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The Road Goes Ever On...

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<< The Departure of Boromir

Peter: [Frodo stands on the shore of Nen Hithoel with the Ring] The final moments between… with Frodo here, before he decides to go on the boat, and then with Sam, was something that –. We actually ended up shooting this twice, didn’t we? We [Philippa: Yeah.] shot a version of it where we made it much more of an action climax, a version that was not a good idea, and we realised it wasn’t a good idea when it was shot: we actually had an Uruk-hai attacking Frodo in the water as he was attempting to escape in the boat.

Fran: Did we actually shoot that?

Peter: Yes, well half of it was shot, yeah.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] No, you were almost… You were down to the fight – rehearsing the fight sequences.

Peter: No, we shot it. We definitely shot it… We filmed some of it; but it, sort of, just didn’t really… It wasn’t ultimately what this part of the story should be about, so [Philippa: And…] it was reconceived, and we travelled back down to Lake Mavora doing pick-ups, and we actually shot this stuff… Well, it wasn’t really doing pick-ups, was it? It was shot during the shoot. [Philippa: No, it was shot –.] It was shot right at the very end of the shoot.

Philippa: It was –.

Fran: Well, what happened was, initially we had a studio note. They were really worried about the closure of the story, and whether the film would be satisfying to an audience, you know, if it didn’t have some kind of big action moment for Frodo; and so we promised to go away and have a think about it, and we tried –. We wrote something which, you know, we didn’t feel wonderful about, but we thought, “Maybe they’re right”. We didn’t know, and as soon as we started to try and execute it, we realised [Philippa: Yeah] it was completely wrong, and we also understood that – I mean, having seen the footage that we did have cut together – what was needed. That it was… This was entirely about the breaking of the Fellowship, and it was an emotional climax to the story; it didn’t have to have an action content.

Philippa: And the great triumph for Frodo is not over some, sort of, Uruk-hai of Saruman’s, but it is over the Ring. It is when he grabs that Ring and does not allow the Ring to control him, so that it is, in a way, that’s his great enemy; and that scene, that rewrite – as I said before – the great scenes, they write themselves. And that was an easy write. Once we knew, we wrote it, and we knew we were going to hear Gandalf, and hear that… We knew exactly what he was hearing in his head. I remember we did it in, like, ten minutes.

Peter: This sequence with Sean Astin underwater was actually shot in a studio dry, it’s called dry-for-wet; he was in front of a blue screen with fans blowing on his cloak to make it billow round, and we put all of –. The water effects were added in later, so he wasn’t having to worry about holding his breath: he was able to just act and concentrate on that. (beat) The last sequence between Frodo and Sam on the boat here was actually directed by Fran. She was there on the day when this was shot, and I was about 300 miles away directing Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chasing the Uruks at the beginning of Film Two.

Philippa: This was a though afterwards to reprise Sam’s lines from the cornfield: we wrote the cornfield sequence, which was just something that we, sort of, threw in there as a nice thought of setting up… of Sam’s feeling that he must protect Frodo; and when we actually came and rewrote… and we wanted to resonate – that to resonate – at this moment – which I think it does really well – but unfortunately, we got one word wrong, which is, “Don’t you leave him, Samwise”, which I think it much nicer at this moment… But earlier on he says, “Don’t you lose him”.

Peter: [Boromir floats towards Rauros] This was a rubber dummy of Sean Bean., because he wasn’t around anymore when we shot that, but we did make a model of it.

Fran: [overhead shot of the boat going over the Falls] Mmm. I always thought there should have been some spray over there.

Peter: And this is the Niagara Falls that we – [wide shot of the boat falling] That’s a Peruvian fall somewhere in South America – we had some footage of a barrel going over the Niagara Falls and we used our computer to replace the barrel with Boromir’s boat, a computer version of Boromir’s boat.

Fran: So Viggo’s just put on Boromir’s gauntlets…

Philippa: Yes. He nicked them!

Fran: …which travel with him all the way through Parts Two and Three.

Peter: Yep.

Philippa: It’s a bit of grave-robbing!

Fran: Well…

Peter: Well, he probably pulled his rings off, he probably took his wallet out of [Philippa laughs] his pocket, put all his money in there! [laughs] So, it’s actually interesting, because Viggo came up with the idea of wearing Boromir’s gauntlets for scenes that we were doing in the second and third film; so we shot this much later, so this was ultimately our opportunity to show him at the moment that he actually obtains the gauntlets.

Philippa: And he has taken up the gauntlet.

Peter: Oh, that’s right.

Philippa: He’s challenged by Boromir. [whispers] [?] in this movie! If you look really hard!

Peter: And these three guys go running off into Part Two, which is another story again of the chase across the Rohan plains.

Philippa: [Gimli: “Yes!”] I love Gimli’s laugh!

Peter: Yeah.

Philippa: It’s the best laugh! (beat) [Frodo and Sam look over the Emyn Muil towards Mordor, screen cap] This is the old car park in Mount Ruapehu, isn’t it, Pete?

Peter: Yes. This was… We were in Mount Ruapehu filming Mordor scenes, and Emyn Muil scenes from the second film, so we picked up this shot while we were there for the end of Part One. That’s a real sunset behind them: this was actually shot at the very end of the day as the sun was going down.

Fran: What I really like in this scene in the quality in Sean’s performance, because you feel that Sam’s really moving on now into the rôle of Frodo’s protector much more, that he starts to take over as in Films Two and Three: he becomes the driving force behind getting this mission completed and…

Philippa: Hmm. His will. You’re starting to see his will.

Fran: Yes, you are.

Philippa: And the strength of that will.

Fran: And… yes, you are, yes.

Philippa: It’s his cool.

Fran: It’s in his… in his…

Philippa: In his eyes.

Fran: … In his eyes.

Philippa: Yeah.

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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.