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EE Commentary Transcripts
Gollum and Sméagol

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Peter (cont.): [Gollum and Sméagol] So this is a scene that Fran directed, so you should talk about it, Fran.

Fran: Well, we shot this scene in the pick-up shoot a couple of years after the original footage – there wasn’t any original footage in this scene, in fact; it was always new – and it was very much a part of the development on the Gollum/Sméagol story; it’s where the two personas properly engage: you come to know the level of persecution – that Sméagol, as the sort of younger, more dependent self – regularly inflicted on him by this rather sadistic ‘parent’ – I… that’s how I viewed it – that Gollum has been both a protector and a tormentor to this other side of his self for hundreds of years, and he’s both the reason they survived and also for his current state of misery. He’s a repository of rage and hate, and there is something in Sméagol still that lets the audience know – and Frodo indicates to us – that he can be still redeemed, that there is something in him that is likeable, and is of us. In another way, I saw that Gollum’s like the monkey on everybody’s shoulders: he’s the voice of derision and failure that…

Philippa: Self-hatred.

Fran: His self-hatred; and most people have that to contend with to some degree or other. He’s the celebrator… [Fran and Philippa laugh] He’s – he’s –. He’s the…

Philippa: [laughing] We have it more than most!

Fran: No, he’s the… He’s the guy who celebrates other people’s loss, you know, or your own sense of loss: he’s…

Philippa: Yeah.

Fran: It’s not really an unfamiliar thing, this division of selves: I think it’s, for most people, it’s something that’s kind of creepily familiar to us. [Philippa agrees] I think that’s why we warm to him.

Philippa: [in agreement] Mmm. (beat) That scene, actually, came out as this whole need for Frodo to be invested in saving Gollum, and drawing Sméagol out, having a creature that was worth saving; and this is the pay-off, that you actually, for a brief moment, believe that Frodo is going to do it. I remember we realised that we didn’t have this, and Fran went away and wrote this amazing scene, which was extraordinary, because it had levels of humour, and it turns…

Peter: As soon as he says: “Murderer!”

Philippa: Yeah. Said it…

Peter: The laughter kind of stops.

Philippa: It does!

Peter: And people feel real…

Philippa: Every single time.

Peter: They feel real compromise and real sorrow for him.

Philippa: Exactly.

Peter: When Fran shot this scene with Andy, he did all the transitions between the character, and he actually did it as a continuous take, if you can believe it: he did it as one continuous piece of performance, …

Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit >>

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.