In the News: Film Crew Embarks on a Tolkien Adventure - Electronic Telegraph
Film Crew embarks on a Tolkien Adventure
By John Hiscock
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THE cameras have begun rolling on a £90 million project to film J R R Tolkien's fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
The film, which will be filled with special effects, has been three years in preparation. One Tolkien website showed more than 2,000 comments from fans about the casting alone.
The New Zealand director, Peter Jackson, has cast Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the wizard, Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins and Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins. Cate Blanchett is Galadriel, the elf queen, and Liv Tyler will be Arwen, an elf warrior and princess.
All three films are being made back to back in New Zealand, beginning with the first installment, Part One: The Fellowship of the Rings. Filming is expected to take at least 18 months and the first film is expected in the cinemas by Christmas 2001.
"The Lord of the Rings is among the greatest adventures ever written and making this film is proving to be a wonderful adventure in its own right," said Michael DeLuca, president of New Line Productions, which is putting up the money. "Like Frodo, the hero of this saga, we're on a film quest."
Mr Jackson, who directed Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures, believes he is up to the task. "My team and I have poured our hearts into the project for the past three years so it's a great thrill to begin actual photography," he said.
"Filming three films at once has never been done before, in addition to which the project features thrilling special effects, so it was essential to plan everything down to the last detail. We owe Prof Tolkien and his fans our best efforts to make these films with the integrity they deserve."
With sweeping battle scenes populated by thousands of computer-generated extras, Mr Jackson added: "It's veering towards Braveheart, rather than a whimsical fairy tale."