October 12, 1998

Jackson to Film in May
Cinescape Reporter

When Lord of the Rings begins filming next May it expects to tax the local resources by employing five full filming units full time for a year. "If they were shooting the equivalent of five films over a year, that would equate to 25 movies," director Peter Jackson boasts. The movies will feature 63 actors with speaking parts and more than 15,000 extras. Jackson believes that many of the extras could be culled from the New Zealand army while 50 of the speaking roles are projected to be filled by New Zealanders. Casting for other key parts begins any day in New Zealand, Australia, London and Los Angeles. In addition to the extras, Jackson plans to create as many as 200,000 additional soldiers (courtesy of some CGI wizardry) for what looks to be the largest battles ever filmed. Jackson is developing proprietary software called MASSIVE to handle the heavy FX load which is described in the Evening Post as "ground breaking". Computer wizardry will also be employed to turn regular-sized actors into the stout little hobbits (as the Insider revealed last month). Some of the dialogue will be spoken in their traditional Middle Earth languages with subtitles -- an example of the lengths Jackson plans to go to get the feel of the books up on the big screen.

Peter Jackson reportedly said in the San Diego Union-Tribune that the impending production of a trilogy of films based on Lord of the Rings has elicited "a fun kind of pressure." Given the fact that the same paper is reporting New Line chairman Robert Shaye as saying that the studio hopes the Rings movie are able to "come close to Star Wars" one can start to understand from where the pressure is emanating. "There is no question that it has a significant gamble component," Shaye said. "We decided to accept the gamble." Mark Ordesky, a friend of Peter Jackson's who reportedly shepherded the deal between New Line and Jackson continues those thoughts. "Sometimes a project comes along that just feels right. I think everyone kind of felt that this was just sort of destiny." At least they're talking the Star Wars language.