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Quint chats up DVD Producer Michael Pellerin about possible future LOTR DVDs, the KONG Production Diaries & more!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a chat I had recently with a man by the name of Michael Pellerin. Michael is the dude most directly responsible for those amazing LORD OF THE RINGS Extended Edition DVDs and has also recently contributed to that fantastic documentary on the 1933 KING KONG DVD as well as providing all those weekly (or bi-weekly as it was during the filming) Production Diaries for Peter Jackson's KING KONG.

I met Michael on one of my last days on the set of KONG. He's a big fan of the site and even though the pressure of recording DVD material as well as cutting material for the online Production Diaries was obviously stressing him out I could still tell that he was in his element, doing what he loves.

As someone who devours DVD documentaries and behind the scenes glimpses, I think Pellerin's job is fascinating. He's been able to work around his favorite films, like TRON, TOY STORY and FANTASIA for Disney and the 1933 KING KONG for Warner Bros' recent DVD set. Our discussion goes all over his career and even to some talk of what's possibly in store for a future LOTR DVD set... I hope you enjoy the chat!

QUINT: I was looking over your IMDB page yesterday and I noticed you did a bunch of Disney stuff early on and...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Oh yeah, I started doing laserdiscs in '93. Before Disney was doing big laserdiscs... because they were just releasing the movies. Like, FANTASIA when it came out on laserdisc was just the movie. It was like, "You gotta be kidding me, man. This could be the most awesome laserdisc ever!"

So, I started doing all these big Disney laserdiscs, like THE LION KING and TRON, which was a labor of love. I knew the director, Stephen Lisberger and Harrison Ellenshaw (Visual Effects) and those guys. You know, the big (releases): LION KING and TOY STORY laserdiscs. And that segued in '99 into the DVDs and because I already had a great working relationship with the Pixar guys, we went off and did the BUG'S LIFE DVD, the original collector's edition, and just kept doing them. Finally got a crack at the TOY STORY: THE ULTIMATE TOY BOX. Finally got a crack at that FANTASIA DVD.

It was great, 'cause it was working with guys like John Lasseter, working with Don Hahn... Did the whole FANTASIA thing with Roy Disney. I mean, he personally, like Peter (Jackson), was personally involved with that, which was awesome because he was a great guy. And... yeah. I did TRON on laserdisc, did ATLANTIS with Don Hahn, which was a big thing for me because Don helped me get my start as producer, and after that I kind of fell into this situation where I ended up on a plane to New Zealand and met Peter. That's pretty much been my life since then.

QUINT: You also did something for Monty Python, didn't you?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was back somewhere between laserdiscs and DVD. Every year HBO does the Aspen Comedy Festival, and we did the Python reunion...

QUINT: Oh, is that when they all got together and brought out an urn to represent Graham Chapman?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah! Exactly. Actually, I was in the room when that whole idea came up. We were like, "We've got to get Graham here somehow," and those guys came up with that idea. But it was great because I actually got to work with those guys, which was cool because they were, like, heroes to me.

QUINT: No joke. I interviewed John Cleese once and was so damn nervous beforehand. Luckily, he turned out to be really kind and the interview turned out great.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: The only guy I was ever intimated interviewing was Christopher Lee. I could go on about Christopher Lee stories. He is a spectacular human being and, actually, a sweetheart. That's the thing. He's got this just intimidating aspect to him, but then he's a sweetheart. But that's the only guy that I was ever... "Whoa..." Christopher Lee...

QUINT: Well, not too many geek heroes you meet can say they fought Hitler, you know?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: (laughs) Exactly!

QUINT: So, how exactly did you get in with Peter Jackson in the first place?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Gosh... It was a strange series of circumstances. In doing the big Disney DVDs... My dream was to take all these ideas I had and all this kind of stuff I was doing in animation and do something in live action, but the right live action project. To me, it had to be something like the original STAR WARS Trilogy, something that justified a lavish treatment, something that was kind of this amazing cultural zeitgeist. You know what I mean? Something that had the weight and also had the technology, something that also that not only did good box office, but was beloved and people wanted to know and it'd become a culture unto its own. The making of the movie and the behind the scenes would be a story that people would really want to know because this was such a great moment in cinema history.

It had to be all those things and it had to be a director who really got the medium and was really passionate about it. I had been a Tolkien fan my whole life. Like, in a big way. To the level where I had actually read all the manuscripts published... not quite speaking in Elvish, but you know what I mean? I was so fascinated with the man's work and how he created this secondary world and the creative process by which he did it. It was a lifelong little hobby for me, studying him.

Obviously it was one of my dreams that LORD OF THE RINGS would be successfully turned into a movie. I had a friend at New Line who came over to my house one night and said, "I need a drink." I said, "What happened?" He looked like he was hit by a brick. He said, "Well, today I found out that we just acquired the LORD OF THE RINGS as a three-picture deal." I went, "Whoa! Who's directing it?" He went, "Peter Jackson." I was like, "Whoa!"

And he said, "No-no-no-no. We're New Line. We're bound to screw it up." (laughs)

I don't know. It just hit me. I went, "God... Jackson, man. He's not American, he's Kiwi... Filming over there (New Zealand) is perfect!" I always thought that's where you'd have to film. Things started to gel in my head.

Then my friend said to me, "Look... you were the man who was born to make this DVD. They could find somebody who produces the big multi-disc, huge DVDs or they could find someone who was a real Tolkien expert, who was steeped in it... But are they going to find it in the same body?" You know what I mean? You can find one or you can find the other...

But I didn't go for it. In fact, he said, "You should write Jackson a letter and tell him who you are and blah-blah-blah." It was like, it was too good to be true. I kinda backed off from it. It's too perfect it's not gonna happen. I had a sort of defeatist attitude there.

Then what happened was it fell into my lap. It was a weird kind of kismet... I'll give you the short version of this, but I was looking for this car, this old land rover and they're hard to find. My friend said one day, "You've been looking for this car for 2 years. Are you ever going to do anything about it?" I said, "Well, it's not easy to find. It takes a long time." He said, "Well, come see my friend who happens to own one and we'll find out how he got his." I said, "Sure."

We went to see him and it turned out he not only owned one, he owned the exact one that I wanted AND he was selling it! We went for a test drive and I said, "Sure, I want it." And he turned to me and said, "You know, I've known about your work for years. Would you ever think about doing a DVD for us?" He was with the DVD division over there. We were driving and I stopped the car and I said, "Well, there is one..."

Two days later I was meeting with Mike Mulvihill over at New Line and a week later I was on a plane to New Zealand. I met with Peter and Fran (Walsh) and I walked in with all these ideas... Like every cool idea I had had for Tolkien or DVD, stuff I had been saving for years, and I sat down and before I could get the idea out of my mouth Peter had the same idea.

I had Peter's laserdisc of THE FRIGHTENERS. What excited me was that this guy has actually done my job, which was cool. It was the first time I had dealt with a director or producer that wasn't just into the medium, but had literally done what I did...

QUINT: And made a documentary that was twice as long as the movie?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah, exactly! When I met him he had all the same kind of ideas. And he showed me the movie in a very early stage, in a very, very early cut and I just got chills. I went, "This is it. This is what I was dreaming of." Most importantly that the movie was going to be done right and that this would be the DVD opportunity to do something so cool, like the right project. We just set about doing it. We just synched up really well with Peter and it was just a very good collaboration.

But the one thing that happened very early on... Peter and I discovered that we were both KING KONG fanatics. Every time we got together for a meeting or an interview, usually the first 20 minutes was about KING KONG. In fact, I remember the day he got the call (from Universal) that they wanted to do it. He was in an interview for me and he had to take a private conference call and he came out and said, "Well... it's back on!"

But we used to talk about KONG... If you listen to the old LORD OF THE RINGS interview tapes, you'll hear him and me talking for a good half-hour before the interview starts just about KING KONG. (laughs) Every time we'd be geeking out about that.

He was always saying, "You know, you should do the Warner Bros DVD... You've done Warner Bros DVDs, you should do KING KONG." He was always pushing me to do that. I was always trying to get it started at Warner Bros and finally he said, "Hey, why don't you and I just partner up on this? We'll co-partner on this, we'll produce it together and once I get involved I think Warner Bros will definitely take notice." And they did.

We always thought the KONG thing would come out for the 70th (Anniversary) in 2003, but it didn't make it. They didn't have all the right film elements... they really didn't have it together in terms of what they wanted to find, in terms of the nitrate prints and everything.

I'll tell you this... I've heard some people saying, "Oh, they just sat on this waiting for Peter's (KONG)..." It's true, it's incredibly good timing, but the truth is... it couldn't have been done before this. It just never would have been done.

QUINT: That documentary on the '33 KONG DVD was phenomenal, man.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: It was insane! (laughs)

QUINT: You know, the big deal about the KONG DVD documentaries was the big recreation of the Spider Pit sequence and I thought that was going to be the crown jewel of the extra features for me, but it's a testament to the documentary itself that this awesome piece wasn't the highlight of the doc for me.


QUINT: I was just awed by the segment on Willis O'Brien and the techniques and equipment he invented for the production. I mean, I knew he was a genius by seeing the end results of his work, but seeing how he actually did it just blew my mind. For instance, I never knew about O'Brien's idea to have a single frame of 35mm film projected onto a particular place in his set that he changed along with KONG or the dinosaurs so they were all animated together, essentially.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Oh, right, yeah. The miniature rear screen projection.

QUINT: Just the idea that he had to invent a whole new projector so the single frame wouldn't melt under the heat of the light...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah. And that projector that we used (in the doc) is Peter's. Peter bought the Willis O'Brien miniature rear screen projector from MIGHTY JOE YOUNG that (O'Brien) actually worked on with Ray Harryhausen. Operating this thing... it was like you're working with a piece of history, you know what I mean? You're going, "Man, the last time this thing was used was with THOSE guys!"

It's cool. I'm glad the Spider Sequence didn't overwhelm everything else.

You know the funny thing is in the beginning of that project Peter and I actually sat around... It was the day before the Academy Awards and he was in town and we actually sat in his hotel room at the Four Seasons and dreamed up what we wanted the DVD to be. Actually, it's very close to what we thought of.

At first, the hardest thing... you know, when we were first talking about it he was saying, "Can we even come up with an hour of show?" The trick is with KONG, nothing really survived. I mean, there's some photos, there's some artwork... Peter's got a lot of the relics... everybody's dead... what do you do? How do you tell this really cool story when even back in the day they didn't document anything 'cause they didn't want anyone to know how they did the effects because they were so revolutionary.

In fact, they had the whole misinformation campaign, which is unbelievable, behind the ape suit and all this crazy crap that didn't make any sense.

That's when the idea (hit). We don't have behind the scenes, so let's go make it ourselves. Let's go recreate shots the way they did it back then and if we're filming ourselves doing that we can demonstrate how they did it back then. All of a sudden there was a way to illustrate the behind the scenes story. That was cool.

And the Spider Sequence. At first Peter wanted to find it. He was talking about mounting an expedition to Asia...

QUINT: And dig around in their vaults?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah, in the vaults. He figured that'd be the one place it would be where it wouldn't have been destroyed. And I had jokingly said to him early on, jokingly, said, "Well, I think the only way it's going to ever appear is if you do a speculative recreation." He kinda went, "Uhhhhmmm...." and then later on you could tell that this idea was just kind of percolating.

Finally, it was like, "Let's do it. Let's take all the evidence we have," and there was a lot. There was quite a bit between drawings, artwork, photographs, test shots, scripts, which are almost like shot breakdowns... enough to do a fair... You know, it was not like we were doing it blind. So, it was fun.

Of course, it was challenging because we were doing KONG '05. It was a very strange thing. You'd go over to A Stage and they're shooting KING KONG and then you go over to M Stage and it was KONG 1933. Everybody used to want to come over there and we kinda had to keep it hush-hush, but (they wanted to see it). Because these were big, like 20-foot long animation tables where the camera would be on one end and then you'd shoot through glass, then you'd have several animation tables, then you'd have scrims then you'd have a deep background matte painting, the miniature rear screen projector... you know, these very elaborate all in camera set-ups. You can imagine everybody working on KONG wanting to get in there and get a peek at this sort of weird 1932 visual effects project going on.

And it was great reading Ain't It Cool News 'cause something hit there that was like, "There's a rumor that Weta is going to recreate the spider-sequence digitally..." and I was chuckling.

QUINT: I remember that. The rumor at the time was certain that the new Weta footage was going to be cut into the movie for the DVD release and would be entirely CG. I inquired at Wingnut and Weta and was told, "There is certainly not going to be any Weta footage cut into the 1933 KING KONG..." Sneaky monkeys...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Which is true! Technically speaking, it's true!

QUINT: So, I wrote that it was bullshit.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah, I remember reading that, too. "This sounds like bullshit to me." And it was... sorta. (laughs) At that very moment when that hit, we were on the set reading Ain't It Cool News when that hit. (laughs) Literally, we were doing stop motion, we're clicking off frames, while this thing hits and I was like, "Well... it's sorta true in a weird way!" (Laughs)

There was also a rumor that flew along the wire... I don't know where it came from, but it was that the spider sequence had actually been found. The scary thing is we had heard that and we're animating our hearts out here. We went, "Shiiiittt... Should we just stop?"

QUINT: All that branched from the rumor of Weta doing it. After it got retold a couple of times it was just "They're cutting the Spider Pit back into the original KONG." That's why I at first discounted the rumor totally. I mean, I'm not an expert in 35mm collecting, but I am close to those people and would have heard if the footage had turned up in some private collector's collection, you know?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah. From my evidence, from the little detective journey we went on... You're not going to find it. It's just not going to be found. The reason is, that we discovered very carefully from all the evidence, (Max) Steiner never scored it. Steiner never, ever scored it. That means it never even made it to the scoring stages, meaning it never would have really made it anywhere, you know what I mean?

It may have been, it MAY have been... MAY, and this is a wild shot, in a test screen for the studio only before the score was put in. Maybe. But then, there would have only been one print of it, (one) contact print of that, and (Merian C.) Cooper was pretty legendary for when he cut something out, he destroyed it so nothing could be done with it. So, the odds that that one print of it exists...

QUINT: Well, you know what gives people hope is that since KONG was so popular and such a big hit right away that someone who might have worked at the vaults or worked with Cooper or at RKO... one person liked the picture and started collecting the little discarded bits and pieces of it. So much of the stuff that was thought lost has turned up in private collector's hands... But yeah, it sounds like it'll remain the Holy Grail.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: I actually do think it is. And I personally... Peter and I disagree, I don't think the Spider Pit was ever animated. He thinks it was, I don't think it was. It was planned for and definitely when they shot the live action... absolutely it was part of the movie, but I don't think it got into animation, from everything I can tell. It got almost up to animation, but I don't think it was actually executed, personally. But if you talk to Peter you'll get a different story.

QUINT: I remember about 5 years or so going to SXSW and attending a DVD panel where they announced the FIGHT CLUB DVD and said that not only were you going to get one DVD with the movie on it, but a whole second disc just filled with extra material. I remember being so excited and how revolutionary that was. It wasn't too long after that the LORD OF THE RINGS: EXTENDED EDITIONS hit with 4 DVDs each. I know most people think that it can't go any further, that they know everything about the making of LOTR...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Well... that's not exactly true. The real truth is that Peter and I were careful all along the way, making the LORD OF THE RINGS DVDs. I mean, that's the thing. I love reading people's talkbacks and feedback about stuff like, "There can't be anything more!" I'm like laughin'.

The truth about LORD OF THE RINGS is we took a very specific point of view with the Extended Editions and this was planned early on, like way early on. We said, "You know what? They're going to release these theatrical movies anyway 'cause they got to get them out earlier and there's no way we can get the kind of making of story we want to do done in time for that." You know what I mean? You'd have to have them done right after the movie comes out and there's no way we would have done the kind of job we wanted to do with those things in that kind of time period.

So, actually have two DVD releases was really advantageous. New Line's going to put out the theatrical anyway and they wanted an extra disc. The plan was, "Okay, great. Let's go with this. Let's not fight it, let's do it, but let's plan it."

The plan was that disc was going to be all about all of the stuff that was put out concurrently with the movie to promote the movie. In other words, all that stuff that ends up on DVDs... the trailers, the behind-the-scenes shows and the webisodes, etc. Great, let's go with it. For the completists put it all there. Therefore it won't take any time away from the behind the scenes story that we wanted to do, which was massive. We already knew the behind the scenes story would easily span 6 discs. We knew it. Just the making of story.

We said, "Great!" That means each year we can put all the webisodes and the trailers and the commercials... they've got a home and they don't take any time away from the making of disc that we wanted to do. And we had this Extended Edition, which, of course, had a much later due date, so we could go to town making the appendices.

The point of view of the appendices was always, "Let's go on this journey," and that journey was planned out early on. We're going to go here, then we're going to go here and here and the next one'll go here and here. In a way we were allowed a 3 or 4 year period to develop that set that, in the end, was supposed to all fit together. If you had all three of them it really is one big, long journey.

It was very important to Peter that there was zero duplication of material. Even the movie is a different movie. You're never paying for something twice, ever. If you buy all 6 DVDs you're not buying anything twice.

But while we did that, we were also carefully saving stuff that didn't fit into the making of story that was really cool. "We're going to pocket that for later, pocket that for later, pocket that for later..." We've been saving this for some... I know Peter's mentioned it before, some eventual kind of DVD project where we can bring all this stuff out of the treasure chest and have a home for it. You know, really fun stuff, but not the making of story... Something beyond that.

In other words, I hate it when DVDs are milking it, you know what I mean? "Okay, here's the Ultimate Super Duper Version..."

QUINT: That has a 4 minute longer interview with Actor #4...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Exactly. And Peter hates it, too. The idea was knowing that eventually LORD OF THE RINGS would be a box set or some anniversary, let's make sure we save the heavy duty stuff so when that happens and people go, "Aw, man. The Extended Editions... what more can you do?" That when that happens, it'll be like, "Oh, my God! They actually saved some of the coolest stuff for last!"

QUINT: You know, some of my favorite parts of visiting the set during the pick-ups for RETURN OF THE KING was that it seemed every other day was a wrap party...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: That's right, and they had all those films...

QUINT: Yeah, where they had a gag reel themed for each person wrapping. Those were damned hilarious, so I'm hoping that's what you're talking about.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Yeah, I'm hoping, too. You know, we'll see. It's definitely something that has been on Peter's mind, it's been on my mind, it just hasn't fallen into place, you know what I mean?

QUINT: Yeah... although, I have to say... I don't know how well the PG-13 rating will support footage of Gandalf kissing a horse with a huge boner...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: (laughs) Hey, Unrated Features!

QUINT: Exactly! So, the biggest difference between the LORD OF THE RINGS discs and the KING KONG DVD seems to be the Kong Is King Production Diaries. You had some web stuff for LOTR, but nothing like you've had here...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: That is the thing. When we did LOTR, I thought those DVDs were going to kill me. Every year it was like, "Oh, God... Let's climb Everest next year and let's climb Everest the year after that." I was thinking... How is Peter going to up the ante on KONG? (laughs)

It was at the end of RETURN OF THE KING, I was hanging around with a camera a lot with him personally, in the editing room... just around. He said, "On KONG we should use the camera more as like a diary or a confessional or something. Just have it around all of the time so we just get used to addressing it."

So, what he started doing... and this is in late 2003. In late 2003, around October or November we started documenting KONG because that's when the first production meetings were happening. Before RETURN OF THE KING came out. He said, "Hey, just hang around and after every meeting I'll just turn to the camera and talk to the fans for the DVD." You know, like "So, today was the first script meeting and what happened was blah-blah-blah." And we started doing this on a regular basis.

Of course, Peter had a good relationship with Michael Regina and the guys from The One Ring.Net, who started As you know, the website of choice for the cast and crew was TheOneRing.Net. I mean, everybody tuned into that every day.

The way the idea really began was this: We were shooting these kind of weird diary check-in things for the DVD anyway, just a little here and there. It was the first day of the shoot and my cameraman, Adam, was onset that day and Peter thought, and this came up out of the blue... this was not preconceived..., he said, "Why don't we just shoot something and throw it up on" It's a historic moment, it's the first day on set, the very first day of the shooting of Kong. Why not tape something and send it to Michael and he'll throw it up.

So, if you watch it's this little 30 second, "Hey, here we are... it's the first day of shooting... blah-blah-blah." And when he saw it later, he actually regretted... Like, "We should have done something more with this. I think we're on to something here. I think this is going to be fun." And he basically said, "Let's do this..." At first he said, "Let's do it 3 times a week." I was like, "You're literally going to kill us!"

I kinda did the math in my head and I went, "Ho-lee shit! This is a huge project. This is basically the 6 o'clock news. We shoot and 48 hours it's up on the web." You gotta remember, it's has to be conceived, it has to be shot, it has to be edited, approved... it's like a whole production train.

He called and said, "Are you guys ready to host a lot of footage because I'll give you exclusives every week." They were like, "Yeah, sure."

What Peter was doing was so out of the box because usually there's a whole plan... like the first images of the characters, the first images from the shoot are usually exclusives that go out to magazines or to TV stations and it's all pre-arranged. This was like he just blew the door open and went, "Here we go! This is it!"

Even the actors at first were like, "Can you show us this early?" But they got into it because they started seeing them and everybody started watching them, so everybody started coming up with ideas, like, "Oh, let's do this! Let's do that!" Or, "I have an idea! Let's shoot this!"

QUINT: Well, when you have somebody like Jack Black putting his full force into them you get gold. Some of my favorite Diaries are the little comedy sketches taking advantage of the cast's improv... like the "I'm 5 foot Se-ven" diary and Carter Nixon chasing Gandalf... It was a great compliment to the almost real-time day by day walk through of each step of production.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: That was the idea. We liked the STAR WARS webisodes, and Peter did... he thought they were great, but they didn't even come out until, like, 6 months after the movie had wrapped photography. Peter's thing was, "Well, that's okay, but what if you had something that was literally going out to the world as the movie is happening, meaning there is no way for us to predict what's going to happen..." you know what I mean? Like you're tapped right into the pulse, you're literally doing the making of as the movie is being made and putting it out to the world. You're not saving it, you're actually put it out there.

QUINT: I am incredibly lucky to have gotten to spend a lot of time on Peter Jackson's sets and I have to say... What I love about the Production Diaries is they capture a feel of the set and show a lot, but at the same time... they really don't show a lot, you know what I mean?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: That is the tightrope. You know, Peter is a great guy for keeping the surprises. He'd even keep surprises from the cast. You know, when he shows his movies, he gets that giggle, sort of like, "Ooohhh, here they go! They don't know this is coming!"

I have to emphasize, Peter was involved in every single Production Diary, I mean coming up with the ideas, shooting the intros, doing the approvals, while he's making this huge movie, right? It was a very conscious decision with every one we made... what should we show and what should we not show? Remember, it's (Peter's) movie and he was helping make the Production Diaries. He wasn't going to spoil his treat that was coming December 2005. There's no way.

So, there was always all this stuff we had to take out. "Take this out, take that out, take this out, take that out, don't show this, don't show that..." One thing I loved is when people actually said, "I've seen everything now that I've seen the Production Diaries!" I loved it 'cause then it worked! It's actually a satisfying experience, meaning you don't feel like, "These things are kinda cheap, they're really watery thin, they don't show much, they don't say much." You feel like you've seen all this stuff and in reality, you haven't. The whole movie has been saved for you.

The only thing we thought was safe was stuff that was in the original film that people absolutely knew that's going to be in the movie. That was fair game, but all the surprises Peter specifically took out.

QUINT: Was it always your plan to release the Diaries as a separate DVD or were you ever planning on packaging them with the first theatrical DVD like you did the webisodes on the LORD OF THE RINGS DVDs?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Peter and I had always hoped they were going to make it to DVD. Eventually, you know, you want them high quality, in full resolution and you want them packaged together as a set... that was our dream. The fact that Universal was game to do it as their own set was great because as a DVD producer the truth is this: You've got so much stuff that you can show people, but only so many DVDs to do it in, especially on a Peter Jackson film.

Like I was telling you on the LORD OF THE RINGS. Even with all the stuff we have, we didn't have enough room and we knew it. The fact that Universal took out this DVD... first of all, that's kinda cool to get a stand alone treatment. That's never happened for me, ever. I hope people like it because if people like these what it says, it sends a message to the studios that yes, supplements matter. This kind of programming matters, you know what I mean? It isn't just tacked on stuff and people aren't that interested. No, it means that people are actually interested. So, I'm hoping it does well from that point of view.

Like I said, there's so much to be made and there are only so many discs to put it on, so the fact that Universal went and made 2 discs just for this is great because now they definitely have a home, you know what I mean? It could have gone very differently. It could have been, "Well, we're going to put a best of..."

QUINT: (laughs)

MICHAEL PELLERIN: I'm serious. They could have gone that way. Of course, we could only put up 'til the wrap. There's the first 54, it's none of the post-production diaries on there. It's the first 54 because in terms of a DVD, you don't just deliver this stuff and it gets made overnight. It takes a while to get replicated, get put in packages and distributed...

QUINT: And they wanted it in time for release.

MICHAEL PELLERIN: Exactly, so we got as many on there as we could and still get the thing out.

QUINT: Well, it makes a clean break. It would have been really nice to have them together, but I'm really glad that the decision was made to put the Production Diaries in a special package, not just some random insert that you get at Best Buy when you buy 2 DVDs or something. I love the package with the artwork and everything...

MICHAEL PELLERIN: I know. That's something. The packaging they did, which of course Peter personally approved. He is just so involved with everything; the poster, the trailer, the DVD packaging... I mean he literally approves everything. The fact that Universal went to town and made this something special because they could have just thrown in a box, you know what I mean? And saved money! If they were really, really greedy, greedy folks, they would have just put it into a box. That's a lot of money that goes into producing this stuff. They were kind of courageous and said, "Let's make this an event. Let's sink some money into making it a really exceptional package and make it something special."

There are some companies that are like, "What's the bottom line? What's the bottom line? Let's pinch all the pennies so I can keep everything." This is definitely not that.

If anything, you're just glad, as a DVD producer, your stuff gets out there because the longer you wait the less likely it is it's going to surface. You gotta get it out there while the time is right. So, yeah. I'm very happy this happened and I hope it's successful because it sends a really cool message to the studios about this kind of thing, that people like this kind of stuff.

QUINT: What's next after the big monkey?

MICHAEL PELLERIN: We'll see what Peter's up to. I'm sure Peter's going to take a rest and we'll see what he wants to do. Like I said, there's a few projects floating around out there. I don't know if the LORD OF THE RINGS project will happen or not. I mean, we'll see.

In many ways, KONG is like LORD OF THE RINGS 4. Not in terms of the movie or the story, but in terms of what went into it. FELLOWSHIP began and by the time FELLOWSHIP was in its premiere stage and publicity stage they were already on TWO TOWERS, just racing to get that done, then RETURN OF THE KING. KONG ended up being a 3 hour movie like the LORD OF THE RINGS movies and its schedule was exactly the same as the LORD OF THE RINGS schedules. It began right as RETURN OF THE KING went out to the world. This'll be the first time in... well, HALO's going in, but Peter's not directing it, so this is the first time he'll be catching a breath.

So, I'm curious as to what he wants to do. This has been like running full out for years, years... since, like, for us 1999 or whatever it was. I'm definitely looking forward to a little break and going (exhales), "Okay... clear the mind. What's next?"


So, there you have it. I'm very partial to my Production Diaries set. If you dig the movie or have enjoyed the Production Diaries as they hit KongIsKing, you'll dig the DVD set. And I don't know about you, but I want to find out more about what this eventual Anniversary LOTR Set will be. Can you believe that this year marks the 5th Anniversary of FELLOWSHIP? That's crazy. Maybe we'll get a super-HD/Blu-Ray or whatever DVD edition at the end of the year... I just hope New Line gives us the horse penis. That's what the fans want! Who's with me!?!?


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