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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Cannes preview for Rings
Director Peter Jackson (right) with stars Christopher Lee and Liv Tyler in Cannes
Director Peter Jackson (right) with stars Lee and Tyler
A select band of film industry members and journalists have been given a 20-minute preview of the first Lord of the Rings movie at a chateau outside Cannes.

Props ands parts of the set from Middle Earth - the fictional realm where the story is based - provided atmosphere for the 300 guests.

Most of the cast were flown in for the event, which took place in tight security.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The first instalment will be released in December
The film - due out in December - is the first instalment of a trilogy based on JRR Tolkien's epic novels and stars Liv Tyler, Christopher Lee, Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett.

Friday's screening was held at the hill-top Chateau Castellaras, built in 1927, which is normally a 150-a-night hotel.

Pieces of the set from the much-anticipated fantasy film were shipped to France from New Zealand, where filming has been taking place.

All the cast apart from Cate Blanchett were said to be attending. It also stars Sean Bean, Elijah Wood and Ian Holm.

'Small part'

The trilogy of novels has been filmed back to back and will be released as three movies over the next few years.

The first instalment - The Fellowship of the Ring - is reported to have cost more than $100m (70m) to make.

Actress Uma Thurman
Thurman: New film is set in the Chelsea Hotel
Also promoting a film was Uma Thurman, star of Pulp Fiction and Dangerous Liaisons.

The actress told a press conference she had enjoyed working with her husband Ethan Hawke, who has directed her latest film Chelsea Walls.

"I had a small part so that proves that sleeping with the director does not open all the doors as wide as you may like," she joked.

She added: "He was a little bossy on the set, more than he is allowed to be at home.

"It was great fun and inspiring and we are still together, the ring is still on the finger."

Chelsea Walls, which is to receive its first screening in Cannes on Friday night, tells the story of a group of artists living in the famous Chelsea Hotel, in New York.

New scenes

Another highlight of the festival came on Thursday when an extended version of Francis Ford Coppola's classic Vietnam war movie Apocalypse Now was screened.

With an added 53 minutes - taking its running time to three-and-a-half hours - Apocalypse Now Redux features unseen footage of a wild orgy in a helicopter and a 25-minute love scene featuring actor Martin Sheen.

Apocalypse Now director Francis Ford Coppola
Coppola: Won Palme d'Or in 1979
A fighting scene filmed during a typhoon has also been added. Despite the weather, the director insisted filming continued, saying: "There is rain that no machine can make."

The original version of Apocalypse Now won the festival's main prize, the Palme d'Or, in 1979.

The new version is not entered in this year's competition.

The three films shown in competition on Thursday included the Iranian Qandahar, which one critic predicted will be among the top three of the festival.

The 12-day festival was opened on Wednesday by Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

But despite much hype, it received only a lukewarm reception from critics.

The festival ends on 20 May.

The BBC's Rosie Millard
rounds up the day's events in Cannes

Festival diary

Films in focus

The lowdown


See also:

10 May 01 | Entertainment
10 May 01 | Entertainment
08 May 01 | Entertainment
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
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