Amazon Studios has launched “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” a series is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings which take place long before “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” films and books.

It’s a television production of epic proportions, with an estimated price tag of $465 million for its first eight episodes, with plans for a 50-part story arc.

In recent weeks the cast and producers have revealed some of the behind-the-scenes challenges that went into bringing the second age of Tolkien’s Middle-earth to screens.

IS THE SHOW JUST FOR HARDCARE TOLKIEN FANS?

“I don’t think anyone needs to do any homework. Of course, having a prior knowledge of the lore and the world will only enhance the experience. But I think you can go into it as a complete new fan of Tolkien and Tolkien’s world.” — Charlie Vickers, who plays Halbrand, a human shipwreck survivor.

“I’m really hoping that we’re going to bring some new fans to this kind of work in this world building in this sort of world. I think that it’s quite diverse. There are obviously families and kids and things like that who would love it. But equally people like me that love fantasy and still read it and go and see the movies and films and whatever — I think that will appeal as well.” — Sara Zwangobani, who plays the harfoot Marigold Brandyfoot.

WHAT TO EXPECT

“I feel the main character for me in Tolkien’s work is Middle-earth itself. If we can get that, then the characters will make sense and come from there. I really hope that then there will be something for everyone because the main bit is being immersed in another land.” — Morfydd Clark, who plays elven commander Galadriel.

“There is great evil in Tolkien and there is in this show. But we felt that it was important that even evil sort of had a point of view. We thought that was that was true to him. The first line in the show is ‘Nothing is evil in the beginning.’” — Patrick McKay, a showrunner and executive producer.

“There’s fear matched with bravery. And I think we live in a world now where society and external forces can sometimes dim that instinct, that fiery instinct to just to just do, which we idealistically rely on for ourselves.” — Sophia Nomvete, who plays a dwarven princess.

“Definitely I feel the weight of expectation on my character because he’s obviously been portrayed in the films and people have an idea of who he is already. But this is set thousands of years before that, at a point where, you know, we’re exploring his, well, my character’s beginnings, understanding his relationships with his family, his friends, his place in the world, and what he really wants to do.” — Maxim Baldry, who plays Isildur, the human leader who obtains an all-powerful ring.

ON TRANSFORMING INTO A MIDDLE-EARTH CHARACTER

“Two-and-a-half hours in the makeup chair every day. And I sang songs with my fellow actors, Megan Richards, Markella Kavenagh. I talked to my great team. Sometimes I just thought about my character and what I was going to do for the day. Actually, we had a lot of fun in the makeup chair. Two-and-a-half hours sounds like a long time, but actually we had a great time, So, it was like no time passed.” — Sara Zwangobani, on the time it took makeup and prosthetic artists to transform into harfoot Marigold Brandyfoot.

“Three hours to put it on, and 45 to take it off. So, it is a big part of the day. It really was. And I became very good friends with the makeup artist and the prosthetics artist, as well.” — Owain Arthur, on the time it took makeup and prosthetic artists to transform him into King Durin IV.

“This is an iconic, necessary, revolutionary moment and I am very proud to fly the flag for generations to come in a franchise of this scale.” — Black actor Sophia Nomvete who plays the dwarf princess Disa.

“I think when people talk about the budget of the series, one thing that I keep saying is that I don’t think people want a budget version of this story. You do not want to see sort of pieces of things falling off sets and costumes that look like rentals. I think you need the resources to tell a story of this scale.” — Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays the queen-regent of Númenor.

WHISKING AWAY TO ANOTHER, ISOLATED, WORLD

“We filmed during a pandemic, a global pandemic. It was difficult because we were away from loved ones for almost two years and our support systems. But what that did is it sort of forced us to to lean on each other. And that is is a bonding experience like no other.” — Nazanin Boniadi, who plays a human healer and single-mother.

“It was difficult, yes. But we also had the particular privilege to be working. At one point, we were the only show that was shooting in the world — our colleagues had their shows paused and even canceled. The world was indoors and we were still able to go to set every day. That was also a fire that fueled our our performances. I think for everyone this became more than a show. It was our lives and it was a letter and a testament letter of love to all the fans and everyone else in the world that was indoors.” — Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays an elf soldier.

“From the very first moment, I think even from the audition stage, we’re not really meant to kind of share anything. So I remember when I got cast, and I got cast in the middle of lockdown, and I couldn’t tell anyone. And then I left the country and I didn’t tell anyone where I was going because I thought, ’Well, if I tell them where, they’re going to know, they’re going to know exactly what it is.” — Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays the queen-regent of Númenor.

HONORING TOLKIEN

“Those who both love Tolkien and who are passionate about Tolkien and have read every single little every ounce of work that they possibly is by Tolkien — I hope that they respond to it and connect to it for sure. But I also do hope that there are kids that haven’t been introduced yet and that, you know, maybe they will be inspired to go back to the books and rediscover them or discover them for the first time.” — Markella Kavenagh, who plays a young harfoot girl.

“Obviously, it will be compared with inevitably other current fantasy shows and particularly the (Peter) Jackson movies. But the world is very different and we’ve started out with some brand new characters, some characters from Tolkien that have never been played before or never featured in a live-action TV show. I think because it is a brand new thing, it’s more exciting than worrying.” — Charles Edwards, who plays Celebrimbor.

“I think we are not the mothers. We are but midwives or doulas at best. This is Tolkien’s baby and this is his world. And we’ve just seen it as our responsibility to hopefully bring it into being in a fresh, new way. If people feel his voice and his themes and his tones in the show even a little bit, we’ll just be thrilled. So we can’t wait for people to watch.” — Patrick McKay, showrunner and executive producer.

WHAT ABOUT THAT OTHER BIG FANTASY SHOW?

“Obviously, it will be compared with inevitably other current fantasy shows and particularly the (Peter) Jackson movies. But the world is very different and we’ve started out with some brand new characters, some characters from Tolkien that have never been played before or never featured in a live-action TV show. I think because it is a brand new thing, it’s more exciting than worrying.” — Charles Edwards, who plays Celebrimbor.

“I think when you look at a genre like fantasy, you can use the biggest stories to tell things that are very relatable. People want to get lost in the stories and they want to feel things and you need a big, big canvas to be able to do that. I’m a huge ‘Game of Thrones’ fan. I’m going to be watching ‘House of the Dragon.’ I have a friend on ‘House of the Dragon.’ I think this idea of having to choose one or the other — you can watch both. You can watch more. I will be watching more. So, if you’re a fan of genre, this is this is an incredible time.” — Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays the queen-regent of Númenor.

___ Associated Press reporters Mike Cidoni Lennox in Los Angeles, Krysta Fauria in San Diego, Berenice Bautista in Mexico City and Mark Kennedy in New York compiled material for this story.

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