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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Account of Isildur

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Peter (cont.): [shot of Mount Doom and Barad-dr] This is the big shot of Barad-dr, where a miniature, I guess about fifteen-foot tall, was used. The lava’s just computer-generated and I wanted to do one big shot that just made you feel the size and expanse of this huge, big tower. It’s under construction, I mean, when you see this tower in the second film and the third movie, it’s actually finished: this is only, like, a third of the way as high as what it ultimately reaches. The idea here – it’s a little bit difficult to tell – but the idea here is that the orcs are still building it. (beat) [shot of Nazgl riding out of Minas Morgul] People think that this is the Black Tower, but it’s actually Minas Morgul, it’s a different castle that we see again in part three. (beat) [Gandalf approaches Minas Tirith] Now, the city of Minas Tirith that we’re looking at here plays a big rle in ‘The Return of the King’ – in the third of the movies – and you’ll be seeing a lot more of the City. About half the movie, I guess, probably takes place there.

Philippa: [Gandalf walks through the City] It was interesting for Sir Ian McKellen in this shot, when he’s walking through the streets of Gondor: he hadn’t put that costume on for probably about six months – he’d been Gandalf the White for a very long time.

Peter: Hopefully they’ve washed it!

Philippa: [laughing] Yes, possibly not, because he was very much into being as grungy a Gandalf the Grey as he could be. (beat) We discussed whether we should actually title this as Gondor, and in the end we decided just to let it flow.

Peter: Yeah, we thought a lot about [Philippa: Yeah] whether we should throw subtitles up on the screen, you know, to identify places – little captions, sort of, popping up – but we just thought at the end of the day that it could be a little bit cheesy, and we decided not to do it. I think that so long as people can follow the story, they don’t need to know that this is Minas Tirith, that this is the ancient, you know, the archives of the Citadel… I think the pictures at least tell you what’s going on. (beat) [flashback of Isildur holding the Ring] This is a very tiny little section of the book. It gets referenced in the Council of Elrond in the book, where Gandalf talks about going to Minas Tirith and how Denethor lets him spend some time studying in the archives to try to find out information about the Ring, and so we took it from this little mention in the Council and we actually put it up at the beginning of the film here, because we thought it would be quite an evocative scene. (beat) [Black Rider approaches Farmer Maggot] This was a scene that we shot after filming finished: it was a little pick-up that we did because we felt we wanted to just show the Riders – the Black Riders – on the borders of the Shire, just getting close, and just to start to up the tension.

Philippa: And a little bit of movie trivia here: I do believe that one of our actors voiced that Black Rider. I don’t know if you know who it is, but it’s actually Andy Serkis, who also voices Gollum.

Peter: We wanted to get a great voice. We were recording some Gollum dialogue, and we said to Andy, “Do you want to try a Black Rider voice for us?” and so Andy did it. (beat)

At the Green Dragon >>

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.