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<< Rivendell

Philippa: He… In fact, one of the early scripts that was written by a Hollywood screenwriter for – I believe it was an animated version from the 1950s or 60s – he particularly objected to what he called the use of the Eagles as “Middle-earth taxis”.

Peter: Right.

Philippa: But yes, he had a very specific reason, which was that the Eagles are their own race, they’re not necessarily part of this world, and that they don’t… they do things for very specific reasons.

Peter: Elrond was one of the really difficult characters to cast. Do you remember how much of a problem we had trying to find somebody to play Elrond? [Fran agrees] It’s… The Elves themselves were always difficult, because they are basically non-human, but we looked around, considered quite a few different people, auditioned a huge number of people, and we suddenly came up with the idea of Hugo Weaving.

Fran: Well Barrie did.

Peter: Yeah, Barrie did.

Fran: Because he’d worked with him on ‘The Matrix’.

Peter: And we thought it was a great idea, just because of the way that Hugo looks: he has that lovely, sharp features. So Hugo flew over to New Zealand; we were filming in Hobbiton – I remember we were up in Hobbiton – and he came to meet us, and had a look around Hobbiton and said hi, and so we ultimately offered him the rôle. He accepted.

Philippa: He says he only does trilogies now. [Peter laughs]

Peter: We experimented with many different ways to reintroduce Bilbo, didn’t we, into Rivendell. In fact, Rivendell itself was, I think, the biggest nightmare of the scriptwriting.

Fran: Yes, it was.

Peter: Wasn’t it? The actual sequence of Rivendell.

Fran: [at same time as Peter] Yes.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter and Fran!] Second only to the prologue.

Fran: Oh, well…

Philippa: [at same time as Fran] The great horror of the prologue!

Peter: I think it was worse than the prologue.

Fran: Possibly it was worse than the prologue.

Peter: Because it was so important, so critical to this part of the film that we felt there was a real danger that the story could just come to a complete, grinding halt at Rivendell. And…

Philippa: And the fact that numerous drafts –.

Peter: The difficulty is that Frodo’s got the Ring to Rivendell, and in many respects, you feel that the story’s come to an end: there’s really nothing else happening in the story because he’s achieved what he wants to achieve. So, we thought about how we could fix that, and we shot this scene between Gandalf and Elrond [this is said during the scene between Frodo and Bilbo with the Red Book] where they’re talking about the state of the world, and how chaotic things are, and how desperate the situation is, and how the Ring can’t stay in Rivendell. We shot that scene as a way to try to maintain some sort of dramatic tension.

Philippa: [Frodo: “I’m not like you, Bilbo”] It’s interesting how sometimes scenes are just meant to happen and meant to be: I remember this scene was a particularly easy write. This was one of the few Rivendell scenes that just [Peter: Yeah] wrote itself.

Peter: Yeah. Ian and Elijah did so well to –.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] And we all knew it was right, yeah.

Peter: Ian and Elijah just played that scene so wonderfully well. It’s beautiful.

Fran: [Frodo: “Packed already, Sam”] This was a pick-up. This happened in one of the late pick-ups, and you can see that Sean Astin’s lost quite a lot of weight. [>b>All three laugh]

Philippa: Yes, he has! It’s all that Elvish food!

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] He’s a lot thinner! He’s a lot thinner than he used to be, that’s right!

Philippa: He’s been on an Elvish diet for a few days!

Peter: As soon as Sean was done with the movie, he raced back home and lost as much weight as quickly as he could. (beat) You see, people often talk about, you know, actors coming back for re-shoots, but there’s never really re-shooting, it’s always what you call pick-ups, and this is a great example. We cut the film together, and we felt that we somehow needed to… We needed to return to the Ring, that Frodo was carrying this Ring, and yet in our Rivendell sequence that we originally cut hadn’t really got any reference to Frodo and the Ring.

The Fate of the Ring >>

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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.