Lee’s Excalibur of Lord of the Rings

John Boorman attempted a film adaption of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and settled for making the movie ‘Excalibur’. My kindred, Christopher Lee, played Saruman and Scaramanga in ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’.  Lee is the step-cousin of Ian Fleming, via Harcourt Rose. Lee and Ian played golf together. On October 1, 2019 I changed Victoria Bond’s ancestor chart to make her kin to Harcourt Rose. Christopher met Tolkien in a pub. Boorman made a anti-Bond movie starring Brosman.

On a James Bond facebook group I suggested we author a letter to Barbara Broccoli and bid her to join the search for drug that would decrease the danger of the coronavirus and allow movie theaters to open. This morning I found out my, Christopher’s and Fleming’s kindred, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, smuggled drugs to victims of AIDS and helped come up with a HIV drug that looks promising to coronavirus patients.

I suggest the formation of ‘The Knights of the Rose Theatre’ a group of movie lovers who will help reopen theatres near them, and deliver in person pertinent information on the best ways to be safe.

John Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press

EXTRA! After posting the above I decided to add what I took out. This morning I discovered that Christopher Lee is kin to Fleming via Harcourt Rose. I was blown away because – for some reason I changed Victoria Bond’s genealogy to have her descend from Rose. I have found my own Rose Line and wanted Lara Roozemond to play Victoria. This name is thee Dutch spelling of Rosemond. Gottschalk Rosemond is a possible ancestor of Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor whose husband, Sir Richard Burton, was Fleming’s choice to star in his first Bond movie. Richard and Liz have been knighted as has Lee who did not know of his link to Taylor that appeared when I tested my DNA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tailor_of_Panama_(film)

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-2001-04-24-0104230295-story.html

Q: Of all the jokes in this, perhaps the best is casting Pierce Brosnan as “the anti-Bond” spy. Any trouble talking him into that?

Boorman: We both had our doubts because of the baggage he brings to the role. He’s nurtured that image, but he’s said that he’s sick of playing those smooth, bland heroic figures. He was very keen to get his teeth into some red meat. He told me that he’s always seen himself as a character actor. But he just happened to be born into this beautiful body.

“Seriously? Are you seriously linking Zardoz to Bond? (Aside from the obvious Connery connection). Then linking that to Corona and Trump.

Stinks of desperation if you ask me.”

I see Zed as a deliberate Virus put in the shielded vortex to crash and destroy it. What about the pandemic being spread in Her Secretive Service. Edgar Allan Poe wrote.
The Masgue of The Red Death. Fleming is kin to Liz Taylor via Aileen Getty. Both women championed AIDS cure that is a possible treatment for coronavirus. Hollywood and the stars have a stellar history of helping mankind overcome diseases..and dictators. Consider Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Why don’t we found a grassroots org. and write a letter to Broccoli telling her we want to safely help open theatres for the Bond premiere, and, would she support AIDS.

“Please! Stop! We promise to be good girls from now on. Can I have my reality back, now? Why are you saying Saruman is my grandfather?”

“You poor dear. I am saying the actor Christopher Lee is your grandfather. Your grandmother is Henrietta Von Rosen. They had a illegitimate daughter, who is your mother.”

“I thought Teresa Bond was my mother.”

“Ah – no! James Bond is a myth. Your kin, Ian Fleming based James on the exploits of Christopher, whose mother was married Harcourt George Saint-Croix Rose, the uncle of Fleming. Christopher and Ian are step-cousins. Both men served in Intelligence. They were working Eric Von Rosen who had formed a special Nazi cult that was appealing to the Saxon race. This movement still exsists. This is why Ian created James Bond. THEY could see James doing the Irish Jig all around them. It froze them in their tracks. They have been guessing at what realty is for over forty years. Fiction is a great weapon.

“Now, for the real shocking news. Doctor. Can you please stay? Miram Starfish Christling descends from Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia. Her husband helped murder Rasputin.”

https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Rose-Family-Tree-5749

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Rose-5749

https://rosamondpress.com/2019/10/01/the-rose-line-of-victoria-bond/

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A company in Vancouver, Wash., says it is making great progress with an experimental HIV drug it developed that has now turned into a possible COVID-19 treatment.

The company, CytoDyn, says the drug Leronlimab has been administered to more than 30 people. Many, even some severe cases, are seeing incredible improvements.

https://komonews.com/news/coronavirus/vancouver-companys-hiv-drug-shows-promise-as-coronavirus-treatment

Elizabeth Taylor’s status as a heroine of activism for HIV/Aids is already well-known – she chaired the first-ever US fundraiser for the disease, and famously persuaded President Ronald Reagan to take it seriously. But according to a close friend of the late actor, Taylor’s efforts went further still.

In a US TV interview to coincide with World Aids Day, Kathy Ireland has described how Taylor ran a Los Angeles equivalent of the famous Dallas Buyers Club, procuring experimental and still illegal Aids treatment drugs to distribute from her Bel Air home in the early 1990s.

Taylor’s scheme was a “west coast buyers club”, said Ireland, a model-turned businesswoman, referring to the Texas operation run by early Aids patient Ron Woodroof, who was played by Matthew McConaughey in the 2013 film.

Taylor used her Bel Air home as “a safe house” during the early era of HIV infections, when the illness was little understood and much stigmatised, Ireland told Entertainment Tonight.

“A lot of the work that she did, it was illegal, but she was saving lives,” Ireland said. “She said her business associates pleaded with her, ‘Leave this thing alone.’ She received death threats; friends hung up on her when she asked for help. But something that I love about Elizabeth is her courage.”

Taylor used her own money to fund the operation, according to Ireland, who said: “She would sell jewellery, there [were] transfers of money, sometimes there would be a paper bag and there would be money [in it].”

Dallas Buyers Club recounted the many run-ins with police experienced by Woodroof as he tried to source and distribute powerful but then unapproved drugs after his HIV diagnosis in 1985. Ireland said Taylor was aware she too could have been caught and prosecuted for her activities.

“She thought she might but she wasn’t afraid,” Ireland said. “She’d go to jail for it. Elizabeth and fear? Not in the same sentence. Fearless.”

Ireland also recounted Taylor’s previously reported visits to see people with Aids: “She would go quietly, with no media, with no press, she would go in to a hospice and she would hug patients who had just not felt that human contact.”

Taylor, who died in 2011 aged 79, was among the earliest, most prominent and bravest advocates for research and treatment connected to HIV. She also sought to counter the negative connotations of a new and frightening disease then associated principally with gay men. In 1985, with several friends already gravely ill, she agreed to chair the first major benefit event for Aids, the LA-based Commitment to Life dinner.

Later that year Taylor became the spokeswoman and chair for what was to become the American Foundation for Aids Research (Amfar), later founding her own HIV/Aids charity. Two years later she managed to persuade her former Hollywood friend Reagan to make a major speech about the illness.

Reagan had initially been wary of any connection to HIV, despite his friendship with many actors. Earlier this year it emerged that his wife, Nancy, had refused to assist Taylor’s friend Rock Hudson with getting better treatment when he fell ill in Paris in 1985.

But two years later, after Taylor wrote to him personally, Reagan gave the keynote address to Amfar’s annual fundraising dinner.

In a 1992 Vanity Fair interview conducted in the same Bel Air home referred to by Ireland, described as “a surprisingly modest ranch-style number”, Taylor conceded her initial HIV activism was greeted by hostility from some people – but she nonetheless wanted to use her immense fame for good.

“I decided that with my name I could open certain doors, that I was a commodity in myself – and I’m not talking as an actress,” she said. “I could take the fame I’d resented and tried to get away from for so many years – but you can never get away from it – and use it to do some good. I wanted to retire, but the tabloids wouldn’t let me. So I thought, ‘If you’re going to screw me over, I’ll use you.’”

She also had some very personal reasons for her activism, including her friendship with Hudson, whose Aids diagnosis was confirmed shortly before his death in 1985. Hudson kept his sexuality a secret during a long career as a ruggedly handsome heart-throb, and his acknowledgement of the disease significantly boosted public awareness.

Taylor’s personal secretary, Roger Wall, to whom she was very close, killed himself in 1991 after contracting HIV, with Taylor calling his death “one of the biggest losses of my life”. Around the same time it also emerged that Taylor’s daughter-in-law Aileen Getty was HIV positive.

Taylor’s activism continued. In the early 1990s she shamed President George Bush by telling an international convention on HIV/Aids: “I don’t think President Bush is doing anything at all about Aids. In fact, I’m not even sure if he knows how to spell Aids.”

Such bravery came in part from the insulation of extreme, lifelong fame, Taylor said, telling the Vanity Fair interview: “I don’t give a shit what people think.”

In the same interview, she almost alluded to the practices discussed by Ireland in describing her talents as an activist: “I’m a great hustler, a good con artist – in fact, one of the best. There’s certain things only I can do.”

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A company in Vancouver, Wash., says it is making great progress with an experimental HIV drug it developed that has now turned into a possible COVID-19 treatment.

The company, CytoDyn, says the drug Leronlimab has been administered to more than 30 people. Many, even some severe cases, are seeing incredible improvements.

https://komonews.com/news/coronavirus/vancouver-companys-hiv-drug-shows-promise-as-coronavirus-treatment

https://nbcpalmsprings.com/2020/05/05/hiv-treatment-to-be-tested-on-covid-19-patients/

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/dec/03/elizabeth-taylor-dallas-buyers-club-hiv-aids-drugs-ring

Francisco Scaramanga is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the James Bond novel and film version of The Man with the Golden Gun. Scaramanga’s signature weapon is a golden gun. In the novel, the character is nicknamed “Pistols” Scaramanga and is also called “Paco” (a Spanish diminutive of Francisco).[1] In the film, the character was played by Christopher Lee (the real-life step-cousin of James Bond creator Ian Fleming).[2]

As for the family ties with Ian Fleming, they weren’t exactly cousins. After his parents’ divorce, his mother, the Contessa, married a banker, Harcourt Rose, whose sister was Fleming’s mother. He and Fleming became friends. “I used to play golf with him, and I remember him asking me on the links if I wanted to play Dr No, which was about to go into production. But by the time he got round to mentioning it to [Bond producers] Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, they’d cast another actor.”

Fleming, alas, was long dead by the time Lee played Scaramanga. But he feels he did the character’s creator proud. “Scaramanga was a real name, he didn’t make it up. It was a boy at Eton he disliked intensely.” Roger Moore played Bond in that film, and I wonder whether Moore might have hit it off with Fleming better than the original Bond, Sean Connery, did. Connery, I tell Lee, was recently quoted as saying that Fleming was a dreadful snob.

An arched eyebrow again. “Ian could be very acid, certainly. But I’m guessing Ian wasn’t enamoured of Sean, either. I do remember a quote to the effect that he didn’t think of James Bond as a former bodybuilder and coffin polisher. But I don’t know whether he disliked Sean’s performance, and even if I did know, I would never say so. Please don’t say that I said so. You raised it. I’m not making any further comment.”

Lee glares at me, Saruman, Dooku, Dracula, Fu Manchu and Scaramanga suddenly rolled into one. Then he rises slowly from his chair and, with a gracious smile, extends a large, mottled hand. “How nice to meet you,” he says. Likewise.

In the mid-1970s, director John Boorman planned a film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, collaborating with his colleague Rospo Pallenberg and the current film rights holder and producer Saul Zaentz. Produced by United Artists, it would have been one long movie with an intermission.

In the script, written by Boorman and Pallenberg, many things were changed and/or added. The first half is largely based on The Fellowship of the Ring. Following the intermission, the writers “dropped things out” and “invented as they went along”.

Among other things, Frodo and Galadriel have sex, the Witch-king rides a horse whose “live, raw, bleeding flesh is exposed” in lieu of a flying fell beast, and Aragorn uses both shards of Narsil with the hilt-less half having a makeshift leather handle (before they are reattached).

The project ultimately proved too expensive to finance at that time. Boorman ended up making the Arthurian epic Excalibur instead, also with Pallenberg’s help – where in a draft for that movie’s script they use similar concepts.

A copy of the script currently resides in Marquette University‘s Tolkien collection.

[edit] Excerpt

From John Boorman‘s Autobiography “Money Into Light”:

“After I made “Leo the Last” for United Artists, they asked me what I wanted to do next. I gave them a treatment I had written about Merlin. David Picker, then in charge of production, did not respond to Merlin, but asked me instead to make “The Lord of the Rings,” the film rights of which they had bought without having any idea what to do with it. Tolkien’s work stirs a great brew of Norse, Celtic and Arthurian myth, the “Unterwelt” of my own mind. It was a heady, impossible proposition. If film-making for me is, as I have often said, exploration, setting oneself impossible problems and failing to solve them, then the Rings saga qualifies on all counts.

I had met Rospo Pallenberg in New York, where he was working as an architect. He was trying to write scripts. I recognized a fellow spirit. I brought him to my home in Ireland and we spent six months delving with dwarfs, wallowing with the Gollum, tramping Middle-Earth with Bilbo, but, most of all, Gandalf filled my life. He was, after all, Merlin in another guise.

Apart form the prodigious and daunting task of making a two-and-a-half-hour script from the three enormous volumes, many technical problems had to be solved as we went along, especially ways to render the magical effects. This was long before the Star Wars saga, a time when optical special-effects practice had wasted away through lack of usage all over the world. I had always had a fascination for the magic and trickery of the cinema from Georges Melies onwards. During this period I studied the techniques of the past and then experimented with modern technology to see how it could be applied.

Rospo pasted every page of “The Lord of the Rings” on to four walls in a room in my house in Ireland. We worked in that room, literally inside the book. He made charts of characters, chronologies and elaborate cross-references. We also devised a map of Middle-Earth and we had counters to represent the movement of characters across it. After six months of intensive work we had a script that we felt was fresh and cinematic, yet carried the spirit of Tolkien, a spirit we had come to admire and cherish during those months. It was a good and wondrous time. The valley in the Wicklow hills outside of Dublin where my house sits is as close to Middle-Earth as you can get in this depleted world.

During these six months, United Artists had suffered setbacks, a string of commercial failures including my own Leo the Last. It was 1970. The latest crop of British films had failed in the States. Hollywood’s love affair with swinging London was over. American producers were packing their bags and looking for stories set in Denver and Philadelphia.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ was an expensive project dependent on innovative special effects. By the time we submitted it to United Artist, the executive who had espoused it had left the company. No one else there had actually read the book. They were baffled by a script that, for most of them, was their first contact with Middle-Earth. I was shattered when they rejected it. Marty Elfant was my agent at the time. We took it to Disney and other places, but no one would do it. Tolkien had sold the film rights, reluctantly, to set up a trust for his grandchildren. He wrote asking me how I intended to make the film. I explained that it would be live-action and he was much relieved. He had a dread that it would be an animation film and was comforted by my reply. His death spared him the eventual outcome: UA gave it to Ralph Bakshi, the animator (To gain full artistic control for Bakshi’s approach, Boorman’s script was purchased by UA, for a reputed $3 million) . I could never bring myself to watch the result.

Despite my disappointment at the time, it was a rich and valuable experience. It certainly prepared the ground for the script that Rospo and I eventually wrote and filmed as “Excalibur.” It was also a big influence on Zardoz. Many of the special-effects techniques I developed at that time were put to work on “The Heretic,” “Zardoz” and “Excalibur,” and some of the locations I intended for “The Lord of the Rings” found their way into “Excalibur.”

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee CBE (19222015)[1]was an English actor, who portrayed Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, The Hobbit film trilogy, and read the The Children of Húrin audiobook.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Life

Lee had a long history with Tolkien‘s fiction; he read The Hobbit after leaving the Royal Air Force in 1945, and since The Fellowship of the Ring came out, he read all Tolkien’s books once a year. Lee also had the experience of actually meeting Tolkien in person (making him the only individual involved in the film trilogies to do so) while visiting The Eagle and Child during the 1950s:

We were sitting there talking and drinking beer, and someone said, “Oh, look who walked in.” It was Professor Tolkien, and I nearly fell off my chair. I didn’t even know he was alive. He was a benign looking man, smoking a pipe, walking in, an English countryman with earth under his feet. And he was a genius, a man of incredible intellectual knowledge. He knew somebody in our group. He (the man in the group) said “Oh Professor, Professor…” And he came over. And each one of us, well I knelt of course, each one of us said “how do you do?” And I just said “Ho.. How.. How…”
[2]

Lee always envisioned himself as being Gandalf, so when he read that Peter Jackson would be adapting his bedside book, he immediately called his agent.

[edit] Jackson

Although he realized he was too old to play Gandalf, he read the part. He did not get it, but was called back as Saruman instead. He had never been in a movie with the actual Gandalf, Sir Ian McKellen, but the two quickly became friends, being the oldest actors on the set (though Lee was 17 years older). When McKellen was cast as Gandalf, Lee was 78 years old and McKellen was 61.

Lee shot most of his scenes in Wellington, in the main studio, but also shot one scene in Wellington’s national park. He visited New Zealand four times, the longest time being ten weeks. He later did some post-synching in London.

While jet-lagged, Lee broke his hand smashing it against a wall. Several shots of him in the finished films show him carefully hiding this bandaged left hand.

[edit] Other projects

Known for his booming voice, Christopher Lee has sung operas, and performed with the Tolkien Ensemble on their CDs At Dawn in Rivendell and Leaving Rivendell. He sang the role of Treebeard, as well as reciting numerous other poems.

Lee has recounted his life and his connections with Tolkien’s work in the foreword to Chris Smith‘s The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare, and in chapter 74, titled “Spellbinder”, of his autobiography, Lord of Misrule.

Lee agreed to reprise his role as Saruman for The Hobbit film series on the condition that, due to his age, he did not have to fly out to New Zealand to be filmed.

[edit] Roles

Wogan’s programme once, with John Gardner, who was the first man to get permission to write new Bond novels. Ian Fleming was my cousin, you know. He was in naval intelligence. And my sister worked for Ultra [the top secret code-breaking enterprise based at Bletchley Park] in the war. I didn’t know until years later. Anyway, Terry Wogan said, ‘Of course, you were a spy, weren’t you?’ I said, ‘Terry, do you mind if I stand up?’ I stood up. And I said, ‘Do you consider that I would blend inconspicuously into a crowd?’ A spy?” (Lee makes the word “spy” last several seconds, using all his actorly prowess to convey the absurdity of the suggestion.) “I wasn’t a spy. I’d have been spotted in five seconds. Yes, I was in intelligence, but that covered a multitude of things.”

His own ancestry was cited by his cousin as a reason for him to go into the dramatic arts. “He said to me, ‘Your great-grandparents founded the first opera company in Australia, in the 1850s.’ There had been seven children of that marriage, five girls and two boys, and one of the boys was my mother’s father, my grandfather. My great-grandmother was born in London, the daughter of a Brixton coachman, and became the most famous singer in Australia. Her name was Marie Carandini, Madame Carandini.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/prince-of-darkness-a-rare-audience-with-sir-christopher-lee-1727293.html

chance of my getting back to Corridor of Mirrors, let alone moving on to Lord of the Rings. “In Stockholm in ’51 someone heard me singing, and said, ‘You have a voice, what are you doing with it?’ I said that I was learning to be an actor. He said, ‘That’s a waste of time. You must use the instrument you were given. Come to the Opera House tomorrow at 11am.’ The man who said all this was the greatest tenor of the day, the Caruso of Sweden, a man called Jussi Bjorling. But if I’d been a singer I wouldn’t still be singing now, whereas, thank God, touch wood, I’ve got four films out soon.”

While he is looking around for a piece of wood to touch, I seize my chance to get a word in edgeways, asking Lee to tell me more about his parents. His mother was Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano, a celebrated Edwardian beauty. His father was Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Trollope Lee. They separated when he was four years old, but it is perhaps no wonder that their only son should have had a life of distinction.

“On the Italian side we can trace the family back 2,000 years,” he says. “I have a cousin in Rome, a famous archaeologist, Count Andrea Carandini, who was in Lombardy and came across some pottery with the original name of the family, Carandinus, painted on it. Andrea has found many of our ancestors, who were cardinals and heaven only knows what else, but 2,000 years ago they made chariots for the Roman army.”

And what of his father’s side?

“My father’s family can we traced back to 1400. I’ve been told by gypsies that there is unmistakeably gypsy blood in me. Lee is a gypsy name, you know.”

“Gypsy Rose Lee,” I venture, witlessly.

“Well, that wasn’t her name. I did a film with her and Paulette Goddard. Babes in Baghdad [1952]. A terrible picture. No, my father was in the 60th King’s Own Rifles. He fought in the Boer War, where he was recommended for a Victoria Cross. In the First World War he was the first British officer to be put in charge of Australian troops, and he took them to the Somme, where they seized a village, Posieres, that nobody else had taken. My father was decorated with a Croix de Guerre by Marshal Foch, and later he got the Order of the Nile from the Egyptians. I never found out how. He said he got it for playing chess with King Fuad. But he died very young, at 62 years of age, of double pneumonia and pleurisy. It was 1941, and they didn’t have the drugs.”

His sister, the wartime code-breaker, was five years older than him. “Sadly she is gone now. I sometimes think the saddest thing in my life is that there is nobody alive today with whom I can have a ‘remember when?’ conversation. The last one died with Peter Cushing. We used to meet up and talk like characters out of a cartoon strip. I was Sylvester the cat and he was Spike the bulldog. We used to dissolve into gales of laughter. He was a wonderful man and a dear friend. I loved him very much.”

https://rosamondpress.com/2017/01/13/christopher-steele-james-bond/

https://rosamondpress.com/2013/02/10/aileen-liz-talitha/

https://rosamondpress.com/2020/04/04/in-her-majesties-secret-service-and-coronavirus/

https://rosamondpress.com/2020/04/04/victoria-bond-as-andromeda/

https://rosamondpress.com/2019/12/10/greyhaven-4/

https://rosamondpress.com/2019/10/01/the-rose-line-of-victoria-bond/

https://rosamondpress.com/2020/04/12/ember-rosamond-dew/

https://rosamondpress.com/2020/01/31/john-astor-coresponds-with-thomas-jefferson/

https://mashable.com/2015/06/11/christopher-lee-lord-of-the-rings/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/prince-of-darkness-a-rare-audience-with-sir-christopher-lee-1727293.html

https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-10182-2200315/harcourt-rose-in-biographical-summaries-of-notable-people

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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