August 29, 1999
The Official LOTR Movie
Cameras won't begin rolling on Peter Jackson's
retelling of The Lord of the
Rings trilogy until this autumn, but fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga
already can take a sneak peek into the project by visiting the movie's
official Web site at www.lordoftherings.net.
By clicking on the site's "Creation"
option, visitors can preview nine
gorgeous concept paintings that include landscape scenes, an illustration
of Frodo and Sam gazing at an army of Orcs and a sketch of Gandalf
confronting the evil balrog. The paintings are only the first elements of
what New Line Cinema hopes will become a truly unique interactive experience. "Lord
of the Rings carries a great deal of respect and power in people's minds," says
Gordon Paddison, New Line's director of interactive
publicity. "We wanted to [create] a place where we could start a dialogue
with the fans. We didn't want to slap something together that says, 'Go
see the movie!'"
According to Paddison, the Web site is being
developed with the full
cooperation of director Jackson and his crew. The evolving production will
be traced through the eyes of the filmmakers, with an emphasis on in-depth
content rather than fluff. "We will focus very much on the process with which Peter
approached the film,[the reason] why he's doing Lord of the Rings and his philosophy
behind it," Paddison explains, "We're trying to set something up where we can be
a conduit for official information without allowing the site to turn into a rumor mill.
It'll be an exploration of the [filmmaking] process."
The next major addition to the site will be a
Lord of the Rings Web browser
that launches this fall. By downloading the free browser, fans can access
exclusive news updates, production information from the film's New Zealand
set and a video greeting from Jackson. Paddison also promises that the official site will
soon provide additional forums where Tolkien fans can intermingle. "This site really
isn't about us, about marketing the movie," he
says. "It's about the fans."
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