NewsWire: Making Middle Earth - SciFi
Making Middle Earth
By: Lisa Maccarillo
"Two Hobbits, two Wizards, a Drawf, Gollum, scores of Orcs… and the One Ring. J.R.R. Tolkien created the blueprint for the modern Odyssey when he wrote the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, publishing the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring, in 1954. Now, a half-century later, Kiwi Maverick Peter Jackson has mounted a massive effort to adapt Tolkien’s trilogy to film. New Line Cinema will release the first on December 14, 2001 and the subsequent films, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, at Christmastime in the years following.
"Jackson, who showed a glimpse of a Fantasy universe in his 1994 triumph Heavenly Creatures (for which he and co-writer Fran Walsh were nominated for an Oscar), hand picked a rich and diverse cast to embody the roles set down so carefully by Tolkien and known to near-intimate lengths by the book series’ legions of fans. Jackson himself is producing the film, along with veteran producer (and longtime holder of the rings) Saul Zaentz, and Jackson’s effects company, WETA Limited, is taking on the awesome task of creating the 1,200 visual effects shorts needed for the three films. Using a combination of CGI, specially produced sets, and camera tricks such as forced perspective, Jackson and his WETA team will create a fresh cinematic world previously seen only in readers’ imaginations.
"In development by Jackson literally for years (the project was initially scheduled to be two films while at Miramax, which ultimately put the project into turnaround), The Lord of the Rings found a home at New Line Cinema, where president Bob Shaye, suggesting it be instead made into a trilogy, agreed to give Jackson and his team and amount reportedly between $130 and $180 million to make all three films back-to-back in Jackson’s native New Zealand. With the benefits of the locale, which offers the benefits of the locale, which offers not only the primeval beauty necessary for Middle Earth but also an advantageous exchange rate, along with Jackson’s cost-cutting visual effects production company, the wealth of talent amassed for the film, and the rapid advancement of digital technology—an unfilmable for has been rendered filmable at last."
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