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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Window on the West

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Peter (cont.): [Faramir: “What news?”] This is a scene to explain the geography, because it’s kind of confusing, you know: you have two villains, one from Isengard, one from Mordor, with two different targets – Helm’s Deep and Osgiliath – two different sets of people – the Rohan and the Gondorians – and it was kind of a deliberate scene to re-orientate ourselves. We actually had shot a sequence where we have these two guys talking, Faramir and Madril, but they weren’t saying much of this dialogue; and when we were in London doing the ADR recording and the scoring, we were doing the final finessing of the edit, and we decided that we wanted to expand this scene a lot more, so I drew a map of Middle-earth on a bit of paper and I went into the billiard room of this house that we were at and I got my DV camera and I filmed my finger, sort of, pointing at the map, and then we sent that back to New Zealand, where, you know, everybody was at that stage, and they filmed somebody’s hand pointing at the map in the same place that I was, and then we were able to get the actors to do ADR to explain the map positions. That’s why the shots of the actors, which were filmed some time earlier don’t actually talk about the map at all, but when we’re on the map, that’s where we could sneak the dialogue in to explain who was doing what to whom.

Philippa: [Faramir: “My men tell me you are Orc spies.”] This scene never changed much, surprisingly, did it? This is one of the few scenes that – well, certainly, the Sam and Frodo stuff never really changed much from the [?grey] pages originally written.

Peter: It’s actually one of the few scenes in the movie where we get to see how big Hobbits are, too. There’s a lot of things in this film which were a bit different to ‘Fellowship’: I mean, ‘Fellowship’ had all that stuff where you saw that Hobbits were small, but because Frodo, Sam and Gollum are by themselves most of the time, there’s very few opportunities to remind you how big they are. When they’re with these guys, obviously, we do get that chance. (beat) We chose David Wenham partly for his resemblance to Sean Bean: we wanted to make sure we had a feeling that they were a family; and also David, as well, is a very powerful actor. He was, what, voted the sexiest man in Australia?

Philippa: Yes!

Peter: A few years ago?

Philippa: [laughing, at same time as Peter] Only a couple of years ago!

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] Which is why, I suspect, he was possibly chosen for the rôle.

Philippa: Yes! Definitely! He’s also one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet.

Peter: He’s very funny. (beat) It’s always very difficult to have waterfalls in films, because, from a sound point of view, the noise that a waterfall makes is a horrible, roaring, kind of, white noise; and when you’re mixing the soundtrack, you never, kind of, quite know how much waterfall to have, because even though it’s right behind them, it gets a very irritating sound, and so you tend to, sort of, push the waterfall right down low so you’re not distracted from the dialogue that’s being spoken. We were, obviously, just shooting the waterfall in a studio: we had a big, fake, sort of Disneyland-style waterfall going.

Philippa: [Faramir: “His horn washed up upon the riverbank.”] That whole sequence is, of course, referring to a beautiful passage from the book where Faramir describes the dream he has to Frodo of this boat appearing, floating down the River Anduin and, of course, discovering that the body of the warrior lying in it is the body of his brother Boromir.

Peter: The idea that Faramir is Boromir’s brother is, obviously, spoken about, but I always think it’s much stronger to have things visual, you know: see them in pictures, rather than just hear people discussing it in dialogue, so these scenes were shot as a way of linking the two characters together. It’s supposed to be a dream scene, very, very surreal.

Fran: That pinkish colour in the water [screen cap] was, in fact, the dye leaking out of Sean Bean’s shirt.

Peter: Right!

Philippa: [laughing] Oh, was it?

Fran: [laughing] It was!

Philippa: Oh, God!

Peter: Yeah, because when it got wet, it – we suddenly discovered that it wasn’t –. The dye wasn’t holding in there. No.

Fran: No, and we did a few water changes, but always the pink surfaced.

Peter: You could say it’s some sort of symbolic blood-type effect, couldn’t you?

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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.