The Footage! Friday at Cannes
*** NOTE: As you can imagine, the last few days have been quite hectic! Here is the first report and look for another
tomorrow. Eventhough we are not allowed to bring cameras to the official events, I do have some pictures of Cannes and
Nice to share. Expect them tomorrow. . ****
Friday May 11th, 2001 - First Report
LOTR Web Journo’s In Cannes
(left to right) Leo, Calisuri, Maurice, Leo and Maurice are from
I woke up 3 times in the middle of the night just to be sure I would not miss my train. After all, there was no way in
heck I was going to miss the Lord of the Rings press footage and a chance to talk with the cast members. Each time, I
actually insisted it was 6am while staring at a clock that said otherwise. Finally, thanks to a wonderful wake-up call
from Leo and Maurice (lordoftherings.nl) I jumped in the shower, checked my email, and Amy (my girlfriend), and I booked
out the door to catch the express train. Apparently, it was really express, because we missed it. After reaching Cannes,
and meeting up with Leo and Maurice (now nicknamed 'the Giants'), we decided to get a head start on the day and get some
breakfast before the New LIne office opened for business at 9. While waiting for the New Line office to open, and right
in the middle of a serious call, I was shat upon by one of Cannes's glamorous pigeons. The shatting was not as traumatic
as trying to get one of the street vendors to lend me some napkins. After being rejected I finally shelled out the 2
franks to open one of the public rest rooms and grab some toilet paper.
But anyway...back to Lord of the Rings...
I arrive at the New Line press office to claim my badge and bag of cool stuff. So whats in the bag? Well, first off,
there is a REALLY unique map of New Zealand. One side of the map is designed in a Tolkien style with markers denoting
where certain scenes were filmed. The other showcases New Zealand's diverse landscape, and lists the famous movies that
have been filmed in this beautiful conuntry. Next in the bag is a well designed book that showcases the entire movie
with full page images and a review of the whole project. Later on, I was lucky enough to have Ian Mckellen sign mine! A
page of slides, a movie synopsis, and some other random, not too critical, things round out the pack. The synopsis is
absolutely amazing. While I can't just send out the text of it, I can say that the changes in the story are very
minimal. The film will flow wonderfully. On a scale of 1 to 10, this adaptation is at least a 9. (The Only reason I
don't give it a 10 is because of the absence of Bombadil.)
Items from The New Line Cinema “Bag of Cool Stuff”
So back to the Cinema Olympia. I have never been in a theater that had leather lounge chairs as its main seating. Those
huge US theater chains should consider this extraordinary luxury for us normal folk. Even so, the theater was gorgeous.
Perfect to experience our first look at LOTR on screen. Also, Peter Jackson had a sound system flown in from Paris just
for this screening.
It's at this point (10 minutes before the film begins) that I met Harry from AintitCool and Joram from Ringbearer. Both
were just as excited about these films as I am. Harry was particularly interested in hearing some of Howard Shore's
score before the day had ended. By the end, he got his wish.
And so it begins...
Rob Shea, a big wig at New Line, took a few moments to remind the audience that the footage was not finished and not
representative of the complete movie. To quote him, "THIS IS NOT A MOVIE." I guess the traditional media usually take
these screenings and review them as if they were the movie. So the point was made, and Mr. Shea then introduced, the
man, the myth, the legend...
PJ, like Shea, emphasised that the footage was in its early stages, but very close to done. He described the three parts
to the footage and mentioned that the music for the second clip (The Mines of Moria) was in fact that of Howard's Shore.
The first clip was about 6 to 7 minutes long and emphasised the story, the plot, and the characters of Fellowship of the
Ring. The major highlight of this clip was the scene with Gandalf visiting Bilbo before his 111th birthday. The use of
forced perspective, and human to hobbit scale was absolutely perfect. Any doubts that this process would not work should
be laid to rest now. It is seamless and completely believable. To quote Maurice, sitting next to me, "It was just
amazing!" More details on this clip to come in the future.
The second clip was simply mind-blowing. 14 minutes of the Mines of Moria scene! I can safely say, Lord of the Rings
will surpass mine, and your expectations after seeing this footage. The character interaction, fight sequence, and CG
(even in its unfinished state) worked so well. I honestly believed that I was in the Mines of Moria being hunted by
hundreds of orcs, a cave troll, and the balrog. Yes, I said the Balrog. I HAVE SEEN THE BALROG! But anyway, this clip is
absolutely amazing. With Aragorn and Legolas wielding bows, and Gimli raging with Dwarfish anger, the orcs charging
Balin's tomb didn't have a chance... until the Cave Troll showed up. Talk about identifying with the characters in
peril. Peter Jackson masterfully edits this scene to bring you into the excitement. You will not be disappointed. But
what about the score Calisuri? Tell us about the score!!! Well, the music definitely fit with the images and mood on
screen. As it turns out, the music from this scene was deliberately made to be 'dwarfish.' Unfortunately, I didn't get a
chance to listen for really fine details, but I do know that Harry was listening for that. I'm sure he will write in
detail about it in the future. The only possible negative was a quick couple of seconds that sounded like the beginning
of the 'Hercules' theme. I'll try to find the clip online in a few days to explain more.
The last section of the footage was a montage of clips from 'The Two Towers' and 'Return of the King.' Basically, we had
a lot of quick shots of armies, the remaining characters, and some absolutely beautiful landscapes. We saw Frodo talking
to Faramir about the Ring; David Wenham is perfect for this role. Leo, Maurice and I actually mistook him to be Sean
Bean as Boromir! There are also a few shots of Eowyn, and a grizzly shot of Theoden, in a very old and degenerated state
(almost to the point of diseased looking). At one moment, in the montage, I think we actually saw Wormtongue being
tossed out of Edoras down some stairs. There was so much in this footage that it is nearly impossible to relate it all.
When I get back in the States, I will try. Everything ended with a quick glimpse of Frodo in Mount Doom.
And that was it. The audience, made up of mostly hardened media, burst out in applause. Everyone was psyched. Not a
nay-sayer in the bunch. If there is any proof that these films will rock the world, just look at how the print press
relay their experience. I'm sure we'll see a lot of positive responses and down-right excitement in the near future.
With the screening over, we boarded a bus and headed to the Chateau de Casdelleras to the interviews. At the time of our
arrival, they had lots of LOTR props and scenes under construction. I've just seen a hobbit hole in real life, and I
don't think I'll forget it!
Tomorrow look for our reports from the interview circuit with Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd,
Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee and John Rhys-Davies.
Then on Sunday, the Party.