NewsWire: Ringside Snippets - The Otago Daily Times

The Otago Daily Times publised a short list of Lord of the Rings facts, apparently gleamed from the Minas Tirith set press conference. It's nothing we didn't know previously, but newbies might find some value in it.


  • Three-film project Lord of the Rings is the first film project to have all the movies shot at the same time. [Actually, what they mean is that it's the first major film production to shoot three films simultaneously -- David]. The films are being made jointly by New Line Cinema and Wellington director Peter Jackson's company ThreeFootSix. Another company in Jackson's stable, Wingnut Films Ltd, is producing the movies, while New Line is financing them. They are being filmed entirely in New Zealand.

  • The Fellowship of the Ring will be released at Christmas 2001; The Two Towers, at Christmas 2002; The Return of the King, at Christmas 2003.

  • Shooting, which started on October 11, 1999, finishes on December 22. [Some additional pick-up shots involving Elijah Wood (Frodo) have been planned to be shot early next year. It would not be surprising if other additional footage were shot after main production is completed -- David]

  • Budget: Producer Barrie M.Osborne says it has a "healthy" budget appropriate for three epic films. No confirmation of rumours the budget has blown out to $650 million. The original budget was put at $360 million. [That's New Zealand dollars -- David]

  • Computer-imaging technology will be used to "shrink" the actors playing hobbits and dwarves. The computer animation work for the first film is in progress and post-production work will continue for two years for the other two films. Gollum will be mainly computer-generated, because of his unearthly shape. However, in another apparent first, the performance of actor Andy Serkis, who will be wired with electrodes, will be the basis for a computer-animated character. [Electrodes? Sounds painful! Actually, Serkis' performance will be motion-captured, and the data be used for Gollum's animations. It's hardly a new technique: I've produced motion-captured animation for my own projects -- David]

  • The complete running time will be somewhere between seven and eight hours. Each film will be more than two hours long.

  • The project is not officially sanctioned by the Tolkien estate, but Tolkien experts were consulted.

  • Where next for Jackson? He has a small film, "a New Zealand story", to be shot in this country.


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