With the release of the big-screen version of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit still three years away, a group of impatient fans have taken it upon themselves to fill the void between Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Guillermo del Toro-led project by creating their own fan film.
While the idea of ultra-fans making their own short films inspired by a hit movie is not new (science fiction series like Star Wars have spawned dozens and dozens of parodies and homages) The Hunt for Gollum, with its slick production values, accurate costumes and faithful cinematography is by far the most impressive amateur fan film I’ve ever seen.
The 40 minute film was directed and scored by Chris Bouchard and made with a 160-strong team of volunteers on board. The story is based on appendices from Tolkien’s novels and concerns Aragorn’s search for Gollum. With the help of aspiring actors, talented production crew, prosthetics designers, animators, fight choreographers, bow makers and survival experts, the film was shot over the course of a year in a campsite in Epping Forest, England and Snowdonia, North Wales. The stunning vistas are practically indistinguishable from the original New Zealand locations. Lord of the Rings characters Gandalf and Gollum also appear with Aragorn in the film and the latter two share a strong resemblance to the originally cast actors in Jackson’s trilogy making the film quite an achievement.
Despite a shoestring budget, hundreds of actors applied for the lead role of Aragorn with Adrian Webster winning out the chance to shoot unpaid over the course of a year. No doubt, Webster is hoping to capitalise on the interest in the movie by getting some attention for his own screenwriting work. The film only cost £3,000 to make and debuted online last Sunday.
Watch the film at http://www.thehuntforgollum.com