Talent, locations, infrastructure and a warm Kiwi welcome. According to Pam Ford from the Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development agency in this piece from Radio NZ, those were the determining factors in Amazon Studios’ decision, confirmed on Tuesday, to film the upcoming Middle-earth-based TV series in New Zealand.
Quoted in stuff.co.nz, showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay described New Zeland as indeed offering all of the criteria they were looking for: “As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle Earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff”.
“And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”
No doubt the prospect of a 20% to 25% rebate for every dollar spent also contributed to the ‘welcome’ factor. The good news for New Zealand is that Amazon will be spending approximately $1.0 billion of those dollars ($1.3 NZD) and will likely provide jobs that will spill over from the film industry to affect the rest of the economy for up to a decade.
Read more about the Auckland studios where filming will take place in our article from June, and be sure to listen to the full radio story linked above as it features our own staffer Garfeimao (Cathy Udovch)!
If you haven’t yet voted in Round 2 of TheOneRing.net’s March Madness competition, now is the time to do so! This round is producing some VERY interesting results among the 32 remaining contestants. Neck-and-neck battles currently include:
In the Movies Only division, the lovely Tauriel has a narrow lead over Sebastian the Hedgehog. Can elvish archery prowess win out over sheet unadulterated cuteness?
In the Movies and Books division there are currently two contests that are too close to call: Smaug vs. Sauron and Bilbo vs. Faramir. Fire is sure to be involved in the battle between the two Middle-earth arch-villains: the wily dragon Smaug and the Dark Lord Sauron. Could the fact that today is March 25, the day of Sauron’s defeat in The Return of the King give Smaug a slight edge, or might Sauron’s victory be guaranteed by knowledge of the bare spot on Smaug’s breast? How does one chose between two of Middle-earth’s most virtuous heroes: Bilbo and Faramir? Can Faramir’s Gondorian armour withstand a blow from Sting?
The Wider Mythos division has another close contest in the works between evil incarnate, Morgoth, and the mighty Varda, queen of the Valar. In The Silmarillion, it took all of the might of the Valar to defeat Morgoth. Can Varda do it on her own? Can the light defeat the darkness one more time? It’s up to you to decide! Round 2 voting is open until 10:00 p.m. EST tonight. Go here to vote, and join us in deciding these, and other great battles going on right now.
Middle-earth Madness officially starts today! We’ve split our field of 64 characters into four divisions:
Movies Only – characters who appeared only in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and/or The Hobbit movies Books Only – characters who didn’t make the final cut for the movies Movies and Books – characters who graced both the written page and the silver screen Wider Mythos – Middle-earth characters not in the movies from Tolkien’s works outside of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
There are some very interesting match-ups in round one this year. In one of the more intense match-ups in the Movies Only division, Tauriel is up against the Warg Matriarch, Azog’s vicious white warg. A perennial TORn fav, FIGWIT (stay-tuned for the story behind the name if you don’t know it already) takes on Alfrid, and it’s anybody’s guess as to who will come out on top in the match-up between Sebastian the Hedgehog and the Goblin Scribe.
The Books Only division is chock-full of interesting matches such as Ghan-buri-Ghan vs. Quickbeam, and The Fox (who wondered at Hobbits traveling through The Shire in FOTR) vs. Prince Imrahil.
It was almost impossible to narrow down the Movies & Books division with so many amazing choices, but there are some gut-wrenchers in the contests as they stand with Beorn going up against the Balrog and Shelob battling Sauron.
Finally, some of Tolkien’s Titans go mano-a-mano in the Wider Mythos division, with two powerful dragons, Ancalagon and Glaurung battling it out, and Beren and Huan facing each other in what is sure to be a close call.
A note on how the bracket combatants were determined. TheOneRing.net created a document containing all combatants, sub-divided into divisions. We asked staff to cast sixteen votes per division, with the votes having a weight of 1-4. Each staffer cast four 4 votes, four 3 votes, four 2 votes and four 1 votes in each division. We then totaled all the votes from each division to determine their rank, and ultimately placed the top 16 into each bracket for seeding.
As you can imagine, our staff is diverse and the results were very interesting! Not only are there some great match-ups in this first round, the final four will pose some amazing choices between the various literary and film sources.
Our friend, Doug Adams, recently confirmed via twitter that the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s program later this month, The Film Music of Howard Shore, will include the premiere of The Hobbit: Four MovementsRa. This has been long awaited by fans as a logical progression from Shore’s The Lord of the Rings Symphony, released on CD in September 2011. No word yet on if and when it might be available on CD, but if you’re in or near the Pittsburgh area at the end of this month, the performances are scheduled for Friday, June 24 and Saturday, 25 at 8:00 p.m. with an afternoon concert scheduled for Sunday, June 26. In addition to music from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the performances will also include music from other Howard Shore scores such as The Aviator, Hugo and The Silence of the Lambs, and more. Get more information and purchase tickets here, on the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s website.
Update: thanks to Doug, we can now share the official press release for the event! Check it out below, and be sure to purchase your tickets soon if you’re lucky enough to be able to go. Also, don’t forget to send us your reports and pictures from the concert!
The Film Music of Howard Shore
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestraorld Premiere:
FOUR MOVEMENTS FOR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
with many more favorites from his outstanding career
June 24, 2016 – June 26, 2016 at Heinz Hall
Special Guest Howard Shore
Howard Shore, special guest
Ludwig Wicki, conductor
Jon Burlingame, interviewer
Lydia Kavina, Theremin
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concludes another spectacular Pops season with a one of a kind evening: an audience with the Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra celebrates the outstanding career and achievements of a true icon, with performances of his best known scores and live interviews, by acclaimed film music writer Jon Burlingame, with the composer from the stage. Audiences will thrill to the music from his legendary scores to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the world premiere of music from The Hobbit with scores from his films: The Aviator, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Silence of the Lambs, Hugo and many more. This is an epic evening filled with amazing music and the composer’s own insights.
Now here’s an interesting concept. Assuming part of why you frequent TheOneRing.net is interest in the LOTR/Hobbit movies, would you have paid to see them on opening night – at home? Some of you may already be aware of the proposed ‘Screening Room’ offering from this article at deadline.com in March. More recently, deadline reports that Sir Peter Jackson has enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon in support of Screening Room, joining a number of other directors, including Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams.
Weta Digital has been nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-time Project by the Visual Effects Society for the virtual reality demo “The Hobbit: A Thief in the Shadows.” The virtual reality (VR) experience, a collaboration between Weta Digital, Epic Games, NVIDIA and Oculus is designed to let someone wearing the PC headsets for gamers to take Bilbo’s place as he first encounters Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) in his lair.