What lessons can Amazon learn from the team that’s been there & back again? Let’s find out! Join TORn Tuesday hosts Cliff Broadway and Justin Sewell for an epic All-Star LOTR panel tomorrow! Joining us will be Mark Ordesky (Executive Producer), Sean Astin (Actor – Sam Gamgee), Rick Porras (Co-producer), Jim Rygiel (Visual Effects Supervisor), Michael Pellerin (Producer, multiple LOTR & Hobbit documentaries), Keith Stern (Ian McKellen’s Digital Manager), and Sala Baker (Actor – Sauron), as we all relive memories of filming LORD OF THE RINGS. What were those early days on set like? Did producers follow the fan discussion online? What made this effort so special? Get your deep knowledge questions ready for this multi-Oscar winning team and join the Live chat tomorrow 5pm PT. There are three options to watch the live stream, each of which let you comment and ask questions of your own:
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)!
This just in from Newstalkzb.co.nz: according to an unidentified senior member of the Auckland film industry, a ‘huge’ part of Amazon’s new series will be filmed in NZ. According to the article, Kumeu Film Studios and Auckland Film Studios are mentioned specifically to be involved. The insider told the Herald that an announcement could be expected soon, as the leases are due to take effect in July. Apparently, the two studios mentioned have been working on pre-production for more than a year. However, everyone was required to sign confidentiality agreements. The insider source did mention that an official announcement should be coming soon, as the leases related to starting production are due to take effect in July.
According to their websites, both Kumeu Film Studios and Auckland film studios offer sound stages, workshops production offices and, at Kumeu studios, 12 hectares (30 acres) of forest and large water tanks (which could come in handy should the series include the destruction of Numenor at the end of the 2nds age). Of course, location shooting will also be an option in order to take advantage of the same natural beauty and diversity of the various landscapes that made The Lord of the Rings films so memorable.
How does this new rumor fit in with previous rumors that filming was going to be done in Scotland? Given the ease of communicating globally these days, there’s no reason both countries (or more) can’t be involved. The film industry insider’s comment that a ‘huge’ part of the series will be filmed in New Zealand also implies that at least part of it will not. In any case, it sounds like we’ll be getting more updates in the near future! Stay tuned to TheOneRing.net as we keep you posted!
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.
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.
Voting in Round 1 will remain open until March 22nd at 10:00 p.m. EST. At that point, we’ll calculate the winners and post the next round on March 23rd. Follow after the break for a complete bracket image [download it], and to vote on all of our Round 1 match-ups! [Round 1 Bracket]
Continue reading “Middle-earth March Madness – Round 1 Bracket – Vote Now!”
TheOneRing.net isn’t the only news site reporting on the 15th anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring this week. Leigh Blickley, Senior Editor at The Huffington Post, takes us on a bit of a walk down memory lane in her article that looks back at the many people and circumstances that came together to produce the fantasy classic.
“Fifteen years ago, Hollywood was abuzz as director Peter Jackson geared up to release the first installment of his screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings. The film series was the talk of the town, considering Tolkien fans were chomping at the bit to see Jackson’s cinematic imagining of Middle-earth. The somewhat unknown filmmaker took on one of the most expensive and ambitious projects in cinema history, and many worried he would flounder in bringing the beloved epic to life.
Well, Jackson delivered something far more incredible than what anyone was expecting.”
We have to agree with you, Leigh! But, we’re not the only ones. Later in the week we’ll take a look a the many reviews of stunned (in a good way) critics and fans alike. In the mean time, you can read the full HuffPost article here.