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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Nazgūl

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<< At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

Fran: Well, we’ve played the Sword story differently through all three films.

Peter: Yeah we have, yeah.

Fran: [Black Riders ride through Bree] There’s a shot coming up which I really like, and it’s this [Nazgūl enter through the door Prancing Pony]: the entry of the Riders into the pub. It has a, kind of, quality of a dark, gothic fairy tale, [Philippa agrees] which I really love.

Peter: We really played the gothic nature of the Ringwraiths, didn’t we?

Fran: Yeah.

Peter: They cry out for gothic.

Fran: Yes. Howard did that in the music, too…

Peter: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Fran: …which was lovely.

Peter: And I like this gag where we deliberately made people think that these hobbits were asleep, and it’s a cheap and cheesy one, but it’s always good value, doing this type of stuff. It’s what cinema can do so well. You can’t really do it in a book, but in movies you can, where you can juxtapose places and time, and make people think that they’re looking at something, and then immediately reveal they they’re actually –.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter, shot of the window of the Prancing Pony] That’s one of my favourite shots there.

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] – it was something completely different.

Philippa: [Strider stares through the window] This is one of my favourite shots, not just because Viggo looks so gorgeous, but because he looks so dangerous, and I think that helps sell the idea that you’re not sure which way Strider’s going to go. We played with that a little bit more in the script, where and when you would reveal that this guy was on their side, but in the end we decided – as was the process through most of this – to do it as quickly as possible. But just for that moment you’re not sure. (beat) The noise of the Ringwraiths was an interesting… exercise.

Peter: Well we’re actually… We’re here in the room with one of the Ringwraiths.

Philippa: One of the Ringwraiths.

Peter: We couldn’t get a good Ringwraith scream [Philippa laughs] so when you listen to their screams, you’re actually listening to Fran Walsh…

Philippa: Yes.

Peter: …screeching. Every single Ringwraith cry is actually her. [Philippa: Peter…] Is that right?

Fran: Yes, it was five years of ‘Lord of the Rings’. [Philippa laughs] It was all…

Philippa: Pete had just told her that he’d bought the rights to ‘The Silmarillion’ [Fran laughs] and she just didn’t stop screaming for two hours!

Fran: What really happened was that we didn’t really have a cry which had a huge amount of energy behind it, and I knew what was required, but I had a throat infection at the time, so I said, “Look, I’ll just show you what I think is needed” and they went away and recorded one, and because I had not very much voice and a lot of gravel in the back of my throat, it came out very weird, and it was, you know… They liked it, so I did a few more!

Peter: Yup.

Fran: And destroyed my throat!

Peter: Yeah. Well, as Bob Zemeckis used to say to me, “Pain is temporary, film is forever.” Your throat has provided screams that will live far beyond any of us.

Fran: You know it was cathartic, a cathartic moment for me. [Philippa laughs]

Peter: [Second breakfast scene] This snow on the ground was not supposed to be there. We started shooting this scene without snow, and then half way through the shooting of it, it began to snow. We carried on shooting as the snow fell; we got told to evacuate the location by the police, who said that the road was about to get washed out, and then we had to come back two or three days later to finish the scene, and of course, there wasn’t… There was snow there now, so we had to start the scene all over again and just shoot the whole thing again with snow on the ground. (beat) Now there’s rumours that there is a sticker on this apple that gets thrown, but I must admit I’ve never seen it. Let’s have a look. Look closely for a sticker.

Fran: Well you’d have to freeze-frame it.

Peter: Yeah… no, there’s no sticker on that apple: it’s very stupid. [Philippa laughs] One rumour put to bed. (beat)

The Midgewater Marshes >>

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.