In The Lord of the Rings: The Art of The Two Towers, Gary Russell reveals the secrets of the talented creative team responsible for the design of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the central film in New Line Cinema's award-winning trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic. Andy Serkis, the actor who brought life to the complex character Gollum, contributes a thoughtful afterword to the book.
In this official, fully authorized volume, readers will learn about
the process of model-making based on drawings by renowned Tolkien illustrators Alan Lee and John Howe, the two artists who inspired Oscar-nominated director Peter Jackson's vision of Middle-earth
the intricacy of detail in Oscar nominee Ngila Dickson's costume designs for the characters, including many new to the second film (Théoden, Éowyn, Gríma Wormtongue, and Faramir)
the development of a well-defined style for Easterlings and the architecture of the Black Gates
design direction for the Ents, the Wargs, and the Balrog
strong visual styles, color palettes, and iconic devices used to distinguish each culture, such as the horse motif marking everything Rohan ("That was Tolkien's idea and we ran with it," according to designer Warren Mahy)
documentary evidence supporting fans' speculation that the character of Arwen was to be present at Helm's Deep in early drafts of the screenplay, including designs for her weaponry and armor
experimentation with different designs for Gollum, a huge challenge because of the many preconceived and differing ideas about the character's appearance
In fact, an entire section of the book is dedicated to the creation of Gollum from a pencil sketch to a fully functioning digital invention. And in his afterword to the book, Andy Serkis (whose movements were captured to animate Gollum) discusses his unique collaboration with the films' artists and technicians, including Oscar winner Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop.
Featuring more than 600 images (most appearing nowhere else) and complete with commentary by the artists themselves, The Art of The Two Towers definitively illustrates the creative development of the film. Gary Russell shows how these gifted artists and craftspeople rose to the challenge of surpassing the incredible feats they had already achieved in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film in the trilogy and one of the most visually stunning movies ever made. Amazingly, the creative team succeeded in outdoing itself in The Two Towers, making a movie that looks even more innovative and electrifying than the first while continuing to stay true to its literary source. It is no surprise, then, that the film has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects.
Millions of fans around the globe have been dazzled by the film's dynamic and authentic look, and The Art of The Two Towers truly honors the imaginative development behind that look. As Andy Serkis says, "These films, and the artwork that surrounds them, are a celebration of process."
The third and final film in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, will be released in theaters on December 17, 2003.
Gary Russell has worked widely in media, as a magazine editor, novelist, columnist, and audio drama producer. He is the author of The Lord of the Rings: The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring, among other books.
Praise for The Lord of the Rings: The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring
"Compelling peeks at the creative process." U.S. News & World Report
"Here's a good look at how all the special effects happen, and the inside knowledge will enhance your enjoyment of the film rather than lessen it." Fort Worth Star-Telegram (selected the book as one of ten best coffee table books of 2002)
"Beautifully illustrated tome . . . Fans of both the books and film are certain to appreciate the intricate details of the artwork that enabled filmmakers to create the worlds and creatures of Middle-earth, while students interested in the design process will find this collection useful in its offerings of competing concept sketches . . . Adding to the book's appeal is author Gary Russell's commentaries on the hidden art behind the artistry." Boxoffice Magazine
"This is the book for those who loved the film. For the rest of us, the book is a fascinating look at the ways that word pictures are translated to the screen." Bay Area Reporter
Biographies of key contributors to the design of The Lord of the Rings: The Art of The Two Towers
(Courtesy of New Line Cinema)
ALAN LEE (Conceptual Designer)
Alan Lee, who is responsible for the fifty watercolor illustrations in the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings as well as Tolkien's Ring and an edition of The Hobbit, provided conceptual sketches for the design of The Lord of the Rings.
Lee has long had a preoccupation with the Celtic and Norse myths that influenced Tolkien. His other illustrations include such fantasy works as Faeries (with Brian Froud), The Mabinogion, Castles, The Mirrorstone, The Moon's Revenge, Merlin Dreams, Black Ships Before Troy, and The Wanderings of Odysseus. Lee has received several prestigious awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal for Black Ships Before Troy. Most recently, he garnered the Best Artist Award at the World Fantasy Awards of 1998.
Lee began work in the film industry as a conceptual designer on the film Legend. His other credits include the feature film Erik the Viking and the acclaimed television miniseries Merlin.
JOHN HOWE (Conceptual Designer)
John Howe is best known throughout the world for his contributions to a wide range of Tolkien projects, such as calendars, posters, and jacket illustrations and he brings his passion for Tolkien's work to conceptual drawings for The Lord of the Rings.
Howe has worked quite extensively for the European film industry, illustrating Bande Dessinee comics and numerous books, primarily fantasy, historical, and children's titles. He decorated the reception area of the renowned Maison d'Ailleurs, the Museum of Science Fiction, in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, and has had personal exhibitions on show throughout Europe for the past twenty years. He has also produced backgrounds for animated television.
NGILA DICKSON (Costume Designer)
Ngila Dickson was nominated for an Academy Award for costume design for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Dickson was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, and received the Best Contribution to Design Award at the New Zealand Television Awards in both 1997 and 1998. For her work on Xena: Warrior Princess, she garnered the Best Costume Award at the 4th International Cult TV Awards. Dickson's film credits as a costume designer include Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures, Jack Be Nimble, Crush, Grampire, Ruby and Rata, User Friendly, and the telefilm Rainbow Warrior. For television, Dickson has designed for Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, High Tide, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and the Ray Bradbury series.
GRANT MAJOR (Production Designer)
Grant Major was nominated for an Academy Award for art direction for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Major received a New Zealand Film and Television Award for Best Design on Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures in 1995. Two years later he picked up the same award for The Ugly. Major's other film credits include Jackson's The Frighteners, Memory and Desire, The Aberrations, Jack Be Nimble, An Angel at My Table, and, as art director, Other Halves. His work as an art director for television includes the telefilms Hercules and The Grasscutter, the series Hanlon, as well as commercials and news programs. Major also worked as a production designer on the telefilm The Chosen.
Born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, Major began his career in design at Television New Zealand. His background ranges from production design for the Commonwealth Games ceremonies to designer for the New Zealand pavilions at the World Expos in Australia and Spain.
RICHARD TAYLOR (Creature, Miniature, Armor, Weapons, Special Makeup Effects Supervisor)
Richard Taylor won two Academy Awards (for visual effects and makeup) for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The director of his special effects company, Weta, Taylor has been special effects designer on all of Peter Jackson's feature films, including The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures, Braindead, Meet the Feebles, and the television documentary Forgotten Silver. Other feature credits for Taylor include Heaven, The Ugly, Once Were Warriors, Jack Brown Genius, Tidal Wave, The Tommyknockers, and A Bright Shining Lie. For television, Taylor has designed creature and special makeup effects for Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Young Hercules.
Taylor and his partner, Tania Rodger, have received numerous international special effects awards, including Best Models and Miniatures (Spain), and a Saturn Award nomination for Jackson's The Frighteners. The couple also garnered Best Special Effects Awards for Braindead at the Stiges Festival (Spain), the Avorez Festival (France), and the Portuguese Film Festival; a Silver Scream Award in Holland; and, for Meet the Feebles, a Best Physical Effect Award at the Fanta Festival (Italy). New Zealand Film Awards include Best Contribution in Design for Braindead, Heavenly Creatures, Forgotten Silver, and The Ugly as well as nominations for Jack Brown Genius and Heaven.
JIM RYGIEL (Visual Effects Supervisor)
Jim Rygiel won an Academy Award for visual effects for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In 1980, after earning his MFA from Otis Parsons School of Design, Rygiel joined Pacific Electric Pictures, one of the first companies to employ computer animation for the advertising and film markets. In 1983, Rygiel's work took him to Digital Productions, where he began work on The Last Starfighter, a film notable for its pioneering use of digital imaging in place of models for the spaceships. While Rygiel was at Digital Productions, his commercial work was nominated for numerous awards and he won a prestigious CLIO award for the introduction of the Sony Walkman. From 1987 until 1989, Rygiel supervised numerous projects while at visual effects companies Pacific Data Images (PDI) and Metrolight. In 1989 he was asked to form and head a computer animation department at Boss Film Studios. This department of one grew to more than 75 animators and 100 support staff within a few short years, winning another CLIO Award for the Geo Prism automobile commercial. While at Boss, Rygiel supervised many feature films, both as digital effects supervisor and as visual effects supervisor. His credits there include Starship Troopers, Species, Outbreak, Air Force One, The Scout, The Last Action Hero, Cliffhanger, Batman Returns, Alien III, and Ghost. In 1997 Rygiel went on to supervise The Parent Trap, Star Trek: Insurrection, Anna and the King, and 101 Dalmatians.
Rygiel is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Academy Award nominations for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Barrie M. Osborne
Grant Major (Set Decoration: Dan Hennah and Alan Lee)
Visual Effects WINNER
Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook, and Alex Funke
Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges, and Hammond Peek
Sound Editing WINNER
Ethan Van der Ryn and Michael Hopkins
Academy Awards for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Jim Rygiel, Randall William Cook, Richard Taylor, and Mark Stetson
Peter Owen and Richard Taylor
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