Sunday, 8 August 2010

Hobbit Announcement due on August 21st?

Update, Aug 10th, 2010 - further information has come to hand earlier today but I couldn't get to a computer earlier. Essentially, it doesn't look like there will be any announcement on the 21 of August, and it really is just a private function happening at the Weta Cave, so if you were thinking of making a special trip out from elsewhere in the world just for the day, please don't bother. You'll be better off coming in on the 22nd, when the Cave is actually open to the public again. Also, they'll have the new displays up by then, so do come on the 22nd. It'll be worth your while, I promise, especially if you haven't been to the Weta Cave before.

I also want to make an observation that seems to have bypassed a few of you out there - I set this blog up so I can post all the juicy rumours I hear, and for no other reason. If sometimes I don't have the full information, then keep in mind that 99% of the time I'm simply not privvy to it. I just happen to be in a good position to hear ground-level stuff, which unfortunately sometimes turns out to be incorrect. If you've followed my blog over the last year and a bit, you'll know me well enough that I sometimes speculate wildly, have a tendency to run off at the mouth/keyboard, am not always diplomatic, and yes, occasionally just plain rant (get me started on 3D, go on... I dare ya).

If you can't handle any of that, hit Ctrl-F4 now please. If you want to stick around, I promise I'll let you know anything I hear that I can publish without damaging my sources. Usually I'll be the furst to publish, and sometimes it's even true.

If, on the other hand,  you want to hear extra stuff that isn't juicy enough to make it onto the blog, follow me on Twitter and Facebook (buttons on the right of this page).

Update, Aug 9th, 2010 - Kristin Thompson has responded to my query on her blog.

I got a message today from a friend of mine who had visited the Weta Cave a few days ago, and spoke to a few other visitors there about the Cave's annual refurbishment (which started today), and was told that they are also closed for a "private function" on the 21st of August, which is a Saturday.

The staff were quite annoyed about it, apparently, since it's not been announced to them what function it is for (ha! that's what secrecy feels like, guys!)

So I spoke to a few people on the phone tonight, and I've been able to piece a few things together. Now, by August the 22nd it may turn out that my 2+2 equalled 5, so let me just give you the information I have right now:

  1. The Weta Cave is shutting for 5 days to refurbish - something that took only 2 days last year
  2. About a week later, they're closing again, for a very secret private function
  3. A different contact told me that apparently a lot of LOTR/Hobbit related sets and props are being taken out of storage at the moment. The contact was unclear about why it was happening, but there was a certain urgency about it, and apparently this is a very recent development as well, so nothing relating to the reports at Hobbiton being rebuild (which are all true, incidentally). The idea was that these props are being taken out of storage for some local (Wellington) purpose, in the next few weeks.
All the people I spoke to in the last few days seem to think an announcement is imminent, and morale is at a high here in Wellywood at the moment.

Couple that with the known stuff that's been going on earlier this year -
  1. MGM Studios apparently need to have about 10% of the film in the can by the end of the year, or they'll lose the filming rights. (I don't know the full details about this - perhaps a better person to comment on this might be Kristin Thompson who seems to have her finger more on the pulse of the various studios' financial and legal details, and runs the excellent blog "The Frodo Franchise"?
  2. The recent pressure on the studio to start the movie is mounting - Sir Ian McKellen wants to get started, Sir Peter Jackson is just seemingly going ahead as though there's actual money at stake, and Guillermo del Toro has already walked away - The Suits at MGM and Warners MUST surely see that they have to get started asap?
  3. Brad Pitt was recently in town. Apparently. And eating curry, no less. That can only mean one thing. (he was hungry?)
Ok, except for the last item, I'm putting my money on the big announcement happening  on the 21st of August.

Speaking of spotting Famous People in Wellywood - did anyone else in Wellington hear about Steven Spielberg and Daniel Craig being here this week? The Dominion Post and Stuff didn't report those two, I think...

  - Jack M.

Weta Workshop in refurbishing mode

The Weta Cave is closed for the next week, to change all their displays, except one (the skeleton dog from The Frighteners is most likely staying since it's so fragile - nobody wants to move it!).

As is often the case at Weta, everything is completely shrouded in secrecy. The staff at the Cave themselves don't seem to have any clear idea about what they're going to see when they get back to work next week. Apparently they were asked for suggestions but nothing has come back to them as to what final decisions have been made in the meantime.

From what little I have heard and have tried to piece together, I am hoping there might be more Lord Of The Rings stuff, possibly some stuff from The Water Horse, maybe a few actual swords from The Last Samurai, and maybe even some preview stuff from the new Narnia movie Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. I'm expecting more horror stuff as well though - maybe even some gory details from Peter Jackson's early zombie movie Braindead (aka Dead Alive in the USA).

Specifically, I'd like to see a little less of Dr Grordbort's Raygun collection. I am a big fan of it, but it seems to be taking over the Cave a little too much for my liking. I think the staff are also a bit tired of having to explain to everyone what it's all about, and why there's no movies of it.

Actually, what I'd really like to see is Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger's first creations - maybe some political satire puppets, or a certain trumpet perhaps?

Once the renovations are complete, I'll do my best to get some shots of the displays, and will post them here as soon as possible. Expect to see an entry in a week or so.

Anyone else have a favourite item they'd like to see?

  - Jack M.