Lord of the Rings

Dec. 17, 2014 | 4:00 a.m.

‘Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies': Armitage’s Thorin fights to the end

English actor Richard Armitage reprises his role as dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Richard Armitage came to the New Zealand set of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” primed for combat. The concluding installment of Jackson’s three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel features clashing tribes of warriors racing into conflict over an unimaginably vast treasure inside the mountain kingdom of Erebor. Armitage, the English actor who plays hirsute dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, has been preparing for battle since his acting school days with some very talented classmates. “One of the reasons I went to drama school was because I really wanted to learn stage fighting,” a clean-shaven Armitage explained recently. “Weirdly enough, David Oyelowo was my fight partner at drama school — Benedict was maybe two years behind me…. We won so many competitions together. I’ve still got the trophy on my mantel. It’s a little helmet on a […]
Aug. 06, 2014 | 12:00 p.m.

‘Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’ creators mine Tolkien lore for game

The Wraith, Celebrimbor, Talion in "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor." (Warner Bros. Interactive)
Last month, filmmaker and J.R.R. Tolkien ambassador Peter Jackson made his final appearance at San Diego’s Comic-Con International to promote one of his feature film adaptations of the literary master’s work. But December’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” wasn’t the only project inspired by the imagined geography of Tolkien’s universe to make news at the pop culture expo. During the “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor” panel, it was revealed that the Wraith, a character in the newest “Lord of the Rings” franchise video game, was actually Celebrimbor, the greatest Elven smith of the Second Age. He was deceived by Sauron into working with him to forge the Rings of Power, then murdered along with his family. His spirit was residing in Mordor, awaiting vengeance against the Dark Lord, when Talion, who was also murdered at the hands of […]
Feb. 14, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

Valentine’s Day: The best couples in comics, sci-fi and fantasy

The realms of science fiction and comics may be home to some of the most fantastic space battles, epic team-ups and heartbreaking deaths in entertainment. But as any Whovian, Trekkie or Marvel fan can tell you, the world of geek is also a world of lovey-dovey romance. And what better time than Valentine’s Day to celebrate the softer side of the genres that are typically dominated by alien invasions, lightsaber fights and spell wars? From “Star Wars” to “Spider-Man,” from “The Lord of the Rings” to “Harry Potter,” Hero Complex pays tribute to some of the cutest couples in genre entertainment. GIFT GUIDE: Valentine’s Day ideas for the geek in your life Click through the gallery above for a look at some of the most memorable romances on the silver screen, the small screen and the pages of comics. Did we […]
Dec. 12, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.

‘Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug': Ian McKellen quotes Tolkien [video]

And now, Sir Ian McKellen would like to make a clarification with regard to one of the most famous lines uttered by his wise wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films. “You know, ‘You shall not pass’ isn’t in the book at all,” the legendary English actor pointed out, referring to the fantastic literature of J.R.R. Tolkien. “‘You cannot pass’ is what Tolkien wrote. We got it wrong.” The man who Peter Jackson dubbed “the guardian of Tolkien” held forth on a wide range of subjects earlier this week at a special Hero Complex screening of the new fantasy “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second installment in Jackson’s latest trilogy of films set in Middle-earth. Arriving in theaters Friday, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” sees Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) continue on his journey to assist […]
Dec. 10, 2013 | 2:25 p.m.

Cookie Monster stars in ‘Sesame Street’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ parody

'Sesame Street' LOTR parody - 'Lord of the Crumbs' (featured image)
First he was spending time with Loki actor Tom Hiddleston. Now, Cookie Monster’s starring in a new “Sesame Street” “Lord of the Rings” parody that arrives just in time to coincide with the release of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s latest adventure based on the writings of author J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” due in theaters Friday. Jackson’s new fantasy blockbuster centers largely on the middle section of Tolkien’s landmark 1937 children’s novel, but for its latest skit spoofing pop culture, the “Sesame Street” masterminds returned to his previous Tolkien trilogy, the “Lord of the Rings,” for ideas for “Lord of the Crumbs.” Here, Cookie Monster is seeking the long-lost recipe for the “one dessert to rule them all” — chocolate chip cookies, naturally — and with the help of a Galadriel-inspired guide, he attempts to remember how to […]
Dec. 10, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.

Peter Jackson promises deeper characters, conflict for ‘Hobbit’ sequel

Peter Jackson, director of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," in Beverly Hills on Dec. 5, 2013. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Charting a course through Middle-earth can be nearly as taxing as surviving an international press tour for an end-of-year blockbuster. But as Peter Jackson posed on a giant chair flown in from New Zealand from the set of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” he appeared none the worse for wear. Although the writer-director’s salt-and-pepper curls fell at slightly unruly angles, and his white dress shirt looked more comfortably lived in than freshly pressed, Jackson himself was in good humor. His newest film based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, which opens in theaters Friday, already had won praise from a chain of admirers, many of whom compared its jovial spirit to the high-water mark of Jackson’s career, his epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. “Quite a few people are saying that,” Jackson said last week, sipping tea at a […]
Dec. 03, 2013 | 1:08 p.m.

‘The Hobbit’ premiere: Peter Jackson, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans talk Smaug

Actor Orlando Bloom arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."  (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)
Middle-Earth’s denizens journeyed to Hollywood on Monday night for the world premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second of Peter Jackson’s three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, “The Hobbit.” The film’s stars hit the shrub- and leaf-adorned black carpet in front of the Dolby Theater in Hollywood to fête the latest adaptation of the mystical realm where hobbits, dwarves, elves, orcs and goblins dwell. The carpet was designed to echo the sylvan realm of Mirkwood, which plays an important role in the new film, set to open in theaters Dec. 13. Dwarf-prince Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company, which includes Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), travel through the forest on the next leg of their quest to reclaim Erebor, the treasure-filled city under the Lonely Mountain that was usurped from Thorin’s ancestors by the dragon […]
Dec. 10, 2012 | 10:15 a.m.

‘Hobbit': Stephen Hunter on Bombur’s blubber, dwarf boot camp

Stephen Hunter plays the dwarf Bombur in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images; Warner Bros.)
One of the most memorable dwarfs in “The Hobbit” is Bombur, described by J.R.R. Tolkien as “immensely fat and heavy.” The role was big in more ways than one for Stephen Hunter, the Sydney-based actor who brings the character to life in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opens in theaters Friday. The Peter Jackson-directed trilogy is the first major feature film for Hunter, whose previous work includes parts in Australian television series. Hero Complex spoke with Hunter about landing the role, working with the brotherhood of dwarfs and grappling with his character’s enormous girth. HC: Can you tell us a little bit about auditioning? How did you get the role? SH: I actually auditioned for “The Lord of the Rings” right at the very start. … I just did a general audition a long time ago, and it was […]
Dec. 05, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.

‘Hobbit': Dan Hennah brings eastern influence to production design

Production designer Dan Hennah on the set of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." (James Fisher / New Line Cinema / MGM / Warner Bros.)
Few people know Middle-earth better than Dan Hennah, the production designer tasked with translating J.R.R. Tolkien’s words and director Peter Jackson’s vision to the big screen for “The Hobbit” trilogy. Hennah has been working on the film for three years, but it’s not his first visit to the land of dwarfs, elves, hobbits and Orcs. Hennah served as art director for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and won the art direction and set decoration Academy Award for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” along with Grant Major and Alan Lee in 2004. Hero Complex spoke with Hennah about his return to Tolkien’s world, what’s different in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the challenges of bringing to life new corners of Middle-earth. HC: Can you start by explaining what your job entails? Production design must […]
Dec. 04, 2012 | 8:02 a.m.

‘Hobbit': Peter King on yak wigs and the language of Middle-earth

Peter King, left, is a makeup and hair designer for "The Hobbit" trilogy. (Los Angeles Times; Warner Bros.)
“The Hobbit” may be one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s simpler tales, but creating 13 individual yet cohesive hairstyles (and beard-styles) for the dwarfs in “The Hobbit” was no simple task. That challenge fell to makeup and hair designer Peter King, who won an Oscar with Richard Taylor for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” King, who has worked on all of Peter Jackson’s films since “The Lord of the Rings,” including “King Kong” and “The Lovely Bones,” spoke with Hero Complex about designing the hairstyles for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” opening in theaters Dec. 14. HC: What’s it been like to return to Middle-earth after all this time? PK: Like we’ve never been away. We had a break of what, eight, nine years and a few other films in between, but it was great. Like going back to see an […]
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