Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Quite a few readers went to this event and took the time to write in, so I thought I'd run a few more responses for you to enjoy.
First up, we've got Fat Diesel.
Fat Diesel here with an update about the visit from New Zealand filmmaker Costa Botes to the University of Oklahoma. Botes seemed to be a rather shy person in front of a large crowd and wonderfully modest. His work-in-progress documentary showed nothing that was absolutely profound, yet it did contain some interesting parts that I will soon get to. This was a definite treat to everyone that attended especially because it won't be released until after ROTK and Botes wonders if what we saw tonight will even see the light of day. First, a little background information on his project.
Botes first got involved with Jackson's LOTR project in '98 when he proposed that he work as a full time videographer to document the entire production from pre to post. The original intention was to form a full length feature with all of his footage which would be released after all three films. Well, so far he has over 1500 hours of raw footage from the three films to work with. He now would like to see three different documentaries released complimenting each of the three films. In addition, he would like to cut at least an 18 hour version that would be available in archive for anyone to view. He spoke of the various possibilities to release it, but stated that New Line Cinema would have the final say.
Now as for the documentary. The film was a very straightforward presentation of the Behind-The-Scenes life. Without narration, music or any certain order it still kept every person in the auditorium glued to their seats. There were several humorous segments especially dealing with the hobbits Merry, Pippin and Frodo. We discover that Elijah Wood isn't afraid to drop a few F-bombs here and there, and the we can really see the bonding between the three. There was an awesome scene where Viggo Mortensen was fly fishing in full costume between setups which I interpreted as him being pretty down to earth. When shooting was delayed due to rain there were great images of the scary ass Black Riders all holding up pretty blue umbrellas to shield them from the almighty rain. And of course there were scenes where Christopher Lee was ruling the ADR stage by pretty much telling the suits how he was going to deliver his lines.
So as you can see, nothing profound, but definitely some interesting tidbits to satisfy any LOTR fan. Feel free to post what you want. Thanks
Then we've got Lannister's look:
Hey Moriarty Lannister here with a report from the screening of a work in progress documentary on The Lord of the Rings: FOTR. Packed house in Norman OK for two showings. We arrived for the 8:30 screening and Meachum auditorium was already full and there was a sense of real excitement in the air. We were about to see something that may never be seen in this form again. Costa was introduced and he seemed very personable although he did remark that it was strange his introduction being based on the work of Peter Jackson. Whom he likened to a "storm", "I have known Peter for 17 years and I have gone away and came back because of this draw that he has." He then went on to describe the process of how he pitched the idea to New Line and Peter to do a documentary and what shape it would take. Eventually it was decided to let him cover the entire process from beginning to end (all three films and any reshooting that they deemed necessary and he did say that they had already scheduled 60 days of reshoots for TTT). Peter wanted a loose documentary style that captured the process "warts and all" of making an epic like this. Costa then talked about how much he learned and how he wanted to apply it to his own work as a film maker. His introduction was very exciting and you could feel the excitement just coming through this man who'd lived through an experience like this one. And he did say that it wasn't all pleasant and there were a lot of hard and very difficult times. Then an OU film student was introduced who had been part of a program who'd gone to New Zealand while they were filming to help Costa (LUCKY LUCKY!) She was very nice and was also bristling with excitement. It was also revealed that Norman was the north American premier and that Costa would be tailoring the documentary based on peoples reactions and suggestions. He said that they'd shot hours and hours of footage and then the plan was to get it down to about 35 usable hours and he assured us that every aspect of making these films had been covered for posterity. What New Line would do with that footage was still to be determined and Costa did make it a point to say that New Line owned the footage. HE then spoke about the challenges of finding a story in the 35 hours and how they edited that down to a more comfortable 18 hours. From that he extracted his 72 minute documentary. Now to the documentary. On the whole I'd say it was a good documentary and not a great one and still definitely a work in progress. Costa apologized many times for the poor sound quality and explained that they had mixed it as best they could and that it wasn't finished yet. At times it was difficult to hear what people were saying and with the thick NZ accent it made it even tougher. I was also a little disappointed with the choice of subject matter, it's hard to give you an idea of what I'm talking about except to say that there was a lot of footage of people telling us about their jobs but not much footage of them doing their jobs and on one particular occasion when we did see a model sculptor building the two statues that stood on either side of the great river, he help too long with her as she went around whacking the model with rock to age it. This scene could have accomplished alot more had we been with her a short time and then moved on. But back to the beginning, Costa ultimately decided that he wanted to focus primarily on all the people that are normally overlooked in making of docs and awards ceremonies. The first shot of the doc was a bunch of guys in sweatpants with plastic/wooden swords battling on a field of grass. I felt as did my wife and the rest of the people we were with that this was not a good choice for a first image and that we should have seen a grander more cinematic image and then backpedaled to the sword practice. Costa did say that he wanted criticism. Then the doc dipped right into an argument over lending out radios between two people that was intercept with a lot of other footage of the initial planning of the film. Lots of footage of Peter Jackson sitting around in a stained t-shirt and shorts eating a banana, and talking. Lots of talking about the look of the film. Then we met John Howe and he talked about his involvement. We saw him sitting in the woods and sketching an elvish house or something. Most of the footage we saw of the actors was the best stuff, as it seemed like they were in control. There was a hilarious bit where the Merry. Pippin and Frodo were all sitting around and each time one of them would get up the other two would whisper about them "He's a fucking prick today!" all planned out it was still really really funny to see Elijah wood saying that about the other two and vice versa. In fact alot of the times we saw Elijah he acted like a jerk and then smiled. He was learning his pronunciation in one scene and then got embarrassed and covered the camera. We saw only two bits that were not in the film, one of a Aragorn attacking orcs that wasn't at the end, and then another of a large group of elves moving through the woods (lothlorien?) Some of the other best bits were explanations of the complex interweaving between miniatures and normal size everything from cups, bowls and books to the ring to model sets to Bag End to stunt doubles, all very impressive and detailed and worked out to the nth degree. Shots of Frodo in front of a blue screen reading the lines "Do they, Gandalf?" merged with the earlier footage shot and we saw it put together and it was awesome. A few shots of Ian Mckellan clowning around on set with a small Sam Gamgee double-doll (Use your imaginations!) Then some stuff of Arwen escaping the black riders on an elaborate horse machine that was mounted in the bed of a pick-up truck that was racing through fields with the Nine in pursuit. One jarring shot was a rainstorm that came on
suddenly (and led to the flooding) and all the nine used purple umbrellas to get out of the rain. It was hilarious to see them all clustered around on their horses with the umbrellas. Then we saw Viggo sneak off set and go fly fishing and we got a moment or two with him. Costa commented that he'd never seen actor unify a set like Viggo did and that he was the Jesus of this movie the spirit. Cool. The film ended with Peter saying he'd nener attempt anything like this again and that it was the hardest thing he'd ever done in his life. But that anything cut out would appear on the DVD!!! A rousing applause and then COsta came up for a Q&A. A question about TREEBEARD and the way he would be depicted was neatly deflected: Will Treebeard be CGI or will a man in make-up do it? "Something like that or maybe" Costa said. Answered a couple of other questions that escape me now but nothing really important. All in all it was really cool and I'm glad there was such an enthusiastic turn out. Costa thanked everyone and said that Peter was basing the making of the TTT on audiences reactions to the first film and that characters would have time lessened or added depending on how people reacted to them. SO expect alot of Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn it seems. A great experience and I hope this report gives you an idea of how cool it was to be so lucky to see this footage like this with Costa fresh off the plane from NZ. Lannister out.
And finally, a quick look from Blues_Explosion:
Wanted to pass along some quick thoughts from the screening of the Lord of the Rings documentary by Costa Boces at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK.
He noted that this is a work on progress, it's not finalized, and some of the footage may never be seen again if they make many changes to the documentary. There were no captions explaining who everyone is in the documentary. They have over 1500 hours of footage from the sets, and are trying to narrow that down to a total of 16 - 18 hours of documentary. His plan (which he mentioned New Line Cinema might disagree with) is to release a documentary for each of the three films, as well as a 'best of' documentary. He would like them to be on DVD so people can skip around to see related sequences (such as creating ideas for hobbiton, then the set creation, then working on size scale problems in hobbiton, etc). And, unfortunately, Costa mentioned that he didn't think any of the documentary would be released until all three films are out.
All the footage shown was from FotR. Costa said something along the lines of "my hide's not worth enough to show footage from the other two movies."
Now for some of the things you get to see....
-- Viggo Mortensen fly fishing between takes.
-- Ringwraiths holding umbrellas.
-- Multiple sized recreations of the same sets and items, for the different scale shots (such as 3 versions of the front door to Bag End, one regular size, one small, and the one that was outside on the actual Hobbiton set).
-- lots and lots of incredible foam sculptures and miniatures
-- Liv Tyler riding a fake horse on the back of a pickup truck.
-- all the 10000 artificial leaves wired onto trees in Hobbiton
-- Armorers working on chain mail, which they had 10 km of if the chain pieces were laid end-to-end.
-- Some very funny scenes of the main hobbit actors in-between takes.
-- Alan Lee drawing in the forest.
-- miniature replicas of full sets, just for working out camera moves
-- animatics from the larger shots
-- lots of swordfighting practice
-- Peter Jackson complaining that they need a sofa to properly look at shots from the day in their screening room.
-- A girl who's only job is to watch for airplanes and tell the film crew when it's clear (they were near an airport).
-- some very tiny actors dressed just like the main hobbit characters, standing right beside the real actors
-- Ian McKellan giving a Sean Astin stand-in dummy (mannequin) a smack on the nose
-- Sean Astin getting medical treatment when he rams a stick through the bottom of his foot. Elija Wood comforts him by pointing out "man, that is a LOT of blood."
Overall, I was really impressed by what I saw. It gives you a sense of what it took to create this incredible set of films, what a huge, complex undertaking it really was. And it was very entertaining.
I can't wait until it's finished and available.
And that's no bullshit.
Thanks, everybody. Sounds like an amazing way to spend an evening, and I appreciate you sharing your impressions with us all.
Speaking of incredible evenings, here's an opportunity available to all LOTR fans who can be in Los Angeles on Oscar night this year, courtesy of Michael Regina, known affectionately to many of us as Xoanan of TheOneRing.net:
ONE PARTY TO RULE THEM ALL
THE ONE RING.NET/ Sideshow/WETA OSCAR PARTY – MARCH 24TH, 2002
HOLLYWOOD - The movie industry might need to consider a new awards category
for motion pictures that rewards "best fans." If there were such an award
this year, it would undoubtedly go to the fans of Peter Jackson's Lord of
The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring.
Jackson's epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary classic leads all
films with 13 nominations going into Sunday's Academy Awards and fans of the
film will be celebrating in the best of Hollywood traditions - the awards
TheOneRing.net and Sideshow/WETA Collectibles are hosting an Oscar party the
night of the event at the Hollywood Athletic Club to celebrate the film's
nominations which include Best Picture, a Best Director nod for Jackson and
Best Supporting Actor for Sir Ian McKellen who landed that same mark this
week with the Screen Actor's Guild.
The party gives fans from around the country a place to meet and celebrate
the remarkable critical success of the movie. It will also help to raise
funds for the non-profit fan site, TheOneRing.net (TORn). TORn desperately
needs more bandwidth and a new server to meet the more than 9 million hits
the site averages monthly. Tickets are on sale at TheOneRing.net where an
early sellout is anticipated.
The black tie affair is sponsored by the official Lord Of The Rings fan club
and Decipher as well as Electronic Arts, Houghton Mifflin and Royal Selangor
Pewter. Sponsors are donating official movie merchandise to be raffled off
during commercial breaks during the awards ceremony which will be carried
live at the party. A silent auction will also be held for some donated
Jackson's involvement with the fans is long-standing. He offered charter
members of the official fan club the unprecedented honor of having their
name on the credits of the DVD version of the film, scheduled for release
later in 2002. There are unconfirmed rumors that some involved in the
production of the New Line Cinema film will be stopping by the official fan
The Hollywood Athletic Club
Location: 6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA (323) 962-6600
The original Hollywood Athletic Club and poolroom is an art-deco landmark.
It was the tallest building in L.A.when it was built in 1924 by the same
architects who built Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre.
Founded Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille, and Rudolph Valentino, as a
private men's club, it was a hangout for the likes of Errol Flynn and Clark
Gable.The Club was also a celebrity magnet. It was also the site of the very
first Emmy Awards (in 1949). Johnny Weismuller trained in the pool here for
his "Tarzan" films. Actor Cornel Wilde started out here as a fencing
instructor. Powell reportedly brought the corpse of John Barrymore here for
"one last drink." John Wayne tossed billiard balls from the roof at passing
cars below. According to the L.A. Times, blonde bombshell Jean Harlow once
showed up at the club after Errol Flynn stood her up - clad only in a fur
coat. Restored to its Old Hollywood splendor, it is now a Hollywood
TheOneRing.net is in no way officially affiliated with New Line Cinema,
Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien estate. Copyrights and trademarks for the
books, films, articles and other promotional materials are held by their
respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the
Copyright Law. TheOneRing® is a registered service mark with exclusive
right to grant use assigned to the One Ring, Inc.
I may be stopping by myself to enjoy the comraderie and the celebration with other LOTR fans. If so, I hope I see you all there.