Wednesday, 29 December 2010

New Feature - LOTR Location Reports

In the last few weeks I've received a number of reports from travellers about other LOTR locations that they've been visiting. Most of them have been text only, and occasionally also they've been accompanied by gorgeous photos. I've asked all the senders for permission to repost them in slightly edited versions, so here's the first one - a quick note about the currently most exciting one - Hobbiton!

The report comes from KB from somewhere in Western Europe (anonymity is required since she had to sign the Non Disclosure Agreement!).

[Re.: Hobbiton] I was there and it's terrific! The hobbit holes are mostly ready and look as if you could move in next day and there are lots of nice details you probably will never see in a movie!

The Green Dragon pub and the mill are still under construction and we couldn't get near.

Whether the set will last after the shooting seems still a secret, nobody knows or want to tell. (Or let's put it this way: The guide said he wouldn't know, but he looked very pleased ...) 

So, an interesting report - it sounds very much like Matamata's Hobbiton will be a permanent place, with complete sets remaining in place afterwards. Something else I heard today is that the bridge is apparently made out of steel, solid timber, and actual stone on the outside. I've been sent some photos by a different source, I might post a few  of them a bit later, after I check with them.

  - Jack

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Just before the end of the year - a few unsubstantiated rumours

It's almost the end of the year and I haven't had a proper blog entry out for a while. I have heard a few juicy rumours in the last few days though - unfortunately none of the following rumours I can back up with solid facts, so let's see how many turn out to be correct.

Rumour 1) The reason Sir ian McKellen hasn't been signed up is because he is holding out for more money.

Likelihood of some truth to this rumour - probably about 30% or so. On the one hand I can't imagine Sir Ian being driven by cash, but then again nothing seems to be happening about a contract with him. However, add to that the fact that Andy Serkis hasn't been signed up yet either, and I don't believe it's true. The only reason I'm posting it now is because it came from a reasonably solid source.

Rumour 2) There are currently around 6000 people directly or indirectly involved on the making of The Hobbit.

Likelihood of accuracy - about 20%. This seems like a huge number, and is possibly just hyperbole mixed with a misheard number (600 perhaps?). On the other hand, Weta Digital can have huge numbers of people employed, plus Weta workshop, plus all the other creative companies like set production, costuming, and of course the admin companies, and possibly counting anyone else who is somehow involved, including catering staff to all those people (including a ton of small local companies), maybe that was the "extended" amount.

Rumour 3) A Hobbit Set is currently being constructed just north of Wellington, in Waikanae, consisting (among other things) of a "pointing tree", whatever that may be.

View Larger Map

I'd give this one a 50% chance of being real - apparently a film set is being constructed there, although I have no proof that it's from The Hobbit. I just heard that one this morning, and have no other information on it (yet).

Rumour 4) Matamata's Hobbiton will remain a permanent installation after The Hobbit movie is finished filming, and at least 8 of the 44 hobbit holes have been dug out of the hillside, with enough space for a small bedroom, ready for Hobbiton to be turned into a Bed'n'Breakfast for us "true" Hobbit fans.

After seeing some of the awesome photos from some of my guests who have been to the set, I'm inclined to believe some of these stories. The bridge appears extraordinarily solid, and it did look at one point that some of the hobbit holes were created from the inside out, with enough space to create a small room behind it. Will it be a Hobbit Hotel? That's possibly more wishful thinking than anything else.As a side note, I have in my hot little hands an awesome set of Hobbiton photos that I may post in the next few days, if I have time.

That will do for now - I thought I had another one but I can't remember that one right now. I'll post more as I hear them. As always - these are RUMOURS, and I really wouldn't put any money on any of them coming true. Always interesting though!

  - Jack M.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Tangiwai Rail Disaster movie being filmed at Rivendell

Although I've never seen any signs of a railroad at Rivendell, it seems that it's the perfect place to film a train disaster. A new movie is currently being filmed called "Tangiwai", for NZ tv, and today we arrived at Rivendell (Kaitoke Regional Park) just in time to watch the film crew throw bits of train off the bridge down on the river bed, in the hope of creating that lovely "smashed" look.

Take a look for yourselves - I taped it.

Tangiwai Traincrash at Kaitoke

It's not the best footage but it's fun to see, I hope.

  - Jack