NewsWire: Good, Evil, and Short - 13th Street
Good, Evil, and Short
by Ian Spelling
The skies above threaten to open up and unleash a storm, but the furies hold not a candle to the gust of accolades Sir Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee and John Rhys-Davies rain on the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy and director Peter Jackson. Jackson, the warped mind behind Dead/Alive, Beautiful Creatures and The Frighteners, just wrapped production on back-to-back-to-back Rings films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's enduring Hobbit saga. New Line will release the films one at a time over the next three years, with The Fellowship of the Ring due in December 2001 and the next two installments following in 2002 and 2003.
Though six months must pass before Fellowship even reaches the big screen, New Line moved heaven and earth - not to mention pieces of the Rings set - to a castle in France, not far from Cannes, to launch the trilogy internationally. And sitting together are McKellen, who plays Galdalf the Grey, benefactor of the beloved Hobbits; Lee, who portrays the nefarious Saruman; and Rhys-Davies, a bear of a man who portrays the dwarf Gimli. It doesn't take much to get the men - particularly Lee - talking.
Part 2: Lee Signs On
"I merely got a call from my agent saying that Peter Jackson was going to direct The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand," recalls the horror legend Lee, at 80, still frightfully tall and formidable. "It was something I knew because it had been in the papers. My agent asked, `Would you go and see him? Would you do a reading? Would you mind if they videotaped you while you were doing the reading?' And I said, `No, I wouldn't mind.' In the case of this particular epic I was perfectly happy to go to see him and be photographed and read and anything you like, which is not something I do all that often.
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