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Nick22

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2009, 01:04:25 AM »
hopefully WR you'll be able to pick this back up after the holidays.. I'm looking forward to your take on Jackson's trilogy.
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Paradise Bird

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2009, 01:34:06 AM »
We await your written art :DD

WeirdRaptor

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« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2009, 05:27:09 PM »
The next part should be up early January.

Kor

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« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2009, 06:51:22 PM »
No hurry.  You've been doing a great job so far.

aabicus (LettuceBacon&Tomato)

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2009, 08:03:42 PM »
Have you seen the Nostalgia Critic's
Nostalgia Critic's review on this topic? it might be useful as research.

WeirdRaptor

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« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2009, 08:56:20 PM »
I've seen it. Funny review, but it's too short to be of any real help for the minute by minute recap I'm doing of the films as the video is only twenty-thirty minutes long. For the most part, I'm just rewatching the relevant scenes in the film while writing.
Thank you for the help, though.

Nick22

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« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2009, 01:23:21 AM »
No hurry Wr.. Looking forward to your next installment
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WeirdRaptor

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2010, 05:07:47 PM »
Update! A month late and a dolloar short, but here at last nontheless.

Part Thirteen: The Game Attempts-Part Eleven: Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: Ah, we have come to it at last, the latest adaptation of Tolkien’s beloved book to date. The Pre-Production section of this is going to be much longer along with the film sections simply because I was able to learn the most about how Jackson and company made their adaptation than I was able to concerning Bakshi and Rankin-Bass’s, in which I was hard-pressed to find any solid information at all for the former. Also, I will be using the Extended Editions as my point of reference, as they are considered to be the definitive versions of the films by both the cast and crew and their fans.

Well, to start things off, while not a whole lot is known about Jackson’s activities in trying to get Lord of the Rings adapted prior to when his company officially took up the project in 1996, but on the Special Extended Edition DVDs, where is a short video of Jackson and company scouting the location that would become where they built Hobbiton in the eventual films. A look at the date on the video, which is visible on the upper left side of the screen, clearly shows the year, 1991. Jackson had been considering taking on the project before his third film, Brain Dead, was even released. However, nothing more than successfully finding a location to shoot Hobbit at came of this.

   Now, time to move onto the actual production. In the year 1996, Jackson had been trying to get the rights to remake King Kong after finishing The Frighteneers. However, after negotiations for this fell through, Jackson decided instead to adapt The Lord of the Rings as a live-action film. He has said that he found it strange that no one was trying to do so despite the technological advances that Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and other films had brought about by that time. Well, Jackson was confident that his company could do it through the numerous expansions he and Richard Taylor had made on the effects branch, Weta Workshop.

   Before he was going to get around to adapting Tolkien’s most famous work, though, he wanted to adapt The Hobbit, first. So, he and his partner, Fran Walsh, entered into dealings with Miramax and went to Saul Zaentz, who held the rights at the time, to discuss the matter. They pitched the idea of a live-action Hobbit and two Lord of the Rings films to him. Alas, this deal as far as matters concerning The  Hobbit are concerned, did not happen. The business proceedings soon became stalled, and it was revealed the United Artists had bought the rights to distribute The Hobbit. In other words, Zaentz could give them the rights to produce the film, but they’d have to have United Artists’s cooperation to release it in theaters.

   Jackson, Walsh, and Miramax did their best to resolve this issue, but well…the issue to this day, is still not resolved as no Hobbit movie has not even been officially green lit yet. It also doesn’t help that the distribution rights has jumped owners a few more times since then. So, Jackson and company essentially said “screw this” and decided to just go ahead with Lord of the Rings.

In 1997, when all the business arrangements had been set in place, Jackson and company began a six week process of setting up a sales pitch, a synopsis, and a full treatment. They presented their screenplays and the pitch to the Weinstein brothers and a $75 million budget was decided upon. The Jackson films were originally to be disturbingly similar to Bakshi’s in that the first film was going to be a Fellowship/Two Towers conjoined, but ending with the beginning part of the Return of the King with Gandalf and Pippin arriving at Minas Tirith. The second film was going to be straightforwardly just The Return of the King. The films were also going to be two hours, each. In mid-1997, Phillipa Boyens joined the writing team after she read their treatment when the job was offered to her. It took the writing team a full year to make the scripts for the two films.

In this time, the changes to the story that Sam is caught eavesdropping and forced to go on Frodo’s jounrey was included, instead of the conspiracy between Sam, Merry, Pippin, and Fatty. Also, Lothlorien was omitted, Galadriel’s scenes were transferred to Rivendell, Denethor attends the council with Boromir, and Arwen was going to kill the Witch King. Wow. This makes me appreciate that Jackson actually did end up doing all the more.

Unfortunately, in order to make the films, the budget was going to have to be doubled to $150 million, which Miramax did not have the finances to do. For one thing, $15 million had already been spent on a huge model of Helm’s Deep and few other things. So they proposed a single two hour film. Jackson and company fought this, but alas, all of their work belonged to Miramax. So, the Weinstein gave Jackson a window of opportunity to find another that could finance the two films. Jackson agreed to this. He met up with an executive from New Line Cinema named Mark Ordesky, who set up a meeting with the Bob Shaye, one of the heads of the company.

For this meeting, Jackson and company set up one of the most elaborate sales pitches for a one film ever recorded in the history of film. At the end of the video they showed as a part of their presentation, Shaye asked why they would want to do this in two films when the book was released in three volumes. This made everyone from both Jackson’s film studio or Weta Workshop nervous because they didn’t know what he meant. To clarify, he then said “This is three films.”

“Well, thank God for that decision.” –Christopher Lee, on the subject.

With this, Jackson, Walsh, and Boyons now had to write three completely new scripts. This allowed for a lot more creative freedom and the ability to stay much, much closer to the books for them. The three-part adaptation did not end up corresponding directly to the book, given that Jackson decided to tell the story in chronological order. Frodo’s quest was made top priority and Aragorn’s story was made the primary sub-plot. Many sequences such as the entirety of the chapters concerning Tom Bombadil, the wolf attack on the Fellowship when they set out, the dinner held before Elrond’s council, and the Scourging of the Shire among other things were all deleted. Dialogue was shifted between characters, new sequences were added, characters were altered for increased drama, whether for better or worse, and other changes were made as well.

Bob Anderson, Hollywood’s go-to guy for excellent sword-fighting choreography, was hired on to develop the fight sequences and other such stunts for the trilogy. Anderson has been everything from Ol' Flynn’s stunt double to having a long standing career as a fight coordinator. For those interesting in Anderson’s work, he choreographed the fight scenes in The Princess Bride and wore the Darth vader suit for Vader and Obi-Wan’s infamous dual in the original Star Wars film released in 1977. He also trained the actors in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the Antonio Bonderas Zorro films, and in the 1998 Parent Trap remake. His resume reaches about as far back as a lot of old time actor’s.

The next step in the production was visualizing the epic and then putting it into tangible forms. Technically, this next step had began a while back, but it wasn’t until New Line took the financial reigns that it the production design really took off.
Christian Rivers was hired to do the storyboards. John Howe and Alan Lee, two famous artists who specialize in doing illustrations of characters and locations from Tolkien’s universe, were hired on the conception artists, from which all the designs would be based on their work. Jackson would even go as far as recreating moments from Howe and Lee’s artist works as a nod. Other concept artists, though these ones were Weta Workshop regulars, were Daniel Falconer, Warren Mahy, Jamie Deswarick, Mike Asquith, and Ben Wooten. Falconer liked designing forces of good. Mahy enjoys designing villains. Deswarick and Asquith did the masquettes, and Wooten mostly helped design creatures, due to his extensive knowledge of zoology.

Speaking of Weta Workshop, Jackson of course went to his usual go-to, Richard Taylor, who is the primary head of Weta Workshop, for the armor, weapons, prosthetic make-up, standard make-up, creatures, and miniatures. Many, many people were employed in various fields to create the one of the most elaborate and extensive productions in film history up to this point. Which included tons and tons of the most elaborate costumes ever made for film (they even found a way to replicate the look of genuine chainmail whereas other films made due with “yarn mail”) ,full body costumes for monster and creature characters, authentic armor suits, ridiculous amounts of prosthetics, models the size of entire sound stages to actually use in-film, and gargantuan sets built on-locations.
While the creation of everything seen in the films was being done, another task was the casting. Jackson and co sent out a worldwide casting call for actors and ended up with a mostly satisfactory result.

Once brought on board the cast was put through very vigorous training sessions and dialect lessons, as well as extensive make-up tests to see what look best suited the actor and character. When they started, the primary cast was Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Stuart Townsend, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, and many others. Wait, though? Doesn’t one of those names seem a little out of place? Well, Stuart Townsend was intended to Aragorn, but it didn’t work out and Viggo Mortensen had to be brought in after they were already filming and he had to be tossed into character and preparations at near breakneck speed. There have been many reasons stated for why Townsend didn’t work out, and often they conflict with other theories. It was involved with the fact that Townsend did not want to do any of his sword-fighting (I think, and if so: Wimp) and he was let go. Yeah, a near no name tried to get out of doing any of his own stunt work and ended up getting fired off of the single most successful trilogy of the decade because of it. Anyway, Mortensen was brought in ended up doing all of his sword fighting and stunt work, among various other things, throughout the entire trilogy. Townsend’s complete opposite. Makes one wonder why Mortensen, who had been considered for the rule before during casting, was passed up to begin with.

Moving on, the principal photography for the films began in the second half of 1999 and ended in December 2000. The primary reshoots were done through the years of 2001, 2002, and 2003. A final pick-up shot was conducted in 2004, after the release of the theatrical version of The Return of the King to be custom made for the Extended Edition DVD.

The films were made and filmed in New Zealand, as per Jackson’s agreement with anyone he works with. The country sports a highly remote and untouched feel to it that made it ideal for making it the backdrop of the Rings films.

The films were shot using seven different units shooting simultaneously at over 150 locations over the course of the production. Yes, Peter Jackson was the only primary director for the entire shoot. There were 2nd and 3rd unit directors, but they only shoot what the head director tells them to and they do it how he tells them to. These other unit directors included Alun Bollinger, John Mahaffie, Geoff Murphy, Fran Walsh (who only briefly held the position due to an error in which she allowed unsharpened weapons to be seen a up close shot), Barrie Osbourne, and Rick Porras.

To top the enormous amount of pressure just keeping all of these units well-organized, the script was literally being rewritten everyday because of some factor or another. For example, real life practically wrote the script in which there was going to be a river rapids scene while the Fellowship was traveling by river after Lothlorien. However, the set-up for the scene was destroyed by a flood and the crew did not have the time to reset it, so it was omitted from the films entirely.
In 1999, most of the focus of filming was on Fellowship, but some sequences from Towers were shot, too. For the first part of production, Jackson and co tried their hardest to shoot in chronological order, but could only do so much what with McKellan not available off of X-Men yet. He arrived after 1999’s Christmas break in January 2000 to begin his part of the long shoot.

After finishing the bulk of Fellowship’s primary footage, the production altered to filming many sequences out of order out of necessity. For example, Wood and Astin had to film in scene in which Frodo sends Sam home from the last film right after their final scenes in Fellowship were shot. Principal production was done by the end of the year.

End of Part Thirteen.

WeirdRaptor

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2010, 05:11:11 PM »
Part Fourteen: The Game Attempts: Part Twelve:

Other things of note: camping gear, survival kits, and foot supplies were brought along to many locations, because of the remote nature of many of New Zealand’s filming locations. This was in case the helicopter would not come to retrieve the units immediately. On more than one occasion, the cast and a crew were left stranded in a specific location, just waiting to be air-lifted out.

While several of the sets were built full-sized on location, the crew had to abide by very strict conduct codes enforced by the law concerning the impact their equipment the buildings they had set up would have on the environment. For example, the capital city of the Gap of Rohan: they actually freakin’ built it and they had to tear it down and leave the area unaffected as if they were never there.

Post-Production: From January to early December, Jackson and company would spend the entire year editing the appropriate footage together, going on reshoots, inserting extensive visual effects, among other things before each film was released around the 10th of each Christmas season. I’m getting more brief in detail here at this point, because chances are, you readers each know someone who owns the Extended Editions DVDs which has three-four hours of making of Special Features each which can tell you all what these people did behind the scenes better than I can.

Kor

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2010, 09:41:47 PM »
Very informative read.  Thanks for posting this here.

WeirdRaptor

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2010, 07:17:45 AM »
You're welcome, and the next part begins recapping the film, itself.

Kor

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« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2010, 12:03:46 PM »
Sounds good.  Think you'll do this for the hobbit movies once they come out?

Nick22

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« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2010, 03:40:01 PM »
i would hope so. this is fascinating stuff Wr. nice work..
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WeirdRaptor

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2010, 06:12:23 PM »
Oh yes I will. Problem is, the new Hobbit movie just keeps getting pushed back and I'm beginning to think that it's just not going to happen.

Nick22

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2010, 07:25:43 PM »
the first part is scheduled yo come in 2011  the second part in 2012
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Kor

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« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2010, 07:26:38 PM »
If it ever is you would have to compare both parts to the 70's hobbit animated movie.  No idea when it'll come out I guess.

WeirdRaptor

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« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2010, 05:02:30 AM »
Actually, I think it's been pushed back 2013, which means the world will end before we see it. Dang!

Yep, that's right, Kor. I was fully intending to compare it to the 70s version, which is actually pretty good as far hour and a half TV Specials go.

Anyway, I've finished the rough draft of the Opening Prologue of Fellowship. Now I just need to edit it and clean it up, since upon retrospect I notice I've made a ton of grammar errors throughout the whole essay.

Nick22

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« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2010, 09:29:37 PM »
the world is not going to end in 2012.. so we'll get to see it. I doubt Christopher Lee will be in it, since He'll be 91 by then, and Saruman doesn't appear in the hobbit anyway..
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WeirdRaptor

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« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2010, 11:49:12 PM »
The 2012 comment was a joke, man.

Actually, Lee will appear. Jackson and Del Toro are going to include The White Council and take the focus away from Bilbo.

Nick22

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« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2010, 12:13:26 AM »
i know Wr
and i imagine that will appear in part 2 of the book, while bilbo was struggling through mirkwood.
So the question we be how will they put Lee in it? he has stated hes not in favor of flying to nEw zealand again.
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