Ian McKellen as Gandalf.
Lord of the Rings ‘magnificent’
by Ray Lilley
Sydney Morning Herald
Wellington, New Zealand: Just seven months from its much-hyped premiere, a new opening has been shot to the start of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies, English star Ian McKellen has revealed.
Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) kisses Frodo (Elijah Wood).
McKellen, who plays the wizard Gandalf, said he had been back in New Zealand for additional filming “as the opening of the film” trilogy had been reshaped.
The entire $NZ650 million ($A532 million) project has been cloaked in secrecy since it began more than 18 months ago. All actors, extras and support staff signed secrecy agreements before being hired and McKellen’s remarks were a rare insight.
The first of the trilogy is due to be released in December. The other installments are scheduled to open in December 2002 and December 2003.
McKellen said the original prologue to the first film, Fellowship of the Ring, had been abandoned by New Zealand producer Peter Jackson.
“With its stash of names and facts, (it) can unnerve audiences and I am relieved that ours has gone,” he said.
Elrond (Hugo Weaving) at the Council of Elrond.
Jackson’s production company, Three Foot Six, told The Associated Press that “nobody really wants to talk about those things.”
“I sat behind Peter Jackson huddled over a monitor showing the footage of Sam and Frodo in their rowboat,” McKellen wrote. “As the majestic theme soared over the pictures … I heard and saw the first moment of completed film. Trust me: it is magnificent,” he said.