Evening Post
Death of a Wizard

The Evening Post
August 10, 2000

Film Scene or Hoax, Pic Intrigues Fans
Tom Cardy

An Evening post photograph showing a scene from the $360 million The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy has created international intrigue.

The photograph published on Tuesday was shot at the film site in Taita. It showed a character dressed in white, with a long white beard and long hair impaled on a spiked wheel. The Post speculated that it could have been the wizard Gandalf, although it was unclear if such a scene was in the book.

Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf, replied to queries from fans on his website late on Tuesday and said it wasn't him. Nor was it, as some fans had speculated, the evil wizard Saruman played by Christopher Lee. But Sir Ian said he was filming at the same location on Tuesday.

Debate raged on several Lord Of The Rings websites, with fans adamant the scene doesn't occur in J R R Tolkien's story. Several said it was more likely to be Saruman. However in the trilogy Saruman dies after his throat is cut by the character Grima.

A OneRing Net fans said Saruman must have impaled himself after plunging from a tower.

The website Imladris said it couldn't be Saruman because his clothes would be torn and ragged and at times he wore coloured robes. The website Xenite said Saruman's death scene could have been changed to provide a more dramatic end to the second film The Two Towers.

The Ringbearer website speculated that it could even be a hoax because the filming was easily seen from a street. "PJ (director Peter Jackson) and company knew that photographers would be able to get a glimpse at what is going on," it said.