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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Great River

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<< Farewell to Lórien

Peter (cont.): … Gimli falling in love with Galadriel [Philippa sighs], the way he does, I think, is really…

Philippa: He does it so beautifully.

Peter: [in agreement] It is beautiful.

Philippa: John Rhys-Davies, yes.

Peter: [The Great River] These aerials were shot in a variety of different places through New Zealand: they’re all done for real – there’s no special effects involved here. Some of it was done in the North Island, some of it was done in the South Island. We just, sort of, looked around for the most spectacular bits of river that we could find [Peter laughs]. (beat) The River journey in the book is a fairly leisurely affair, which takes place over several days; and, you know, in the movie we, kind of, transformed it into a semi-chase scene, I guess. It’s quite interesting – I quite like the juxtaposition of the Uruks running on foot, you know, desperate to catch up, and the Fellowship not really being totally aware that they’re being pursued, who are taking this much slower journey down the River. I love the way that Orlando spins round and just senses the presence of the Uruks with his elven senses. (beat) [Uruks running fades to aerial shot of trees next to the River] We had a wonderful helicopter pilot, Alfie Speight, in Te Anau, who was flying the chopper filming all this stuff. It was very exciting: I was in the back of the chopper zooming low over the treetops – it was a bit of an adrenaline rush, I tell you! [Boromir spots Gollum floating on the log at night] We felt that this scene had a certain degree of redundancy, just from the concept that Gollum had already been identified in the Mines of Moria as pursuing the Fellowship; of course what this… It does help us, because it does show that Gollum is still on their tail, and that’s the way that we go into ‘The Two Towers’, because Gollum, obviously, makes an appearance very early on in ‘The Two Towers’ pursuing Frodo and Sam. (beat) [Sam urges Frodo to have some food] It also gave us these extra little character moments. This sequence here was designed to feed into the climax of the film where Sam wades into the water and says, well, you know, “I’m coming to Mordor with you, Mr. Frodo” and we deliberate wrote this scene as a way of almost making Frodo starting to distance himself from Sam, sort of, feeling that Frodo is now emotionally disengaging from his friends, from the rest of the Fellowship. You just trim these scenes out simply because you want to increase the pace, not because they’re not helpful to the movie. [Aragorn and Boromir argue about Minas Tirith] This was a scene that was potentially very helpful between Aragorn and Boromir that… We did feel that we wanted them to go onto Amon Hen, and to Boromir’s ultimate sacrifice and death, with a certain amount of estrangement; because the last time we had a scene between these two characters, obviously, it was a scene with much more warmth, in the Lothlórien forest.

Philippa: We wanted those two great characters to part on bad terms: it’s almost like lovers… I mean, you know, that adds pathos, of course, to the death scene, but we didn’t have time. Once you hit that River, the main reason to get rid of it is because you had to keep going.

Fran: Certainly there was a story momentum issue; but I think what is also was is that by the time we have left Lothlórien, their relationship has shifted and moved on. It has become more intimate, and in a way there is a degree of understanding between the two characters that doesn’t speak to this bald argument on the riverbank where they’re still harping on about things that were really –.

Philippa: Well, that’s the –. That is the seed – that is the Ring again, working.

Fran: Well, it is. It was a difficult decision.

Philippa: [at same time as Fran] It didn’t. Yeah. I know, I agree with you. Yeah.

Fran: But, in the end, I don’t think it was the wrong decision.

Philippa: No.

Peter: The Argonath is another wonderful icon from the book. These were two miniatures, the statues, which were about seven foot tall; and we shot the plate on a boat down the River, and we had to track the miniatures, which means that we had to match the rocking of the boat, and when we shot our models, the models had to rock the same way, which was a bit of a trick and a wonderful piece of compositing was done by the Weta folk. But I love the size of the statues, and this shot in particular [screen cap] I wanted to do to make them feel really grand – to be flying up past the hand of one of the statues. And there’s a little birds nest in the eye. We came up with that birds have been nesting and be frightened by the helicopter that’s filming the shot. It’s eyrie. (beat) [Fellowship approach the shore of Nen Hithoel] And there’s Tol Brandir, which is the finger of rock just above the Falls of Rauros. Again, we took into trying to create Middle-earth in the way that Tolkien described it, so that no matter what anybody’s feelings are about changes in the story, you really felt that you had gone to Middle-earth, and we’d gone there on location to shoot. (beat)

Parth Galen >>

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.