I highlighted my experience with the Weta Workshop booth at New York Comic Con in my previous post, but I wanted to especially elaborate on the conversation I had.
Since I did do a quick write-up on one of my other blogs, I’m pretty much going to re-write that here and just edit out the choppiness and haste of the piece.
This conversation happened on Sunday, the last day of NYCC. My friend and I were just exploring the Weta booth which had great figures and props on display. One of the Weta guys, I assume he does something in the design work for them, came over to us and started a lovely conversation. He had on what looked like dwarf ears and you can tell from his New Zealand accent he traveled a great way to be here.
This gentleman explained to us how he had been working with Weta since the early planning stages for Lord of the Rings. He’s essentially worked there since about 1996/1997. He continued on with the conversation about Tauriel’s role in the Hobbit films. As you may or may not know, she is not a written character in the book, merely an invention of Peter Jackson and his writers.
So, this Weta guy begins telling us how many people have came up and told him how they felt about Tauriel [negative comments from book purists, positive from pretty much anyone else]. In the Hobbit it is mentioned that Thranduil has guards. The guy posed this question to me: couldn’t these guards be male and female?
I agreed with him on that one.
Next he talked about the running pool the crew has on whether or not Tauriel survives in The Battle of the Five Armies. It’s apparently been kept up in secret pertaining to her fate. I inquired as to what he thinks and why and he said he believes she dies as an impetus for Legolas to become involved in the eventual forming of the Fellowship.
I don’t like this reason. The problem with it is that it is a very tired trope we see all the time. It is poor female writing, especially for a character like Tauriel who is the embodiment of tough and boundary pushing. Constantly female characters are killed to further a male characters storyline. Constantly.
Anyway, we shifted the conversation back to the reception of Tauriel. The guy told me that Evangeline Lily, who plays Tauriel, was quite upset the first few weeks after hearing the backlash her character was getting. That must be so hard to hear, especially when Tauriel is an incredibly driven and intricate character and was delicately woven into the existing story as to not disrupt any main plot points. But, he also said she was one of the best actors on set. She did almost all of her own stunt work and was a joy to be around on set. He said he was reminded of Miranda Otto who kicked so much ass while filming the LOTR.
We closed out the conversation with him reminiscing about his time working on all of these movies. He definitely had a great sadness behind his eyes. At least Weta is a design company that is seemingly doing well, not like other studios that are paid feebly and shut down after the movie is out and made its bank (which is what happened to the studio responsible for creating Life of Pi’s visual effects).
All in all it was an enlightening and entertaining conversation.