After an extended blogging sabbatical, it's probably high time I started updating this thing again. :) Truth be told, I just haven't heard anything newsworthy recently, or at least nothing that wasn't already widely reported by other sources. I think we all know by now that Guillermo del Toro has walked away from The Hobbit production. I have very little else to add on that matter except to say I'm genuinely sorry to see him leave the project. I had the pleasure of meeting the man on several occasions, and he struck me as perfect for the job, also given his previous movies. Alas, it was not meant to be.
On a personal note, I've "pulled a Del Toro" myself (as a friend of mine phrased it so delicately). After working for only three and a half days over the last two months, I've decided to resign from Flat Earth Tours. I still think they have a lot to offer people - they also run Wine Tours, Cultural Tours, Wellington Historical Tours, etc, but anyone who knows me will realise I need more Tolkien in my life than they were offering me. It wasn't a decision I took lightly, but a necessary one. I have rent to pay and cats to feed!
So I'm considering all my options, of which I'm sure to write about at length, at a later date. In the meantime, I know some of you were planning to come to New Zealand on one of my tours with Flat Earth - if you're already booked in with them, I'd say stick with that booking (ask for Todd, he's a fantastic guide as well). If you were hoping to have me as your guide, I can run a private tour instead, but please get in touch with me as soon as possible so I can arrange dates etc.
I'm not sure what the future holds, but it's pretty bright. There's lots of excitement on the horizon - apart from anything else, The Hobbit will surely start at some point. If you been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you'll know that I like to drop obscure hints about rumours I am not allowed to speak openly about - I've been hearing from almost all my studio contacts that the mood is very hopeful, closer to the sources. Surely the MGM creditors must by now realise that the longer they wait, the less money this project will make since all the good people are leaving (no, not me, I meant GDT, dummy!). Time is of the essence. If the first Hobbit movie is rubbish, there will be less audience for the second one, so the stakes are high to do it right. Perhaps Peter Jackson will direct after all (or should I say "Derek"?) ...
Few other things have happened here in Wellington of late. Richard Taylor has turned into Sir Richard Taylor, although Tanya Rodger was passed over for a Queen's honour (this time). Sir Ian McKellen arrived here today for a week to perform a play. And we're expecting there will finally be a "Wellywood" sign in our hills, but that seems to be dragging its feet. I'll be amongst the first to post photos when it happens, I hope!
One small but significant event on the horizon - the Weta Cave has announced that they will be closing for a few days in August (from the 9th to the 13th), for their now annual makeover. No word on what the new displays will be, I couldn't get anything useful from Anna, although Steve mentioned that some of it may be from "one of the movies he's in" - I didn't actually realise he was in anything, so that didn't help me at all - thanks Steve! :)
If you haven't been to the Weta Cave since before July last year, get there quickly before they change everything again - and then revisit after August the 13th for the new stuff!
Hopefully I'll have more news for you again soon. Keep watching!
- Jack M.