July 19, 2001
Response to Movies and Maps
Hey, Ben. From what I've heard and read, and their are quite a number of little snippits here and there. From what I've heard and read, it sounds like there's going to be quite a lot given on maps and outlays of Middle Earth in the beginning during the Bilbo scenes. There's supposedly going to be books and maps everywhere in the hobbit's hole that he'll continue to refer to. Then, I imagine the characters throughout the movies will keep making references to the geographical directions as they travel. I especially expect they'll elaborate at the different times of discussion and councel throughout. Maybe they will do some map closeups during the travels like Indiana Jones as you suggested. Who knows. This is a tricky thing. Too many of these details could very well bog the movie down. PJ himself suggested this when he went back to reshoot the beginning of the first film. I'm sure he'll take great care to try and reveal as much as he can with whatever the pacing of the film allows. But, yeah, it would seem the ticket is to try and get across the expanse of Tolkiens vision without confusing and boring an unfamiliar audience. I'm sure Peter will tread lightly. Also, you must remember that this is a movie we are talking about here. So it all comes back to plot. PJ has said that he's going to stray away from things that don't contribute directly to the plot. This probably will get a huge chunk of the facts and histories that we are given in the LOTR cut. After all, a large amount of these references are directed toward the histories in the Silmarillion. So all of those locations will probably not even be mentioned. I imagine they'll keep with the basic current 3rd age names with everything. The Gray Havens, The Shire, Bree, Weathertop, The Downs, Rivendell, Moria, The Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, Dale, The Lonely Mountain, Mordor, Gondor, Rohan, Fangorn, Isenguard, Minas Tirith, and probably a few more around the borders of shadow mountains, but that'll more than likely be it. Remember that the Old Forest is being cut from the movie, as well as a good part of travels through the Shire, so a lot of these territories will never even be mentioned. Again, what probably doesn't directly relate to the plot of the film probably won't make it. This is thinking from a film-maker's perspective. You don't want to drive away your audience. But at the same time, Ben, there is still plenty left in LOTR to portray Middle Earth's rich history. I wouldn't worry. I'm sure PJ will do fine.