NewsWire: Middle-earth returns to Toronto in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers exhibit - canada.com

Thanks to Fatty at WaroftheRing.net for pointing us to this article...

Middle-earth returns to Toronto in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers exhibit
by Andrew Flynn
canada.com - October 31, 2002

TORONTO (CP) - Hobbits are a rare sight in Toronto but it seems some, like Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, are willing to pop in during late fall to relive some of the splendour of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.

For the second year in a row, Alliance Atlantis, the distributor of the blockbuster Lord of the Rings trilogy, is bringing a little of Tolkien's fantasy world to the city by presenting an exhibition of props from the films.

For Monaghan and Boyd, who starred as the diminutive hobbits Merry and Pippin, it's an excuse to party and to reunite with others who worked on the production.

But their visit on Wednesday was also one of the first publicity events for the film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which opens Dec. 18. Both are eager to see what fans think of the second instalment of the trilogy.

"I'm sure we'd be disappointed if people don't feel it's as good," says Boyd. "It's really like one movie for us, the three filmed together, and hopefully that's the way it will work out, the buzz for it will remain because it's a fantastic story."

And neither is terribly surprised the first film, the Fellowship of the Ring, met with huge international success. It took four Oscars and is currently ranked as the fifth favourite movie of all time on the Internet Movie DataBase (www.imdb.com).

"I think we all knew it was going to be big, considering the source material," says Monaghan. "I think that was one of the things that really pushed us as a cast, the idea that you had to, if not live up to, at least present an acceptable version of these characters for the fans. They're really timeless."

It's one thing to make a story come alive on the screen. But the creative forces behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy - from New Zealand director Peter Jackson to the design team that created the 20,000 or so props used in the films - have taken film-set realism to extremes.

Last year's exhibit, which attracted 4,000 people on its opening day alone, featured in glass cases hundreds of the intricate and beautifully crafted swords, spears, daggers, leather jerkins, helmets, banners, books, pipes, glass, arrows and other oddments made for the film.

The props are there - and more - but this time around, the film's supervising art director, Dan Hennah, has also recreated at the exhibit the mythical sets of The Two Towers in the former McLaughlin Planetarium.

Walking through a corridor transformed into the deep and dank Fangorn Forest, it's hard to believe that the massive oak trunks are sculpted out of Styrofoam. Water splashes from a woodland spring into a giant stone basin - again, Styrofoam. Ghostly bodies float in the stagnant waters of the Dead Marshes. Not Styrofoam, but certainly not as horribly real as they appear...


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