NewsWire: Tolkien "By the Book," Jackson Tells Audience - The Otago Daily Times


The cast of Lord of the Rings crowd around Wellington-based director Peter Jackson (fifth from left in front) at the set of Minas Tirith, in Lower Hutt, on Saturday. The cast includes Elijah Wood, who plays the hobbit Frodo, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan. Liv Tyler was not present.
The Otago Daily Times
In a press conference held at the Minas Tirith set, director Peter Jackson reveals that over the course of time, he and the other writers found themselves going back closer and closer to the original books.


Tolkien `by the book', Jackson tells audience
by David Williams
The Otago Daily Times


Wellington: Die-hard Tolkien fans can sleep a little easier.

When news first broke that Wellington director Peter Jackson would be taking author J.R.R. Tolkien's epic trilogy Lord of the Rings to the big screen, fans must have been elated and, at the same time, sceptical. After all, how could a film, or three, ever do the books justice, even if they are spending $650 million?

Now, with less than six weeks of filming to go in the 14-month project, Jackson has revealed that over the course of time, he and the other writers are finding themselves going back closer and closer to the books.

"Way back, at the beginning, we thought there's quite a bit of this we're going to have to alter or change or do things to, to turn this book into a film," he said at a press conference on Saturday, held near the Minas Tirith set at the Dry Creek Quarry in Lower Hutt.

"But the more we got into it and the more we started to know the books in great detail we've simply just . . . got further and further back to the books again.

"So a lot of our so-called clever ideas we had at the beginning we've long since abandoned and Tolkien will hopefully have a fairly clear voice in the film, I would hope."

Despite facing the nation's print, radio and television media, Jackson looked relaxed in the makeshift tent while flanked by 12 of his stars and producer Barrie M. Osborne, whose credits include The Matrix.

The director, who has jokingly been referred to as a Hobbit himself by one of the actors, said the movies are not the official version, although some "Tolkien experts" had been consulted.

Other teasers came from English actors Sir Ian McKellen, who plays the wizard Gandalf, and John Rhys-Davies, (Gimli the dwarf).

Sir Ian said the book was "a good read - it might be even a better movie".

Rhys-Davies, who initially claimed to be Jackson himself, suggested the media present invest all of their spare cash in tourism because of the windfall the films would create.

Filming for the trilogy started in October last year and ends on December 22. Crews based in Queenstown finished last Friday. The first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, will be released at Christmas 2001. The other movies, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, will be released at yearly intervals.


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