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EE Commentary Transcripts
Ent Draught

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Peter: In a film that was, you know, fairly unrelentingly grim and tense – which ‘The Two Towers’ is – we did think that we should lighten it up, and we should have some more whimsy. And obviously, Merry and Pippin and the Forest and Treebeard are wonderful material for that; and a lot of this is in the book, and we loved the idea of this scene with the Ent Draught, which is basically this stream of this magical water that runs through Fangorn, and the hobbits discover that they actually grow an inch or two if they drink it. I guess it must be all the vitamins and [Philippa laughs] chemicals in the Fangorn soil.

Philippa: He says that. He does, in the book – it’s in the book.

Peter: Yeah?

Philippa: It’s about that, yeah, I remember.

Peter: It’s like the first health…

Philippa: Yeah. Tonic.

Peter: … mineral water. I mean, God, if they could bottle that now, they’d make a fortune, wouldn’t they? [Philippa laughs]

Philippa: We also loved the idea of them feeling that three foot eight would actually be quite tall [Peter laughs], which was where this came from; and it’s one of those – the Ent Draught is one of those moments in the book that, for some bizarre reason, a lot of people remember. They just remember it.

Peter: They do.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: They do. It’s almost… It’s the flip side of the horrible, brown liquid that…

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: … that the Orcs pour down Merry’s throat earlier, isn’t it? It’s like, this is the crystal clear beautiful, magical…

Fran: But no, it’s green.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: In the book it is, isn’t it?

Fran: Yes.

Peter: It’s glowing green. [Philippa: Mmm.] We didn’t do that here.

Philippa: Why didn’t we do that?

Fran: I was going to ask that.

Peter: Probably due to budgetary constraints.

Philippa: [laughing] Budgetary constraints!

Fran: What, we couldn’t afford some food colouring? [Peter and Philippa laugh]

Philippa: I love these two! It’s also the relationship between these two as actors, and both Dom and Billy know each other so well now, and work together so brilliantly; and it’s neat to be able to see them doing that, and this scene shows that.

Peter: It’s a shame that the first thing that gets cut, you know, for length reasons, is always comedy, isn’t it?

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: It’s always the light-hearted stuff, because you just realise that this is not critical to the plot, and when you’re out on an assassination mission to try to get rid of scenes that aren’t critical to the plot, you know…

Philippa: Mmm.

Peter: [Merry and Pippin fight over the Ent Draught] This wasn’t in the book: this doesn’t actually happen in the book, but it is our homage to Old Man Willow.

Philippa: Yes, it is.

Peter: It’s a very, very evocative scene [Philippa: Very…] from ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ where the Hobbits get captured by this tree in a completely different forest; here, we wanted to use it because we wanted to try to establish simply that there are trees and there are Ents, and there’s actually a reason why this is here, and it is to show that the Forest itself – the trees are coming alive and getting very angry [Philippa: Mmm.] and the Ents are having to deal with that situation, that building tension.

Philippa: And also that you can talk and talk about the Forest is growing dangerous, but it’s really great to see it and show it; and –.

Peter: Yeah, yeah. Things are always much better in movies when you see them and…

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: … they’re not just spoken about.

Philippa: [Treebeard saves Merry and Pippin from the tree] Fans of the book will recognise Treebeard’s lines as actually being part of another iconic character: this is taken straight from what Tom Bombadil says to send Old Man Willow to sleep.

Peter: Tom Bombadil lives!

Philippa: Yes he does. And we did that quite deliberately, and we’ve –.

Peter: [at same time as

Philippa] And we were accused – we were accused of [Philippa: Yeah.] killing him, and here you go.

Philippa: We figured Tom wouldn’t mind if Treebeard took his lines.

Peter: [Treebeard: “The trees have grown dangerous.”] I do love this scene. I mean, this was another favourite scene – I really did want to try to hang onto this stuff for the theatrical version. I love them talking about the Entwives. It’s kind of just… you know, it’s a shame… Anyway, it’s here. Hey, we shouldn’t mourn it too much – we have DVDs! Thank heavens for technology! But I am very happy with the way that the extended cut DVDs are now fleshing out the trilogy. This one, I think, was about forty-three minutes longer than the theatrical version, and, you know, I think the extra material that’s in here – particularly things like Merry and Pippin and Fangorn and the Ent stuff – it helps, ultimately, create a trilogy which is much more detailed and has the moments of… has the pacing that you, kind of, you want it to be as a complete story that it can’t be when you’re, sort of, facing having to make a theatrical film once a year that kind of has a momentum and a pace that attracts people to the cinema.

Philippa: And in terms of character, I think what’s great about this scene – and it is really, really funny – that he’s forgotten, and it’s been so long; but it is also playing to the fact that the Ents have turned away from the rest of the world, which is what we wanted to establish: that they’ve been in their little forest and have, sort of, become so isolated from the outside world.

The King of the Golden Hall >>

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.