NewsWire: They Love 'The Lord' - The Guardian
Could this have been Ringo?
They love 'The Lord'
by Jamie Wilson
The Guardian - June 21, 2000
The film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings," may still be more than a year and a half away, but the $200 million epic has already caused a storm on the Internet - with a promotional trailer breaking download records.
More than 1.7 million Web browsers worldwide downloaded the trailer for the trilogy of films, which are in production in New Zealand, on the first day it was available, doubling the amount of hits for "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace," which previously held the record.
"The Fellowship of the Ring" is due to be released in December 2001, with the second installment, "The Two Towers," arriving in cinemas in 2002, to be followed 12 months later by the final part, "The Return of the King."
The cast includes Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo Baggins, Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf, Sean Bean as Boromir and Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins.
The films have also spawned a plethora of fan-related sites, many of them containing photos and reports from the set. Local papers have also carried numerous interviews with residents who have been employed on the films, while the Wellington Knitting Club has provided armor for 15,000 extras.
But while many Tolkien fans have been gobbling up every nugget of information, not all are happy with the direction the films appear to be going.
Director Peter Jackson has brought in Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett to play Arwen and Galadriel, minor roles in the book but enlarged in the screenplay, to add a bit of love interest to the story. The decision has been defended by New Line film executives, who claim it is the best way to heighten and simplify the drama.
It is not the first time filmmakers have tried to bring "The Lord of the Rings" to the silver screen. The Beatles were desperate to do a movie of the book, with Paul playing Frodo, Ringo as Sam, John as Gollum and George as Gandalf, but the rights were bought up for what became a disastrous, non-Beatle '70s cartoon version, which ended halfway through the story when the producers ran out of money.