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EE Commentary Transcripts
A Long-Expected Party

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Peter: A big scene like the Hobbit party, is one of those scenes when you get all of your friends and family to come along to be extras. It’s a lot of fun: they get to wear funny clothes and wigs, and there’s quite a few of our family involved in this scene. I know that there’s a shot of Fran’s uncle, Tom – [Hobbit-man holding a mug walks towards a hobbit-woman] there he is there, that’s Fran’s uncle – and my cousin Jill pops up at some stage around here. That’s Fran’s Uncle Tom again, shaking Ian Holm’s hand, and I remember this was a lot of fun to shoot on this day; we shot this over about two or three days, and we needed three cameras, so I got to operate one of the cameras, so a few of the shots of the dancing and the partying is actually me filming it, which was a lot of fun: I’ve always loved operating cameras, and I don’t do it quite as often as what I’d like.

Philippa: If you look very closely at the band who –. There’s several shots you’ll see that Billy Boyd is actually playing bass guitar [laughs].

Peter: [Cute Hobbit Kids] And there’s another little family cameo: the two hobbit-children that you see there are actually Fran and my two children.

Philippa: This scene was –.

Peter: The cutest Hobbits [Philippa laughs] in Hobbiton.

Philippa: It actually originally was five minutes longer than that, of course!

Peter: Oh, yes! [Philippa laughs]

Philippa: Actually, there’s an interesting bit of trivia in here: in all three films, every single actor was wigged, except for one character, and that was Billy Jackson, who had the perfect Hobbit hair, and never had to be wigged, but everybody else you see is wearing a wig.

Peter: There are supposed to be a hundred and forty-four Hobbits at Bilbo’s party, and I think due to budgetary constraints [Philippa laughs] that we had about a hundred.

Philippa: It’s one gross.

Peter: Don’t count them too closely, because you might find that there’s a few missing [Philippa laughs].

Philippa: It was one gross of Hobbits.

Peter: Oh, right.

Philippa: As Tolkien put it.

Peter: [Bilbo hears Lobelia] This is a little piece that got trimmed out of the theatrical version: it’s the return of the Sackville-Bagginses back into our story; after Bilbo says hi to Mrs. Bracegirdle, he just gets wind that his feared relatives are on the prowl, trying to look for him. You know, this sense of Bilbo’s paranoia at the fact that his relations are trying to get the house from under him is something that’s very humorous in the book, so we wanted to have a sense of it in the movie, but what this also gives us – which we didn’t have in the theatrical version – is this little scene between Elijah and Ian Holm, that in actual fact, in the movie that got screened in the theatres, the only time that Frodo and Bilbo actually connect is in the Rivendell scene much later; that we managed to really, you know, to cut the movie for the theatres in a way that Bilbo and Frodo never actually shared a scene together at the beginning of the film, but one was shot, and here it is. It plays into the concept that Bilbo knows that he’s going to be leaving; he want to go to away to finish his book, and he just hasn’t had the courage to break the news to Frodo: it’s one of those typically English things where you, sort of, skirt around the issue and never really confront it, and he just doesn’t know how to tell Frodo that he’s going to be leaving. (beat) [Firework dragon sweeps over Hobbits]. The gag with the firework-dragon is one of those situations where there was a mention of it in the book – I can’t remember quite what the book says – but it wasn’t used in the same way that we do it in this film; I don’t think Merry and Pippin were involved [Philippa: No, they don’t.], but it did say something about a dragon, [Philippa: It’s the first –.] a firework dragon that, sort of, goes out of control or something?

Philippa: It’s the first scene I wrote for you.

Peter: Yeah, and so it was fun to take these moments from the book, and, kind of, develop them into something that has a little bit more significance.

Philippa: And with doing more than one thing.

Peter: Yeah, introducing Merry and Pippin is what it was, which is great; and it’s also magic: you know, I didn’t want to have too much magic in the movie, because I don’t like magic in films – in fantasy films – I think it’s… But, you know, having a dragon like this – a firework dragon – is a pretty cool thing. (beat) [Bilbo steps up to make his speech]. My first introduction to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was when I saw the Ralph Bakshi cartoon film in 1978, and even though our movie, obviously, is stylistically very different, and the design is different, there is one shot which I regard as my homage to the cartoon – because it did inspire me to want to read the book, and that’s the shot [Odo Proudfoot with his feet up] of Proudfoot shouting “Proudfeet!” where I deliberately copied the angle that Ralph Bakshi used, which I thought was brilliant. (beat) If you look very closely in the wide shots, you’ll actually see that the cake is on fire; the candles, sort of, set fire to the polystyrene, and even though the cameras kept rolling, the cake was slowly starting to burn like an inferno, but Ian Holm was doing such a great job, we just wanted to keep the shots going, and it actually started to burn the entire cake down!

Philippa: [laughing] That’s what a hundred an eleven candles will do for you! (beat) [Bilbo begins to finger the Ring] It was interesting, when we came to do some ADR on this, that Sir Ian Holm was absolutely brilliant at ADR, and usually only requires one or two takes – ADR is Additional Dialogue Recording – and this particular scene, where he played it slightly tipsy on the day, he could not ADR these lines, and he just turned and said to us in the ADR session, “Can you clean this up? I can’t redo it!”

Peter: We added a little bit of psychological intensity that’s not really in the book – in the book, the disappearance of Bilbo is like a total lark: a real trick he plays, and we just wanted to show that the Ring is having a little bit more of a potent effect on Bilbo, and it’s starting to make him look a little odd.

Farewell Dear Bilbo >>

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.