News and Views: FOTR Movie Close Calls

Originally Posted May 15, 2002

After the shadowed fics I have posted in May 2002, now for something different. Sometimes I am asked if, being in New Zealand, I have been able to meet anyone from the FOTR movie, or connected with the movie. The answer is not only no, but no due to a series of failures, hearsay, and near-misses, collected here for your amusement! Somehow instead of meeting the people who helped with the movie, I always seem to meet the people who met the people who helped with the movie.

 Trying to Be an Extra - Like any red-blooded Tolkien fan in New Zealand, I went and signed up with the talent agency that was providing the extras. I also dragged my ex along. It was no surprise when they didn't call me, with my total lack of experience. But my ex is tall, elvish-looking, had theatre experience, and was able to ride horses. As a result, my ex got gigs as an extra…on the TV shows Xena, Hercules, and Cleopatra 2025. But not in any of the LOTR movies.

 Riders of Rohan - The ex of the person my ex was dating for a while after we split up was one of the Riders of Rohan. I also had a separate hearsay experience with this: "A dude I know in Wellington was one of the guys on the horses. He said they had tons of people, hundreds, it was huge."

 Computer Effects - "I met one of the guys who did a lot of the computer effects. That scene in the Mines of Moria, where Legolas is on the ledge shooting the orcs? Totally computer-generated effects." The man who told me this also worked at the Auckland premeire, set up there by a temp agency, "but I was in the back the whole time so I didn't get to meet anyone."

 Two Lawrence Maokare Misses - First, I almost met him at "Armageddon", a sci-fi event in Auckland. "He was held over in England, filming," the nice Weta Sideshow people said. I then made a special excursion to go and see a recent art-house movie he was in, the Maori Merchant of Venice, and found that it was not showing any more - after calling ahead and driving 2 ˝ hours.

 Ten Thousand Elves - "I knew a guy who was ten thousand elves. They digitally replicated him for the movie, the scene at the beginning. What was he like? I knew him from university. Uh. Tall, blonde, funny-looking. (pause) He knows capoeira."

The Argonath - "A friend of a friend of mine made these statues? They had these two big statues?" "Two guys, holding out their hands?" "That's right."

The Armorer - "This friend of this guy in Wellington who I game with was one of the armorers for the movie. "

The One Ring - "Oh, I met the jeweler who made the One Ring props. My sister's a glassblower, and he was one of her teachers. I even had drinks with the guy, but this was, you know, before the movie."  

A Film Industry Perspective - "Even though my partner works in the film industry here, he wasn't working for LOTR. They just didn't pay enough." Apparently, by film industry standards, the average joes, janes, and grips working on the film are paid at the low end of the range for their work. This person and I proceeded to have a long discussion about why people might agree to work on the film anyway.

Get Me Makeup - I ran into a cosmetic manufacturer who says his company makes custom materials for one of the main LOTR film makeup artists. "Elijah Wood likes her stuff, that other girl Liv Tyler likes her stuff, her web site's full of stuff from the crew."

At the least I hope to someday run into one of these people myself so that I can go around saying, "Oh yes, I met the (fill-in-the-blank).." I could go visit various set locations, nothing is stopping me, and I may at some point. I decided not to go to the major SF con in New Zealand this weekend, but who knows what the future will bring? Especially since I've tracked down the name of Lawrence Maokare's agent. One of the film companies he works for is, literally, right around the corner from me.

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