Thursday, September 24, 2015


Saturday, September 12, 2015 (and into the wee hours of Sunday), the Aero Theatre screened all three films of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  It was an all-day (and much-costumed) affair; in addition to the films, there trivia contests and food trucks; video messages from the likes of Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, and stuntman Sala Baker; an "in memoriam" tribute to Christopher Lee and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie; and Q&As with executive producer Mark Ordesky and actor William Kircher (who played Bifur the dwarf in the Hobbit trilogy). During the first intermission, executive producer Mark Ordesky spoke about his experience making the movies and answered audience questions.  Actor William Kircher, who played Bifur, one of the dwarves, was on stage during the second intermission to speak as well.

Cliff Broadway of served as moderator, and opened the Q&A with Mark Ordesky by asking, “What possessed you to do this and what if the movies failed?” Ordesky, who spent five years in New Zealand making the trilogy answered, “I would have been ritualistically killed.”  And he spoke about the risk of making all three films before releasing the first. He said the movies were successfully leveraged with presales to foreign territories.

Ordesky said, “From the beginning in 2001 it blew people away.  We showed footage at Cannes.  It landed so hard and so well, the French distributor was so happy he kissed me.”

Photo by Jackie Grieg

An audience member asked, “From a producer’s standpoint, how could you have known that these films would stand the test of time? With all the miniature work and so many people saying it couldn’t be done?”Ordesky answered, “When Peter Jackson wants to do something, he does it. He called them 'bigatures.'”

Asked about the composer and the development of the score, Ordesky answered, “This was not an obvious choice.  Peter can cast and find people that don’t seem like a match.”

After the second film, The Aero was honored to host New Zealand actor William Kircher, who described his role in The Hobbit series as “The dwarf with an axe in his head.”

“It was joy to go to work every day,” he said.  Speaking about the 13 dwarves, he explained “It was highly competitive, like a sports team.  Part of our job was to bring ideas to the set.” Kirchur said that because he was a non-dialogue character, Jackson asked him to do things that were unexpected. It paid off: Bifur has his own fans and website.

The next question was regarding Jackson’s style of directing.  Kircher claims Jackson has “distinct creative genius.  He’s an actor’s director.  You can make suggestions. He doesn’t have a big ego.”

Finally, someone in the audience asked, “What was your experience with the make-up? “ Kircher replied, “We went through trial and error. It was awful at first. You’ve got to like your look.  The nose was all wrong.”  Did the axe hurt? “Yes, and it left a dent in my head,” answered Kircher with a smile.