The Lord of the Rings

Last Update: 23 February 2004
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The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

The book of the 20th Century has become the motion picture event of the 21st Century: A groundbreaking epic of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror. New Line presents a grand trilogy of live-action feature films -- starting with The Fellowship of the Ring -- that takes audiences inside Tolkien’s living, breathing mythology, the world that is Middle-earth.

Congratulations to the cast of LOTR:ROTK for the 2004 SAG Award for
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Sean Astin
Sean Bean
Cate Blanchett
Orlando Bloom
Billy Boyd
Bernard Hill
Ian Holm
Ian McKellen
Dominic Monaghan
Viggo Mortensen
John Noble
Miranda Otto
John Rhys-Davies
Andy Serkis
Liv Tyler
Karl Urban
Hugo Weaving
David Wenham
Elijah Wood

BERNARD HILL: The ensemble qualities of this award go way beyond the cast I think. I think everyone here realizes that we sit atop a kind of pyramid of talent, we actors. Because we can’t do what we do without the whole structure beneath us, and I think we’re all very aware of that, and very appreciative of the producers, the writers, the directors, and the make-up people, and the people who arrange the trailers in a circle and keep them warm for us in the morning, and make sure that we’ve got coffee and tea and things that keep us going during the day, and all that kind of stuff. We haven’t got very long, but we thank the… [laughs] here comes the next president of the United States. [laughter]

We thank the Screen Actors Guild and everybody who voted for us. Thank you very much. [applause]

SEAN ASTIN: Our king… one of our kings. A couple of them aren’t here, Elijah Wood is not here, and Viggo Mortensen is not here, and Orlando Bloom’s not here, but they’re with us in spirit.

SAG Awards Official Site


Click on this thumbnail to see the fullsize poster from New Line Cinema congratulating the cast of ROTK for winning the 2003 National Board of Review's Best Acting by an Ensemble award.
(Sean is included, third from the right.)
(Thanks to TORN for the scan)

Generations of more than 50 million people around the globe, in 25 different languages have grown up with this epic history. The legend has inspired an entire genre of movies, fiction, and has influenced some of the greatest artists of our time. It has made dreamers out of children and adults, and has recently been named the number one most popular book of the century. But it has never been told in its entirety on the screen.

Using the power of contemporary cinema technology, New Line Cinema is proud to transform J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings into a history-making motion picture event. New Line presents a grand trilogy of live-action feature films -- The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King -- that takes audiences inside Tolkien’s living, breathing mythology, the world that is Middle-earth.

The Lord of the Rings collectively re-tells the story of Frodo Baggins, who battles against the Dark Lord, Sauron to save Middle-earth from the grip of evil. In the films, Frodo and The Fellowship embark on a desperate journey to rid the earth of the source of Sauron’s greatest strength, the One Ring, a ring of such power that it cannot be destroyed. His extraordinary adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth reveal how the power of friendship and courage can hold the forces of darkness at bay.

By shooting all three films consecutively during one massive production and post-production schedule, New Line Cinema made history. Never before had such a monumental undertaking been contemplated or executed. The commitment of time, resources and manpower were unheard of as all three films and more than 1,000 effects shots were being produced concurrently with the same director and core cast. Helmer Peter Jackson, whose visionary style of filmmaking and emotional acuity won accolades for his Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners, brought his deep love for the source material to the project.

The film features a strong international cast that includes (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davis, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood. But the real star of the film is the story itself -- a classic hero’s quest in which the smallest of beings changes the course of the future with the vastness of his courage.

Set in a mythic pre-history, The Lord of the Rings tells the saga of a desperate battle against encroaching evil - a perilous quest to save humanity which falls upon the shoulders of a young hobbit, Frodo Baggins, who has inherited a seemingly innocent magic ring from his elderly cousin Bilbo.

However Frodo soon learns that the ring's original maker, the Dark Lord Sauron, is desperately seeking it - for it is a ring of great evil which will enable Sauron to enslave the people of this land known as Middle Earth. A hurriedly assembled fellowship of wizard, elf, dwarf and men accompany Frodo and his friends on a harrowing mission across Middle Earth in an attempt to destroy the ring by casting it into the volcanic fires in the Crack of Doom. Against them rages the monstrous power of Sauron, whose sinister emissaries ruthlessly pursue Frodo and his companions, while the omnipotent power of the ring attempts to corrupt the fellowship from within.

Thanks to for this still photo from the first LOTR trailer.
For a frame by frame analysis of the first LOTR trailer (with pictures), click here.

Tolkien's trilogy, first published in the mid-1950s, was intended as a sequel to The Hobbit, the Oxford University professor's first literary success. The novels were set in the Third Age of Middle-earth, an invented prehistory era populated with hobbits, elves, trolls, orcs and men. The books' good-versus-evil struggle focuses on Frodo Baggins, a young hobbit who embarks on a harrowing quest across Middle-earth, hoping to destroy the Magic Ring of Invisibility before it falls into the hands of the Dark Lord Sauron, a sinister tyrant bent on enslaving humanity.

The Lord of the Rings is set in a mythical world populated by several different races or types of "people." These are Hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin and Bilbo); Elves (Elrond, Arwen, and Legolas); Dwarves (Gimli); and Humans (Aragorn, Gandalf, Boromir, Denethor, Theoden, Faramir and Eowyn).

Sean and some of the other cast members at Cannes, 2001

(Photo courtesy
This long-awaited screen presentation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot exclusively in New Zealand over a period of 438 days, with post-production adding the same length of time again. At three years in the making, this is the largest production ever to be mounted in the Southern Hemisphere.

Written by Oscar-nominated screenwriters Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, with Philippa Boyens and Stephen Sinclair, this technically challenging production assembled an international cast, utilizing over 20,000 extras' days, employing a crew of 2,500 (including award-winning high profile technicians from both within and outside of New Zealand), and features 77 speaking parts and 1200 state-of-the-art computer generated effects shots. Budget for the three films was reported to be $270 million.

Peter Jackson's Wellington-based production company, Wingnut Films Limited, together with the special effects company WETA Limited, were involved in developing and designing this realization of the Tolkien classic for more than two years. During this time a stunning array of miniatures, creatures, prosthetic effects and armor were created to bring the grandeur and spectacle of Tolkien's richly evocative Middle-earth to life on the screen.

WETA Limited, New Zealand's leading Special Effects house, focused all of its efforts on this one project. Dedicated to meeting the exacting visual and technical requirements of Director Peter Jackson, WETA Digital developed its own proprietary programs and used state-of-the-art motion control, blue screen and forced perpective techniques to achieve his vision. The people and creatures who populate Middle-earth, as well as their homes, cities (and lairs) were conceptualized by WETA Workshop with the guidance of Alan Lee and John Howe. Alan and John are internationally recognized Tolkien artists.

Geologically a young country, New Zealand is a wild mix of diverse terrain, which brings with it a sense of grandeur and antiquity. Peter Jackson used the peace and tranquility of New Zealand's rolling pastoral farmland, the rugged beauty of the North Island's volcanic plateaus, and the majesty of the South Island's snow capped Southern Alps to bring the screen his interpretation of how Britain, Tolkien's Middle-earth, might have looked 7,000 years ago.

Principal photography on the trilogy began October 11, 1999 and wrapped on December 22, 2000.


Click on the thumbnail to
see a larger version
of this Oscar ad.

  • Click here for coverage of the World Premiere in London, December 10, 2001
  • Click here for coverage of the New York premiere on December 13, 2001
  • Click here for coverage of the Los Angeles premiere on December 16, 2001
  • Click here for coverage of the Japanese premiere on February 21, 2002
  • Click here for coverage of the Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 10, 2002
  • Click here for photos of Sean at some pre- and post-Oscar parties, 2002.
  • Click here for photos of Sean at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards.




Click on the thumbnails to see larger images of Sean getting his "Fellowship" tattoo. Pictures are from Jonathan Shaw's Fun City Tattoo website and shop in New York.

  • Click here to see Boromir's costume on display at Casa Loma, Toronto
  • Click here for press reviews of LOTR:FOTR

  • Click here for The Fellowship of the Ring production notes
  • Click here for descriptions of Boromir, including behind the scenes glimpses of Sean on the set of The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Click here for the original LOTR Rumours Page on The Compleat

  • Click here for The Compleat's Press Archive for LOTR:FOTR
  • Click here for coverage from Cannes 2001.
  • Click here for info on Lord of the Rings major award nominations
  • Click here for LOTR Boromir merchandise.

  • Click here to visit New Line's Official Lord of the Rings website


Frodo Baggins .......... Elijah Wood
Gandalf ................ Ian McKellen
Arwen .................. Liv Tyler
Aragorn ................ Viggo Mortensen
Sam .................... Sean Astin
Galadriel .............. Cate Blanchett
Gimli .................. John Rhys-Davies
Pippin ................. Billy Boyd
Merry .................. Dominic Monaghan
Legolas ................ Orlando Bloom
Saruman ................ Christopher Lee
Elrond ................. Hugo Weaving
Boromir ................ Sean Bean
Bilbo Baggins .......... Ian Holm
Gollum ................. Andy Serkis
Celeborn ............... Marton Csokas
Haldir ................. Craig Parker
Lurtz .................. Lawrence Makoare


A New Line Cinema release of a Wingnut Films production.

Produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders.

Executive producers, Mark Ordesky, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Robert Shaye, Michael Lynne. Co-producers, Rick Porras, Jamie Selkirk.

Directed by ............. Peter Jackson
Screenplay............... Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Jackson
Based on the book by .... J.R.R. Tolkien
Camera .................. Andrew Lesnie
Editor .................. John Gilbert
Music ................... Howard Shore
Production Designer...... Grant Major
Art directors ........... (Peter) Joe Bleakley, Rob Otterside,
......................... Phil Ivey, Mark Robins
Set Decorator............ Dan Hennah
Costume Designers ....... Ngila Dickson, Richard Taylor
Special makeup
Miniatures .............. Taylor/WETA Workshop Ltd.
Visual Effects Supervisor Jim Rygiel
Digital Visual Effects .. WETA Digital
Casting.................. John Hubbard, Amy MacLean (U.K.
......................... Victoria Burrows (U.S.)
......................... Liz Mullane (New Zealand)
......................... Ann Robinson (Australia)

Running time............. 179 Minutes
Classification .......... PG-13


This is a "hidden" picture from the official Lord of the Rings website.
Thanks to TORN for tracking it down and posting it.


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