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EE Commentary Transcripts
Caras Galadhon

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<< Lothlórien

Peter (cont.): The thing that I like about this, too, is that we get to see the Elvish city from the outside. Obviously, in the theatrical version, we just jumped straight in there, but we get to see this shot of what the Elvish city of Caras Galadhon actually looks like from afar. (beat) [The Fellowship climb the stairs at Caras Galadhon] These were miniatures: large, model trees – huge, big, model trees that were shot, and the people were composited in: they were computer people that were walking up the stairs there.

Fran: This was… Paul Lasaine did a lot of…

Philippa: Conceptual art.

Fran: …artwork for this.

Peter: Yes, yeah. Paul did a couple of wonderful paintings of Lothlórien that we really took the look from his paintings.

Fran: Yes.

Peter: The way that… The lighting. (beat) The Lothlórien sequence was always very difficult for us in the movie, because it’s a point in the film where you naturally would want to be increasing the pace and be building up a sense of momentum to head towards the climax of the movie; but obviously, the sequence in Lothlórien is very, very significant in the book. It’s significant in the movie, as well, because it’s the point that Frodo has to decide whether or not he really is best staying with the Fellowship or leaving, and Galadriel obviously gives him advice. But we always has pacing problems, and when we cut the theatrical version, we wanted to make it as brief as we possibly could so we could propel the story along; but I felt that this cut of the meeting with Galadriel and Celeborn was actually better in that it starts to suck you into the world of the Elves and the world of Galadriel in a way that I think is ultimately a little bit more effective than the truncated version that ended up in the movie. (beat) Martin Csokas plays Celeborn. (beat) Galadriel’s a very enigmatic character, and we decided to really emphasis what is in the book, which is the sense that she herself is severely tempted by the Ring: that the Ring represents to her a threat, a test of her strength of whether she could withstand it or not, which is difficult to visualise because I think everybody who reads the book comes away with a slightly different impression of her in your mind, which is obviously the beauty of a book: it allows you to put your own vision of Galadriel into your own private movie; but showing Elves on the film was always very difficult – and Galadriel more so than most – but Cate Blanchett, obviously, does such a wonderful job.

Philippa: Cate’s on six-inch disco platform heals [Peter: Yeah.], which I think is quite funny… because she needed the height – Galadriel is described as ‘as tall as any of the Men’. She also needed it. She felt she needed it – the stature.

Peter: [Galadriel: “Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-dűm…”] And this moment that we’re looking at here is the first beat in the relationship between Gimli – who’s obviously so suspicious of the Elves: he doesn’t want to be there, but he now looks upon Galadriel with a… in a very renewed way; and we’ll be seeing more of that later on. (beat) [Celeborn: “What now becomes of this Fellowship?”] I like the way that Celeborn, too, just doesn’t let the Fellowship get away with anything – he basically tells them off, and says how they’ve failed, and that obviously impacts on Aragorn who feels a certain amount of responsibility. (beat) If you look into Galadriel’s eyes in these close-ups, you actually see something strange happening in her eyes, that… It’s called the… We called it the ‘Galadrielight’ – which was a device that Andrew Lesnie, our D.P. designed – and it was… Every time you film an actor in close-up, you see a pinpoint of light reflected in their eyes – it’s called the ‘eye light’ – and it does a lot – you can see it here in all these close-ups – it does a lot to bring the characters to life; but every time we shot close-ups with Cate, we didn’t just have one light, we had, like, a Christmas tree – Christmas tree lights all in a big circle, so that there’d be stars reflecting in her eyes, multiple light sources.

Fran: [close up of Galadriel’s eyes: “One who has seen the Eye!”, screen cap] Not in that shot, though.

Peter: In that last shot?

Fran: No.

Philippa: No, that was scary Galadriel!

Peter: No, but you see it in all the other shots, though. That was a scary one.

Fran: [A lament for Gandalf] Elizabeth Fraser is singing here [Philippa: Hmm], this lament.

Philippa: What I like about what Howard did here is it’s a lament by one voice, answered by the others, which is really lovely… choir…

Peter: And as we carry on through this sequence, we are starting to see a longer version than what we saw in the theatres. Lovely little character beats. It is something that I regretted, having to trim out: these moments where characters can start to interact with each other a little bit more, and… [Sam’s poem about Gandalf] This sequence here, we just decided we didn’t have the latitude to be able to include it in the movie. It’s a moment that I always loved in the books, and it’s a lovely way to honour Gandalf. (beat) This was obviously all shot in a studio: we built three large tree trunks, and I love the idea that the Fellowship camping beneath the roots of the tree, that they have these little sleeping quarters, which is organically, sort of, within the base of the tree. [Boromir and Aragorn talk about Gondor] This was another important beat in our Aragorn-Boromir relationship story.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: You know, we always regarded Boromir as being… not being a villain in the slightest, but being somebody who has very legitimate reasons to want to have the Ring [Philippa: Yes]. That he… You know, the one thing that the Ring does is it acts as a temptation, and you can be the person with the strongest will and the soundest heart and absolutely believe that this Ring is the best thing for you, which is what Boromir does, I mean, he comes from a country which is under siege, where there’s enormous pressure on having to come up with a weapon to fight the Orcs who are besieging Minas Tirith and Osgiliath, and that he genuinely believes that this Ring would solve all their problems.

Philippa: And underlying that, even deeper, is the fact that he has a father, which we‘re just starting to set up here: it’s that his father –.

Peter: Obviously, for those that know the book, ‘The Return of the King’ has the character of Denethor – a very, very prominent character in that story, which is our third movie – and Denethor is Boromir’s father.

Philippa: And what’s important here is that you’re beginning to sense that Boromir is… that something is wrong with him: Boromir has a sense that there’s something wrong with his father; and he is – like any son that loves his father – is trying to sort out that paternal conflict he feels between the growing madness of his father and what his father needs and desires of him. And it’s a conflict that ends up tearing him apart, and that’s how the Ring works.

The Mirror of Galadriel >>

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.