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EE Commentary Transcripts
Helm's Deep

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Fran: But the other thing is: you have to give a point to the Warg attack. It actually has to impact [Philippa: Exactly.] on the story.

Philippa: It does.

Peter: It has to achieve something, yeah, otherwise it’s just a special effects…

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Yeah, that was the other thing. Exactly.

Peter: … feast, isn’t it? [Fran agrees]

Philippa: All those people who criticise it should just play it out to its logical conclusion, and not have Aragorn go over that cliff, and then see what it does to the tension of the story, and it goes flat.

Peter: It’s a sort of “What’s the point?” kind of moment.

Philippa: Exactly.

Peter: [the refugees enter Helm’s Deep] This was Miranda’s first day on the set.

Philippa: We didn’t know what to do with her hair, remember?

Fran: Yes – complete lack of hair continuity here.

Philippa: Mmm… but it’s all right. They sussed it. Beautiful wig, though: Peter Owen and Peter King, I have to say, made the most beautiful wigs for Galadriel, Arwen and ╔owyn.

Peter: [screen cap] This shot is a miniature of Helm’s Deep where everybody in it’s a computer-generated character. This miniature was very big: this model, which we used extensively for the entire Helm’s Deep sequence, is enormous. It’s a one-quarter-scale model, but that actually means it’s about twenty-five, thirty-foot wide. The archway where the front gate is – I could actually walk through that archway without bending down: I mean, that’s the sort of size it was. It enabled us to swing the camera round on a crane and get some great aerial-type shots of the castle. (beat) [╔owyn enquires about the food] A little bit of extended DVD footage here, which is really just showing ╔owyn’s r˘le in what she does at Helm’s Deep: I mean, okay, she’s lead the refugees there, but what does she do when she arrives? Well, she’s an organiser, she helps set up the food for them, you know, she plays that sort of part which… We just felt was important to establish a r˘le for her, but obviously it got taken out of the theatrical cut.

Philippa: It also establishes that they ain’t in good shape for a long siege.

Peter: No. (beat) [Gimli tells ╔owyn of Aragorn’s fate] I love the way that John Rhys-Davies plays this moment. It’s another one of those memories I have of shooting this – of saying that Aragorn fell – and this was literally two and a half years before we did the Warg scene, because the Warg scene didn’t really exist properly until post-production of ‘The Two Towers’ and we were talking about [laughs] this cataclysmic event; and when you’re a director, you’re filming this, and you’re just sitting there watching the actors, you know, do their stuff, and you’re hoping: “God, I hope the Wargs look good. Oh God, I hope this scene’s going to work okay” because, you know, everyone’s reacting to something that you still think is [Philippa: Yeah.] a bit of a mystery. (beat) All of Helm’s Deep is basically polystyrene. Grant Major and Dan Hennah developed this great technique that we used for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ –

Philippa: [?]

Peter: – which was just basically making everything out of polystyrene! It’s incredible. You know, you’re banging that with a hammer and it just flakes into that white polystyrene: there’s no strength to it at all; but it looks good, it’s lightweight, it’s cheap and it’s easy to put together.

Isengard Unleashed >>

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.