikely Murder, and her other directing credits for television include The Outsider for HBO; Jupiter’s Legacy, The Witcher, and Away for Netflix; The Man in the High Castle for Prime Video; and Outlander and Counterpart for Starz. Brändström also directed the entirety of two European limited series: Conspiracy of Silence for Viaplay and Disparue for FR2, and has also directed over 30 feature films, miniseries, and movies-of-the-week. Additionally, Brändström is an international Emmy award nominee for Julie, Chevalier de Maupin.
Sanaa Hamri is a renowned film, television, music video, and commercial director from Tangier, Morocco. She recently completed executive producing and directing The Wheel of Time’s second season for Prime Video. Previously Hamri was executive producer/director for FOX’s hit series Empire, and her other episodic television directing credits include Shameless, Rectify, Nashville, Elementary, Glee, and Desperate Housewives. Hamri is also an acclaimed music video director, and has collaborated with numerous hip-hop/R&B musicians including Prince, Common, Lenny Kravitz, Rhianna, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, and Mary J. Blige. She has also won an NAACP Image Award for India.Arie’s “Little Things” video, as well as an MTV VMA for Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.” In addition, Hamri directed Mariah Carey’s sold-out five arena concert documentary, The Adventures of Mimi, and has also directed the feature films Something New, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, and Just Wright.
Louise Hooper is an acclaimed British drama director, known for the 4-part limited thriller Flesh and Blood, starring Imelda Staunton and Stephen Rea; and Cheat, the 4-part drama starring Molly Windsor. Her additional directing credits include the first season finale of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, The Witcher, Inside No. 9, and Treason. Hooper began her career directing BBC Arts documentaries, working with David Lynch, Helmut Newton, Arthur Miller, David Attenborough, and Björk, and has also received a BAFTA nomination for directing Our Gay Wedding: The Musical.
Prime Video has announced that new behind the scenes footage from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be released today, in the form of ‘X-ray’ content, which can be accessed whilst watching the show. To promote the footage, they released this trailer:
Here’s what the official press release tells us:
Prime Video Announces a Spectacular Return to Middle-earthWith X-Ray’s “The Making of The Rings of Power”
Fans of the global hit series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power can get an exclusive look behind the scenes of all eight episodes via Prime Video’s X-Ray feature, pulling back the curtain on the real-life creation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s magnificent realms like never before
CULVER CITY, California—November 21, 2022—Prime Video’s record-breaking global hit series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has announced that “The Making of The Rings of Power”—a special look at previously unreleased behind-the-scenes content from Season One’s eight episodes—is now available exclusively on X-Ray, via a full-screen experience that can be launched anytime while watching the series. Viewers can also access the X-Ray episodes by scrolling to the Bonus Content section on the series’ main page on Prime Video HERE.
X-Ray’s behind-the-scenes content invites audiences to take a close, personal look at Season One’s production, allowing fans to discover how the series meticulously brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to life in all of its splendor. These “making of” pieces, each corresponding to one of the first season’s eight episodes, provide a thrilling deep dive into the series, with exclusive access, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with the cast, showrunners, executive producers, directors, and production team.
“The Making of The Rings of Power” gives fans a special inside look at the creation of the unique realms that make up Middle-earth, including Númenor and Khazad-dûm, both shown on screen at the heights of their glory for the first time. These segments also reveal exciting details about the production design, set decoration, costumes, makeup, visual and special effects, stunts, sword fights, horseback riding, and so much more of the intricate preparation involved in creating this very special world.
The first season of Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been an unprecedented global success, viewed by more than 100 million people worldwide, with more than 24 billion minutes streamed. The highly anticipated series attracted more than 25 million global viewers on its first day, marking the biggest premiere in the history of Prime Video, and also debuted as the #1 show on Nielsen’s overall streaming chart in its opening weekend. The show has also broken all previous Prime Video records for the most viewers, and has driven more new Prime sign-ups than any other previous content launched. Additionally, The Rings of Power is the top Original series in every region – North America, Europe, APAC, LATAM and the rest of the world. The season finale also created a global cultural moment, with #Halbrand trending on Twitter for 305 hours.
Watch, listen, and shop more on Prime Video with your favorite show, powered by X-Ray. The technology of showing you who that actor is now includes more—What song is playing? Where can I buy this book? How did they make the scale of the Harfoots and Dwarves? Launch X-Ray to find out more: https://www.amazon.com/adlp/xray
How to Access X-Ray
Via mobile device or web browser on Prime Video, move your cursor, tap the screen, and/or pause the series to reveal on-screen X-Ray controls. X-Ray’s on-screen Quickview mode disappears after a few moments, so to see X-Ray information again, just tap, click or move your cursor again. Click or tap “X-Ray View All” at the top left of the screen to enter full screen X-Ray.
On Smart TVs or streaming media devices: “The Making of The Rings of Power” behind-the-scenes pieces will be available as Bonus Content. Scroll to the Bonus Content section on the show’s main page, where all eight segments will be available to view individually.
Use your remote to activate X-Ray by pressing/swiping up to view on-screen X-Ray controls. Press up on the remote again or select “X-Ray” to access the full screen X-Ray experience
It’s been a month since the final episode of Season 1 aired. TheOneRing.net staff have had time to reflect, to go back and binge-watch the whole thing, and to process thoughts.
As we begin the journey to Season 2 (which could be a long one!), here are some of TORn staffers’ reactions to the first season of Prime Video‘s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. As you’ll see, we’re an independent bunch with a wide variety of opinions!
Earlier this week, TORn staffer greendragon had the chance to sit down with composer Bear McCreary. Greendragon was fortunate to be invited to attend a recording session for the Rings of Power soundtrack in London last April; it was an incredible experience, watching skilled musicians bring McCreary’s score to life. So she was thrilled to have the chance to catch up with the composer, and see how he’s feeling about Season One – and what might be in store for Season Two of The Rings of Power.
McCreary is a huge Tolkien fan himself, and he shared how Peter Jackson’s movies – and in particular, Howard Shore’s score – were important influences in his growth to become the composer he is today. He discussed the luxury of time which Amazon’s big budgets provide, and the importance of music to enhance and communicate emotion and drama. He also revealed that he has already started work for Season Two!