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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Forbidden Pool

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Peter (cont.): … whilst at the same time we did find that the Faramir sequence was, kind of, problematical to us, and a lot of the changes that we made from the book to the film are actually from this whole sequence where the Hobbits are captured by Faramir. The book is, sort of, lacking a little bit in dramatic tension, we felt: certainly for what we were trying to do with the movie, so we, kind of, tended to amp it up a little bit. In the book, Faramir doesn’t really feel conflicted about the Ring: he, kind of, shrugs it off a bit too easily, and so we wanted to, once Faramir knew that the Ring was in the possession of Frodo, we wanted to make it much harder for him to, sort of, give it up.

Fran: Really diminishes the Ring’s power if Faramir can so readily resist its lure.

Philippa: [in agreement] Mmm.

Fran: That was one of the strong thoughts we had.

Philippa: Yeah. [Peter: This –.] No, it would have been death to the Ring. The Ring would have died.

Fran: There were decisions we made about Faramir that, if we’d had more perspective and time, maybe we would have tried different things with his story, but some of those things – they were shot a long time ago and we had to do the very best job we could. We made certain decisions which maybe in the light of day we would have done differently, but we had delivered them; and there’s certainly been a degree of comment about some of those choices from some of the fans, because they perceived that we’ve diminished the character by attempting to create more story for him, and that’s a valid point of view.

Peter: The song that Gollum is singing here is actually a bit of ad-libbing that Andy Serkis did. It’s –. I think it’s – the song’s in the book, isn’t it?

Fran: Yes.

Philippa: [at same time as Fran] Yeah.

Peter: And Andy had read the book when he was coming into the motion capture stage, in fact, and he recorded the song: it was never part of the plan to do it, but he wanted to try it, and it was so gorgeous that we put it into the cut.

Philippa: And when we tried to ADR it, he couldn’t sing it off key.

Fran: Mmm.

Philippa: He sung it in key: he couldn’t get that great off key thing, so –.

Peter: So we’ve used the mo-cap sound, haven’t we? Yeah.

Philippa: Yeah, you did, didn’t you?

Fran: Yes we did.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: [at same time as Philippa and Fran] The recording on the mo-cap stage.

Philippa: That’s funny!

Peter: [screen cap] And I think this is just about the most successful piece of Gollum: he just looks great here. Gollum as a CG character always looked better in moonlight. We found that when you see him in sunshine, like with the scene with the rabbits, it’s harder to make his skin look real; but when you’re dealing with moonlight like this, he just looks fantastic, he looks incredibly real.

Fran: Because we needed a template for Gollum’s moods and his varying emotional state, we went through and found expressions which were universal, you know, whether it was grief, sadness, joy, hate: that would be the basis from which the animators would work, so that would be where you would start, and then of course they would bring a huge amount of their own character, if you like, to the moments. I’m sure, by the end of the movie, we got to know animators through what the shots were doing: you would feel their personal traits – even sometimes their physical features – coming through in the characterisation of a moment.

Peter: The interrogation scene was something that used to be quite violent, and we trimmed it right back for the theatrical release; and the DVD has a little bit more of the violence put back into it, just to sense –

Philippa: [ironically] A little?

Peter: – a little, yeah –

Philippa: Pft!

Fran: Ooh!

Philippa: God!

Peter: – just to sense that Gollum’s being – what’s the word? –

Philippa: Done up?

Peter: – softened up. Softened up.

Philippa: [surprised, laughing] Softened up! Is that how you soften up people, Pete?

Peter: That’s…

Fran: Oh, it’s pretty nasty! I don’t think it really [Philippa: Helps.] represents the Gondorian Rangers in the best possible light. [Philippa laughs]

Philippa: [Gollum: “Why does it cry, Sméagol?”] This is a great scene.

Peter: It even got worse than that, because, remember, they used to tread on Gollum’s fingers at one stage.

Philippa: Oh, that’s right.

Peter: They’d crush his fingers, which is why he sometimes has sore fingers later on, towards the end of the film.

Philippa: I quite like the fact that Faramir doesn’t use brute force the way that Boromir does, and that is using –.

Peter: [interrupting] There’s some really nice animation here. This was –. An idea of Randy Cook’s was to have Sméagol sobbing, but have Gollum, like in control of that one hand, and he’s, like, comforting Sméagol, which I thought was a really lovely idea. Nice idea to [?] on the back of his head, too. I remember this was a scene that was really largely developed in the cutting room. Quite a bit of the dialogue that he sang to himself didn’t really exist, did it, earlier than when we were putting it together in the edit?

Philippa: No.

Fran: [at same time as Philippa] No.

Philippa: We knew how we wanted the scene to end, but how we got there…

Peter: [Frodo and Sam sitting by the barrels] This scene is one that we shot to address the very simple question that if Frodo has a Ring that can make him invisible, why doesn’t he put it on and escape? And when we realised that we wanted to make their capture a bit more significant than in the book, that was one of the problems we had: it’s like, “Well, hang on, why doesn’t he just put the Ring on? He could slip away easily.”

Fran: There’s also the important moment where Frodo recognises – too late, he recognises – that he’s been ensnared by this thing, and that Sam was right.

Philippa: It’s the junkie scene, isn’t it?

Fran: The second film was very much about the power of addiction, as it’s manifested in Gollum, who is a more obvious example of what the Ring can do to you if you have it for a long period of time; but also in terms of what it’s doing to Frodo psychologically and emotionally, and how it’s driving wedges in his friendship with Sam, which is something, again, I think anyone understands, if you’ve had anything to do with someone who suffers an addiction: that it destroys family and friendship eventually; and so too with the Ring, and it formed, again, a weird basis for a bond between Gollum and Frodo, because there was an implicit understanding of that need for it.

Peter: [Faramir: “The Ring of Power within my grasp.”] This is pretty much taken from the book, isn’t it, the dialogue from this scene? It’s…

Fran: Yes.

Peter: I remember it was actually our audition scene for Faramir: everybody that came in to test for the rôle of Faramir had to do this scene for us. It’s an interesting thing with audition scenes, because sometimes you’ve seen audition scenes so many times that you don’t actually want it in the movie any more [laughs], because it’s, like, totally –

Fran: They get completely worn out, don’t they?

Peter: – worn out, doesn’t it? And it feels like it’s no longer of much use, but this was one that did make it into the film; and again, one of the very few times in the film that the Ring, kind of, features. We… All the close-ups of the Ring are right back to ‘Fellowship’, you know: any close-up, I wanted to shoot really big so that the Ring seems huge on screen to give it more weight and strength.

Fran: The Ring is less visible in the second film, but its effects were more demonstrable in terms of how it impacted on these different characters, so it was still a strong presence, although we didn’t see it as much on screen.

Peter: There was a moment here that we shot where Faramir looks at Frodo, and for a split-second he has an image of Frodo as Gollum, and I remember, we actually made Elijah Wood up to look a bit like Gollum: we had this bald cap on him and a whole number; and it was a concept that we had that we ultimately decided not to use. It was just, like, Faramir seeing a vision of what the Ring was about to do to Frodo, and it was going to help, you know, show him the power of the Ring, but it just felt like it would confuse people to put it in there. (beat)

Aragorn's Return >>

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.