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EE Commentary Transcripts
A Knife in the Dark

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<< The Spoiling of Isengard

Philippa: [Hobbits and Strider approach Weathertop] This is the approach to Weathertop.

Peter: This is a little bit of stuff that was directed by Barrie Osborne: I wasn’t here on this day that they went to this location. But it’s a pretty amazing place. [Hobbits settle down in the dell] But here we are now in the studio.

Philippa: It’s interesting that we never actually got the name Weathertop out in the script. It remained Amon Sūl.

Fran: Oh, did it?

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: Well there’s a lot of names that we never go out in the script.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: There was someone asked something the other day… Actually, you know that Galadriel is never mentioned by name?

Fran: She names herself, “I will remain Galadriel”

Peter: At the end, yeah, that’s right. At the end of the scene.

Fran: There’s only so many introductions you can squash –.

Philippa: Squash into it.

Fran: [Frodo: “What are you doing?!”] Oh, this is where a critic tore us to pieces in England for the tomato reference.

Peter: That’s right. Tomatoes came from the New World.

Fran: Yes.

Peter: As did potatoes, and Tolkien mentioned both tomatoes and potatoes. But apparently he…

Philippa: Yes, he does.

Peter: But apparently he later revised tomatoes.

Philippa: Yes he did, he revised tomatoes [Peter laughs], but left the tobacco from the New World, and the…

Peter: Right.

Philippa: …the potatoes.

Peter: I find it all a bit ludicrous to worry about that sort of thing, when you’re dealing with Middle-earth and Balrogs and cave trolls, what is the problem with a tomato?

Philippa: It was a deliberate mistake. It was a deliberate mistake: it was one of those ones where we knew. We’d had the discussion; we said: “Ah, you know, I suppose they’d eat tomatoes.”

Fran: I thought it was Dominic ad-libbing on the day.

Philippa: No, no. It –. No, “Ash on my tomatoes”, no, that was Pete’s –.

Fran: No, “One of my tomatoes burst.”

Philippa: Oh yeah, no that was the ADR ad-lib, yeah. [Fran and Philippa laugh] No, no, no, the tomatoes… the tomatoes… We’re getting into the vegetables again! [Fran and Philippa laugh] Having entire discussions about vegetables!

Peter: Weathertop was one of the very first things we filmed. This was done at the very beginning of our shooting schedule, so we were all a little bit green and naļve, and, you know, it’s amazing, when you start shooting a movie, how awkward things are at the beginning, just from the point of view of directing the movie, and getting your head into what you’re doing; and I always look upon Weathertop as being one of those scenes, in my mind, that represents that, sort of, foggy –

Philippa: [Frodo takes out the Ring] That’s a brilliant shot!

Peter: – that foggy area at the beginning of the shoot.

Philippa: [Frodo stares up at the Ringwraiths] Another brilliant shot.

Fran: [at same time as Philippa] Great… this is the best…

Philippa: I think this is one of the best moments in the film [Fran, at the same time as Philippa: best moments in the film], actually. [laughs]

Peter: Why they’re going on like this is that some of this was directed by Philippa and Fran. The shots of the Witch-king – this stuff of the Witch-king coming towards camera – were particularly their shots.

Philippa: [The Witch-king raises his blade, ready to stab Frodo] That moment there: I got called by Pete, saying, “Watch the sharps on the blade” and I turned to Alan Gilford, our D.O.P., and said, “Pete wants the blade sharpened!” [Philippa laughs] At which case, I think they decided to remove me from any other directorial duties!

Peter: The wraith-world sequences… This wraith-world stuff is pretty much as described in the book, really. I always loved the way that the Ringwraiths are visible in twilight world: they’re visible as their, sort of, their… in a kingly… ghostly shapes, which I always thought was neat, and something a bit spooky about it. (beat) Now this fight that Viggo did was his very first day, wasn’t it? This was day one of Viggo, wasn’t it?

Fran: Yes, it was, yeah.

Peter: He had just been cast in the film. As most people probably know, he came to the movie very late. He was cast after we started shooting, in fact, and he had to get on a plane immediately and come down to New Zealand; and within two days of getting off the plane, once we made sure his costume fitted, he was put on set, and this was –. This scene that we’re looking at now is the very first thing that he shot on day one, which was good and bad, I mean it was great that it was a fight scene rather than a dialogue scene, just to allow him to get into the character a little bit, but he also had never handled a sword in his life before. This was his debut as a swordsman! [laughs] And Bob Anderson, who was our Master Swordsman, did a brilliant job at just training Viggo at a very short notice, and obviously he was there as we were shooting and Bob was able to train Viggo as each shot was being shot, and it was a very, you know, it was a pretty tricky introduction to the movie for Viggo; but by the time we finished shooting fifteen months later, he was an absolutely amazing swordsman. (beat) [Aragorn, with Frodo over his shoulder, runs from Weathertop with the hobbits behind him] This scene here was just about Viggo’s last scenes, right at the end of the fifteen months. (beat)

The Caverns 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.