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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Breaking of the Fellowship

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<< Parth Galen

Philippa: The other thing, I think, with this is… between the two of them, is that he does say those great lines, “I would have followed him to Mordor – into the very fires of Mordor” but he doesn’t say it to Frodo, and it just seemed such a waste to not actually say that to the person… the one person that you meant to say it to. And I have to say, a lot of Tolkien scholars, a lot of people who are real friends with the book have loved that scene and not objected to it at all, which is great.

Peter: [Aragorn fights the Uruks on the Seeing Seat] It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but this was actually shot on a massively hot summer’s day – I mean, there were probably forty degree temperatures [Philippa gasps: Oh, that’s hot!], like, over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit; and we were, literally, carrying Uruk-hais of the set who had fainted and all that, because you can imagine these poor guys wearing all that rubber and those leather costumes and stuff in the heat. It was very, very hot. (beat) I love the way that Legolas uses his arrows there to stab and to shoot two guys at once and things: we wanted Legolas to be, you know, to really show what a great archer he was, and Orlando was able to pull that stuff off so well.

Philippa: [Merry and Pippin spot Frodo hiding behind the tree] Again, this farewell was very important – doesn’t happen in the book, but we again felt was really important. And this was an important scene, because, again, we felt that… In the book this doesn’t happen, this farewell – it’s something that’s talked about while Frodo’s not there, and we wanted this moment; and I think, especially the understanding between Merry and Frodo is very, very important, because it shows you that Merry especially, who’s… slightly brighter [laughs] – shall we say? – than Pippin, has an understanding of what it is that Frodo is doing; and with their usual, extraordinary courage, these two little Hobbits help their friend.

Peter: I wanted the Amon Hen location to feel ancient, so we built all these ruins on the hillside, because people don’t realise that this hill was once a much grander structure: that the Seeing Seat at the top of Amon Hen was the climax of an ancient place of worship in the Númenorean days… When the Númenoreans first arrived.

Philippa: [at same time as Philippa] It was the borders of Gondor [Peter: Which is –.], and in fact, that’s what the Argonath stood for – the border. The borders of Gondor, yeah.

Peter: [at same time as Peter] Yeah, that’s the border of Gondor. This hill was a place of ancient worship, like a temple, almost, so we evoked that by putting these polystyrene ruins all throughout the…

Philippa: Oh, that’s fabulous!

Peter: … the hillside.

Philippa: [sarcastically] Was that Númenorean polystyrene, Pete, or was it –?

Peter: That was genuine Númenorean polystyrene.

Fran: Actually, they were borrowed from Weathertop, because we ran out –.

Philippa: I know, we did! If you look very closely, there’s a bit of recycling going on.

Peter: There is, actually.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Númenorean recycling!

Peter: That is true. We did run out of ruins, so we brought Weathertop back into play. [Philippa: Mmm] Yep. (beat) The arrows that Legolas is firing are actually computer-generated arrows: he couldn’t get them out of his quiver and notch them up fast enough – it just was not possible. And, obviously, we wanted them to fly and hit the Uruks as well. [Aragorn runs to find Boromir] This is a Cablecam shot. This is shot from a camera that is mounted on wires between two trees, and it’s rolling down on pulleys, and it was remote-controlled; and the camera just, basically, ran down… well, we call them Flying Foxes, like a pulley between two trees – almost half a mile long. (beat) The Amon Hen fight was choreographed by our wonderful sword master Bob Anderson, who did a great job training all of the stunt guys who… You know, we were using stuntmen who had done movies in New Zealand before, but had never, obviously, used swords and axes and things, and our actors had to be trained up.

Philippa: Sean Bean…

Peter: Well Sean Bean has used a sword before. No, Sean was probably the most experienced of our sword-wielding actors. I like seeing Merry and Pippin use their swords a bit: it’s very nice to have Merry and Pippin more interactive in what’s going on, rather than just being spectators. (beat) We shot more fighting on Amon Hen than what appeared, obviously, in the theatrical version; and I put a little bit of it back here – we still shot more than what you’re even seeing here, but basically, the fight can’t go on too long. We do have to get on with the story; but there was a couple of nice, little fight moments that we trimmed. Scenes like the throat-cutting and this arm being chopped off were, obviously, trimmed back really for rating reasons. (beat) Boromir’s last stand was a scene that I really wanted to capture from the book. This is where a character like Lúrtz really comes in handy, because we could now make it personal: that it wasn’t just an anonymous Uruk that was shooting Boromir with the arrows, it was this creature called Lúrtz that we, sort of, knew, and we hated him already, in a sense; so it makes it even more powerful.

Philippa: And of course, he resonates Saruman, because he’s had so much to do with Saruman, that he is Saruman’s creation, so that plays back to [the villain?].

Peter: Sean just did this sequence so incredibly well.

Philippa: He’s so good… in this scene.

Peter: In a way, the inspiration for the soundtrack here was really a ‘Heavenly Creatures’ inspiration: the scene at the end of ‘Heavenly Creatures’ when the mother is being led down the track by the two girls, we use the humming chorus; and we, sort of, took all of the sounds away, and in sense I kept [laughs] playing that in my mind over and over again when we were filming this, and so, you know, in some respects, I ended up treating this in a similar way in terms of the way that we distance the sound from the picture, and we make it much more of a headspace kind of moment.

Philippa: The choral piece under this is… They’re actually singing in Elvish some lines from the book, which is… lines of Faramir’s, “I do not love the sword for its brightness or the arrow for its swiftness, I love only that which they defend”. It’s a beautiful sentiment under this moment.

Peter: [Aragorn saves Boromir from Lúrtz] Having created our villain in Lúrtz, we obviously have to finish him off; and we were actually shooting two things at once, because whilst I was filming Boromir’s last stand, Barrie Osborne was just on the other side of the hill: we were only about thirty or forty feet away – he was just over the hill on the other side of the slope filming the fight between Lúrtz and Aragorn, so this was largely shot by Barrie. Viggo did this incredibly well. There’s a shot coming up where he had to hit the knife that gets thrown at him with his sword, and he did it first take. That was a real knife that was being thrown, and he literally did bat it away with his sword for real: it wasn’t anything fake about it. Do a little bit of computer-enhancement here to take Lúrtz’s arm off.

Fran: We weren’t allowed to have it spurting, though.

Peter: No spurting blood was allowed. (beat)

The Departure of Boromir >>

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.