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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Nazgūl Attack

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Philippa: Yeah.

Fran: Which, I think, really shows, more than anything, the kind of scope of his mind…

Philippa: Yeah.

Fran: … and his imaginative scale: that he wasn’t in any way inhibited by the rules of reality, which was his strength, in that sense.

Peter: [The Nazgūl Attack] We tried very hard to not have people confused by Osgiliath and Helm’s Deep, and, you know, it was a tricky situation.

Philippa: My God, we had a map, which pointed the two out! [laughs] It was…

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] I know! Well, that was why that map scene was there.

Philippa: I mean, short of… There’s been –. Some people have hated that we [?] Frodo and Sam out to there, because they’re actually never taken to Osgiliath by…This is a slight – another slight departure, slight departure from the book…

Peter: Yes.

Philippa: … but we had a very good reason, which is: once we knew very early on that we weren’t going to be able to fit Shelob into Film Two, a decision was made very early on – we needed to drive Frodo and Sam’s story towards some kind of climax. For all those people that, sort of, have a problem with this, I think you just need to play out the story in your mind without this sequence for Frodo and Sam, and you’ll see how suddenly their story lacked the dramatic tension, lacks urgency.

Peter: Yeah.

Philippa: [Sam: “Do you want to know what happened to Boromir?”] And it gives Sam this wonderful moment, this wonderful speech here. It gives Sam a few wonderful speeches, actually.

Peter: I mean, there was never really any possibility that Shelob could go in this story, because…

Philippa: No.

Peter: … the intercutting of Helm’s Deep with Shelob was just never going to work, and I think when people see ‘The Return of the King’, and see that whole sequence playing itself out up to Shelob, you’ll realise why none of that could really fit into the end of ‘The Two Towers’. It was just too much. [Philippa agrees]

Philippa: I mean, once we made the decision that Faramir was going to have a much more difficult decision than he does in the book, this was always where we were going to end up, really.

Fran: But Frodo’s descent into despair [Philippa: Yeah.] and his desire to present himself, if you like, to the Enemy –

Philippa: [at same time as Fran] Expose himself, yeah.

Fran: – I mean, that he’s drawn to the Witch-king when he appears at Minas Morgul – which is in the book – it’s just a very small part of ‘The Two Towers’: it’s only a small passage, but that’s really what inspired…

Philippa: [in agreement] Mmm.

Fran: … this sequence here, and in that sense, it’s true to it.

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: It’s just being made much larger.

Philippa: It’s a slight departure.

Fran: There were decisions that we had made with ‘The Two Towers’ that we’d made two or three years prior to finishing the film, and some of them were quite radical decisions, like the Elves arriving at Helm’s Deep: that was not a decision we could reverse, too.

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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.