Hobbit hoax burns Edmonton film producer

Message to the Hobbit Oilsands Hoaxters: The goal of shedding light on the environmental situation in Fort McMurray may be a worthy one – but it does not justify the means of screwing over one guy. Forget politics. We’re talking identity theft.

The guy in question is local film producer Josh Miller, who is annoyed that his name appears to have been used (spelled Joshua Miller) as the president of Black Flood Productions, alleged creators of a hoax video (see below) which depicts scenes from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit being filmed at oilsands sites in Alberta. “This is exactly where we need to shoot Mordor,” the director enthuses in the video.

A lot of important people were sucked in by the prank, including writer/activist Naomi Klein, who, being a girl, couldn’t possibly know that there is no mention of Mordor in The Hobbit. The Jackson quote probably came from interviews for Lord of the Rings, where there was a Mordor that was not anywhere near Fort McMurray.

The real Josh Miller is not amused.

“I don’t even know who they are. I have no idea,” he says. “I’m not happy about it. If you saw your name attached to anything, no matter what the content, and you didn’t put it there, well, it’s not like identity theft, but it’s certainly in the same family.”

Calls to the fake Joshua Miller – presumably the young, male voice heard on Black Flood’s answering machine – were not returned. The phone number is 780.666.2749 (the number of the beast: nice touch). Emails bounced back with “unknown address error 550-‘SITEGROUND: No Such mailbox here.” Peter Jackson’s people quickly denied any involvement. Read the May 29 Calgary Sun column here. Again: There is no Mordor in The Hobbit.

The real Josh – who is president of both the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) and his own company Panacea Entertainment, which has produced feature films and television shows – has a computer friend who’s looking into tracking down the tricksters through their Internet Service Provider (ISP). No luck yet.

“I don’t know what they were trying to accomplish,” Miller says. “If I did have an opinion on this issue and I wanted to publicize it I’ll do it in my own way, in my own time.”