Monday, July 20, 2009

"The Hunt for Gollum"

Tim Masters interviews Chris Bouchard, writer-director of the forty-minute "not-for-profit" fan film The Hunt for Gollum. Made on HD video by a 160-member volunteer crew for £3,000, and set between the action of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the film, which exists in legal limbo, is intended as a love letter to the Peter Jackson films; it not only approximates their visual style as best it can, but stars a Viggo Mortensen look-alike named Adrian Webster as Aragorn. The film, which recently premiered at the Sci-Fi London film festival, can now be viewed online here.

In response to the question "Isn't the charm of a fan film that the villain looks like he's made out of cornflake packets?", Boucher replied, "I suppose most fan-films tend to be that way, but you're always dreaming that you can make something that has good production values. So we went for that, to try and raise the bar of what is possible on a low budget." At the same time, "It's a story that's not too ambitious for our budget - there are just three or four main characters, but we could put in loads of orcs and there's a huge fight scene in the middle of the film." Boucher says that he's reached an understanding with the Tolkien estate that they're okay with his film so long as it remains a non-profit venture, though of course, he'd like to use its success as a launching pad "to do an original film on a more commercial, professional level." Not that he thinks that fandom will never see his like again. "I think that we'll see more fan-films with better production values. They've already turned into a genre, which is cool - because they're free and you can see that people have put a lot of love into them. And if you're a fan of a particular genre it's nice to be able to return to that world briefly - even if it is another fan's interpretation."

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