Rosie Millard at Cannes – BBC News

by May 15, 2001Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Arts correspondent Rosie Millard writes her showbiz column for BBC News Online from the the sunny shores of Cannes Film Festival. Here is an excerpt about Lord of the Rings.

Ian McKellen: “Ths is where I bang my head in the film.”
Meanwhile the $300m (£211m) mammoth Lord of the Rings trilogy which was keen to announce its vast presence, took over an entire French chateau on a hill outside Cannes for an appropriately gargantuan bash.

Guests had to wear a special “medallion” and were warned of dire consequences if they a) turned up without it or b) lent it to anyone else.

The party boasted sets and costumes from the film itself, flown in from New Zealand, sound effects and huge sculptured orcs and trolls.

There were soldiers with winged helmets, ghastly dwarf assassins and “real” Hobbits who danced around what looked like something from Teletubbies but was in fact a real turf-covered Hobbit house.

I ventured inside the four-foot high home and came across Sir Ian McKellen, who plays the great wizard Gandalf.

“This is the actual set, you know,” said the venerable actor in booming tones. “This is where I bang my head in the film. It’s pretty amazing. I spent one year in New Zealand filming. Every day. No time for anything else.”

“Liv Tyler… convincing everyone she could indeed speak Elvish.”
Upstairs in the chateau a luminous Liv Tyler who plays an Elf maiden was convincing everyone that she could indeed speak Elvish.

In the great hall, wooden horses’ heads and medieval flags hung from the hammerbeam roof, while an elf-maiden perched on a carved wooden throne.

From Tyler’s Elvish to the interior decorations, it all looked thoroughly convincingly Middle Earth. Until you poked the stone mantelpiece or the vast carved gorgons, that is. Which were made of specially treated polystyrene.

It’s all for show, of course, but then that is Cannes at Film Festival time.

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