Friday, June 19, 2020

R.I.P. Ian Holm 1931 - 2020

Legendary actor Ian Holm passed away today surrounded by his family at the age of 88. For most people, they recognize him as Bilbo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His career is much more then that beginning in the 1950s appearing in plays for British TV until moving to films with Ridley Scott's Alien. He was also in Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fifth Element and nominated for Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Chariots of Fire among many many other roles (life in pictures).

From Ridley Scott: “I had such a good time and fruitful one with Ian, and my only regret was not to have worked with him once again. Ian talked to me during production quite a lot, which I found to be very helpful. A great talent and a great man — we’ll miss him.”

Peter Jackson wrote a long message saying goodbye to Ian Holm, talking about working with him for the Middle-Earth films, its worth taking the time to read. He spoke about the first day of filming where Holm, and later how the actor took on the task of keeping the attention of young children for hours so a scene could be filmed. Later he spoke how Ian Holm, to help Jackson, agreed to reprise Bilbo despite suffering from Parkinson and knowing it would be the last time he would ever act professionally. To sum, he said "Watching Ian Holm perform taught me so much – as Ian was being his usual quiet self, that just somehow happened. It was a privilege to work with him, and a blessing to know him."

Condolences to his wife, children and grandchildren.

Monday, June 01, 2020

The Cast of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Reunion

Thanks to Josh Gad's Reunited Apart show, there was a reunion of the core cast and director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The reunion, like all the Reunited Apart shows, is for various charities working on helping people impacted by COVID-19. When I say core cast, in this case its quite literal as Sean Astin (Samwise), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Elijah Wood (Frodo), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Billy Boyd (Pippen), Peter Jackon (director), Fran Walsh (writer), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Sean Bean (Boromir), Karl Urban (Eomer), Miranda Otto (Eowyn), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Liv Tyler (Arwen) and later Howard Shore (composer) all participated in the reunion from their homes via Zoom. The team shared a few stories from the set, read off some lines and reministed about their time filming what is now considered one of the greatest trilogies (and individual movies) in film history. All that was missing was the legendary Christopher Lee, may he rest in peace. It is worth taking the 50 minutes to watch for any fan.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

RIP Christopher Tolkien 1924 - 2020

The world of Middle-Earth has lost its great steward and guide with the passing of Christopher Tolkien. As reported by the Tolkien Society, "Christopher Tolkien has died at the age of 95. The Tolkien Society sends its deepest condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family."

Christopher Tolkien was born on November 21, 1924. While he is the 3rd son of J.R.R. Tolkien, it could be argued he is second to his father for doing the most work to bring the world of Middle-Earth to life. While his father wrote many pieces about Middle-Earth but it was his son's work that allow the world to enjoy it. As a result of his editorial efforts, the land of Middle-Earth didn't end with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but continued on with The Silmarillon, Unfinished Tales, 12 volume The History of Middle-Earth, The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and The Fall of Gondolin. His work even included taking his father's hand map drawings, notes, and other references to create the map of Middle-Earth.

He never did like The Lord of the Rings movies but without his blessing, we wouldn't have them. Soon we will have Amazon's Middle-Earth TV series that will be built on the very Second Age bedrock that Christopher Tolkien helped create along side his father. Who knows if anyone will carry the torch now, but what was left behind will leave scholars and literature lovers busy for generations. The literary legacy these two created will continue long after we are all dead.