there and back again

Had a very Lord of the Rings themed day. This afternoon, saw the LOTR exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum – a little crowded, but really good if you’re a fan of the film’s intricacies. Lunch at Happy Chef (Sussex Centre in Chinatown), then saw An Evening with Peter Jackson at the State Theatre.

In the exhibition, cameras are strictly banned, and so when we caught sight of some camera flashes, we knew that it must be Peter himself, being photographed for various papers. Sure enough it was him: he’s lost a bunch of weight, he’s shorter than I thought he would be, and although exhausted, he seemed to be friendly enough – certainly not an arrogant celebrity: at least for the cameras.

Later, at the State Theatre (and after a $3 bottle of water and a $7 beer respectively!) we took our seats some 20 minutes before the advertised starting time, to see a stage with a giant screen (constantly playing an 30-second ad for the exhibition) and to the right, two armchairs, a coffee table, and a couple of water glasses. Moments later, a couple of bottles of water materialised on the table; we were too busy looking around at the crowd. Certainly older than the stroller-toting crowd at the powerhouse, there were nonetheless a number of under 15’s, and even a single new-born (who remained silent throughout).

The chief of the Powerhouse Museum walked out, thanking the various corporate sponsors for their support of the exhibition. Was he to be sitting with Jackson for two hours? Surely not.

He introduced David Stratton (of the SBS movie show fame), who was greeted with loud applause. Stratton gave a background to Peter Jackson, and his own history with the director – dating back to a Cannes viewing of Jackson’s debut Bad Taste. We were then shown a 6 minute collection of excerpts from the three LOTR films which told the majority of the story without revealing the ending to the third film, and then Jackson walked out on stage.

For the next two hours (punctuated by three showings of very funny – to devotees of the flims – bloopers from the filming) Stratton interviewed Jackson. What was discussed?

  • his history of film-making – dating back to stop-motion work after watching King Kong
  • working for seven years as a photo engraver to pay for his first good camera
  • making Bad Taste over two years’ of Sundays, and how it evolved from a short film to a feature-length film
  • the saga of getting approval to make LOTR as three films
  • some brief mention of the making of King Kong

After this, Jackson and Stratton left the stage, and we made our way home. If we were true devotees, I guess we could have watched some more LOTR, but we did manage to watch the first half of the third film on Friday night – that will have to do for now.

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