"Mercy!" cried Gandalf: "if
the giving of information is to be the cure of your
inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in
answering you. What do you want to know?"
Q: I'm 18 and discovered the Lotr trilogy after reading The Hobbit at
age 12 or so. With the movie coming out, I am currently re-reading the
books for the fourth or fifth time and will re-read The Fellowship of
the Ring a week before the movie hits the screens. One of my friend
doesn't want to see this movie, because he knows he's going to be
disappointed by everything Peter Jackson and his crew will not have
pictured correctly or changed, or left behind. Although I kind of agree
with him, I want to see this movie because I want to know if I will be
able to feel the magic and magnificence I always felt while reading
those books, I want to know if the movie will give me the same feeling
as the trailers which make my senses go "WOW, that's so
A: I know, I know that's what everyone wants to know will Peter
Jackson's Lord of the Rings match the thrill of their own? As
you've enjoyed the trailers, it's looking hopeful!
From: Michael Ahr
Q: Does your esteemed Istari colleague Rhadagast the Brown appear in the
A: No. But that left more room for Saruman and Gandalf, I suppose.
Q: I heard recently that there will be a preview of FOTR at the Toronto
Festival similar to the one at Cannes. Is there any truth to this
A: A good rumour but I haven't heard it before.
Q: My English is very
very poor, but I will try to ask you something — and I
hope it will sounds not THAT stupid! You were acting with Elijah Wood
about a year: will he make a "GOOD" Frodo? Someone tells me,
that he not will be a good one (too young). But I think it is like
"Hamlet": No one can be the "perfect" Hamlet.....
Good bye from Germany.
A: The actor plays his own Hamlet. The audience responds. I've
written in previous Grey Book chapters enthusiastically about Elijah's
Frodo. He goes the full journey.
Q: Given the choice,
would you prefer critical or commercial success for Lord
of the Rings if the two were mutually exclusive?
A: I'm not sure I like this game but "critical" if
the critics you refer to are the audience as well as the media.
Q: Do you get more
nervous the nearer that the release date gets?
A: I am reserving my nervous energy for the rehearsals and
performances of Dance
of Death. If I didn't have that absorbing job to occupy me, no
doubt I would be as apprehensive and impatient as the next Tolkien fan.
Q: I saw Heavenly Creatures, another of Jackson's films, and was
glued to the screen. Have you seen it?
A: The magic and passion of Heavenly Creatures, in which
all the actors were splendid, convinced me I wanted to work with Peter.
From: Danny van
Q: Gandalf is probably the most powerful person in the book, how does
portray his secretive nature and his spells and magic? The films will
definitely not be as excellent as the book because no films are.
A: Yes, Gandalf has his spells and supernatural powers, but are they
as powerful as Sauron's force or as Frodo's courage? If you are so sure,
perhaps you shouldn't see the movies. But why not give the first one a
try? It might just turn out to be the most wonderful Christmas present
From: Steven Markley email@example.com
Q: You have been amazingly candid during the making of this film. I have
enjoyed reading your running commentaries. What do you think of this
ever-increasing trend to fan involvement in "Lord of the
Rings" (and 'X-Men') from such early stages? How do you think it
affects the audience's experience of the film? How has it affected
your experience as an actor?
A: I can't see anything but good coming out of the fans' interest
in an upcoming film being encouraged via the internet: and I have long
thought studios should not resent it. Of course rumour, gossip,
surmise, guessing and mischief are not helpful but can easily be
countered by information released by a film's producers or, even, by
efforts like The Grey Book.
Q: When I heard that "The Lord of the Rings" was
going to be made into films, I was led to understand that the makers
would be casting relative unknowns into the main parts. Do you
think that the presence of 'Hollywood' names such as Elijah Wood, and
Liv Tyler, excellent actors though they may be, will discredit the
authenticity of the film to Tolkien's vast body of fans, especially
those who consider themselves 'Tolkienites' so to speak?
A: Peter Jackson was contracted to cast whomever he wanted.
I am sure that each of the actors was chosen for talent rather than
celebrity. Of course Elijah and Liv's popularity can help, at least at
the opening weekend when their fans will want to catch up with their
latest work. There are some actors who have so far had little exposure
in movies — e.g. the two British Hobbits, Billy Boyd and Dominic
Monaghan are a delightful partnership (Pippin and Merry) and Orlando
Bloom (Legolas). I doubt whether an all-star cast would make Middle-earth more credible.
From: Ralph Letzner firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: In The Grey Book you answer the question why we have to wait until
of this year to see the first movie. But why is there another year
between the first and the second movie (and the third)? Won't the
effects be completed in one session like the actual shooting? Or is it
just means of PR?
A: All efforts are
currently bent on completion of The Fellowship of the Ring.
Once it is delivered in a couple of months, Peter Jackson's team will
concentrate on the second two movies whose effects, music etc will be
added in sequence. The decision to release them a year apart is
unprecedented like the whole venture and I suppose could always be
changed, once the response to the first film is clear. Harvey Weinstein
of Miramax, who passed on the chance to make Lord of the Rings,
told me at Cannes that New Line were "very brave." Time will
tell whether the release plans prove practical as well as brave.
From: Cheryl Hopkins
Q: How on earth do you
manage to fit the Grey Book and e-posts into your already hectic life?
Your replies come across as genuinely concerned and caring - I really
admire you for this (as well, of course, as for the joy you have given
of us who have seen your movies)- thank you again...
A: Like other newcomers to the Internet, I am an enthusiast at
least so far! As a kid I once produced a little magazine, with
only one handwritten version, feeding my early hope to become a
journalist. When I was 15 or so I contributed occasional pieces for our
local newspaper "The Bolton Evening News." So the roots of this site are
Q: Fan interest
will only be rising over the year, while I assume you will be moving on
to other projects. Will it be difficult to keep on talking about playing
Gandalf for years - like for interviews in 2003 when "Return of the
King" is finally released?
A: So far it has been a pleasure to talk and write about the movies
with enthusiasm. But I don't know whether I shall relish the inevitably
repetitious questions over the next couple of years. I encourage
journalists who want to interview me, to first consult The Grey Book
as probably the fans have anticipated most topics. The
problem is that all interviewers like to feel that they have some sort
of exclusive and I doubt that will be possible by 2003. At
Cannes in May, the actors did over 70 interviews each.
Q: Did you and Ian
Holm ever take the mickey out of Sean Bean for being in Sharpe?
A: Certainly not! Although I did mention his withdrawing from the
National Theatre's Coriolanus
after only one rehearsal! He was understudying Greg Hicks' Aufidius.
From: Heather Marle
Q: Are any of
Tolkien's songs (well,lyrics anyway) going to be sung, or is the music
going to exist only in the background?
A: Gandalf gets to hum a bit. I hope there will be songs in the
movies but I can't be certain. Off the set the Hobbits banded together
musically and Peter Jackson has a framed photo of their ad hoc group
like the new Beatles. Billy Boyd sings a treat to his guitar.
Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in
The Lord of the Rings