SPOILER: Four Hobbits in Grand and Glorious Full Color - Vanity Fair Picture
The Lord of the Rings
Vanity Fair - April 2000
With courage-and Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Ian Holm, and Ian McKellen-Peter Jackson takes on the Tolkien trilogy
Almost as scary as the thought of trying to film the entirety of J.R.R. Tolkien's massive Lord of the Rings trilogy -- think of it as War and Peace with elves and lichen -- is recalling Hollywood's brief 1980s fondness for Tolkien lite. Remember Labyrinth? Willow? Legend (which featured Tom Cruise in what will surely be the tweeest role of his career)? And then there was Ralph Bakshi's dismal animated Lord of the Rings (1978), which barely clattered its way through half the saga. So here's to nervy co-writer and director Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures), who is currently in the midst of a 14 month long trudge, shooting The Lord of the Rings in his native New Zealand. The plan, following Tolkien, is to release three separate films, possibly in a Christmas-summer-Christmas pattern beginning with the 2001 holiday season. Digital technology will allow Jackson to portray clashing armies of hobbits, dwarfs, elves, and other creatures without having to resort to foam rubber or sock puppets. He also benefits from a cast that includes Elijah Wood as hero hobbit Frodo Baggins, Ian Holm as his cousin Bilbo, Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as elf queen Galadriel, and Liv Tyler as Arwen, an elf warrior.[Ted: What!! Are they still fixated on Xena? Take a cold shower boys.] New Line Cinema, the studio backing this venture, no doubt hopes the presence of two actresses will reassure audiences that not everyone in the film will have splayed, hairy feet. --Bruce Handy
Photograph by: Hugh Stewart
Caption: Is there a politically correct term for Hobbit? From left, Sean Astin as Sam Gamgee, Billy Boyd (sitting) as Pippin Took, Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, and Dominic Monaghan as Merry Brandybuck. Photographed on the set of The Lord of the Rings, Hamilton, New Zealand, January 21, 2000.