Andy Serkis

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Posted by r2d2 03/12/2009 @ 11:07

Tags : andy serkis, actors and actresses, entertainment

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Production company Screen East, based in The Forum, has teamed up with Hollywood star Andy Serkis - who played Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy - with a view to setting up a studio to specialise in a pioneering new filmmaking technique....
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One case leads into the next over the 10-episode first season, which includes guest appearances from such Brit notables as Pete Postlethwaite and Andy Serkis. Ripping good stuff. One of the last CBC series to qualify as truly homegrown content,...
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"Little Dorrit," filmed in high-definition, comes from the pen of BBC "Pride and Prejudice" scribe Andrew Davies and stars Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay, Andy Serkis and Claire Foy. "The Old Curiosity Shop" might have an even better cast — Sir Derek...
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The production employed even more advanced motion-capture techniques than Peter Jackson used to create Andy Serkis' Gollum for The Lord of the Rings. The processes are shown in meticulous detail. No one says it, but seeing how it was done puts Pitt's...
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Now his life is heading for the big screen with the likes of Ray Winstone and Andy Serkis starring. Richard Philips from Blean, and Karol Steele from Dover will appear in the film as two members of the five-person medical team at Truro Hospital who...
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Enter Gollum and the mixture of computer animation and motion capture, which involved actor Andy Serkis in a suit that recorded all of his movement, the character was born. And Return of the King broke the $1 billion barrier to join Titanic as well as...
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Andy Serkis, actor célebre por prestar su físico a Gollum y King Kong en las cintas más famosas del realizador neozelandés Peter Jackson, ya dio muestras de su buen hacer a cara descubierta en el thriller The Cottage, que pudimos ver en la VI Muestra...

Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis 2003.jpg

Andrew C.G. "Andy" Serkis (born 20 April 1964) is an English actor, director and author.

Serkis was born and brought up in Ruislip Manor, Middlesex. His mother was English and his father was an Iraqi-born gynaecologist of Armenian descent. He was educated at St Benedict's School, Ealing and at Lancaster University where he originally studied visual art, and was a member of The County College.

Serkis' most critically acclaimed roles have been Sméagol/Gollum, in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy (2001–03) and the title character in the 2005 version of King Kong, in which he provided the voice and movements for the CGI characters. Also in Peter Jackson's King Kong, Andy Serkis played the ship's cook. His performance as Gollum is ranked #10 on Premiere's "100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time".

His acclaimed work on the trilogy set off a debate on the legitimacy of CGI-assisted acting. Many critics felt Serkis should have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance, since the movie used his voice, body language, and facial expressions. There is the argument that some of his CGI actions were partially, or in some cases fully animated, without his own movements, but the same can be said for actors in a traditional movie involving CGI. Some believed (incorrectly) that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled that he did not qualify because he never physically appeared onscreen. There is no such prohibition, however, and in fact Serkis appeared onscreen as Sméagol/Gollum in the third film, The Return of the King. He also voices the Witch King of Angmar in aforementioned film, although he is not credited.

Continuing the development of Performance capture as an art form, Serkis worked with game developers Ninja Theory on the 2007 release Heavenly Sword, providing the motion capture and voice for King Bohan (the game's main villain), as well as acting as Dramatic Director for the game.

He has played over 30 other roles in film and television productions throughout his career. One of his earliest feature film appearances was alongside Sacha Baron Cohen in The Jolly Boys' Last Stand.

Serkis was cast as serial killer Ian Brady in the BAFTA-nominated Longford, co-starring Samantha Morton as Myra Hindley and Jim Broadbent as Lord Longford. The film was attacked by relatives of Brady's and Hindley's victims. The mother of Keith Bennett, whose body has never been found, publicly criticized Serkis for requesting a meeting with Brady in preparation for the role.

In 2006 Serkis appeared in the role of Mr. Grin in the film rendition of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker. Also in 2006, he appeared in the film version of The Prestige as Mr. Alley, assistant to Nikola Tesla, and as the voice of Spike, one of the henchrats in the latest Aardman Animations film Flushed Away.

In 2006 Serkis appeared in Jim Threapleton's entirely improvised feature film debut, Extraordinary Rendition. In the film he plays an interrogator working inside the CIA's controversial Extraordinary Rendition program. The film was premiered at festivals in summer 2007.

Serkis appeared in Sugarhouse, a low-budget independently made film, playing local crime lord Hoodwink, who terrorises an East London housing estate. For the role, Serkis shaved his head and underwent sessions lasting 20 hours at a time to have temporary tattoos stencilled onto his body. The film was premiered at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival and released in the UK on 24 August 2007.

Serkis has played the villain Capricorn in Inkheart, based on the novel of the same name by Cornelia Funke. The film also stars Brendan Fraser, Helen Mirren and Paul Bettany. Directed by Iain Softley, it was released in January 2009.

Serkis stars in The Cottage, about two brothers who kidnap an underworld figure and then stumble on a dark rural secret. It was directed by Paul Andrew Williams and co-stars Reece Shearsmith, Jennifer Ellison and Steve O'Donnell.

Serkis appeared in Einstein and Eddington, a joint venture between HBO and BBC. He played Albert Einstein. The film followed Einstein's development of his theory of relativity, and also showed how British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington became the first person to understand the scientist's work. Eddington was played by Doctor Who star David Tennant, who previously starred with Serkis in the stage version of the play Hurlyburly at the Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in 1997.

In 2007, Serkis provided the voice over for Monkey Business, Five broadcast for three weeks from 13-31 August 2007. This series is about Monkey World, the popular ape and monkey sanctuary and zoo near Wool, Dorset, England.

Serkis has also provided voiceovers to a series of advertisements for Vodafone and NatWest Bank on British television.

In December 2007, it was confirmed that Serkis would reunite with Peter Jackson as a cast member in Jackson and Steven Spielberg's Tintin trilogy. Filming was due to begin in September 2008 but has since been delayed due to Universal pulling out of backing the project.

In 2008, Serkis appeared as the murderous, but sexy French rogue Rigaud in the BBC Television adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit. He will be playing the 1970s rock star Ian Dury in a biopic called Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll which starts shooting in summer 2009. He will be re-recording 12 songs with Dury's band The Blockheads for the film.

It has been confirmed that Serkis will play the part of Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg and Jackson's The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Filming began in January 2009.

Serkis lives in Crouch End, North London with his wife, actress Lorraine Ashbourne, and their three young children: Ruby (b. 1998), Sonny (b. 2000) and Louis (b. 2004).

Hobbies include painting and playing the tenor saxophone.

A vegetarian, Serkis only started to eat fish during the filming of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He writes about it in his book Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic, published in 2004.

Serkis was born to Catholic parents and has been an atheist since his teenage years.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the second film in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy that was preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and concluded with The Return of the King (2003).

Continuing the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring, it intercuts three storylines, as Frodo and Sam continue their quest to destroy the One Ring in Mordor and meet Gollum, its former owner. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli come across the war torn nation of Rohan as well as the resurrected Gandalf, before fighting at the Battle of Helm's Deep, whilst Merry and Pippin escape capture and meet Treebeard, the Ent.

The movie was critically acclaimed, although the adaptation was more controversial than the first film. It was an enormous box-office success, earning over $900 million worldwide, outgrossing its predecessor, and is currently the 8th highest-grossing film of all time (inflation-adjusted, it is the 14th most successful film in North America). The Special Extended DVD Edition was released on November 19, 2003.

The film begins with a flashback set to the first film, with Gandalf battling the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, but this time continues from Gandalf's perspective, with the scene continuing to follow both as they hurtle down below, fighting while in free-fall. Frodo awakens from his dream and continues his journey with his trusted and loyal friend, Sam. They are then attacked by the ring-possessed Gollum wishing to retrieve "his precious" from the ones he thinks stole it from him. The Hobbits subdue and bind him with Sam's Elven rope given to him by the Elven elder Galadriel in Lórien. Sam distrusts Gollum and wishes to abandon him, but Frodo understands the burden of the creature and takes pity on him. Realizing they are lost in the Emyn Muil and in need of a guide, Frodo persuades Gollum to lead them to the Black Gate of Mordor.

In Rohan, the pack of Uruk-hai run across the grassy landscape with their captives Merry and Pippin. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are in pursuit, following three days of running, Legolas surmises the Hobbits are being taken to Isengard, where Saruman is marshalling his Uruk-hai forces to do the bidding of Sauron. In the kingdom of Rohan, home of the horse lords, King Théoden is mentally and physically weak due to the enchantments of his steward, Gríma Wormtongue, who is secretly in the service of Saruman. Orcs and Wild Men of Dunland incited by Saruman freely roam the land and kill the people including the king's only son Théodred. Théoden's nephew Éomer interrogates Gríma, angrily realizing he has lustful eyes for Éomer's sister Éowyn and that he is now an agent of Saruman. Gríma banishes Éomer for undermining his authority and Éomer sets forth to gather the remaining loyal men of the Rohirrim throughout the land.

Frodo and Sam traverse the Dead Marshes, passing the undead fallen warriors of the Second Age who haunt the marshes and evading a newly seated Ringwraith on his flying fell beast. Later they reach the Black Gate, finding it to be heavily guarded, (they observe a contingent of Easterlings from Rhûn arrive to reinforce the garrison) only to have Gollum reveal to them a less risky path: Sam remains distrustful, but Frodo gives him the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, Éomer and his Rohirrim ambush and kill all of the Orcs and Uruk-hai holding the two Hobbits captive at nightfall. During the battle, Merry and Pippin narrowly escape their captors by fleeing into the trees where they are aided by Treebeard the oldest of the Ents.

Éomer later encounters Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli and in turn tells Aragorn there were no survivors of the Orc/Uruk-hai slaughter. Upon arriving at the battle site, Aragorn uses his tracking skills and finds hobbit tracks that lead into nearby Fangorn forest. The three discover a wizard who is ultimately Gandalf reborn, now known as Gandalf the White. The quartet proceed to travel to Edoras, where they exorcise Saruman's hold on King Théoden and banish Wormtongue. Théoden is confronted with his dead son and rather than risk open war, decides to flee to a large fortress called Helm's Deep which in times of trouble has saved the people of Rohan. Gandalf leaves to find Éomer and his Rohirrim, promising to return within five days, as a strong attraction draws Éowyn to Aragorn during the journey to Helm's Deep. Wormtongue flees to Orthanc and tells Saruman of Rohan breaking from their grip; Saruman then decides to destroy Rohan.

In Ithilien, Gollum battles his split personality in an attempt to befriend Frodo and Sam and ultimately banishes his "evil" half. The two hobbits are witness to an ambush of Southrons but are taken captive by soldiers of Gondor. Meanwhile, along the journey to Helm's Deep, the travelers are attacked by Saruman's Wargs and their Orc riders. During the battle, Aragorn is dragged by a Warg and falls off a cliff into a raging river as the grief-stricken survivors reluctantly move on to Helm's Deep. In Rivendell, Elrond knows that the age of Elves is ending and convinces Arwen that it is hopeless to stay and should leave for the Grey Havens. Elrond shows her images that if she waits for Aragorn, even if he succeeds in destroying Sauron and becoming King of Gondor, he will still succumb to mortality: Arwen will suffer grievously once he is dead and she is left to wither away- she reluctantly agrees to leave. Elsewhere, Frodo and Sam are taken to Henneth Annûn and brought before Faramir, the younger brother of Boromir. Gollum eluded capture and in order to save his life, is lured into a trap unknowingly by Frodo. Faramir learns of the One Ring and, seeking to prove his worth to his father, decides the Ring shall go to Gondor. In Rohan, Aragorn washes up on the river's edge and is nudged back to consciousness by his horse, Brego. Battered but undaunted, he rides to Helm's Deep, passing Saruman's army of Uruk-hai, which numbers at least 10,000 strong. His arrival is met with relief but is short lived with the news of only 300 men in the stronghold. In the midst of despair, a battalion of Elves from Lórien, led by the Elf Haldir, arrives to assist in the ensuing battle. At Fangorn forest, Merry, Pippin, Treebeard and other Ents hold a Council to decide on the roles of the Ents in the war with Saruman.

In the pouring rain, the battle of Helm's Deep begins with a flurry of arrows from both human and Elven archers cutting down dozens of Uruk-hai. Scaling ladders are placed upon the Deeping Wall, and the Uruks swarm up to engage the defenders. The defenses are slowly being breached and the enemy manages to destroy the wall through its sewer drain, using a rudimentary explosive device created by Saruman. Despite Aragorn and Gimli's best efforts, the Uruk-hai manage to penetrate the main door and soon the stronghold is overrun. In the midst of battle, Haldir is slain and the few remaining Elves fall back into the Keep. In the Hornburg, however, the Uruks have also scaled the walls, and have breached the gate, forcing the defenders to retreat into the Keep. In Fangorn, Treebeard and the other Ents have decided to not have any involvement in the war. Frustrated, Pippin cleverly takes him to the section of Fangorn Forest Saruman has decimated near Isengard. Treebeard is filled with rage at Saruman's betrayal and commands all other Ents to seek vengeance. The Ents gather and embark upon 'the Last March of the Ents'.

Meanwhile, as the Keep is now under attack and realizing Gandalf's words before he departed, Aragorn and the rest make one last gallant ride on horseback to attack the Uruk-hai army, in a desperate bid to allow the Rohirrim's women and children to escape. As the riders are surrounded and all seems lost, Gandalf, Éomer, and two thousand Riders of the Rohirrim arrive to push back the Uruk-hai into Fangorn Forest, where the Ents and their Huorn allies are waiting to deal out death and destruction in revenge. Elsewhere, the Ents also attack Isengard, tossing stone and rock while collapsing a dam to flood its surroundings.

In the Battle of Helm's Deep, Peter Jackson has a cameo appearance as one of the men on top of the Gate, throwing a spear at the attacking Uruk-hai. His children and Elijah Wood's sister also cameo as young refugees in the caves behind the Hornburg, and Alan Lee and Dan Hennah also cameo as soldiers preparing for the battle. Viggo Mortensen's son Henry appears as a reluctant young Rohirrim warrior. Daniel Falconer has a cameo as an Elvish archer at the battle.

The screenwriters did not originally script The Two Towers as its own film: instead parts of it were the conclusion to The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of two planned films under Miramax. However, as the two films became a trilogy under New Line, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens shuffled their scripts. The Two Towers is known as the most difficult of the Rings films to make, having neither a clear beginning nor end to focus the script. Nonetheless, they had a clear decision with making the Battle of Helm's Deep the climax, a decision affecting the whole story's moods and style.

The most notable difference between the book and the film is the structure. Tolkien's The Two Towers is split into two parts; one follows the war in Rohan, while the other focuses on the journey of Frodo and Sam. The film omits the opening of the book, the death of Boromir, which was used as a linear climax at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. Also, the film climaxes with the Battle of Helm's Deep, while the book ends with the Fellowship going to Isengard and Frodo's confrontation with Shelob, scenes which were left for film adaptation of The Return of the King. This was done partly to fit more closely the timeline indicated by the book.

One notable change in plotting is that in the film Théoden is literally possessed by Saruman, but in the book he is simply depressed and deluded by Wormtongue. Afterwards, in the film, Théoden is still unsure of what to do, and flees to Helm's Deep. In the book he rides out to war, only ending up besieged when he considers helping Erkenbrand. Erkenbrand does not exist in the films: his character is combined with Éomer as the Rohirrim general who arrives with Gandalf at the film's end. Éomer himself is present during the entire battle in the book.

On the way to Helm's Deep, the refugees from Edoras are attacked by Wargs. The scene is possibly inspired by one in the book cut from The Fellowship of the Ring where it is the Fellowship who battle them. Here, a new subplot is created where Aragorn falls over a cliff, and is assumed to be dead; Jackson added it to create tension. This scene also resonates with a new subplot regarding Arwen, where she decides to leave Middle-earth after losing hope in the long-term possibilities of her love. In the book, Arwen's role is primarily recorded in the Appendices, and she is never depicted as considering such an act.

A larger change was originally planned: Arwen and Elrond would visit Galadriel, and Arwen would accompany an army of Elves to Helm's Deep to fight alongside Aragorn. During shooting, the script changed, both from writers coming up with better ideas to show the romance, as well as poor fan reaction. The new scene of Arwen leaving for the West was created, and the conversation scene remains, edited to a telepathic one. Nonetheless, one major change (already filmed) remained that couldn't be reverted: the Elven warriors fighting at Helm's Deep, although Jackson and Boyens found this romantic and stirring and a reference to how in the Appendices Galadriel and the Elves of Lothlórien, and Thranduil of Mirkwood were first attacked by an army out of Dol Guldur in Mirkwood, and then later counter-attacked and assaulted the fortress itself.

Another change is the fact Treebeard does not immediately decide to go to war. This adds to the tension, and Boyens describes it as making Merry and Pippin "more than luggage". Here the Hobbits make Treebeard see the full destruction, prompting his anger and decision to act. Another structural change is that the Hobbits meet Gandalf the White early on, possibly explaining why the Hobbits don't react to his return when they meet him again following the destruction of Isengard. This was explained in the book by Gandalf arriving at Isengard in the middle of the night to talk to Treebeard.

The filmmakers' decision to leave Shelob for the third film meant that Faramir had to become an obstacle for Frodo and Sam. In the book, Faramir (like Aragorn) quickly recognizes the Ring as a danger and a temptation, and does not hesitate long before letting Frodo and Sam go. In the film, Faramir first decides that the Ring shall go to Gondor and his father, as a way to prove Faramir's worth compared to his elder brother Boromir. In the film, Faramir takes Frodo, Sam and the Ring to the Battle of Osgiliath — they do not go there in the book. Jackson winks to readers with Sam's line, "By all rights we shouldn't even be here, but we are." After seeing how strongly the Ring affects Frodo during the Nazgûl attack, Faramir changes his mind and lets them go. These changes dilute (or at least reshape) the book's strong contrast between Faramir and Boromir, who in The Fellowship of the Ring attempted to take the Ring for himself. On the other hand (which can be seen only in the extended version of the film), it is actually their father Denethor, who wants the ring and urges Boromir to get it, while Faramir only wants to prove that he also deserves his father's love. Boyens contends these plot changes were needed to keep the Ring menacing. Wenham commented on the DVD documentaries that he hasn't read the book prior to reading the script, so the movie Faramir was the Faramir he knew. When he later read the book and noticed the major difference, he approached the writers about it, and they explained to him that if he did say "I wouldn't pick that thing up even if it lay by the wayside", it would basically strip the One Ring of all corruptive power.

Finally, the meaning of the title itself, 'The Two Towers', was changed. While Tolkien considered several possible sets of towers he eventually created a final cover illustration and wrote a note included at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring which identified them as Minas Morgul and Orthanc. Jackson's movie names them as Orthanc and Barad-dûr, symbolic of an evil alliance out to destroy Men that forms the film's plot point.

When Alan Lee joined the project in late 1997, Helm's Deep was the first structure he was tasked to design. At 1:35 scale, it was one of the first miniatures built, and part of the 45 minute video that sold the project to New Line. It was primarily drawn from an illustration Lee had once done for the book, though fellow illustrator and designer John Howe suggested a curved wall. Used in the film for longshots, Jackson also used this miniature to plan the battle with 40,000 toy soldiers.

As a pivotal part of the story, Helm's Deep was built at Dry Creek Quarry with the Gate, a ramp, and a wall with a removable section and the tower on a second level. Most importantly, there was the 1:4 scale miniature of Helm's Deep that ran 50 feet wide. It was used for forced perspective shots, as well as the major explosion sequence.

The film explores the armies of Middle-earth. John Howe was the basic designer of the forces of evil. The Uruk-hai were the first army approved by Jackson, and Howe also designed a special crossbow for the characters, one without the redundancy of opening to reload, the realization of an 18th century manuscript. Also created were 100 Elven suits of armour, with emphasis on Autumnal colours due to the theme of Elves leaving Middle-earth. 250 suits were made for the Rohirrim, which for Bernard Hill, even came with leather inside. Emphasized are horses and the sun, even into their swords, which took 3-6 days to forge.

The Rohirrim's capital of Edoras took six months to build on Mount Sunday, with thatched roofs, but that was simply the exterior: the buildings doubled as offices and lunch halls. The army created a road to the location, whilst the interior was filmed at Stone Street Studios with tapestries designed by Lee, and Théoden's wooden throne created by his daughter. Hill endured heavy make-up for the possession scene where his skin was pulled back and released for increased wrinkles. Dourif shaved off his eyebrows and put potato flakes as dandruff in his hair for unnerving effect.

The film also provides a look at Mordor and Gondor, in terms of Frodo and Sam's story. The Barad-dûr is seen fully in a tracking shot, a design which Howe called a mockery of Gothic Cathedrals. He and Lee fully created the Black Gate, though a typo in the script made the miniature into two. The Rangers and Osgiliath, the ruined city reflecting London during the Blitz. The set on a backlot was based around a bridge and reused some of Moria.

The Two Towers shared principal photography with The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King between October 11 1999 to December 22 2000. Scenes in Rohan were shot early on, and Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies' scale double Brett Beattie sustained many injuries. Mortensen broke his toe when he kicked an Orc helmet when he found the remains of the Uruk-hai and believes Merry and Pippin to be dead; this take is the one in the finished film. Bloom fell off his horse and broke his rib, whilst Beattie dislocated his knee. All three spent two days of pain for the running sequence with these injuries.

Afterwards, they went on for three months filming the Battle of Helm's Deep. John Mahaffie handled most of the night shoots. Mortensen got his tooth knocked out during the nightshoots, and Bernard Hill also got his ear slashed. Nonetheless, the 700 extras had fun, insulting each other in Māori and improvising scenes, such as the Uruk-hai stamping their spears before the battle begins. They did get annoyed by the craftsmanship of the Art Department: the Gates were too reinforced for the Battering Ram scene. Mortensen greatly respected the stunt team, and head butting them became a sign of respect.

Wood and Astin were joined by Serkis on April 13, 2000.

For The Two Towers, Weta Digital doubled their staff of 260. In total, they would produce 73 minutes of digital effects with 799 shots. The film would feature their first challenge in creating a battle scene, as well as creating two digital characters who needed to act rather than be a set piece, unlike the previous film's Cave Troll and Balrog.

Weta began animating Gollum in late 1998 to convince New Line they could achieve the effect. Andy Serkis "played" Gollum by providing his voice and movements on set, as well as performing within the motion capture suit later on. His scenes were filmed twice, with and without him. Originally Gollum was set to solely be a CG character, but Jackson was so impressed by Andy Serkis' audition tape that they used him on set as well.

Gollum's CG model was also redesigned during 2001 when Serkis was cast as Sméagol, Gollum's form before he is cursed by the One Ring, so as to give the impression Andy Serkis as Sméagol transforms into the CG Gollum. The original model can still be glimpsed briefly in the first film. So over Christmas 2001 the crew proceeded to reanimate all the previous shots accordingly within two months. Another problem was that the crew realized that the cast performed better in the versions of the film with Serkis. In the end, the CG Gollum was rotoscoped and animated on top of these scenes. Sometimes due to Gollum not being human, they fully animated some shots such as him crawling upside down. Serkis' motion capture animated the body whilst animators did the head. Gino Acevedo supervised realistic skin tones, which took four hours per frame to render.

Treebeard took twenty-eight hours per frame to render. For scenes where he interacts with Merry and Pippin, a fourteen-foot-tall puppet was built on a wheel. Weta took urethane moulds of tree bark and applied them to the sculpt of Treebeard to create his skin. The puppet was shot against bluescreen.

The funeral song Éowyn sings during her cousin Théodred's entombment in the Extended Edition is styled to be a traditional song of the Rohirrim, and has lyrics in their language, Rohirric (represented by Old English). The song does not appear in the book, and the tune is a variation upon a theme of the rímur Icelandic folk tradition; it can be heard as part of track 7 in the 1999 recording of a musical version of the Edda by Sequentia.

The soundtrack was recorded at Abbey Road. The soundtrack has a picture of Peter Jackson (barefoot), the composer, and two producers crossing Abbey Road, referencing the Beatles album of the same name.

On the reviewer aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has the most positive reception of the trilogy with a 97% fresh rating. It has a 100% "fresh" rating when narrowed to only professional critics. The Battle of Helm's Deep has been named as one of the greatest screen battles of all time, while Gollum was named as the third most convincing computer generated film character by Entertainment Weekly in 2007.

The theatrical edition of the movie was released on DVD on August 26, 2003. The DVD was a 2-disc set with extras on the second disc. This was intended to be a simultaneous worldwide release, but some British stores began selling the DVDs on Friday August 22 because it was a Bank Holiday weekend, much to the ire of the film's UK distributor, which had threatened to withhold advance supplies of subsequent DVD releases.

The Two Towers followed the precedent set by its predecessor by releasing an Extended Edition (223 minutes) with new editing, and added special effects and music. This version was released on DVD November 19, 2003 along with four commentaries and hours of supplementary material. There is also a "Collectors Edition" DVD package containing the 4-disc set, a sculpture of Gollum, a booklet about the process of designing Gollum for the movie and a short DVD documentary on the process of designing collectible sculptures based on the movies' characters and artefacts. The original cut lasted 2:59. The extended edition lasts 3:43. There is also an Easter Egg on the film, found by going to the Scene Selection screen, selecting the last group of scenes, and pressing down until a gold ring icon appears next to the words "new scene". It shows Gollum's (very foul-mouthed) acceptance speech after winning the MTV Movie Award for Best Virtual Performance. This feature is not included in the UK issued DVDs.

On August 29, 2006, a Limited Edition of The Two Towers was released. This Limited Edition contains two discs. The first is a two-sided DVD (also known as DVD-18) that contains both the Theatrical and Extended editions of the film. At the beginning of each side of the disc, the viewer can choose which version to watch. The second disc is a bonus disc that contains a new behind-the-scenes documentary.

In December, 2003 there were also limited back-to-back theatrical releases of the extended versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, followed by premieres of The Return of the King — in all 11 hours and 23 minutes long.

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Gollum (Aretta Baumgartner) in the Cincinnati production of The Lord of the Rings (2002).

Gollum is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He was first introduced in the author's fantasy novel The Hobbit, and later became an important supporting character in its sequel, The Lord of the Rings.

Gollum speaks in an unusual manner, usually speaking in the first person plural when referring to himself. He also uses his own versions of words similar to the original words. For instance, he would say "tricksy" in lieu of tricky, "hobbitses" instead of hobbits, "birdses" instead of birds, etc.

Originally known as Sméagol, this character was later named Gollum after his habit of making "a horrible swallowing noise in his throat". His life was extended far beyond its natural limits by the effects of possessing the One Ring. His one desire was to possess the Ring that had enslaved him. He pursued the Ring for 76 years after having lost it to Bilbo Baggins.

During his centuries under the Ring's influence, he developed a sort of split personality, likely as a response to his dire solitude: "Sméagol" still vaguely remembered things like friendship and love, while "Gollum" was a slave to the ring and would kill anyone who tried to take it. In The Two Towers, Samwise Gamgee named the good personality "Slinker" (for his fawning, eager-to-please demeanour), and the bad personality "Stinker" (for obvious reasons). The two personalities often quarrelled when Gollum talked to himself (as Tolkien puts it in The Hobbit, "through never having anyone else to speak to") and had a love/hate relationship, mirroring Gollum's feelings for the Ring and for himself.

Gollum is first introduced in The Hobbit, where the protagonist Bilbo Baggins stumbled upon Gollum's lair and found the Ring which Gollum had lost in the network of caves leading to the lake.

Gollum had lived under the Misty Mountains for many years, living on a small island in the centre of a lake at the roots of a mountain. He survived on cave fish, which he caught from his small boat, and small goblins who strayed too far from the stronghold of the Great Goblin. Over the years, his eyes adapted to the dark and became 'lamp-like', shining with a sickly pale light in the dark.

In the first edition of The Hobbit, Gollum did not appear quite as wretched or murderous, and indeed showed Bilbo the way out after losing the riddle-game. Tolkien changed his characterization in the second edition, to fit the concept of the ruling Ring which he had developed during the writing of The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien then explained that the version given in the first edition was a lie that Bilbo made up to tell the Dwarves and Gandalf.

The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, introduces the idea that Gollum had once been a member of the secluded branch of the early Stoorish Hobbits and had been named Sméagol. He spent the early years of his life with his extended family under a matriarch, his grandmother. On Sméagol's birthday, he and his relative Déagol went fishing in the Gladden Fields north of Lothlórien. There, Déagol found the Ring after being pulled into the water by a fish. Sméagol demanded it as a birthday present and strangled Déagol when the latter refused him. Sméagol accordingly used the Ring for thieving, spying and antagonizing his friends and relatives. He was soon given the name 'Gollum' and banished by his people, then under the influence of the Ring, retreated to a deep cavern in the Misty Mountains. The Ring's malign influence twisted his body and mind, and prolonged his life well beyond its natural limits. He called the Ring his "precious" and his "birthday present"; the latter was a justification for killing Deágol, a crime which haunted Gollum.

Gollum left the Mountains in pursuit of Bilbo a few years after losing the Ring, but the trail was cold. He made his way to the edge of Mordor, where he met the monstrous spider Shelob and became her spy, worshipping her and bringing her food. He was eventually captured by Sauron's forces and tortured, but he revealed only the words 'Baggins' and 'Shire'. His testimony alerted the Dark Lord of Mordor to the existence and significance of Hobbits in general and the Baggins family in particular. He was freed, but was soon caught by Gandalf and Aragorn, who interrogated him about the Ring and placed him in the care of the Wood Elves of Mirkwood. He escaped custody and descended into Moria.

Gollum began following the Fellowship of the Ring in Moria, and was spotted or heard by Frodo Baggins (nephew and heir of the hated Bilbo, as well as the Bearer of the Ring) and Gandalf on several occasions. Gollum continued trailing the Fellowship to the edge of Lórien. Gollum began following them again as they left and followed them all the way to Rauros, then pursued Frodo and Sam across the Emyn Muil when they struck out on their own towards Mordor.

In The Two Towers, the Hobbits confronted Gollum in Emyn Muil and nearly strangled Sam, but Frodo subdued him with his Elvish sword, Sting. Frodo tied an Elvish rope around Gollum's ankle as a leash, but the mere touch of the rope pained him. Taking pity on the wretched creature, just as Bilbo once did, Frodo made Gollum swear to help them. Agreeing to the oath, Gollum swore by the "precious" itself, and Frodo released him. The unlikely company, guided by Gollum, made their way to the Black Gate, the main entrance to Mordor.

Frodo's kindness brought out the "Sméagol" personality, and he made at least some effort to keep his promise. Sam, however, despised Gollum upon sight, and often warned Frodo of the creature's deception and slipperiness.

When they reached the Black Gate and found it well-guarded, Gollum offered to lead them toward an alternate entrance into Mordor. Along the way, Frodo and Sam were seized by Faramir, and Gollum slipped away uncaught (but not unseen) and followed them. When Frodo allowed Faramir to briefly take Gollum prisoner, however, Gollum felt betrayed and his "bad" personality took control once again. Faramir found out that Gollum was taking them to Cirith Ungol, and warned Frodo and Sam of the evil of that place, as well as the treachery he sensed in Gollum.

Frodo, Sam, and Gollum left Faramir and began climbing the stairs to Cirith Ungol in the border-mountains of the Ephel Dúath. Gollum slipped away and visited Shelob, planning to feed the Hobbits to her and then get the Ring for himself when she was done. When he returned, the Hobbits were asleep, and the sight of Frodo sleeping nearly moved Gollum to repent. However, Sam woke up and spoke cruelly to him, calling him a "sneak", and the opportunity for redemption was lost. Gollum followed through with his plan and led Frodo and Sam into Shelob's Lair. There, Frodo was stabbed by the giant spider, taken prisoner by Orcs, and hauled to the Tower of Cirith Ungol.

In The Return of the King, Sam single-handedly rescued Frodo from Cirith Ungol and, dressed in scavenged Orc-armour, the two began to make their way across the plateau of Gorgoroth. They finally arrived, against all odds, at the volcano Orodruin, or Mount Doom. However, Gollum had secretly followed them all the way, seeking a chance to surprise them and take the Ring. When Frodo and Sam had almost reached their destination, the emaciated Gollum attacked them, but Frodo threw him down. Frodo then used the Ring to lay a curse on Gollum; that Gollum would be thrown into the fires of Mount Doom if he ever touched Frodo again. Sam faced Gollum on his own, letting Frodo continue up the mountain to finish their mission. Sam could not bring himself to kill him, out of pity and sheer disgust. He then turned his back on the beaten (but still wily) creature and followed Frodo.

Moments later, Frodo stood on the edge of the Crack of Doom, but was unwilling to destroy the Ring, claiming it for himself and putting it on. Gollum struck again, and struggled with the invisible Frodo. Finally, Gollum bit off Frodo's finger and seized the Ring. He gloated over his prize, dancing madly, but the Ring's curse proved true and Gollum stepped over the edge and fell into the fires of Mount Doom, taking the Ring with him with a last cry of "Precious!" Thus, the Ring was destroyed and Sauron defeated. Samwise later cursed Gollum after his death, but Frodo urged his friend to forgive him, as without him the quest would have failed.

In the first edition of The Hobbit Tolkien made no reference to his size, leading several illustrators to portray him as being very large. Tolkien realized the omission, and clarified in later editions that he was of average hobbit size and in The Lord of the Rings, there is a reference to Sam being "little less in height" than him.

Tolkien describes Gollum as either dark, bone-white or sallow (pale yellow): at one point the Men of Ithilien mistake his silhouette (seen from a distance) for a tailless black squirrel. In a manuscript written to guide illustrators to the appearance of his characters, Tolkien explained this by saying that Gollum had pale skin, but wore dark clothes and was often seen in poor light. The Hobbit states he has pockets, in which he keeps a tooth-sharpening-rock, goblin teeth, wet shells, and a scrap of bat wing. Despite these details, he is generally depicted wearing a loincloth or naked in illustrations and adaptations.

Gollum is described as emaciated and gaunt, but possessing a vicious, wiry strength; in Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn states "his malice gives him a strength hardly to be imagined." In The Two Towers, Gollum's grip is described as "soft, but horribly strong" as Gollum wrestles with Sam.

Sméagol's "real" name in Westron (one of Tolkien's invented languages) is "Trahald", of the meaning "burrowing". In both Westron and Old English, Sméagol's name is related to Smaug's: Smaug's name in "true Dalish" was Trâgu, and thus trâgu (trah-) is translated to the Germanic stem present in both Sméagol and Smaug (with a meaning of squeezing through a hole). Tolkien gave the Old English word smygel, meaning "burrow", as a basis for the name, with its spelling altered to resemble "Déagol"; the word is also related to the Hobbit-language word smial, which also means "burrow".

The Annotated Hobbit suggests an Old Norse derivation for Gollum. Constance B. Hieatt notes that the word gull or goll can mean "gold, treasure, something precious" - and "ring".

In the 1981 BBC radio adaptation, Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film and in the Peter Jackson movies, Sméagol is pronounced /ˈsmiːgɒl/, although his recordings of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien pronounced it either /ˈsmiːgɒl/ or /ˈsmiːægɒl/. Tolkien had a habit in his writing putting diacritics in varying places, as can also be seen in the name Eärendil, which also occurs spelled Ëarendil.

In the Rankin/Bass animated versions of The Hobbit (1977) and The Return of the King (1980), Gollum is voiced by comedian Brother Theodore.

In Ralph Bakshi's animated film of The Lord of the Rings (1978) the voice of Gollum was supplied by Peter Woodthorpe. Here Gollum was animated through rotoscoping.

In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Gollum is a CGI character voiced by actor Andy Serkis. Barely glimpsed in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), he becomes a central character in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The CGI character was built around Serkis' facial features, voice and acting choices. Andy Serkis based his voice on sounds made by his cat. Using a digital puppet created by Jason Schleifer and Bay Raitt at Weta Digital, animators created Gollum's performance using a mixture of motion capture data recorded from Serkis and the traditional animation process of keyframing, along with the laborious process of digitally rotoscoping Serkis' image and replacing it with the digital Gollum's in a technique coined rotoanimation. This work required a large number of digital artists.

In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Serkis himself appears in a flashback scene as Sméagol before his degeneration into Gollum. This scene was originally earmarked for The Two Towers (and in fact appears in the "Fellowship" book when Gandalf initially entrusts Frodo with the Ring), but was held back because it was felt audiences would relate better to the original Sméagol once they were more familiar with who he became. The decision to include this scene meant that Raitt and Jamie Beswarick had to redesign Gollum's face for the second and third movies so that it would more closely resemble Serkis'. The brief glimpses in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring are of an earlier model of Gollum.

Gollum's split personality is emphasized in Jackson's films; screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens included scenes in The Two Towers and The Return of the King in which "Gollum" and "Sméagol" argue, with Serkis slightly altering his voice and body language to play the two as separate entities. While Tolkien wrote similar scenes, the conflict between the two personalities is more intense in the films; "Sméagol" even "banishes" "Gollum" for a while after Frodo shows him kindness. The animators further delineated the two personalities through facial expressions and changing eyes — small, narrow pupils for "Gollum", and large, round ones for "Sméagol".

A minor controversy arose when Serkis was not nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Serkis and Gollum appeared on the 2003 MTV Movie Awards, when Gollum won "Best Virtual Performance" and went on to deliver an obscenity-laden acceptance speech in character. This clip can be found as an easter egg in the The Two Towers DVD. Wizard Magazine rated Jackson's Gollum as the 62nd greatest villain of all time, from among 100 villains from film, television, comics and video games.

These film adaptations have varied in how they depicted Gollum visually. In Bakshi's film, Gollum is dark, bald and gangly. The Jackson films depicted Gollum similarly, though pale. In contrast, in the Rankin/Bass adaptations, he is a pale green, frog-like creature with huge, pupil-less eyes.

In Canada, Gollum was portrayed by Michael Therriault in the three-hour production of The Lord of the Rings, which opened in 2006 in Toronto.

In the United States, Gollum was portrayed by Aretta Baumgartner in the Cincinnati productions of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003) for Clear Stage Cincinnati. Baumgartner received a 2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for her portrayal of Gollum in The Two Towers. At Chicago's Lifeline Theatre, Gollum was played by Phil Timberlake in The Two Towers (1999) and Robert Kauzlaric in The Return of the King (2001).

In BBC's 1981 radio serial, Peter Woodthorpe reprised his role as Gollum.

Gollum appears in a three-part comic book adaptation of The Hobbit, scripted by Chuck Dixon and Sean Deming and illustrated by David Wenzel. It was first published by Eclipse Comics in 1989. A reprint collected in one volume was released by Unwin Paperbacks in 1990 and by Del Rey Books in 2001.

Gollum doesn't appear directly, but during Britain's Got Talent 2008, an auditionee imitated Gollum in front of the panel of Judges and audience. This act was featured on ITV2. ITV2 then came back for further filming, to create a "sketch" for the show . Furthermore, the auditionee, named Dougie Swallow, was invited down to Richard and Judy's new show, Richard and Judy's New Position. This was due to Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum in the films was being interviewed. Dougie featured in a game, "Gollum-off" with two other impressionists - Andy was given the task to who could do the better impression. Andy chose Dougie and he won a ring.

In Sierra Entertainment's The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring, a real-time strategy game based solely on the book, Gollum is a playable hero unit for the Minions of Sauron. Legolas and a guard of archers track him through Mirkwood, fighting giant spiders along the way.

In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring video game by Surreal Software, also based only on the book, Gollum appears in a cutscene when the Fellowship of the Ring is within Moria, and is shown half hidden behind debris muttering to himself. He also appears during the final level at Amon Hen; when the user is playing as Aragorn, Gollum appears on a cliff edge muttering to himself and walks away, and then does the same on another cliff edge. Then the player heads to a small island and a cutscene can be shown with a conversation between Aragorn and Gollum, in which Gollum throws a fish at him; it becomes his weapon for the final mission, as well as the most powerful weapon in the game.

He also appears in Electronic Arts' games based on the Jackson films. In the real-time strategy game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, Gollum is a playable hero unit for Mordor. In its sequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, which is also based on the film series, he is not playable. Instead, he walks around the map cloaked, carrying the Ring. When killed, he drops the Ring for a player to claim. When the Ring is returned to the player's fortress, they may summon a special "Ring Hero" — Galadriel for good factions and Sauron for evil. He also appears in the action game based on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, accompanying Frodo and the player as the game progresses, but at Mount Doom becomes the final boss, whom the player must throw into the lava below. In the Game Boy version of The Return of the King he is a playable bonus character.

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King Kong (2005 film)

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King Kong is a 2005 remake of the 1933 film of the same name about a fictional giant ape called Kong. The film was directed by Peter Jackson and stars Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, Jack Black as Carl Denham, Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll and, through performance capture, Andy Serkis as Kong. Serkis also played Lumpy, the galley chef on the SS Venture.

In 1933, Great Depression-era New York City, actress Ann Darrow has just lost her job at the local theatre and is recruited by film director Carl Denham because of the presence of her favourite writer Jack Driscoll. They set sail to a remote Indian Ocean island known as Skull Island, inhabited by prehistoric creatures and the mighty giant gorilla Kong.

The film's budget climbed from an initial US$150 million to a record-breaking $207 million. The film was released on December 14, 2005 and made an opening of $50.1 million. While the film performed lower than expectations, Kong made domestic and worldwide grosses that eventually added up to $550 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal Studios history. Strong DVD sales also added over $100 million to the grosses. It also received positive reviews, with some considering it one of the all-round best movies of 2005, though it has been criticised for its length at three hours and eight minutes (while a three-disc extended DVD edition actually increases this to over three hours and twenty minutes). It won Academy Awards for visual effects, sound mixing, and sound editing.

The film opens in New York City, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. Having lost her job as a vaudeville actress, Ann Darrow is hired by troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to be an actress in his new motion picture against the famous and popular actor Bruce Baxter. With time running out, Ann signs on when she learns her favourite playwright Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter. On the SS Venture, they slowly fall in love. As for Carl, a warrant is out for his arrest and Captain Englehorn begins to have second thoughts, following the fears of his crew over the legend of Skull Island. Despite his attempt to turn around, their ship is sucked up into a fog and crashes into one of the encircling rocks.

Carl and his crew explore the island, with a deserted village against a wall, but they are attacked by the vicious natives. Mike, the sound technician, is speared, one of the sailors has his head crushed, and Jack is knocked out. Ann screams, and a roar beyond the wall responds. The matriarch vows to sacrifice her to "Kong", a 25 ft (8 m) gorilla. Englehorn and his crew break up the attack and return to the damaged ship. They finally lighten the load to steer away, until Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. On the island, Ann is hung from a balcony to the other side of a valley. The crew comes armed, but are too late. Carl sees the gorilla that has taken her. Englehorn gives them 24 hours to find her. In the meantime, Ann discovers the remains of the previous sacrifices, and stabs Kong's hand with her ceremonial necklace to no avail. Kong takes Ann into the jungles of the island.

Captain Englehorn organises a rescue party to find Ann and hunt down the beast. The rescue party is caught up in a Venatosaurus pack's hunt of Brontosaurus, and four of them (including Herb, the cameraman) are killed while Jack and the rest of the crew survive. Ann manages to entertain Kong with juggling and dancing, but he does not kill her when she refuses to continue, leaving her instead. The rest of the rescue party come across a swamp. It is here that Bruce Baxter and two others leave the group. The survivors stumble across a log where Kong attacks, shaking them off the log into a ravine. He returns to rescue Ann from three Vastatosaurus rex (modern Tyrannosaurus), and takes her up to his mountain lair. Englehorn and the rest of the crew rescue whomever is left of the rescue party from the pit of giant insects, and as Jack decides to continue to search for Ann, Carl decides to capture Kong. Jack comes to Kong's lair, and disturbs him from his slumber. As Kong fights a swarm of giant bats, Ann and Jack escape by grabbing the wing of a Terapusmordax and then jumping to a river. They arrive at the village wall with the angry Kong following them, where Ann becomes distraught by what Carl plans to do. Kong bursts through the gate and struggles to get her back, but he is knocked out by chloroform.

Peter Jackson was a nine year old in the New Zealand town of Pukerua Bay when he first saw the 1933 version of King Kong. He was in tears in front of the TV when Kong slipped off the Empire State Building. At age 12 he tried to recreate the film using his parents' super-8 camera and a model of Kong made of wire and rubber with his mother's fur coat for the hair, but eventually gave up on the project. In 1996, he developed a version that was in pre-production for 6-7 months, but the studio cancelled it. This is most likely because of the release of Mighty Joe Young and Godzilla the same year. During this time Jackson had achieved the designs of the Brontosaurus and the Venatosaurus. He then began work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. No casting was ever done, but he had hoped to get either George Clooney or Robert De Niro. With the overwhelming box office and critical success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Universal contacted him during production of the second film, and he was paid $20 million USD to direct this film, the highest salary Hollywood ever paid a director.

Peter Jackson has stated that the script significantly changed between the 1996 and 2005 drafts. In Jackson's original 1996 draft of the script, Ann was the daughter of famed English archaeologist Lord Linwood Darrow exploring ancient ruins in Sumatra. They would come into conflict with Denham during his filming, and they would uncover a hidden Kong statue and the map of Skull Island. This would indicate that the island natives were a cult religion that once thrived on the mainland of Asia, and all trace of the cult was wiped out, except for the few on the island. Instead of a playwright, Jack was the first mate and an ex-First World War fighter pilot still struggling with the loss of his best friend, who is killed in battle during a World War I prologue. Herb the camera-man was the only supporting character in the original draft who made it to the final version. Another difference was that Ann was actually caught in the V. rex's jaws in the Kong/3 V. rex fight. According to the draft, Ann was wedged in the mouth and slashed by the teeth; after the fight, Kong got her out but by some reason Ann got a fever, from which she recovered. (It did not say how Ann got it, but it was almost unmistakably an infection in one of her cuts). Jackson's first rough draft was described as a "tongue-in-cheek comedic film with elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark and other films," according to Jackson himself. Originally, he wanted a comical "monkey-farce" to be released, but he credits Universal for pulling the plug, as he was able to rework things into what ended up on screen.

Other difficulties included the rewriting of the script between 1996 and 2005, adding more character development to the 1933 story and acting as though the 1976 version never existed. The process began with a nine minute animatic created by Peter Jackson and shown to the writing team, causing Philippa Boyens to cry. Jackson, alongside Christian Rivers and his team, created animatics for all the action sequences which wound up becoming the first stage in animation. The Empire State Building animatic in particular, was completely replicated in the final film.

Peter Jackson decided early on that he did not want Kong to act human, and so they studied hours of gorilla footage. Andy Serkis, who modelled his movement, went to the London Zoo to watch the gorillas, but was unsatisfied. He ended up going to Rwanda to observe mountain gorillas in the wild, with a company called Rainbow Tours. The resulting Kong is entirely a special effect, but he acts and moves very much like a real gorilla.

Apart from Kong, Skull Island is also inhabited by dinosaurs and other large fauna. However, though they may look similar, they are not the familiar species. Inspired by the works of Dougal Dixon, the designers have imagined what 65 million years or more of isolated evolution would have done to the dinosaurs. The creatures can said to be presented as more scientifically accurate than those portrayed in the 1933 version. However, it can also be argued that they are less accurate to the palaeontology of 2005 than the dinosaurs from the original were accurate to the palaeontology of 1933. The names of these and hundreds of other beasts are found in the book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island.

The film's budget climbed from an initial US$150 million to a record-breaking $207 million, making it at one point the most-expensive film yet made. Universal Studios only agreed to such an outlay after seeing a screening of the unfinished film, to which executives responded enthusiastically. In addition, it is estimated that marketing and promotion costs were about $60 million. Production had difficulties, such as Peter Jackson's decision to change composers from Howard Shore to James Newton Howard seven weeks before the film opened. Also, the film was originally set to be 135 minutes, but soon grew to 200, prompting Universal executives to fly to New Zealand to view a rough cut, but they liked it so their concerns were addressed.

The marketing campaign for King Kong started in full swing on June 27, 2005, when the teaser trailer made its debut, first online at the official Volkswagen website at 8:45 p.m. EST, then 8:55 p.m. EST across media outlets owned by NBC Universal (the parent of Universal Studios), including NBC, Bravo!, CNBC and MSNBC. That trailer appeared in theatres attached to War of the Worlds, which opened on June 29.

Jackson also regularly published a series of 'Production Diaries', which chronicled the making of the film. The diaries started shortly after the DVD release of The Return of the King as a way to give Jackson's The Lord of the Rings fans a glimpse of his next project. These diaries are edited into broadband-friendly instalments of three or four minutes each. They consist of features that would normally be seen in a making-of documentary: a tour of the set, a roving camera introducing key players behind the scene, a peek inside the sound booth during last-minute dubbing, or Andy Serkis doing his ape movements in a motion capture studio. The production diaries were released on DVD on December 13, 2005, one day before the U.S. release of the film. This was one of the first occasions in which material that would normally be considered supplementary to the DVD release of a film, was not only released separately, but done so in a prestige format; the Production Diaries came packaged in a box with a set of prints and a replica 1930s-era clipboard. It is also the first time such material was published prior to the release of the film.

A novelisation of the movie and a prequel entitled The Island of the Skull was also written. A multi-platform video game entitled Peter Jackson's King Kong was released, which featured an alternate ending. There was a hardback book entitled The World of Kong, featuring artwork from Weta Workshop to describe the fictional bestiary in the film. A number of spin-offs from the remake's franchise include books, novels, comics and video games.

With a take of $9.7 million on its Wednesday opening day, and an opening weekend of $50.1 million, King Kong did not meet expectations of Universal Studios executives. Some media outlets even considered the film to be a flop after its weak opening weekend, as at that point it was not on pace to make back its $207 million budget. Its opening weekend of $50.1 million, while good for most movies, fell short of the inflated expectations caused by the movie's enormous budget and marketing campaign.

However, King Kong was able to hold its audience in the subsequent holiday weeks and ended up becoming a domestic hit, grossing $218.1 million at the North American box office (putting it in the top five grossing films of 2005 domestically). King Kong fared much better in the international market, as it grossed $332.437 million outside North America, leading to a worldwide total of $550.517 million (putting it in the top five grossing films of 2005 worldwide).

Other factors also affect a film's profitability besides box office sales, such as the DVD sales. King Kong, sold over $100 million worth of DVD's in the largest six-day performance in Universal Studios history. As of April 3, 2006, King Kong has sold more than 7.5 million DVD's, accumulating over $140 million worth of sales numbers, domestically alone. As of June 25, 2006 King Kong has generated almost $38 million from DVD rental gross.

Thus, despite the film's inauspicious start at the box office, King Kong turned out to be very profitable. Ticket and DVD sales combined, the film earned well over $700 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal Pictures history.

King Kong received a favourable critical response, garnering an 84% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The most common criticisms of the film were due to excessive length, lack of pace, over-use of slow motion, and some obvious use of CGI effects. Positive critical reviews regarded it as one of the few good epics and all-round best movies of 2005. Roger Ebert gave the movie four stars, and listed it as the 8th best film of 2005. Similarly, King Kong has been included in many critics' Top Ten of 2005 lists. The film received four Academy Award nominations for Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Art Direction, winning all but the last. Entertainment Weekly called the depiction of Kong the most convincing computer generated character in film in 2005. Some criticised the film for retaining racist stereotypes present in the original film, though it was not suggested that Jackson had done this intentionally. King Kong ranks 450th on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.

Peter Jackson has expressed his desire to remaster the film in 3-D at some point in the future. Jackson was also seen shooting with a 3-D camera at times during the shoot of King Kong.

Jamie Bell's character is repeatedly shown reading Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, a novel about a journey into a primitive land and mankind's exploitation of fellow man. Jack Black and critics have noted Carl Denham's similarity to Orson Welles. When Jack Driscoll is searching for a place to sleep in the animal storage hold, a box behind him reads Sumatran Rat Monkey — Beware the bite! - a reference to the creature that causes mayhem in Peter Jackson's film Braindead (1992) (in that film, the rat monkey is described as only being found on Skull Island).

The musical score for King Kong was composed by James Newton Howard. Originally Howard Shore, who worked for Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings, was to compose the score for the film and recorded several completed cues before he was removed from the project by Jackson. James Newton Howard joined the project with literally weeks to score and record more than three hours of music. Shore still makes a cameo appearance as the ill-fated conductor in the theatre from which Kong escapes. The film's record album was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

King Kong was released on DVD on March 28, 2006 in the United States. The three versions that came out were single disc fullscreen, single disc widescreen and a 2-Disc Widescreen Special Edition. The second disc of the Special Edition contains the remainder of almost all the production diaries not contained on the Peter Jackson's Production Diaries DVD set. The only missing episode is "13 Weeks To Go" which contained footage of Howard Shore recording the original score. It is still available on the website.

The 3 disc Deluxe Extended Edition was released on November 14, 2006 in the U.S.A., and on November 1st in Australia. Thirteen minutes were put back into the film, and a further 40 minutes presented alongside the rest of the special features. The film was spread onto the first two discs with commentary by Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens, and some featurettes on Disc 2, whilst the main Special Features are on Disc 3. Another set was released, including a WETA figurine of a bullet-ridden Kong scaling the Empire State Building, roaring at the army with Ann in hand. The extended film amounts to 201 minutes in total.

A special HD DVD version of King Kong was part of a promotional pack for the release of the external HD DVD Drive for the Xbox 360. The pack contained the HD DVD drive, the Universal Media Remote and King Kong on HD DVD. It was also available separately as a standard HD DVD. The film's theatrical and extended cuts were released together on Blu-ray Disc on January 20, 2009.

The extended edition not only has 13 minutes of added footage reincorporated into the film, 40 minutes of deleted scenes on the DVD, but also over 230 new visual effects shots. The first major addition comes after the rescue team enters the jungle, in which they startle a Ceratopsian dinosaur and it goes on the rampage. Hayes shoots it and the scene ends on a reference to the original film as Carl and Herb film its tail in death throes.

The second major addition is a scene in the swamp where the rescue team on two rafts are first surrounded by swarms of Scorpiopede creatures, before an attack from an enormous serpentine Piranhadon fish. Three men are killed and Jack almost drowns. Carl captures the last death on camera (to the disgust of Lumpy) which he takes great pains to retain in the chaos. After exiting the swamp, Lumpy shoots an approaching sound in the thick foliage. Jack believes he has shot Ann, which turns out to be a large bird similar to a giant Moa. The insect pit sequence is extended with footage of the characters climbing out of the pit, notably including a monologue from Carl about the point of death, Jimmy finding Hayes's body and taking his cap to remember him, and Bruce Baxter killing more insects. There is also more film of Kong rampaging the native village. Kong chasing Jack's cab is extended. During the army's attack on King Kong, he tramples a van containing a man who issues the fire command, and also knocks a van, with a commander insulting Kong, out of his way. The rest of the deleted scenes have unfinished effects, and are not incorporated into the film, but remain on the DVD set with individual introductions by Peter Jackson.

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The Jolly Boys' Last Stand

The Jolly Boys' Last Stand is a British comedy film released in 2000 starring Andy Serkis and Milo Twomey. Sacha Baron Cohen takes a minor role.

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Arabian Nights (TV miniseries)

Arabian Nights Miniseries 2.jpg

Arabian Nights is a three-hour, two-part miniseries that was made by Hallmark Entertainment, originally shown over two nights on April 30, and May 1, 2000 on ABC in the United States and BBC One in the United Kingdom.

The series was written by Peter Barnes and directed by Steve Barron and is based on the medieval Oriental stories from the One Thousand and One Nights. The series consists of five stories which are framed within a sixth, which maintains the traditional style of stories within stories that is synonymous with the Nights.

The series is notable for its witty script, its high production values (featuring lavish costumes and eye-catching Asian locations), and for its star-studded cast, which includes Alan Bates, Rufus Sewell, Dougray Scott, Andy Serkis, James Frain, John Leguizamo (in a dual role), Jason Scott Lee, Vanessa-Mae, Alexei Sayle, Jim Carter, Mili Avital and James Callis.

The series starts in Baghdad, with Sultan Shahryar (Dougray Scott) who has gone mad after he killed his first wife during a failed coup d’état which she planned with Shahryar’s own brother (James Frain). Now, five years later, Shahryar believes that all women want to kill him, but he must get married or the throne will pass to his brother. In his madness, Shahryar decides to take a wife and have her executed the next day. In order to prevent this, the clever Scheherazade (Mili Avital), daughter of the Sultan's advisor Ja'Far (Jim Carter) and a childhood friend of Shahryar, who is in love with him, marries the troubled Sultan and tells him stories every night, stopping at daybreak with a cliff-hanger. In order to hear the rest of the story, Shahryar must keep Scheherazade alive until the next night. Cunningly, Scheherazade has hidden a moral within every story, to bring the Sultan out of his madness.

As Scheherazade tells her stories though, Shahryar's brother begins to build up an army to take control of the kingdom. By the time he is ready to attack, Shahryar has overcome his madness and now truly loves Scheherazade. The two lead the army into battle and he and his troops are able to stop the brother by using elements from Scheherazade's stories. At the end of the battle, it is revealed that the entire thing had actually already happened. Scheherazade was retelling the events to her children. She finishes the story and promises them one the next night.

Ali Baba (Rufus Sewell) is a poor peasant who lives with his lazy brother Kazim (Andy Serkis) who comes upon a magic cave, guarded by tamed dragons. The cave belongs to the Forty Thieves, a tribe of murderous bandits that have plagued the kingdom. Their leader is Black Coda, a master of disguise. The gold and loot they've stolen is hidden inside the cave, which can only be opened by the magic words "Open Sesame!". After the Forty Thieves leave, Ali Baba uses the password to enter the cave and steals as much gold his camel can carry. He awakes his lazy brother Kazim, showing him the fortune he's stolen. Kazim demands his share and returns to the cave himself.

Kazim takes two rolls of sesame bread to remember the password, but he ends up using the bread to distract the dragons, forgetting the password and trapping himself inside. He remembers, only to flee the cave as the thieves return. Black Coda slays him, then leaves his body for the buzzards. Ali Baba and his neighbor, Morgiana, find Kazim and use some of the stolen treasure to pay for his burial. Black Coda and the Forty discover the body is missing and determine that someone else must know about their cave. They swear to track him down and kill him.

Ali Baba and Morgiana are living in the lap of luxury in Damascus, with Ali Baba feeling a growing attraction to Morgiana. They are eventually discovered by one of the Forty Thieves, and Black Coda prepares his men to sneak in and kill all that live in Ali Baba's estate. Black Coda enters the city disguised as a merchant, while the thieves hide inside forty oil jars. The wagon containing the concealed thieves is left outside Ali Baba's estate. When Morgiana is told by a servant that the merchant did not pay to keep the cart at their doorstep, she investigates and hears one of the concealed thieves breathing. She and Ali Baba tip the cart over, shattering the oil jars and revealing the thieves concealed inside. The city guards arrest and hang the thieves while Black Coda escapes.

Ali Baba and Morgiana celebrate their victory by hosting a feast, inviting royalty and nobles. As she performs an exotic dance for Ali Baba, Morgiana removes one of the noble's swords and stabs him, killing him. Everyone is shocked, until she removes the man's false beard, revealing him to be Black Coda. Ali Baba then proclaims his love for Morgiana and marries her in an even larger celebration. They live happily ever after.

The next tale is about Firouz and Safil, the tailors that worked for Ali Baba and Morgiana at their wedding. The couple are being visited by an old friend, a hunchback named BacBac (Alexei Sayle). He is one of the most beloved comedians in all of Constantinople, proclaimed the Sultan's favorite court jester. They invite him to stay for dinner where he riots them with his hilarious jokes. But then mid-punchline, he drops dead. Firouz and Safil think this is also a joke, until they notice he is not moving anymore. They inspect him and realize he choked on his food.

They fear that the sultan will blame them for BacBac's death, and have them executed. They take BacBac's body to a physician and attempt to leave it on the doorstep. As Safil attempts to escape he is interrupted by the physician's wife, who has answered the door. Safil tells her that his 'friend' requires medical attention and offers her some coin. As the wife quickly returns with the physician, excitedly exclaiming "this one has paid!", they trip over the body, knocking it down the stairs. They believe they have killed him, they are terrified when they learn that the body belongs to Bacbac.

Not wanting to incur Sultan's wrath, they shove him down the first chimney they find. The body falls into the home of a large, Chinese man, who in his shock and panic, attacks the body. When the body falls over, he believes it was his "deadly hands" that killed him. Once more, he finds out that the body is of BacBac's and once more he takes the body away so he is not blamed and punished. He stands it up in a doorway outside on the street. A drunken English vagrant runs into it, and as it falls on him, he believes he is being attacked. He calls the guards and punches the body, knocking it down on the street. The guards arrive, find the body to be BacBac, and arrest the drunk for his murder.

At the trial, the judge deems him a terrible murderer for taking away the joy that BacBac brought to many lives. Firouz, Safil, the doctor and his wife and the Chinese man watch in the crowd and the English man is about to be punished for their crimes. Before the judge can pass sentence, they take the stand and tell him the truth. They fight amongst each other, each claiming they killed BacBac, just as the Sultan arrives to investigate the matter. Everyone tells their side of the story, and the Sultan begins laughing, proclaiming that the whole escapade was BacBac's last and best joke. Everyone realizes the irony and begins laughing too.

The basic premise of this segment is derived from "The Hunchback's Tale," but it is a much shorter version of the story, and the ending is changed.

This story tells the classic tale of Aladdin (Jason Scott Lee), a down on his luck Chinese thief. While fleeing authorities for pickpocketing, he wanders into the path of Princess Zubaidah (Vanessa-Mae). For him it is love at first sight, until he is chased off by the authorities and the royal guards. She watches and smiles as he escapes onto the roofs with his acrobatic skills.

He returns home to his beloved mother, who tutors him in the skills of a thief, so he may support her. They are greeted by a mysterious traveler named Mustappa (Hugh Quarshie) (who was previously at the trail for the murder of Bucbuc). He tells Aladdin he is a friend of his father, and is willing to pay him much money to do a task. He agrees, despite realizing that the man was lying about knowing his father. Mustappa leads Aladdin to the outskirts of the kingdom, to the edge of a raging river. He puts a ring on his finger, twists it, its magic opening a hole into a cavern called the Cave of Wonders. He tells Aladdin to fetch him a lamp hidden deep inside the cave.

Aladdin ventures down a narrow flight of stairs, through a maze built around the Terracotta Army. He reaches the end of the cave system and finds the lamp, but inadvertently knocks over the soldiers as he attempts to leave. He races to beat the collapsing chain of soldiers, reaching the top of the stairs, where he asks Mustappa to help him out. Mustappa asks for the lamp first, but Aladdin refuses, prompting Mustappa to abandon him, closing the door above. The column on which he stands on begins to descend down into the cave. In desperation, Aladdin tries using the power of the ring, summoning the Genie of the Ring (John Leguizamo). The genie helps Aladdin out of the cave, but begs Aladdin not to summon him again.

Back home with his mother, they wonder why Mustappa would go to all this trouble to steal a worthless old oil lamp. She believes it may be a priceless antique, so Aladdin rubs it to clean it off. Rubbing it ignites the magic, sending smoke shooting out the tip, quickly filling up the house. As Aladdin and his mother escape, the Lamp Genie (Also John Leguizamo) emerges from the house. The genie proclaims he grants his master any wish. Aladdin first wishes that the princess to love him, but is told that genies cannot control true love. His mother scolds him, then asks the genie to give them lots of money. The Genie then has their fire place churn out hundreds of gold pieces.

Aladdin's mother uses their fortune to make themselves look like royalty, buying servants and fancy clothing, even building an incredible palace. Aladdin uses this to ask Zubaidah's father to allow him to marry her. He states that she is already betrothed to another Prince who will unite the lands of their neighboring kingdoms. They two are wed, but Aladdin has the genie help him stop the consummation. He fears she will love the other Prince, as the genie puts it "He is an acrobat in the sexual arena". That night he and the genie create a giant vacuum that sucks the Prince into the latrine and covers him with filth.

Aladdin subsequently proposes to the Princess, wedding her and planning to live together in his palace. Mustappa finds out Aladdin is alive and escaped from the cave with 'his' lamp. He enters the village and claims to trade new shiny lamps for old lamps, prompting a servant in Aladdin's palace to trade the magic lamp. The genie, under Mustappa's order, undoes Aladdin's wish of wealth, including his palace, and reveals the truth about Aladdin to the Princess. He then turns Aladdin's mother into a noisy chicken. Aladdin fights back and summons the Genie of the Ring. The Lamp and Ring Genie are distant cousins, but hate each other. Mustappa has the two fight to the death with their magic. Each transforms into one beast after another, until the Ring Genie is trapped in a giant mousetrap.

Aladdin loses his magic but has the Princess' love. He steals the lamp from Mustappa and sends him far away, regaining his mother and palace, before freeing both Genies. The Ring Genie takes up the offer, while the Lamp Genie stays. Aladdin, Zubaidah and Aladdin's mother live happily ever after.

This story is notable for the fact that most of the lead actors are from Asian backgrounds, and for John Leguizamo's memorable dual portrayals of The Genie of the Lamp and The Genie of the Ring. Vanessa-Mae, who is best known as a violinist, plays the princess in this story. Bert Kwouk, who plays the princess's father, Caliph Beder, will be familiar to fans of the Inspector Clouseau films, in which he played Kato, Clouseau's karate-expert servant.

This story follows Amin, (Dougray Scott) a lonely beggar from Cairo. He becomes a part of a twisted prank by the ruthless Sultan Harun al-Rashid, played by James Frain. To indulge in his sick sense of humor, he decides to play the ultimate joke. He kidnaps the beggar at night, and when Amin awakes, he is in al-Rashid's palace.

He asks for the royal servants, who claim he is the Sultan. The real sultan watches the events unfold from secret chambers behind the palace walls. He has the entire palace staff delude the beggar into believing he is the true Sultan, tending to his every whim. The beggar thinks he has lost his mind, but the perks of being royalty soon bring him pleasure. He decides to be the greatest Sultan.

During a meeting with officials, he decides to make some drastic changes. Amin intends to cut taxes on lower classes, and cut the frivolous pleasures indulged by the palace inhabitants. He intends to save a considerable amount of money within weeks and redesign the economy to help the poor. Although shocked at the idea, the officials think it is a good plan. They also note that Amin has gotten more done as Sultan than the real al-Rashid has in years. Overhearing this, Harun becomes angered.

Putting a sleeping powder in Amin's drink, he throws him back into the streets as a beggar. When he awakes, he is traumatized. He pleads to onlookers that he is al-Rashid, prompting the city guards to put him in an insane asylum. The experience of this and becoming a lonely beggar again drives Amin into insanity. The real Sultan watches with joy as the beggar suffers. He confronts him about the events in disguise. After leaving he decides the joke was so fun, he'll try it again.

He has Amin freed, then knocked unconscious. Amin once again wakes up in the sultan's throne room. All that has happened to him drives him even more insane, unable to distinguish between reality and falsehood. The officials try to calm him, to no avail. Upon overhearing the snickering of the real Sultan from in one of the secret chambers, he draws his sword and stabs al-Rashid. The officials fear that with the real Sultan's death, and no heirs or family, the rest of the officials and nobles will fight to control the throne. They claim that Amin was chosen as the Sultan's successor and continuing to tell Amin that he is Harun al-Rashid.

The officials inform Amin him that the recent events have been delusion he has been suffering because of an illness, and that the man he had stabbed was the court jester, and his last joke was a "killer". The moral of the story being never tell the same joke twice.

The last story told by Scheherazade tells of the rulers of Yemen, the king and his three sons. Prince Ali (Alexis Conran), Prince Ahmed (James Callis), and Prince Hussain (Hari Dhillon). The three are each gifted fighters and fight each other over the smallest of matters, destroying most of the palace in the process. Their mother believes that when their father dies, the sons will fight each other for control of the kingdom. As such, she tasks them with retrieving what the believe is the most precious thing in the world, giving one year to complete their quest.

Hussain heads north and learns of a powerful telescope. The owner tells him that he needs only to speak the name of the location, and the telescope shows it to him. The magical artifact works, but the owner refuses to sell it to him, claiming that another noble has agreed to pay a huge sum for it. So Hussain confronts the noble and is informed that if he can defeat the noble's five greatest warriors, he will give him the telescope. Hussain is gifted with powerful strength and kills every warrior. The noble revives his warriors in a pit of lava every time Hussain kills them. Hussain decides this is cheating and impales the noble, killing him and thus stopping his magic. He kills the warriors one last time, takes his prize and rides back to Yemen.

Ahmed travels east, to a mountain monastery full of monks. They possess a mystic apple, which when eaten can heal any wound or illness. The monks challenge him, offering that if he shoot the apple off the head of a young monk, then the apple is his. Ahmed is gifted with excellent accuracy, but afraid he might hit the boy and refuses to shoot. He tells the monk that even though he is skilled with a bow, he refuses to endanger the life of the young monk. The other monks tell him that this was the correct decision and the real test: he was compassionate enough to know when not to fight. So he is given the apple and allowed to return to Yemen.

The last brother, Ali, travels West to a market being held underground in the ruins of Petra. He wanders the market looking for the most precious thing in the world, eventually finding a flying carpet. The carpet owner allows him to purchase the rare antiquity. As Ali attempts to leave, he is accosted by the carpet owner and several cronies. They declare that they only sold it to him to see how much money he had, and now they will kill him, take his money and keep the carpet. Ali escapes and awakens the magic carpet. He flies through the market, past the henchmen and out of the ruins. He escapes Petra and returns home to Yemen.

The journeys of the brothers take up the given year, and all three meet again at a watering hole, having pledged to meet again and discuss their adventures prior to returning home. Hussain's telescope reveals that their father is on his deathbed. The brothers race back to Yemen on Ali's carpet to save their father, while Ahmed's apple heals the Sultan. This shows the brothers that they have acquired the most precious thing in the world: brotherhood, teamwork and kinship.

The miniseries is notable for making many references to Islamic culture and history. For example, during the Aladdin story-within-the-story, when Aladdin asks the Genie of the Ring who he is, the Genie jokingly says that he is Omar Khayyam. Other examples are when the Genie says Shukur Alhamdulillah when he blows gold out of their furnace.

The miniseries won an Artios Award for Best Casting and an Emmy award for Outstanding Makeup.

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Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic


Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic is a memoir written by actor Andy Serkis about his adventures playing Gollum in New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It was released to coincide with the theatrical release of The Return of the King.

Gollum details how a three-week commission for Andy Serkis to provide a voiceover for Gollum grew into a five-year commitment to breathe life and soul into The Lord of the Rings' most challenging creation. Andy Serkis tackles various subjects throughout the book, including character conception (Gollum's "cough" is derived from his cat coughing up a hairball) as well as the hard work it took to act out Gollum and replace it with CGI. He also discusses the controversy of whether he should have been eligible for an Academy Award for his work as Gollum.

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Source : Wikipedia