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EE Commentary Transcripts
Parth Galen

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Peter (cont.): I love the way that Sean and Elijah play this little moment where they… each of them know – they can sense what’s about to happen.

Philippa: We spent a lot of time on this particular –. It was Lake [phonetically] Mahora, was it?

Fran: [phonetically] Magora. [AN: The correct spelling is ‘Mavora’; I don’t know exactly how this should be pronounced, though]

Philippa: Magora… But the first time we were in Te Anau, we had the snows and the floods, and the second time, we had this horrific earthquake [laughs]. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen the ground move – wave – like a wave… undulate.

Peter: Gimli is really describing the terrain that Frodo and Sam find themselves on at the beginning of ‘The Two Towers’. His vivid description of what’s in front of them is actually what Frodo and Sam have to face very shortly.

Fran: [Legolas: “A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind”] Mark Ordesky pointed out that Legolas is forever saying, “We’ve got to keep moving” [laughs] [Philippa: Yeah!]. “We should move” and everyone always ignores him! [Philippa and Fran laugh]

Peter: Yes, well maybe they’ll start to pay more attention to him in the future. (beat) [Frodo walks up to the fallen head of the statue] This sequence was shot, again, very early in the shoot. We found ourselves filming the climax of this movie within the first few weeks of starting to shoot the film, way back in 1999.

Fran: And Peter’s great regret was that he didn’t get the art department to make the body of that enormous head.

Philippa: [laughing fondly] Oh!

Peter: I know, I know! I really do regret it, because I suggested that they make this giant, big head that we could lie there, and then afterwards I thought, “God, wouldn’t it have been great if the whole body had been there?” This huge statue just toppled over, crashed onto the forest floor and broken up, but, you know, we had the whole body; and, you know, we could have used it in the fight scene – it would have been a great thing to have in the fight that’s coming up, to have this huge statue there. But I didn’t think of that until it was too late. It would have been pretty cool. (beat) [Frodo: “It would seem like wisdom but for the warning in my heart”] This is a scene which is, you know, very much shot as it is in the book. There’s not a lot of liberties, apart from tweaking the dialogue here and there. It’s one of those very memorable scenes from the book that we were able to take our leads straight from the writings of Tolkien.

Philippa: Yeah. (beat) In fact, it was… this –. We had a lot more of it, didn’t we? It’s been cut quite a bit.

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] Yeah, this is the shortened version of it. (beat) This forest is a wonderfully ancient, mossy forest in a place called Paradise – most of Paradise is a National Park, and they don’t really like film crews going there too much; but this particular piece is on private land, so the owner of the forest allowed us to shoot there. We were obviously very careful at trying to preserve it as much as we could, but it’s just so lovely and green and mossy, and very primordial.

Fran: [Boromir shouts to Frodo once he’s disappeared] This was the very… one of the first scenes that Sean shot, wasn’t it?

Peter: Yes, the first major scene. Yeah.

Fran: Yes. And I remember when we were looking at the dailies, we were all blown away by [Philippa: Yeah.] how he… the power and energy [Philippa, in agreement: Mmm.] he poured into his performance in this scene.

Peter: The Seeing Seat on Amon Hen is a scene that we trimmed back before the film was finished. We originally shot exactly what’s in the book, where Frodo looks in various directions and he sees trolls coming out of the mountains and he sees Orcs, and he sees the ships, the pirate ships, coming up the River; and we pre-visualised that in our computer pre-visualisation, and we filmed Frodo, but we never actually completed the effects shots, and we ultimately shortened the sequence to just being him seeing Barad-dr and the Eye of Sauron, which is in the book; but we just felt we needed to get on with the story, so we never completed the other effects shots. (beat) The sequence with Aragorn talking to Frodo on Amon Hen –. [Aragorn’s foot steps onto the rock] This is in the book, isn’t it? But it’s not quite as developed [Philippa: No.] as it is here; but it’s certainly… the farewell between Frodo and Aragorn does happen in the book.

Philippa: [bluntly] No. No.

Peter: No?

Fran: No.

Peter: [surprised, at same time as Philippa and Fran] No? Oh, it doesn’t happen in the book? Oh, okay.

Philippa: No this was –.

Peter: This was completely our [Philippa: Yeah.] original, was it?

Philippa: Yeah, this was –.

Peter: Oh, is that right? God, I always thought there was a little piece…

Philippa: No, that was Fran and I. Remember one time when we were just like, “What the hell is all of this? What the hell is all of this?” and we realised that… One of the reasons for this particular scene is that we felt very strongly that early on – especially in earlier drafts, before we started filming – that these two great characters – who go on to carry the main story threads for the rest of the films – needed this moment together. And actually –.

Peter: [interrupting] And also it juxtaposes exactly what’s happened with Boromir in the sense that [Philippa: Exactly.] there’s one Man who was tempted by the Ring [Philippa: Mmm.] and –

Philippa: Nobody’s…

Peter: – couldn’t resist and here is another Man who is tempted by the Ring at this moment, and he does resist it. He is… He has got the strength to push it away, so it’s also important for Aragorn because, in a way, this actually proves something to Aragorn himself: that Aragorn can see that he does have the power to reject the Ring when it’s offered to him.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: And that leads Aragorn, then, to believe that there is some strength in his own race [Philippa: Yes.], so, in a sense, you know, that moment, for his character, we felt was very important.

The Breaking of the Fellowship >>

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.