Cate Blanchett, who plays the Elf Queen Galadriel, is wearing a stunning white and gold silk chiffon dress embroidered with hundreds of tiny beads and pearls. She glides noiselessly past Elven statues holding fire torches, with Frodo following behind. She approaches the pool (Galadriel's prophesying mirror), lifts a large water jug and...CUT!
The wind machines are turned off, Cate's makeup and costume team move in and the crew preps for a retake. Today, director Peter Jackson is shooting the scenes where Frodo offers Galadriel the Ring.
"We wanted Cate to look slightly ill to show the influence of the Ring," says makeup artist Peter King. "She looks a little more translucent, like a pre-Raphaelite painting."
Dialect coaches and Elvish experts Andrew Jack and Roisin Carty are on hand, checking each word of the actors' dialogue. Jack, a bearded Englishman whose credits include voicing 16 different characters in Doctor Zhivago, explains the job of bringing Tolkien's devised languages to life.
"It's important to make the accents sound as real as possible," he says, "but they also have to be unfamiliar. These are languages no one has heard before. We want to transport audiences to another world."
Carty, who wouldn't look out of place as an Elf herself, points out some common mistakes made by Tolkien fans: "Took" is actually pronounced "tuke" (rhymes with "Luke"). Both Jack and Carty work intensively with the actors, teaching not only pronunciation but the correct rhythms and intonations. They also correspond with David Salo and Bill Welden, renowned experts on the Old Elvish language.
"Our job will be successful if the languages don't stand out but appear to be a natural part of the film," says Jack.
At the very least, they'll have something fun to put on their Christmas cards.
School's Out: After a hectic final week's filming, cast and crew are disappearing for a monthlong break. While Ian McKellen and Liv Tyler are winging back to their respective homes in England and New York, the Hobbit boys are heading to Southeast Asia for sun and surf. Filming resumes July 24 in Wellington, then relocates for three months to the South Island. Work is then expected to run continuously until final wrap at Christmas.
Snow Falling on Hobbits: Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom and producer Barrie Osborne are booked to appear as guests of the Queenstown Winter Ski Festival Ball on July 21.
Toy Story: New Line has announced a major merchandising agreement with Marvel Enterprises to supply LOTR toys and gear. No word on exact products, but we're hoping for Hobbit foot slippers, a Sauron roving-red-eye porch light and Arwen-endorsed mascara (for the warrior girl on the go).
Police Action: A 36-year-old man was arrested for allegedly stealing film clips of Gollum and other secret special effects from Three Foot Six studios and attempting to post them on the Internet. After a probe lasting more than a month, the man was charged with making a VHS copy of film footage and money-laundering. New Line spokesperson Steve Elzer said the suspect, whose name was not released, was not on staff at Three Foot Six. LOTR unit publicist Claire Raskind said police were still investigating but that increased security measures were being put in place "to ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen again."
A Society Matter: Members of the Tolkien Society will discuss Liv Tyler and changes to women's roles in the film version of LOTR at their annual Oxonmoot meeting in Oxford, England, this September. The society released an official statement supporting Jackson's efforts, stating, "we welcome any quality motion picture, even at the risk of some aspects of it disappointing some aficionados of the written work." But Tolkien Society rep Ian Collier expressed concern over the Arwen rewrite, saying "I do hope Liv Tyler is not going to turn it into a sword-and-sorcery-type role."
"Celeborn is more fixed in his beliefs and methods than Galadriel, which is his failing, perhaps. As a team, they work well, although apparently they only have sex once every 2,000 years or so." —Martin Czokas, the Hungarian actor who plays Galadriel's husband, Celeborn, delivering the intimate details
ASK THE INSIDER
How many of the cast (particularly Elijah Wood and the other Hobbits) have read the books?
Elijah, Sean and the other Hobbit boys have all read LOTR, as have Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Sir Ian McKellen. Christopher Lee has read LOTR every year for the last 25 years--he carries it with him wherever he goes. Since Liv Tyler's character is rewritten from the Arwen of the books, she tends to concentrate on the screenplay rather than the texts. However, all actors--as well as the crew, who design and make the props and costumes--refer constantly to the books.
Any chance Peter Jackson will take a small role himself? Perhaps a Hobbit or dwarf?
Jackson traditionally does a cameo in all of his movies, but what exactly he'll be is still undecided (and likely to be top secret till Fellowship of the Ring hits theaters in Decemeber 2001).
I've heard a rumor that Arwen will join the Fellowship. Is there any truth in this?
Aaahhh, Arwen-gate continues! No, she will not join the Fellowship.
With everything I have heard about the movies, there has not been much about Shelob. So, will she be created by computer? Or will she even be in it at all?
The Shelob scenes haven't been filmed yet, but the last time I talked to Sean Astin (Sam), he said he was looking forward to those. Shelob will be computer-generated, probably with some miniatures edited in.