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Four years after working together on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - and another 15 years since the final entry in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy - Orlando Bloom (who played the elf Legolas) and Ian McKellen (who played the wizard Gandalf) met for a mini reunion recently. They were joined by The Hobbit's Adam Brown (who played the Dwarf Ori).
Based on the novels by author J. R. R. Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit adaptations tell the tale of a fantastical world called Middle-earth and its ongoing battle between good and evil. The characters Legolas and Gandalf met in the first of the three Lord of the Rings movies, titled The Fellowship of the Ring, when they swear allegiance to the Hobbit Frodo during his quest to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom. Ori, on the other hand, meets the other two in the prequel trilogy The Hobbit, during a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain's Dwarven city Erebor from the greedy dragon Smaug. Now, years after the actors portrayed Tolkien's classic characters, the actors reunited out of character to ditch the perilous roads of Middle-earth in favor of a night on the town.
Bloom, McKellen, and Brown took a group selfie of themselves, which Bloom then shared on his personal Instagram account. He humorously captioned the photo by saying, "a dwarf, a wizard and an elf walk into a bar..." Both Bloom and McKellen are currently starring in lead roles in productions in London's West End - in Tracy Letts' Killer Joe and William Shakespeare's King Lear, respectively. Incidentally, McKellen recently sat out a performance of King Lear after injuring his foot, according to The Telegraph. He spent the evening speaking directly to the audience out of character.
Now, even though the Lord of the Rings franchise has come and gone, McKellen has shown interest in revisiting the role of Gandalf in the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series from Amazon. He outright stated his dissatisfaction with someone other than himself playing the role, saying "Now isn't that annoying? That there's going to be another Gandalf in town?" That said, there has yet to be any confirmation regarding his official involvement with the series.
While McKellen's return to the Lord of the Rings franchise could turn out to be a successful move for Amazon, returning to the franchise in general has been met with mixed reactions over the past years. Jackson's Hobbit trilogy (based on a single 310-page novel) was met with considerably less praise than his Lord of the Rings trilogy released roughly a decade prior. In fact, The Return of the King earned an Oscar for Best Picture. So, granted Amazon may have an inspired take on another trip to Tolkien's Middle-earth, it remains to be seen whether or not the series - with or without McKellen - will do justice to the source material.
Ridley Scott may have been known for his cult hits back in the '80s, but Legend is one film that never reached the heights of Blade Runner or Alien. Despite having its own share of "Director's Cuts" and "Ultimate Editions" like Scott's previous work, the film's fan group was even smaller in number. Much of this came from the movie's undeniable problems and the struggles - from its first draft to its fifteenth.
An ambitious new story taken from Celtic mythology, Legend involved a familiar fairy tale story with a young hero, played by Tom Cruise, going to save a princess from the Lord of Darkness, played by the legendary Tim Curry. While the production design and creativity were awe-inspiring, the characters and story felt underdeveloped. The intent may have been there, but it seemed to lack the depth necessary for it to last long after its time.
With that said, it's a small miracle the film actually got made. Plagued by innumerable production problems and creative changes, the final product couldn't help but illustrate that. However, it's an undoubtedly interesting project to investigate.
So many production ideas and instances of studio interference took it away from the original vision. Yet, many of these concepts will never be seen by fans. A mix of test screening reactions and executive decision-making took the project in a different direction that many behind the camera weren’t prepared for. Perhaps they could learn a thing or two from our list.
Here are 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of Legend.
20 Bad test screenings chopped the movie up
Test screenings can be the defining moment for big movies. It'll determine whether a studio has a surefire hit on their hands or if there's something to worry about. As revealed on Legend's DVD special features, in the case of Legend's initial preview screening, things really didn't go as everyone hoped.
Viewers were divided on the film, to say the least.
This test screening ended up being Legend's defining moment as the film went through dramatic changes following it. Most prominent among them were the cuts to the runtime, eventually reduced to 89 minutes.
Credited for this decision were a couple of audience members supposedly smelling of illegal substances that expressed their displeasure during the screening. While most may not have minded, Ridley Scott seemed to see their comments as constructive.
19 There are four different versions of the movie
As previously noted, Legend went through a massive series of edits that resulted in a sharp difference from the project's original form. This led to multiple different versions being created that varied across multiple platforms. In total, there ended up being up to four different versions.
There is the original 94-minute European release, 89-minute theatrical release in America, a 94-minute release on network television, and an eventual Director's Cut that ended up with a 113-minute runtime.
The American version was ultimately the most edited-down. Network TV incorporated an opening title crawl narration and some scenes from the European version.
Besides the Director's Cut (which didn't come out until 2002), the European cut got the most authentic version.
18 It went through 15 rewrites
Writing a ready-for-filming screenplay is no easy task. Add in a large budget and dueling creative preferences with the studio, and you've got an idea of screenwriter William Hjortsberg's struggle.
Whether it was the lacking amount of source material provided to him or the constant retooling of the film's plot and design, his adaptability was essential.
There were constant reworkings necessary for the script. Decisions made to fix tonal issues, mass marketability, and figuring out how to remove 60 minutes from the runtime without breaking the film were just a few of his tasks.
It was no walk in the park for the writer, but it's clear that he remained hopeful and interested throughout.
Many elements may have been changed, but in his eyes, Legend's foundation remained.
17 Dark deleted scene between Lord of the Darkness and the Princess
A film like Legend proved to be somewhat difficult to market, but it could've been much more of a challenge had they stuck with certain creative choices.
When writing the first screenplay draft, there was a scene in which the Lord of Darkness torments the Princess until she loves him. The scene wouldn't have ended there either, as the two would've supposedly had violent relations immediately after.
Although Hjortsberg undoubtedly had reasoning behind this idea, the concept was one of the first things scrapped in the editing bay. He voiced his heavy amount of disappointment, but remained agreeable when some rewrites were requested.
16 It was originally way darker, and inappropriate for kids
If that entry discussing the initial film's extended torment scene didn't make it clear, Legend was planned as a very dark fairy tale. From its chosen screenwriter to the mythology that served as points of inspiration, this did not start as a standard fantasy.
However, 1985 was not the most forgiving time for ambitious creators who needed big budgets to bring their projects to life. You needed some sort of guarantee for the studio that your movie was marketable, and Scott had to make compromises.
He ended up making the compromises because he knew it'd be impossible to make the film without them (especially with the $30 million budget). This meant that grittier tone got toned down rather significantly.
15 A fourth goblin, Tic, was deleted from all versions
Some may feel that fantasy worlds can never have too many characters. Unfortunately, if a screenwriter can't find a place to put someone, the character ends up either removed or forgotten. This is the treatment that the character of Tic received.
Initially the fourth goblin, Tic was present in the film's script throughout much of production. Yet, when it came time to prep the film for theaters, Tic found himself cut from the movie.
The script had nothing for him to do, leading to this choice.
However, once the Director's Cut was released, Tic got some time in the spotlight. He can be spotted in the alternate opening footage on the Legend DVD, chumming it up with his fellow goblins.
14 All of Gump's lines were dubbed
When watching any of Gump's scenes, there's always something off -- just enough of a delay between his lips moving and his dialogue to keep you distracted. Was he dubbed? Yes, yes he was.
Confirmed by screenwriter William Hjortsberg, poor young David Bennent had his lines completely dubbed over by Alice Payten, who played Blix.
Studio executives were worried that Bennent's accent would've been too heavy for audiences to understand.
It's also why Screwball calls Gump a "foreigner" before the group's attacked by Meg Mucklebones.
13 They didnt want little people to play the goblins
While a staple of fantasy films, it's no easy task casting appropriate actors for roles like goblins and dwarves. It's hard enough finding suitable actors for any big movie, but once you narrow down the search to characters of certain shapes and sizes, difficulties increase.
This problem led VFX legend Richard Edlund to consider filming on 70mm film to get out of the requirement of casting little people for size-appropriate roles.
Shooting that way would allow for easier framing so editors could make cast members simply "look" like they're dwarf-sized. Edlund's previous work with other "miniature" characters (Star Wars’ Ewoks) likely served as motivation behind this ditched idea.
12 Blade Runner's Unicorn connection
A great excerpt from the book Legend Making was Hjortsberg's discussion on how the film was pitched to him by Ridley Scott.
Scott was still busy with Blade Runner, so he still had unicorns on the mind.
Scott told the writer that he wanted to tell a story involving unicorns, "the fastest steed on Earth," in some way.
This led to Hjortsberg describing a story involving a princess in love with a commoner. The princess would sneak out of the castle so the two could meet up and interact with some unicorns, leading to the inciting incident. He described it almost exactly the same as the film version. Scott loved what he was hearing, which then led to Hjortsberg being sent home to write the script.
11 The writer's only reference for the script was Faeries
When drawing up a somewhat original fantasy story, it's important to have a strong foundation to draw from. And while Ridley Scott definitely had a vision, William Hjortsberg was largely on his own when drafting up a script. Before he was to begin writing, Scott pointed to a picture book called Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee.
This is where Hjortsberg developed the foundation of the script as he got a mentality on the world he was to help develop, along with some minor character ideas.
As Hjortsberg explained to Figment Fly, the paintings and art of the Celtic mythical creatures known as faeries influenced the world of Legend.
10 Ridley Scott "Disney-fied" the movie
Creative compromises with production studios are a necessary evil of filmmaking. After all, the studio wants to ensure that whatever project they're supporting can make money, and the filmmaker sometimes must make tough choices to ensure success.
Since this was nowhere near a typical fantasy film, the studio had a simple idea: make it more like Disney.
Disney had been a powerhouse for years upon years, so it was difficult not to agree with the choice to draw closer to their framework. As revealed to Cinefantastique, this led to a lighter tone, more simplified story, and story reworkings that made everything feel much more familiar. Creatively, it hurt the film in the long run.
Yet, when you think about Scott's position, was there anything else he could've done?
9 The electronic youth score
The story of Jerry Goldsmith's time working on Legend is so dense that it requires two entries, starting with what led to his replacement. Goldsmith was the original composer for the film, providing a suitably fantastical and romance-inspired score. For those who listen to it, it's another strong product from the prolific composer.
According to Universal executive Sidney Sheinberg in Jack Mathew’s book The Battle of Brazil, initial reactions from the preview audience were negative, with some singling out Goldsmith's score.
Many changes were made to the overall product because of this, like bringing in electronic band Tangerine Dream to help the movie be more youth-friendly. Goldsmith was then left in the dust, along with his original score.
8 There are two different soundtracks for the movie
Thankfully, even though Goldsmith did get unceremoniously replaced, that doesn't mean all of his work was for nothing.
Sure, American audiences had Tangerine Dream's synth-heavy underscore for the theatrical cut of Legend, but European audiences got to experience Goldsmith's score with theater speakers.
Yes, the European cut of the movie came with the original score attached, allowing the movie to play out similarly to its original test version. It's not quite the same, but at least something closer to what Ridley Scott originally envisioned. It's up to audiences to determine which score is better suited, but at least Goldsmith's hard work was still able to be appreciated.
7 Ridley Scott approved of all the major changes from the studio
Moviegoers today are often extremely worried whenever they feel a director's vision has been diluted by executives. Viewers want to ensure that they're getting the definitive edition of whatever film they're watching.
Legend seems like a great example of this, as the film was influenced heavily by its studio.
None of the film’s major additions/removals were implemented without director Ridley Scott's approval.
Each new idea went through Scott and he approved them.
As Scott has made clear in the past, he sees his relationship with production studios as a partnership rather than an obligation. In addition, his confidence in the product was shaken following the poor test screenings, so he was game to change, so long as they could potentially lead to success.
6 Style over substance
Considering the somewhat "light" source material given to Hjortsberg, it makes sense that there wasn't really much for him to work with. He had to create a lot from very little as he looked at a picture book for potential lore. Without the substance to back up the material's visuals, it stands to reason that you work with what you've got.
This approach spilled into bits of the film, as certain elements feel chosen based on aesthetic rather than depth. Visuals can be as stunning as you'd like, but there's only so much to them when there's nothing below the surface.
5 Storyboards for the film totaled 411 pages
Any fantasy project surely has an endless amount of concept art and storyboards used throughout the creative process. Thoroughly-designed worlds and inhabitants that help the world itself feel authentic.
Legend may have suffered from shallow source material, but its creative team did not lack ideas.
According to production designer Assheton Gorton, the number of storyboards maxed out at 411.
It's an unsurprising number, given how much of this movie felt dedicated to ensuring there were no moments of "fakeness" on screen, but still notable. It shows that for those who feel the movie lacked depth, it doesn't mean it lacked effort.
4 One writer did all the rewrites
Inconsistent vision across numerous creatives can be a rather frustrating thing to experience. Whenever it feels like a different person wrote a specific section following the last, it can really hurt a film's immersion.
Even though Legend suffered from many production problems, they always had their trusty screenwriter around.
William Hjortsberg maintained his position as head of writing duties throughout production. This includes every rewrite, addition, and restructuring. It also includes the opening title scroll, which was a creative choice he voiced his displeasure for.
The only time Hjortsberg had his job done for him was when Ridley Scott and then-President of Universal Studios, Sidney Sheinberg, made final preparations for the movie to be theater-ready (according to The Ridley Scott Encyclopedia).
3 20th Century Fox's one specific fix to Legend's first draft
Regarding the deleted torment scene -- it's difficult to think of it ever being approved in any fantasy project decades before Game of Thrones. If you think execs had strong reactions to it, you're absolutely right.
When pitching the film, Fox executive Marcia Nassiter specifically voiced one fix: "You can't have the villain [get with] the princess."
Discussed in William Hjortsberg's book Legend Making, that component of the film was always a hard sell. Following this response, the film went through years of continuous rewrites with Hjortsberg and Scott working together extensively to get the project right.
2 The Psycho II Cue
Jerry Goldsmith's time working on Legend was a bundle of misfortune. He gets replaced late in the creative process, almost gets the only copy of his score misplaced/ruined because of studio negligence, and ruins his working relationship with Ridley Scott.
Then there's the fact that American audiences never got to experience his score in theaters. Yet, that statement isn't entirely true. American audiences did get to experience Goldsmith's work in Legend, it just was for a different movie.
Temp music from Psycho II is used in Legend.
For American audiences, it's the only time they get to hear Goldsmith's work during the theatrical cut. It's sad, but at least his work could finally be appreciated once the Director's Cut was released.
1 Ridley Scott still maintains his pride in the film
You'd think that following all the divisive reactions and the chaotic production process, Ridley Scott would feel some bitterness or negativity towards Legend.
It represented another box office flop for him during a not-so-successful time in his career and likely caused much more than a couple headaches. However, if his commentary on the Director's Cut is anything to go by, he's still proud of it.
Listening to him speak fondly of the film and its specific components confirms the admiration he has for this project. It's likely not his proudest achievement, by a long shot, but it certainly wasn't a project he regretted taking on.
Do you have any trivia to share about Legend? Let us know in the comments!
The first closed alpha period for DICE's Battlefield V ended in early July and we played it daily, and are back in it this week for the second closed alpha session. We also got hands-on with the same one available map at E3 2018 but days versus one hour makes all the difference.
Battlefield V promises to be the most detailed, immersive, and intense World War II shooter yet and from playing it a lot, it lives up to the hype when it comes to its core gameplay loop, but there are a few new features that don't quite hit the mark. Keep in mind that this is a closed alpha test meaning there are bugs and certainly only a very limited amount of content available to explore.
The Battlefield V closed alpha sessions only feature one map that can be played two ways: the standard 64-player Conquest mode on the "Fall of Norway" Arctic Fjord map and a night-time Grand Operations version of this which includes two rounds (representing two days of the battle). The beginning of the alpha period was super rough since squad matchmaking wouldn't work, defeating the purpose of the core gameplay. It's matchmaking and issues with squad forming that are the focus of the second alpha which is working better, but still having issues with finding matches and server disconnects.
Battlefield V's Visuals Are Stunning
When in a game though, it's worth the wait. The Norway-set snowy map is gorgeous and highly detailed. Large ships can be seen in the waters, while the raising terrain leading to the hills in the North is chock full of points of interest and cover, so much of it destructible.
Again, there's only one map that's been playable but what's there is well-balanced in that there’s no long, open areas where players are endlessly running like in some of the Battlefield 1 maps. There's an abundance of diverse and detailed environments, aesthetics and verticality between objectives too but in a way that players are always in the action.
"Players are always in the action."
With an added layer of snowfall that blows across the floors and doorways of structures with the wind, and the snow build-up on rooftops (that can slide and fall from explosions), Battlefield V is uncanny. And it does all this with the only-in-battlefield explosive action where planes fly over (controlled by players) dropping bombs or parachuting players without a hitch in performance.
The player animations - something we learned a lot about just before the game was released - has been pushed a generation forward as well. As we detailed previously, character movement has been polished substantially so players can easily jump through windows (even smashing through glass - if there still is any) or over debris without slowing down too much. From another player's perspective, soldiers can be seen sliding on ice, trudging through and slipping on mud, wading through water, and stumbling slightly while sprinting on uneven terrain. Players move like soldiers would and it all works like you'd want with a few exceptions on trying to climb steep, rocky terrain.
A very specific update that's absolutely worth mentioning as it's something I've been championing for years (see link below) - that players actually get in and out of vehicles without teleporting. There's actual movement to enter and exit ground units like in Halo and Far Cry (for airplanes, you can only spawn in them seemingly). The same applies for players reviving downed teammates which is a very dedicated and risky action to take (note: the healing system is changed so anyone can revive a teammate but medics do it faster and can heal them up to full health).
As for team play, on the Arctic Fjord map it's essential in Conquest mode to work together since objectives are quickly taken between each team and intense skirmishes form around key points. Squads are limited to four players and we wish there was an option for six-player squads. We also do miss the Commander system since no one is organizing what squads do and they feel isolated at times, doing their own thing. Worse, squad leaders can be appointed and stuck in command without setting orders and there doesn't appear to be anything to do about it. That ruins the game and there's no way around it. A change from the first to second Closed Alpha session made it so that when a squad leader sets an objective marker, the other objectives vanish from the HUD, focusing them strictly on where they're ordered to go. It's an interesting test for squads playing to win.
Battlefield V's Fortifications System Is An Annoying Gimmick
Our other knock against Battlefield V, and there really aren't many at this point, is the highly touted fortification system. It hasn't seemed useful and seems rather punishing at times to spend time building up sandbags only to be shot while doing so since you're stationary. Given the shooter mechanics of the game and required movement, we haven't yet seen a real purpose to using this or a mounted machine gun since it makes players incredibly vulnerable to anyone with an accurate shot. This may change in other modes and maps.
Similarly, the squad bonuses are confusing at times since when summoning a squad super tank, we've yet to be able to actually locate it. As a result, every squad leader seems to save points to summon a large rocket a key points.
"As for the core gameplay, it feels oh so good..."
As for the core gameplay, it feels oh so good with a seemingly more lethal TTK (time to kill). Some many find it too modern in how accurate and well-handling the weapons are but after a year of battle royale games dominating the shooter space, it’s nice to see actually great shooting combined with triple-A design and performance.
Battlefield V looks and plays amazing, and could be a big push forward from the prior three main entries. The best part is, we got hours of enjoyment from just one map and two modes and the launch game will have much more - including a single-player story campaign, a co-op mode that generates new objectives as players play, and an ongoing live service where expansions and future DLC content will all be free. We're in. See you on the Battlefield!
Those who love the thrill and adrenaline that roller coasters bring might want to book a trip to Vaughan, Ontario next year, as Canada’s Wonderland will be home of the longest, fastest, and tallest dive roller coaster in the world. Canada’s Wonderland (previously known as Paramount Canada’s Wonderland) opened in 1981 and has been the most visited seasonal amusement park in North America for several consecutive years.
With an area of 300 acres, Wonderland is the home to a 20-acre water park called Splash Works, and holds a Halloween-themed event called Halloween Haunt. The park is ranked third in the world by number of roller coasters with 16, after Six Flags Magic Mountain (19) and Cedar Point (17), but that will change soon as Wonderland prepares to welcome the tallest dive coaster in the world.
Named Yukon Striker, the coaster features a 90 degree, 245-foot vertical drop, and four inversions while you sit on a floorless three row train of eight riders, going at 130 km/h (80 mph). The coaster was designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, and will claim several world records, such as the fastest dive coaster, the longest dive coaster (3,625 ft - 1,105 m), and the tallest dive coaster (245 ft - 75 m, including underground). You can take a look at the Yukon Striker below:
Yukon Striker will be part of the newly themed area Frontier Canada, an area that has been in the making for more than 37 years. According to Wonderland’s website, Frontier Canada will represent “the rugged Yukon backcountry during the Klondike Gold Rush era of the late 1890s.” Other rides joining Yukon Striker in this area are Lumberjack, Flying Canoes, Mighty Canadian Minebuster, Soaring Timbers, Timberwolf Falls, and White Water Canyon.
Canada’s Wonderland also announced an all-new immersive holiday experience named WinterFest, taking place in late November and December 2019. For this, the park will be transformed into an “enchanted winter wonderland” with themed areas, Christmas trees, ice-skating, live entertainment, and more.
The title of tallest steel roller coaster in the world belongs to Kingda Ka, at Six Flags Great Adventure, with a 456 ft (139 m) height – as well as the longest steel roller coaster drop, at 418 ft (127 m). The fastest steel roller coaster can be found at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, and it's called Formula Rossa, running at 149 mph (240 km/h). As for the longest steel roller coaster, you can find it at Nagashima Spa Land, under the name of Steel Dragon 2000, and has a length of 8,133 ft (2,479 m).
While some of these have higher numbers than Yukon Striker, none of them are dive coasters, making Striker a whole new experience for those who live for the thrills of roller coasters, and a must-see (if not a must-ride) for future visitors.
Source: Canada’s Wonderland
UPDATE: The release of Diablo 3 for Nintendo Switch has now been confirmed
The rumored Diablo 3 port to Nintendo Switch is definitely in the works, and will actually be released this year. Blizzard's long-running action RPG, which was initially released back in 2012, has seen ports on most devices under the sun, and adding the game to the Switch's roster is the next step for the acclaimed title.
Fans of the franchise have known that Blizzard has been working on something new for the Diablo series for a while now. The company revealed that it had an unannounced Diablo project in the works earlier this year, before confirming that in fact the company had multiple Diablo games on the go in various stages of development. Up next for the series is the chance to duke it out with Nintendo's strong first-party roster for the Switch.
The news was released a little sooner than Blizzard anticipated, however. As spotted by Riomegon over on Reddit, Forbes published an article today that confirmed the existence of Diablo 3 on Nintendo Switch, as well as confirming both a launch of later this year and a wealth of content for the game based on The Legend of Zelda. One of these items is a Ganondorf skin for the title, which can be seen below.
The Switch version of Diablo 3 is set to be known as the "Eternal Collection," and will include both the "Reaper of Souls" expansion and the "Rise of the Necromancer" expansion. As well as this, the game will also include all the other additional content for the game, but perhaps the best of the bunch is the extra Legend of Zelda content. According to the leak, the Switch version will include "the Legend of Ganondorf cosmetic armor set, Tri-Force portrait frame, Chicken pet, and Echoes of the Mask cosmetic wings."
As Nintendo's premier fantasy property, it perhaps makes the most sense for The Legend of Zelda to be tied to this Diablo 3 release. However, some may have been hoping for a different Nintendo franchise tie-in for the game. After all, with Luigi getting murdered in the last Smash Bros. trailer, surely there's space for the beloved brother to appear in the "Reaper of Souls" expansion somewhere.
Although Blizzard has not yet confirmed the news itself, it has now been revealed by Kotaku, so Switch owners will want to keep an eye out for a release date soon. However, this news does lead to a big headache for Nintendo - where does this Zelda content fit on its always-complex timeline?