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EE Commentary Transcripts
Forth Eorlingas

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Peter: Because we’d shot so much footage.

Fran: Because there were too many Elves at Helm’s Deep! [laughs]

Peter: We were locked into it.

Fran: That we were locked into it! There were decisions we made about Faramir that –. If we’d had more perspective and time, maybe we would have tried different things with his story.

Peter: It’s a process in which we arrived at the final shape of ‘The Two Towers’ in a series of stages: it would have been preferable to have more time in pre-production to really revise the script two or three more times, but as it was, we shot a very early version of the script – comparatively – you know; we then looked at what we shot; we then decided things were working in some areas, not working in others; decisions we’d made were either good or bad. We’d then look at the bad decisions and we’d try to shoot pick-ups to rectify those; but you were, sort of, building on what you’d already done, and weren’t able to clear the slate and start again, or you weren’t able to really look at it with a totally fresh point of view: you were having to adapt what you’d already shot. It was always a bit difficult as to know the geography between the castle – the Hornburg – and the Caves themselves, but we figured that the Caves are just through the back of the door in a, you know, a tunnel into the Mountains, and they’re not that far away.

Philippa: [Théoden: “What can Men do against such reckless hate?”] Great lines from the book.

Peter: I always liked this moment: I like the way that Viggo plays this: it’s… He just does it brilliantly.

Philippa: [in agreement] Mmm.

Peter: The look on his face, it’s like he’s remembered, and now we’re going to get reminded of it here. It’s just –. I like the way that he’s totally reliant upon Gandalf: that he trusts Gandalf: that if Gandalf says, “I will be back” –

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Mmm. It’s about trust.

Peter: – “I will be back then,” Aragorn is prepared to put everything on the line because he feels that Gandalf is not going to let him down.

Fran: I think it’s an inspired moment of heroism, too.

Peter: Yeah.

Philippa: Mmm.

Fran: That with or without Gandalf, he will never give up, or give in to despair.

Peter: Yeah… Yeah.

Philippa: Yeah. He had his darkest hour. He’s through it now.

Fran: [Gimli ascends to blow the horn, screen cap] I love this shot!

Philippa: The great horn.

Peter: This was another interesting, sort of, concept of this big horn that’s supposed to be in the tower of Helm’s Deep: Gimli blows into this thing and the whole tower reverberates with this, the horn of Helm Hammerhand. (beat) [Théoden: “Forth Eorlingas!”] This was kind of fun, because the set was built in a studio we had in Park Road, and the horses just galloped straight out of the door of the studio and across the road to the California Garden Centre! [Philippa laughs] Because they couldn’t stop and we had to have –.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter, laughing] Oh, really?

Peter: The road had to be cordoned off because they were just, like, galloping right out of the door onto the street: there was no room in the studio to stop them [Peter and Philippa laugh] and at the end of the hall, just went right out of the roller door onto the road!

Philippa: Into the Garden Centre!

Peter: Into the California Garden Centre. [Philippa and Fran laugh] (beat) [screen cap] This was a pretty amazing shot: this was a really tricky one to do. This is one of Weta’s utter nightmares, where all the horses were real, except we had to add CG-Uruk-hai to feel like they were being trampled underfoot. We also didn’t really have adequate close-ups of Aragorn reacting to Gandalf, and so we stole the shots of him from a couple of other places in the film. We… His turn and his look up was actually a reaction to Haldir’s death, and then saying “Gandalf” was back in the hall when he was looking at the sunlight coming through the window, and we had to take those two shots of Viggo, chop them out of the background he was originally in and put him against a background that represented the outside of the Hornburg here.

Philippa: [The Rohirrim congregate behind Gandalf and Éomer] Another slight departure from the book, but one – which I note with great interest – nobody ever worries about.

Peter: Because this is really Erkenbrand, is it?

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: A guy called Erkenbrand. You see, people that don’t… never read the book, this is…

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] And Éomer is always in Helm’s Deep and fighting side-by-side [Peter: Right.], and great, huge irony that nobody’s ever worried about this, but they did worry –.

Fran: It’s because we committed much bigger sins.

Philippa: I know… Well, did we? I don’t know…

Peter: Well, that’s the whole plan: [Philippa: I suspect –.] you commit a few big crimes and it takes everyone’s eye away from the small ones.

Philippa: Off the small crime.

Peter: It’s like a clever little detour.

Philippa: We could be, like… could do courses in criminal screenwriting.

Fran: [laughing] Crimes against the book!

Philippa: [laughing] Crimes Against the Books 101!

Peter: The shots of them galloping down the shale-slide are entirely CG: it’s a miniature of Helm’s Deep that we’re using, but it’s CG-horses, CG-Uruk-hai, it’s all very… artificial! [laughs] I guess is the word I’m after! [Philippa and Fran laugh] Fake! Fake is the real word!

Fran: [?]

The Flooding of Isengard >>

The Lord of the Rings and its content does not belong to me, it is property of the Tolkien Estate;  the commentaries transcribed here, as well as the images used, are the property of New Line Cinema.