30 June 2011

Elijah Wood: First 'Hobbit' Script is 'Incredible'

Returning to New Zealand this fall to film his scenes for The Hobbit is Elijah Wood, who currently stars in FX's new series 'Wilfred.' The first script, says Wood, is "incredible. It definitely expounds upon the book; there are already characters that are cast that are not in the book, so that indicates that it goes slightly outside the boundaries in the structure of the original novel."

"For a while I was excited just at the notion of going back and seeing everybody and playing the character again," he adds. "Then sitting down and reading it I became really genuinely excited about the films they were making. I think they're going to be amazing."

"It's a very small piece," he notes. "Obviously Frodo's not alive during the Hobbit chronology so it's a small piece that was written into the script. It makes sense based on the script they wrote. It's a really fun opportunity to go back, it's kind of an extraordinary thing after so many years to go back to New Zealand and work within the context of Middle Earth with a large group of the same creative team and crew and many of the same cast members. It just feels like a giant family reunion. I'm so excited!"

He has not read the script for the second film, nor does he know how Peter Jackson plans to wrap up the highly-anticipated Lord of the Rings prequel.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated for release on December 14, 2012, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again will be out on December 13, 2013.

29 June 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth

July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012 
    April 2012
    May 2012
    June 2012

        365 Days of Middle-earth

        While I love bringing fans the latest news on 'The Hobbit' and other LOTR-related things, I would like to continue with my scholarly Tolkien work as well; therefore, I will be adding to my blog a "365 Days of Middle-Earth" segment, in which I will summarize a different person, place, object, event, or discussion topic each day, beginning on July 1, 2011, and going on for as long as I can manage (presumably for a minimum of one year, or 365 days). Of course, I can already foresee there being some days where I cannot post, due to other commitments and whatnot, but I will do everything I can to ensure that I get at least 365 different subjects posted within a reasonable time frame.

        While I have compiled a list of over 200 topics, I do, of course, encourage questions/suggestions/topics from my followers. If you'd like me to include a particular character, weapon, location, etc., or if you have a specific question you would like answered, by all means, submit it and I'll do my best to make sure I cover it.

        I will post my summaries/discussions/information here, but in order to better keep track of things, I have also made a Tumblr account (365DaysofLOTR) specifically for this. And don't let the name fool you; I'll be covering not just The Lord of the Rings, but all of Tolkien's stories.

        As always, thanks for your continued support. I look forward to beginning this "challenge."

        Cheers!
        -Britta 

        Tolkien Fans: Don't Miss Tolkien Moot 2011!

        Tolkien Moot (formerly MerpCon) is just one of many conventions inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien Moot is an annual international convention for Tolkien scholars, enthusiasts, and role-players. The event consists of such activities as music, food, fan films, live performance artists, Tolkien panels, games, costumes, and guest speakers. While the event is free, attendees must RSVP - and it is recommended that you do so quickly, as spaces are filling up.

        This year's Tolkien Moot will take place in Spokane, WA on July 15-17. This is the last chance for fans to attend free of charge. For more information, visit the Tolkien Moot website.

        ROTK Extended Showing

        ELF pants, version 2.0 (Shelob's Lair scene)

        Last night was the theatrical showing of The Return of the King, and the final showing of The Lord of the Rings. It was, therefore, a very nostalgic and bittersweet event. I spent the car ride to the theater telling stories to my boyfriend about how excited I'd been when I first saw The Return of the King nearly seven years ago; how I'd cried through just about every scene the first time I saw it...and the eleven times afterward. I wore my ELF pants (originally named after the convention I originally designed them for), though part of me still wishes I'd had the guts to go dressed up as Arwen. We ended up missing the lines this time, so to my disappointment, nobody really noticed my pants, my jewellery, or my tattoo. But such is life.


        Adding to the nostalgia of the experience was the audience, who was by far the liveliest. There was much Tolkien/LOTR chatter prior to the film's beginning, and this time, when TheOneRing.net's trailer came on, the audience fell silent. When Peter Jackson appeared on-screen, applause filled the theater, and I immediately knew that everyone around me was as hard core a fan as I am. It was unlike the original showings, where people were viewing for the first time; the atmosphere in the theater was one of respect and admiration.

        And then Peter spoke - a bit less this time, it seemed, but the quality was not lost. No mention of 'The Hobbit,' but at that point, I didn't care. I'm still in awe of just how humble and personable Peter truly is, even after all the fame and success he has garnered. You don't see many celebrities who are truly honoured by their fans' support. Peter Jackson is just so down-to-earth. After he spoke, more applause broke out.

        As soon as the film began, I could feel my eyes welling up. Suddenly I was fourteen again, and embarking on the final part of the journey. Growing up, my adolescence had been defined by Tolkien's works, it seemed, so when the films concluded in 2004, it had sort of coincided with (and signaled) my embarking on my teenage years, an entirely new journey. I heard sniffles here and there in the audience, and could tell I was not the only one getting a little emotional.

        One thing I really loved about seeing these films in theaters was the audience participation. Everyone laughs at the same scenes, everyone anticipates the up-comping scenes or dialogue, everyone flinches or is startled by the same scenes (Shelob's Lair, for instance) despite already knowing what is going to happen...And to my surprise, there were even a few scenes in which small rounds of applause broke out.

        It was an amazing experience. When it concluded, even more applause. I was actually a bit surprised there was no standing ovation, as I can recall that happening once or twice back in 2004.

        It was a bittersweet night: I'm glad I don't have to sit in a movie theater for 4 hours again with no intermissions, but I absolutely loved seeing the films on the big screen again, especially in their extended editions. It felt, in a way, like the journey had ended all over again. But it is not over: now we just have to move on to watching them in Blu-Ray.

        And my boyfriend beat me to the punch, but I was going to conclude with a quote from Gandalf (and so to re-quote my boyfriend): "End? No, the journey doesn't end here...We still have two 'Hobbit' movies to make."


         
        Full frontal shot of LOTR pants

        Two New 'Hobbit' Photos

        From the June 30 issue of Empire Magazine come two new stills from 'The Hobbit' film, which feature Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf. The issue also includes an exclusive report from the New Zealand set.

        “I’m exactly the same filmmaker as I was ten years ago,” Jackson says. “I’m trying to nail the same thing that I did before. I’m just telling the story.”

        Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins
        Sir Ian McKellen as a younger-looking Gandalf



        Adds Jackson with a laugh: "[The dwarves] don’t know what to make of Gandalf, they think Bilbo is a wuss, and Elrond a prissy headmaster type."

        The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is scheduled for release on December 14, 2012, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again on December 13, 2013.

        27 June 2011

        Wood's return to NZ 'feels like family reunion'

        Photo by Will Ragozzino/Getty Images North America
        30 year old Elijah Wood, famous for his portrayal of Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings films, has described his return to New Zealand to film The Hobbit as feeling "like a family reunion that I'm going back for. A number of the cast members are coming back."

        Wood's role in The Hobbit will not be as prominent as in The Lord of the Rings, as his character does not yet exist.

        "Frodo's obviously not alive at the time of The Hobbit - it's about 60 years before Frodo's birth. So they've written a bit of a piece with Ian Holm as well, reprising his role as the older Bilbo, that I'll do."

        Whatever the size of his role, Wood is excited to return to New Zealand once again.

        "You know," he says, "it’s actually been 12 years since I flew to New Zealand for the very first time. I flew to New Zealand in August of 1999."

        The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated for release on December 14, 2012, with The Hobbit: There and Back Again arriving in theaters on December 13, 2013. 

        In the meantime, you can catch Wood on his new series 'Wilfred' Thursday nights at 10pm on FX.

        26 June 2011

        'Lord of the Rings' Extended Edition Blu-Ray Release Date Approaches

        The extended version of the 'Lord of the Rings' is being released on Blu-Ray this Tuesday, June 28th. This highly-anticipated release has been the focus of much celebration by Tolkien fans, prompting events such as Fathom's theatrical showings of all three films in their extended versions, a Middle-earth Midnight Madness event at the West Los Angeles Best Buy on Monday, June 27th - which will feature cast member greetings, a costume contest with prize packages, and more - and on Thursday, June 30th, re-runs of The Big Bang Theory's LOTR parody, "The Precious Fragmentation."

        The 'Lord of the Rings' extended editions on Blu-Ray can also be ordered through a number of websites, including Warner Bros. and Best Buy.

        First ‘Hobbit’ Cover Courtesy of EMPIRE

        Following Entertainment Weekly’s photos of Martin Freeman and Sir Ian McKellen from the set of ‘The Hobbit,’ Empire Magazine has just released their first ‘Hobbit’ cover, featuring Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf, whom Empire describes as "A resplendent 'younger' Gandalf the Grey (look closely for subtle differences in costume from his 60-year older Rings self)."

        "The tone is actually the part of it I'm enjoying the most," Jackson says of filming. "[The Dwarves] have a healthy disregard for the icons of Middle-Earth."

        You can read the full story in the August issue of Empire, which will hit news stands on June 30th. 

        Cate Blanchett to Reprise Role in 'The Hobbit'

        In addition to the recently cast Barry Humphries, famous for his alter-ego Dame Edna, Cate Blanchett will be returning to Middle-earth as Galadriel in Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

        Liv Tyler, on the other hand, is likely not reprising her role as Arwen Undómiel.

        "I'm definitely not in The Hobbit and I actually don't know anything about it," she recently confessed in an interview, adding: "I would love to go back there and bring my son to New Zealand and see all those amazing people. It was such a magical experience."

        25 June 2011

        Freeman has Perfect Hobbit Gait, McKellen’s Gandalf ‘Iconic'

         In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Peter Jackson, director of the highly anticipated two-part film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, expressed his approval over the casting of Martin Freeman, who will play the story’s titular character, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. 

        ”He fits the ears, and he’s got some very nice feet,” Jackson said of Freeman. “I think he’s got the biggest hobbit feet we’ve had so far. They’re a little bit hard to walk in, but he’s managed to figure out the perfect hobbit gait.”

        Freeman, star of The Office, has also appeared in such films as Hot Fuzz, Love Actually, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

        Jackson also shared his excitement over working once again with Sir Ian McKellen, who will reprise his role as the wizard Gandalf, a character whose look Jackson says has become “iconic” in the ten years following The Lord of the Rings films. 

        So what's weird for me on The Hobbit is that I'll be sitting on the set talking to Ian and - if I look away at the crew and look back - I don't see Ian McKellen, I see Gandalf beside me.”

        Other returning characters from The Lord of the Rings include Frodo, Galadriel, Gollum, and Legolas. 

        “We're working with much of the same crew as Lord of the Rings and obviously some of the actors like Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, and Andy Serkis are back so it's like a reunion. Plus we've got all the new boys.”

        The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated for release on December 14, 2012, with The Hobbit: There and Back Again arriving in theaters on December 13, 2013.

        23 June 2011

        First Look at 'The Hobbit'

        Entertainment Weekly just posted three official photos from 'The Hobbit' film(s), courtesy of director Peter Jackson. The photos include Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, and Peter Jackson on set with Martin Freeman.

        Photo Source: Entertainment Weekly. Photo Credit: James Fisher

        Notes Peter Jackson:
        ''There's no way you can pace yourself for shoots like these. When we were going through the schedule for The Hobbit, I felt a terrible drop in my stomach when I saw that we'd be shooting for 254 days. We're only 12 days short of The Lord of the Rings even though we're only doing two movies. When I saw that, I had to sort of pick myself up off the floor and carry on.''

        Read the full article at Entertainment Weekly

        22 June 2011

        TTT and the One Migraine to Ruin it all

        Last night was the theatrical showing of the Two Towers extended edition. My boyfriend and I opted to get there at 6 this time, rather than 6:35, in the hopes of obtaining slightly better seats. When we arrived, the line for the event was nearly out the door (which, being the Type A compulsive worrier that I am, began to make me feel anxious). As it turned out, the theater had simply kept the auditorium closed until 6:20 or so, which meant that we were actually one of the first to arrive. Therefore, we got much better seats this time around, so all was well.

        While it was again by no means a full house, the turnout was slightly bigger than last week's. Conversations about Elves and wizards and dragons filled the auditorium prior to showtime. I wore a tank top so I could show off my horse of Rohan tattoo, and hopefully start conversation with other moviegoers, but such as my luck was, nobody ever seemed to notice. But in all, it was a good group. There was some drama amongst two parties on the other side of the theater, and once the movie began I thought they were going to really get into it.

        Then Peter Jackson came on, and his introduction was far better this time around. He spoke for several minutes at least, discussing the filming of the Two Towers, his favourite things about it, etc., etc. This was exactly what I (and presumably so many other fans) had been hoping for.

        Again, I don't think I need to go into any great detail about the movie itself. But I will say that having relived the theater experience twice now, I would almost say that I prefer it to home viewing. While I hated sitting in that theater for over three hours, with naught to eat or drink but the few snacks we'd smuggled in, I felt a strong connection between myself and the audience. Everyone laughed at the same parts, and many people even laughed at the made-famous remixed scenes: "They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!" and "Po-tay-toes: boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew." Unlike the viewings ten years ago, a majority of these people had already seen the films countless times, and the nostalgia and the passion lingered in the atmosphere.

        I also felt a strong connection with the films, as I always have. Having seen all of the behind the scenes features, and knowing what went on during the filming of certain scenes, I constantly found myself remembering things as though I had actually been a part of filming: "I remember in this scene, Viggo Mortensen broke his toe, and the pain was so intense that it related to how Aragorn was feeling," or "I remember when Andy pulled Sean's wig clean off, and Sean was pissed." This happened all throughout the movie, which made it more than just a movie that one might view for pleasure.

        We didn't stick around for the credits this time. Despite wanting to once again see the film all the way through and prove my devotion, at around the time of Aragorn and Arwen's dream sequence, I had developed an incredibly painful and unpleasant migraine. I was beyond relieved when the movie had ended; I just wanted to get home and sleep and get rid of the pain.

        In all, it was a great event. The Two Towers is such an incredible film. I cannot wait for The Return of the King next week; at the same time, I dread it like I did ten years ago. It's always sad when we come to the end our journey.

        19 June 2011

        LOST's Evangeline Lilly Joins 'The Hobbit'

        Photo Source: Getty Images
        Peter Jackson has confirmed the latest casting rumor via his Facebook page today: it seems Evangeline Lilly, well-known for her portrayal of Kate Austen on ABC's 'LOST,' as well as for her former relationship with 'Lord of the Rings' actor Dominic Monaghan, has been added to the cast of 'The Hobbit.' Peter Jackson has confirmed that she will be playing a new character - Tauriel, whose name means "daughter of Mirkwood."

        In addition to Evangeline Lilly, Barry Humphries will also be joining the cast, portraying the Goblin King (in the same way that Andy Serkis portrayed Gollum).

        'Antiques Roadshow' Stops in El Paso, Finds Signed Copy of 'The Hobbit'

        The Antiques Roadshow recently made a stop in El Paso, Texas, where they found a first edition copy of 'The Hobbit,' signed by Professor Tolkien himself. Deemed the most expensive item at the auction, the item garnered an appraisal of $80,000-$100,00.

        18 June 2011

        Two New Additions to 'The Hobbit'

        Two new additions to 'The Hobbit' have been announed: Luke Evans, who will play Bard the Bowman, and Benedict Cumberbatch, who, it has now been revealed, will be taking up dual roles as the voice of the dragon Smaug and the Necromancer, using the same motion capture techniques used to convey Andy Serkis as Gollum/Sméagol in 'The Lord of the Rings.'

        Regrettably, I'd never heard of Cumberbatch until this news broke (shame on me!). Therefore, it seems like I'm going to need to start doing my research and watch a few episodes (or every one) of 'Sherlock' so I can really get a feel for Mr. Cumberbatch. Although, to be honest, part of me would rather it be a surprise, as opposed to going into 'The Hobbit' with any preconceived thoughts or opinions.

        In any case, I am very excited that my favourite Hobbit character has now been cast - and I am even more excited to see how they adapt Smaug for the big screen.

        Until next time,
        Britta

        15 June 2011

        My FOTR Extended Edition Experience

        Since everyone else is doing so, I thought it might be sufficient to write about my experience at the FOTR Extended Edition screening last night. I had pre-purchased tickets for my boyfriend and I at the beginning of the month, assuming that the showings would be sold out as soon as they were announced; many seats had been filled when we arrived, but it never ended up being a full house, nor did the movie ever sell out (to my knowledge). The theater we went to even opened up a second showing in another auditorium, presumably because they, too, thought it would be a huge success. I don’t think this event was properly advertised, which was nice for me, because I hate packed movie theaters, especially during lengthy movies. On the other hand, more moviegoers would have meant a higher likelihood of folks dressing up; I was really glad I opted not to wear my Arwen dress last night, because I would have stood out like a hobbit in Mordor. I did, however, adorn myself in a t-shirt from TheOneRing.net: (Front) "If you haven't read the books, you should know..." (Back) "The pretty Elf man dies!" and I wore my replica One Ring and Barahir. Next week, I plan on wearing the Evenstar and Galadriel's ring, Nenya. I will also don my "ELF" pants which are covered in various LOTR drawings and phrases. It was rainy last night, so I opted not to wear them out of fear of ruining them.

        Anyway, on to the movie.

        There was a bit of LOTR trivia prior to the showing, combined with background music from the soundtracks, which made for a very warm and Tolkien-esque environment. I was disappointed that the trivia questions were far too simple (Q: What is Bilbo’s last name?), and that there were less than ten different ones. It was still a neat little novelty all the same.

        The film began with a video from Weta Workshop, followed by a quick “Hello, and thanks for joining us!” bit from Peter Jackson. It was not much of an introduction - certainly not the one I’d hoped for, but again: it was a nice touch all the same.

        I don’t think I need to describe the movie in any great detail; the three and a half hours went by incredibly fast, and about halfway through the movie, it struck me that it had been ten years since The Fellowship of the Ring’s original theatrical release. I could not fathom how quickly so much time had passed. Needless to say, the event quickly turned into a nostalgic experience. It was also interesting to note that the special effects were not affected by the passing of time: ten years later, the Balrog was just as awesome as it had been when I was only eleven years old. Unlike other films whose special effects age over time, The Fellowship of the Ring remained unchanged.

        Once the film had concluded, a sincere round of applause filled the auditorium. It was amazing how ten years later, the films still have that effect on moviegoers. I have never heard applause during any films but The Lord of the Rings. My heart soared.

        Curious and incredibly hopeful for more goodies, my boyfriend and I stuck around for the credits - an extra half hour of run time. Unfortunately, no such goodies were ever found. We are very hopeful for The Two Towers and The Return of the King, though.

        In all, it was a fantastic evening. I am very excited for the next two showings.

        10 June 2011

        Recap of This Week's Stories

        eBay Auction: Lord of the Rings Early 1st Editions Full Set
        The first edition full set of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings goes up for auction on eBay; the starting bid is set at $8.17 USD, and is currently at $129.72 USD. Bidding closes on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.

        eBay Auction: J.R.R. Tolkien Gift Set - Hologram Cover; CDs: The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings
        The audio set, which includes both The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings books, The Hobbit BBC audio CD, and a map of Middle-earth, all contained in a hologram-covered gift box, is currently up for grabs at $28.97 USD. Bidding closes on Sunday, June 26, 2011.

        eBay Auction: a 1978 original theatrical poster for The Lord of the Rings 
        The poster, from an actual NY theatrical showing of The Lord of the Rings, is going for $7,500 USD.

        Win a Trip to New Zealand in a Contest Sponsored by Empire Online
        To celebrate the release of the Lord of the Rings extended editions on Blu-Ray, Empire Online is holding a contest in search of "the biggest Lord of the Rings fan," who will win a trip to New Zealand, a full-day tour of 20 locations from the films, and the Blu-Ray box set. 

        A New Company Creates Middle-earth Inspired Makeup
        The Cinnamon Candies Countryside Collection has created a line of makeup products with such names as Lobelia, the Party Tree, and Green Dragon. Products can be pre-ordered online up until June 14 at Countryside Collection.

        LOTRO: Rise of Isengard
        The upcoming expansion pack is scheduled for release on September 27, 2011.

        Hobbit Project Comes to Hayters Gap
        The Washington County Public Library System is presenting a special event, which will honour J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit,' on Tuesday, June 21.

        Best Buy: Reserve Your Copy of the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions in Blu-Ray
        And receive a limited edition One Ring.

        Sir Peter Jackson's Plane Lands in Queenstown
        Leaving fans wondering whether or not scenes from 'The Hobbit' films may be filmed there.

        'Hobbit' Talk
        Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, and Dominic Monaghan talk about the upcoming 'Hobbit' films.

        03 June 2011

        About Me

        How old are you? 
        22.

        Where are you based out of?
        I prefer not to disclose a specific location, but I am currently situated in New England (United States).

        How did you get into Tolkien?
        As a child, I was fond of Brian Jacques' Redwall series; naturally, my mother suggested I try The Hobbit. I borrowed the book from my uncle, who was also a Tolkien fan. I immediately fell in love with Middle-earth, and soon progressed on to reading The Lord of the Rings. 

        What other Tolkien books have you read?
        I've read everything. Following The Lord of the Rings, I believe my next read was The Silmarillion, then The Lays of Beleriand, Unfinished Tales, and so on. I have an entire bookshelf that is completely devoted to Tolkien: every book in various covers, art books, reference books, and miscellaneous printed objects.  
        What is your favourite Tolkien book/story? 
        I frequently find myself re-reading The Lays of Beleriand. I love the tale of Beren and Lúthien. I also loved The Hobbit, and from the Lord of the Rings appendixes, I love The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. 

        Who is your favourite Lord of the Rings character
        It's a tie between Faramir, Gandalf, and Samwise Gamgee.

        Who is your favourite Hobbit character?
        Smaug the Dragon! With Bilbo and Thorin following closely behind. 

        If you could live anywhere in Middle-earth, where would it be?
        Rohan or Gondor (I'm torn between the two). I tend to think of myself as more of a Rohan chick, but Gondor is just so beautiful.  

        If you lived in Middle-earth, what race would you be, and why?
        I'm often told that I have an Elven appearance and am similar to them in nature. However, I also value good food, drink, and cheer, so I could also see myself as a Hobbit!

        Do you have any LOTR Tattoos? 
        I have the Horse of Rohan tattooed on my shoulder blade.  

        Have you ever met anyone from the cast of LOTR? 
        Billy Boyd and Sean Astin.

        If you could meet any other cast member(s), who would it be?
        John Rhys-Davies, Sir Ian McKellen, and Christopher Lee.

        Craziest or most ridiculous thing you've done as a Tolkien/LOTR fan?
        In high school, I was known as "Elf girl" because I would post a ton of pictures on my MySpace or Facebook of myself dressed as Arwen in replica dresses that my mother had sewn for me; I would occasionally point my ears and walk around town dressed as an Elf (in the company of like-minded friends).

        What are some interests aside from Tolkien/Lord of the Rings?
        I love science fiction (reading and writing). I am a huge Isaac Asimov fan; I was reading his books long before I got into Tolkien, and I'd say he's the one who sparked my interest in reading, writing, and studying science (mainly outer space, robotics, and genetics). I'm also quite fond of action movies, true crime/criminology, video games, cars (especially classics), mythology, philosophy, nature, and collecting things (Tolkien books/games/etc., James Dean/50s memorabilia, Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars, and more).


         

        Got a question? Wanna know more about me? Submit questions here and I'll do my best to answer them!



        Last updated: 18 May 2012

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