NewsWire: Cannes' Hottest Ticket - Reel.com
Cannes' Hottest Ticket
By Joan Tarshis
Reel.com - May 18, 2001
What was hotter than a ticket to the Moulin Rouge premiere at Cannes? It's not a movie. It wasn't a party. And it's not even finished.
It was just 23 minutes of the first Lord of the Rings movie and it bedazzled the audience completely.
The producers of Lords started what's probably going to be a record-making publicity campaign at Cannes by showing the footage to a select group of reporters and buyers at a sneak preview.
Most of the stars also flew in for a cyclone of interviews and parties, at which they expounded on the enormously elaborate fantasy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's innovative series.
Veteran British actor Christopher Lee, who plays the villainous Dark Lord Saruman, said that, "This is the pinnacle of my career. I've never been involved in a film like this before. It is superb and unforgettable." Also starring in the fantasy are Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Sir Ian McKellen, and Liv Tyler.
Tolkien's trilogy was filmed back-to-back in New Zealand during 15 months of concentrated filming. The shoot finished last Christmas and director Peter Jackson (who wrote and directed Heavenly Creatures) is currently adding the thousands of special effects which are essential to bring to life Tolkien's world of hobbits, dwarves, elves, monsters, orcs, trolls, and wizards.
Jackson, who has to tackle two more years' post-production with the final two parts, said "I've spent the last seven years of my life on this project pouring my heart into every single aspect of it."
The story, set 7,000 years ago in a world not yet subjugated by humans, is a record of the battle between the forces of good and evil for the control of an enchanted ring that has the ability to change the future of the world.
The succinct clip screened at Cannes revealed a portion of the heroes' scary expedition through the mines of Moria. In that setting they have to ward off vicious orcs, a troll, and a monster called Balrog. According to Reuters, the scene knocked the audience out.
Liv Tyler, who plays the elf Arwen, said, "It was wonderful for us to see all the digital enhancements because we hadn't seen any of that. It was unbelievable to see the cave troll. I was genuinely scared by it."
New Line Cinema, who produced the trilogy, is hoping the films will generate the same passion as George Lucas' Star Wars series.
The movie trade magazine Screen International recently wrote, "It is not too dramatic to say that the future of New Line may depend on the success of The Lord of the Rings.
The studio chose to shoot the trilogy one after the other with hopes of keeping the cost down. The decision is a huge risk. If The Fellowship of the Ring is a flop, the next two installments will be thwarted before they have even opened.
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