"Can’t break this hobbit: Will Frodo destroy the ring? Will Aragorn wear the crown? An exclusive first look at director Peter Jackson’s exhilarating ‘Lord of the Rings’ finale, ‘The Return of the King’—and at the battles the cast waged on-screen and off "
"IT’S AUTUMN of 2001, at WETA Workshop, in Wellington, New Zealand. Jackson is about to release “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the first installment of his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” and some costumes and props made for the movies are laid out in a massive, high-ceilinged hangar. There’s a miniature of the elven retreat of Rivendell, mossy and genteel. The ominous black tower of Orthanc, about a dozen feet high. There’s the hobbit blade Sting and, right next to it, two versions of the kingly sword known as Anduril, one shattered, one whole. There are racks of armor, both regal and savage. Everything is so meticulous and ambitious that it’s clear the filmmakers are brilliant—or nuts. New Line Studios’ Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne have devoted $300 million, and counting, to the trilogy. And they’ve allowed Jackson—a New Zealander known, if at all, for a handful of tiny zombie films and the brilliant real-life drama “Heavenly Creatures”—to shoot all three movies at once, arguably the biggest gamble in history. Still, there are believers. By the door, somebody has tacked up an advance picture of the ferocious Uruk-hai warrior Lurtz from “Fellowship,” along with comments about it from the Web site aint-it-cool-news. “Since nobody has mentioned it, ‘Lord of the Rings’ will kick ‘Star Wars’ ’ ass,” reads one of the postings. “I’m sorry, but someone had to say it.” "