A couple of hours south of Auckland, New Zealand lies the lush farmland of Matamata, Waikato. It’s easy to see why these green pastures and rolling hills were chosen to portray Hobbiton and the Shire in The Lord of the Rings. I used this photo, taken by Tom Wuellette, in my book, The Lord of the Films. Note the Party Tree from The Fellowship of the Ring.
Now, of course, the same area is being used by the filmmakers again – this time for The Hobbit.
It’s amazing enough that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, with their friendship and individual fames that have become so intertwined (mention one, and most people will think about the other), were born the same week. But to think that that both are not only still alive at 80, but both are still big stars finding new work (although Nimoy recently announced his retirement)… well, it’s like having twin Betty Whites!
The long anticipated version of LOTR will be available on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011. There are no new supplements, though the set includes plenty of old ones. Here’s the official press release:
Burbank, Calif, March 21, 2011 – Following last year’s successful Blu-ray premiere of the original theatrical versions of The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy, Warner Home Video will release all three of Peter Jackson’s visual masterpieces in their extended editions on June 28 as a stunning 15-disc Blu-ray collection, The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition (Blu-ray).
The sets have been built, the actors have been cast, and after years of preproduction, the cameras are set to roll on The Hobbit film project in New Zealand. (Actually, since The Hobbit film cameras won’t be using film but digital memory, there won’t be any physical rolling going on, but let’s think of the term in the figurative sense.)
Meanwhile, an official blog for the film project has been launched and can be found here.
I mentioned in my blog sometime back that I was surprised that Indianapolis allows smoking in their public places, because you’d expect Chicago (with their blue collar teams and fans) to have smoky sports bars, and you’d expect Indianapolis (where Peyton Manning plays) to have nice, clean bars. In fact the reverse is true, with Illinois having an indoor smoking ban and Indianapolis being the last of the 15 largest cities in the USA to allow smoking indoors in public places. (It just doesn’t seem right that Colts fans of all fans have to watch their team in dirty, smoky bars! This is a team that plays indoors with perfectly cared for uniforms.) Well, it seems I’m not the only one to notice this! Some of the basketball players and fans visiting there this weekend are upset, including fans from Michigan State.
From the Michigan Business Journal regarding the NCAA Tournament:
Many Michigan State fans will not be happy leaving our smoke-free state and traveling to Indianapolis where we will have to put our health at risk by inhaling the secondhand smoke of others. Indianapolis City-Council Councilor Angela Mansfield echoed the frustration many in Indiana feel: “It’s so embarrassing that we’re supposedly the amateur athletic capital of the world and we’ve got such an unhealthy environment when people come to visit.”