The Lord of the Rings - Cannes Coverage

Last Update: 16 May 2001


14 May 2001

Hobbits hob-nobbing in Cannes

The biggest, most expensive and most exclusive
party the Cannes Film Festival has ever seen
kicked off in a promotional bash for the
long-awaited New Zealand-made "Lord of the
Rings" trilogy.

Even though the first of the films based on JRR
Tolkien's famous story of Hobbits, orcs and magic
isn't even in competition at Cannes - it isn't even
finished - Hollywood studio New Line is pulling out
all the stops to build hype for the series.

In a 74-year-old castle overlooking the Riviera,
partygoers boasting extremely sought-after
invitations were being treated to a sight right out of
Tolkien's imagined Middle Earth.

As torches flickered on walls and ghastly statues
loomed, Hobbits, dark night, druids and Uruks
were seen flitting around, giving atmosphere to a
party that is said to have cost at least $US1.5
million ($NZ3.55 million).

But even that staggering bill is nothing next to the $US270 million ($NZ639.81
million) total budget for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, nor the estimated
$US50 million ($NZ118.48 million) New Line is expected spend on the eventual
publicity and marketing.

Stars of the films, including Liv Tyler and Ian McKellen, were seen turning up for
the fete, as were several Hollywood heavyweights.

Kiwi director Peter Jackson also flew in for the party.

Late Friday, a 25-minute segment of the film was shown to journalists and
buyers in the same castle to an enthusiastic reaction.

Jackson said during after that screening that he was "incredibly lucky" to be
given the directing job, and stressed that the first of the films, "The Fellowship
of the Ring", due out in December, would be true to the original books.

"It's not a movie made for fans, it's a movie made by fans," he said.

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