Co-Producer and Additional Second Unit Director on Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Porras' responsibilities included assisting in the direction of Secondary Scenes, management of Three-Dimensional Animated Storyboarding, and overseeing Music and Budgeting.
Rick Porras was born in Palo Alto, California in 1969 and attended the Gunn High School. He then went on to enroll at Stanford University and it was here that he had his first taste of filmmaking. During his Junior Year he saw an advert by a Graduate Student, Ellen Bruno, asking for assistance with a documentary called ‘Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia‘. He graduated from Stanford in 1989 earning a History Degree and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career. His main ambition was to be a Producer; not as a Backer, but as a Production Co-ordinator, organizing Budgets to research of Historical facts.
He worked doing odd jobs for over a year sleeping on friends’ floors and sofas. In 1991, his luck changed and he had his first break when a fellow Stanford student, Michael Lopez, introduced him to Cammie Morgan of FilmLine International. Rick was taken on as a buyer, his duties included viewing films that were for sale and reading screenplays and attending international festivals and markets. During his six months with FilmLine Rick became acquainted with influential Production Assistances, including some who worked for Frank Marshall and Steven Spielberg of Amblin Entertainment, forerunner of DreamWorks. Rick said that if Michael Lopez hadn’t passed his name on he would never had made such quick progress.
‘The people who choose your fate are the Assistants’ he says.
Although Amblin were only hiring people with a film degree, he was recommended to Robert Zemeckis who needed a Production Assistant. This turned into a long friendship with Zemeckis, whose films include ‘Forrest Gump‘, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ and ‘Cast Away‘, and Steve Starkey who also worked on ‘Forrest Gump‘. He assisted Zemeckis for eight months when he was asked to assist in the production of the film noir, “The Public Eye” (1992) and then onto other productions including the “Death Becomes Her.” (1992)
It was whilst working on ‘Forrest Gump’ that he managed to utilise his History Degree by doing much of the research needed to give authenticity to the film, which went onto win Best Picture Oscar in 1994.
1997 saw his return to the USA, working as Associate Producer on the Sci-Fi film, “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster, but his heart longed for New Zealand and Melissa. Rick says “I remember being in his trailer on location and hearing that Peter Jackson was going to do ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and saying, ‘I realized it would be an amazing project and an opportunity to spend more time in New Zealand.” Peter Jackson asked Rick to act as co-producer of the “Rings” films and he enthusiastically agreed although realising it would be a daunting commitment
Rick is currently doing production work on the remainder of the trilogy and says he wasn’t even a Rings fan growing up and that it was while he was a student at Stanford University that he first encountered Tolkien’s books saying “I had a summer job working in the library just moving books around, and one day I came across these old volumes of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. I blew the dust off the first one and sat there and read through lunch. I spent the next few days hiding out and reading each book beginning to end” and never suspecting he would one day be involved in creating a major film trilogy on the work. He says, that ‘he and other creative principals kept Tolkien’s books close at hand to ensure that the subtle tweaks and abridgements necessary for the story to work on screen did not compromise the spirit or messages of the original work‘.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (co-producer)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) (co-producer)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (co-producer: WingNut Films)
Contact (1997) (associate producer)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (additional unit director)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) (additional unit director)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (additional second unit director) (uncredited)
Forrest Gump (1994) (archival research coordinator)
The Public Eye (1992) (assistant: Mr. Zemeckis) (as Richard 'Spike' Porras)
Death Becomes Her (1992) (production associate)
The Frighteners (1996) (post-production supervisor)
Forrest Gump (1994) (post-production supervisor)
King Kong (2005) .... Gunner
Big Dreams Little Tokyo (2006) (special thanks)
No Fate But What We Make: 'Terminator 2' and the Rise of Digital Effects (2003) (V) (special thanks)
Recreating the Eighth Wonder: The Making of 'King Kong' (2006) (V) .... Himself
Ringens disipler (2004)
From Book to Script: Finding the Story (2003) (V) .... Himself
More: Rick Porras on IMDb