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EE Commentary Transcripts

FotR Disc 2

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Peter: [Gilraen’s Memorial] So welcome back to Disc Number 2, and we’re going straight into a scene that we had to delete from the theatrical version of the film, again just for momentum reasons. When we cut the film theatrically, we decided that once the Fellowship were formed, we had to, obviously, give Frodo the mithril vest and Sting; but we wanted to leave Rivendell as quickly as possible, and that was purely a momentum decision of just wanting to punch the film forward to its next act essentially. But we had shot this very lovely sequence where Aragorn is basically farewelling his mother’s grave, because he was brought up in Rivendell, he was raised by the Elves, which was something we never really got across strongly in the theatrical version, but scenes like this do illuminate on that side of his character. His mother died and was buried here in Rivendell, and so we used the moment of him farewelling his mother to reflect on his responsibilities: that Elrond is trying to encourage him to rise to his responsibilities, to become a leader of Men. But Aragorn feels that Men are so weak, that they’re so flawed – which he acknowledges even though he is one himself – that he really doesn’t know if he wants to go there. (beat) [Bilbo’s Gifts] Rivendell was a set that was built at Kaitoke, which is a Wellington park, about 25 miles north of Wellington; and we built… Like, this room is actually built inside the Park – that’s a real forest outside we were filming in –, so I wanted Rivendell to have this, very much, indoor-outdoor, kind of, very close to nature.

Fran: And we didn’t mention it earlier, but when we first see Ian Holm here in Rivendell, he has the second stage age make up, which Weta designed. Is it the stipple? The stipple make up?

Peter: It’s the stipple make up, because… Obviously, because Bilbo doesn’t have the Ring any more, his ageing process has accelerated.

Philippa: [Bilbo: “I should very much like to hold it again…”] I think you gave a million people a heart attack with this shot, Pete.

Peter: Yeah… Ian does this so wonderfully well. He’s, you know, he’s just playing a character that hasn’t really been able to finally give up the Ring. And that was done with a rubber puppet that –.We morphed a rubber puppet into Ian’s face for a few frames, so it’s half Ian, half rubber puppet: it’s like a combination of the two.

Fran: It’s absolutely a moment from the book, though, that.

Philippa: Yes, it is. It is, yes.

Peter: It is. Where it says, “a shadow [Philippa: Yeah.] passes across Bilbo’s face” [Philippa: Yeah.] and suddenly Frodo sees something horrible. A grasping –

Fran: [at same time as Peter] A grasping thing.

Peter: – and groping… yeah… yeah, yeah.

Fran: Yes.

Peter: No, definitely inspired by the book. (beat) But I think the scenes between Frodo and Bilbo are very special in the film, as, you know, they are… It is, really, in a sense, it’s… One of the reasons why Frodo does what he sets out to do is because of the fact that he sees through Bilbo just how evil this Ring is and why it must be destroyed. (beat) [Elrond farewells the Fellowship] In the theatrical version, as you know, we just thundered straight out of Rivendell following the scene with Bilbo and Frodo; and we had shot this farewell. We actually shot a little bit more of it, too: there’s some more footage that doesn’t appear on this version of the film, either, where Elrond and Frodo have a little conversation. But, this was what we thought was going to be in the film for quite some time, until at the very last minute we decided to trim it out. It’s just nice because it allows Frodo a moment where he just can convey to us the enormity of what he’s been thrust into, where suddenly he’s been put into the spotlight, that he’s the symbolic leader now: he’s the Ring-bearer, the leader of the Fellowship. (beat) And it allows us this one last opportunity to see Aragorn and Arwen together; and as readers of the book know, it’s going to be quite some time in the story before we see the two of them together again. (beat) [The Fellowship walks out of the Imladris valley, screen cap] These are combinations of miniatures and matte paintings and various waterfalls photographed from different places in New Zealand. (beat) That ruin is a computer-generated ruin. [screen cap] I flew around in a helicopter with our aerial crew, shooting these scenes. We had doubles that we took down to the South Island. (beat) [The Fellowship passes between the two rocks] And this is what we call our ‘hero Fellowship shot’. It was done against blue screens with a scenic plate of the South Island of New Zealand. This is a great location: I really love this. It’s just out of Te Anau, near Lake Manapouri, and it’s just a great part of the country. I really loved filming this stuff.

Philippa: Bill the Pony. We actually didn’t have Bill – for a while – in the script. And then Pete –.

Peter: No, Bill the Pony was added much, much later.

Philippa: – pretty determined to stick Bill in, but Mark Ordesky didn’t realise this, and when he came down one day, he saw this pony and he said, “What they hell’s this pony doing?” [Philippa laughs] We said, “It’s Bill! Bill’s back in!”

Peter: Well, the reason why we didn’t have Bill was because of the problems of shooting on the mountains. We thought, “How on earth are we ever going to get a pony up onto these mountains?” but we [Philippa laughs] solved that by resorting to what’s called the ‘Pantomime Pony’ which is simply to have a pony placed by two people: somebody’s the front end and somebody’s the back end, and in quite a few scenes – especially the scene in the snow, where Fellowship are walking – that’s actually Bill the Pantomime Pony, the fake pony, which solved the problem of having to transport the real animal to all these far-off locations.

Philippa: [Merry and Pippin wrestle with Boromir] We wanted this connection, of course, between Boromir and Merry and Pippin: it’s very, very important for the end of the movie.

Peter: This was shot in a National Park at the top of the South Island, and again it was a location, actually, that was offered up to us by a helicopter pilot. We were flying around, going somewhere else and Bill the helicopter pilot said to me, “Oh, I saw a really interesting place that I’ve never seen before: it’s on the side of a mountain, about fifteen miles away, and there’s all these weird rock formations” and I said – I immediately got interesting – and I said, “Oh well, could you fly us there now and give us a look?” and he flew us over this location that you’re seeing now, and this was… it was amazing. With all these incredible, weird rocks it was something almost like Easter Island; and, so, I just thought we’ve got to shoot something there, so I thought this scene, ultimately, would be a really good one to go back to that location, and so we went back there and dumped the crew on top of this mountain and shot the scene.

Fran: Ian was really funny: on one of the blooper outtakes [Fran and Philippa laugh] he emerges from behind the rock and he says, instead of “spies of Saruman” he says, “spies of Star Wars!” [Philippa laughs]

Peter: [Caradhras] This was a sequence that was shot on a mountaintop near Mount Aspiring: it was a real, very high, remote mountain; and the helicopters flew us in, dropped us off, and then they went off to park on the other side of the hill, so they weren’t in sight of the cameras; but the helicopters were never that far away, because the weather is so difficult up there and it can change. It’s so changeable that a storm could have suddenly swept in and stranded us on this mountain, so they were very close by in case they had to do an emergency evacuation.

Fran: And for that big Ring close-up shot, Pete… [screen cap]

Peter: That was a large Ring.

Fran: How big was it?

Peter: Oh, about six inches in diameter, so we could get the Ring close to the lens. We had a much, much bigger Ring.

Fran: This scene, of course, is not in the book, although Boromir’s temptation is in the book, at the Council.

Philippa: [at same time as Fran] Boromir’s temptation is utterly in the book, and that particular line, “that we should suffer so much fate”…

Fran: “Fear and doubt”

Philippa: Yeah… Is of course one of the last things he says in the book.

Fran: Yes.

Philippa: But it was just too good not to play it this soon. We needed this progression.

Peter: [flying through the caverns of Isengard] This was a shot that was almost one of our last things that we added to the film. We wanted a sense of the crows returning to give their message to Saruman; and the model of the caverns below Isengard had already been packed away, so I got them to drag the model out and set it up again just to do this shot, and we did the blue screen with Christopher Lee very late, as well – he flew back out to New Zealand to do that.

Philippa: [heavy snowfall on Caradhras] These are all miniatures.

Peter: All miniatures, yep. This was a huge, big model that Alex Funke, our Miniature DP shot. One of the very first miniatures ever to be shot for the film.

Fran: Yes. (beat) This was a hellish [Philippa groans] studio shoot.

Philippa: The worst studio…

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] That’s right. Fran actually directed quite a significant piece of this scene.

Fran: Well John Mahaffie did it, too.

Peter: Right, yeah.

Fran: And… Well John really did it.

Peter: John Mahaffie, our second unit director, directed quite a bit of this scene, with Fran: I think you were there, too, weren’t you?

Fran: I was there. There was rice flakes flying around, and polystyrene, and the rice flakes would get wet and turn, sort of, gluey.

Philippa: Yeah.

Fran: And…

Philippa: And get everywhere.

Fran: …they’d stick in the treads of your shoes and…

Philippa: Your handbag was full of it.

Fran: It was horrendous. It got into everybody’s underwear!

Philippa: [laughing] What the hell were you doing in there?! What were you doing?

Fran: [laughing] Well I wasn’t personally checking it, but everyone reported it. It was a horror. And I said to Pete, you know, “You’ve really got to come and shoot some of this stuff, because it’s [gassy?] and I don’t want to be here any more!” and he said, [stubbornly] “No! No, I’m due at –. I have to run with the Olympic torch.” [Philippa and Fran laugh]

Philippa: Yeah, that’s right! I remember that!

Fran: “I don’t want to get all that crap in my hair!” And so, unfortunately, I got stuck there.

Philippa: He’s a great athlete. [Philippa and Fran laugh]

Peter: That shot there of Legolas is actually in real snow. It’s weird, because most of it’s fake in a studio, but there was a couple of shots we didn’t have, and so, one day, we were filming – on a real mountaintop – a different scene, and I thought, “Well, I could get that shot that I want of Legolas breaking through the snow, so Orlando got to be the guy that had to do it in real snow, while we buried him! We covered him over in snow and he got to punch his way out as an insert for this scene, even though everybody else was in polystyrene and rice flakes.

Fran: I’m fairly sure that in that shot of Saruman on top of the tower – where he’s invoking the mountain – that you can see his bandaged finger.

Philippa: Ooh!

Fran: I’m pretty sure I can see a big, lumpy finger there.

Philippa: You mean they missed it? You mean the critics…

Fran: I don’t think the fans have seen that.

Philippa: The anally-retentive…

Fran: And now I’ve pointed it out.

Philippa: …mistake-spotters have missed it.

Fran: It’s there.

Philippa: The interesting thing about the spells that the two wizards are contending with each other with: it’s spoken in Quenya, an older Elvish dialect; and what’s interesting is that Gandalf is actually saying, as he does in the book, “Sleep”. He’s asking Caradhras to go back to sleep; and one of the things I love about Tolkien is the idea that there is a spirit even within the mountain, and what Saruman is doing is awakening that malice – the malice of the mountain – and Gandalf is trying to make it sleep.

Peter: [Gandalf talks to Frodo about the power of the Ring] Another scene trimmed from the theatrical version – for pacing reasons – is this nice little moment between Gandalf and Frodo. We wanted to really emphasise the fact that Gandalf is sensing his impending doom, that he doesn’t want to go into Moria; however, because Frodo has now made a decision, he’s going to go along with it, but he wants to just take an opportunity to warn Frodo that from here on in, the journey is going to get more dangerous. And it’s a scene we did with Ian McKellen: it was actually the last thing we shot with Ian for the Fellowship of the Ring. It was a pick-up that we did after the completion of photography and Ian flew out to New Zealand and we shot the sequence in front of a blue screen and we composited in the mountains behind them; it was done in the studio and it was done literally on Ian’s last day of being involved in the movie, and he flew home that afternoon. (beat) [Gimli: “Dwarf doors are invisible when closed.”] The little moment here between Legolas and Gimli is a little beat of the rivalry between Dwarves and Elves which we did shoot for the movie, and we had to trim most of that stuff out for the theatrical version. It’s obviously a very notable part of the book, the, sort of, antagonism between those two characters that slowly turns into friendship. (beat) The Gates of Moria used to be a very well-used road that the Elves and Dwarves would take in ancient times, before they fell out. (beat) I always loved the idea that the door has this inscription that reflects moonlight, and so that if the moon’s out, then the letters… the markings on the door glow, which I always thought was really magical.

Fran: And that wide shot was your deliberate recreation of the Alan Lee painting of the Moria doors. [screen cap]

Peter: Yeah, Alan’s got a painting that’s almost identical to this, and I just thought, “That’s got to be what the Gate of Moria is like in the movie”; so we deliberately tried to replicate it as closely as possible. Obviously, Tolkien himself designed the pattern of the Gate, the symbols on the Gate. (beat) There was a lot of concern about whether Gandalf should appear too much of a failure here – and I guess this slightly longer cut shows more of his frustration – but I actually always loved it. I thought that to make Gandalf fallible, to show that he, even though he’s this spirit, he’s inhabited in the body of an old man, he does forget things, he’s not always perfect: I think it was very nice for his character. It’s, sort of, ‘anti-wizard’ in a funny kind of way. (beat) This was filmed on what’s called the ‘wet set’ which is basically like a big swimming pool that was outside in Wingate which was right next to a railway line! If you hear the real sound that we recorded on the day, it’s just full of trains rumbling past the set. In fact, I think people could look out of the window of the train and actually see what we were shooting.

Fran: [Aragorn and Sam let Bill go] This little moment here was a studio request from Mark Ordesky. [Philippa and Fran laugh]

Philippa: [laughing] Yes!

Fran: He was worried about what the audience might think, you know, would become of Bill the Pony.

Philippa: What happened was when he’d finally discovered that, somehow, Bill the Pony had materialised he said, [putting on Mark Ordesky’s accent] “What happens to the pony?” and I said, “Well, in the book, he’s released outside the Mines of Moria where all the wolves are howling and they’re really hungry and all Mark could see was this great horror that we were going to send Bill the Pony off to be eaten by wolves.

Peter: I always wanted the Watcher to go and grab…

Philippa: Grab him! [Philippa laughs]

Peter: I thought that would be great, if the little donkey was, kind of, like: [does a donkey impression] [Philippa laughs] and he was, kind of, pulled below the surface by a big, slippery, slimy tentacle.

Fran: No, so it…

Philippa: [laughing] Mark would have had a heart attack!

Fran: That very lame line, “Don’t worry, Sam, he’ll find his way home” [Philippa: Yeah.] was our concession to the studio.

Philippa: Yes. [Peter laughs]

Philippa: That was done under duress.

Fran: It was. Under protest.

Philippa: The idea of giving the solving of the puzzle to Frodo – which some people, sort of, objected to because, of course, Gandalf himself solves it in the book – was basically because by this stage Frodo’s staring to drop out of the story, and always one of the things we had to work very hard to do was to keep him in focus and keep him very proactive, so that he’s not just somebody who’s being dragged along by other people.

Peter: (beat) [the Fellowship discovers the Dwarf skeletons in the entrance to Moria] Now, there’s a couple of shots there that are not John Rhys-Davies, they’re another person in his make up.

Philippa: John had had a very bad reaction to the prosthetic by this stage, because he faced a… I think it was… began as a five hour or four hour prosthetic, and ended up being three hours. I don’t think it was ever less than three hours, was it?

Fran: Yes, the glue was giving him tremendous inflammation around his eyes.

Philippa: He was such a… He was so great at dealing with it.

Fran: And it got to the point where we couldn’t shoot with him on consecutive days: we would have to shoot with John every two or three days [Peter: Yeah.] to give him a break.

Peter: (beat) The Watcher is one of those scenes that was a little bit of a fight with the studio, that there was always a feeling that it was unnecessary, that we could just have the door open and then just go straight into the Mine and carry on going through the Mine; but I always… I love the notion of the scene, I thought the film needed some more, you know, a good monster sequence at this point in time.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: And so, I kind of fought for it, and obviously it’s a little bit more than what’s in the book, even, because in the book you don’t see the creature as clearly as you do here: you just see the tentacles coming out of the water. But I, you know… So this was a fight, I have to say, to retain this sequence in the script. But fortunately, as they did in most situations, the studio finally relented and let me do what I wanted to do, which I was always very grateful for.

Philippa: One of the most important things it does, of course, is it gives them their choice: it locks them in there, and we would have had to have…

Peter: Yeah, I mean I love the idea that they decide [Philippa: Yeah.] they don’t want to go through the Mine when they see how nightmarish it is, and then they have no choice: they get entombed in there. [Philippa: Yeah.] They have no choice at all but to have to walk through the Mine. And I love the idea it’s a four day journey, that they’re walking under the Mountain. It’s just such a great, evocative sequence; it’s probably, you know, the best sequence in the book, really. It’s…

Philippa: Mmm. I love Moria.

Peter: It’s something that everybody remembers from the book, so [Fran: Yes.] [Philippa agrees] it, sort of, naturally became one of the major set pieces in the film.

Fran: I think it’s one of the most well-written chapters of the book.

Philippa: Yes, I agree.

Fran: It’s beautifully written. And musically, Howard [Philippa sighs] took his cue from…

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: …from the Dwarves and utilising a male choir to…

Philippa: That was Peter, actually.

Fran: …take us through Moria.

Philippa: What happened, I remember, we were having lunch at your place, and you were talking… You and Howard, Fran, were talking about the choral… the concept of choral music, especially in this place. I think you’d found some great stuff from the temp track that you’d used and Howard had really enjoyed it; and Pete, you were talking about some of the women vocalists that were around and things like this; and I said that all the Dwarves were male, and that’s when your eyes lit up and said, “A male choir!”. You were thinking of the great Welsh mining choirs and that… It took off from there, and then, of course, Howard managed to find an incredible Polynesian choir here in New Zealand.

Peter: (beat) [Gandalf reveals the mithril in the Mines to the Fellowship] We have a sequence coming up which was cut, revealing more information about the mithril vest which Bilbo gave Frodo, and we felt that the mithril vest had been established well enough back in the Rivendell bedroom scene, and we didn’t really need to dwell more on it, which is why this was trimmed out; but it’s got a nice mood to it, and I love the idea that there’s this huge mithril mine right in the middle of the Mountains: the actual mine shaft where the mithril has been dug out of the Mountain. It’s, sort of, a seemingly endless hole, which I found pretty creepy. It was one of the first miniatures that we ever shot for the film. [Gandalf tells the Fellowship of Thorin’s gift to Bilbo] And as readers of the book will know, the story that the shirt of mithril rings was given to Bilbo by Thorin, which is one of the episodes from the book ‘The Hobbit’ and we, sort of, make reference to it in this piece of dialogue. (beat) The fork in the road, the three-way crossroads, is in the book, and I always liked that idea that Gandalf kind of forgets. We wanted to play Gandalf as being… human, really.

Fran: Fallible.

Peter: Yeah, to be fallible: that he wasn’t just a wizard that knew what to do all the time, and I love the idea that he hadn’t been in there for hundreds of years, and, you know, he knew his way through but he just couldn’t quite remember which of these three tunnels to take. (beat) The Gollum that you’re seeing here is almost our prototype Gollum; when you see him in ‘The Two Towers’ he will look a little bit different to this. This was done, you know, early, and we have since developed him and changed him slightly; so, at some point, we’ll probably go and redo that shot there for some later DVD edition of ‘The Fellowship’ [laughs] so that it matches up with the Gollum that we’re going to see in ‘The Two Towers’. (beat) [Gollum looks through the ladder] We trimmed a little reference here out of the theatrical version, which refers to Gollum as Sméagol; and we trimmed it out because we didn’t need it in this film, but I’m including it here because this whole concept of Gollum’s original name being Sméagol is something that’s very important in ‘The Two Towers’ and so I wanted it back in this version of the film, so hopefully people will get to look at this prior to seeing ‘The Two Towers’, which is obviously coming onto screens very shortly.

Fran: [Frodo: “It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance”] This scene’s really interesting because, although, you know… because it’s done with forced perspective, they’re not looking at each other when they’re saying these lines. When you see two shots of them making eye contact, they’re in fact, you know, many feet apart, looking at quite different points. (beat) [Gandalf: “Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement”] This scene has the… is really the heart of the book.

Philippa: It’s the heart of the film.

Peter: It actually happens in Bag End, doesn’t it?

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: It does, yeah.

Philippa: In ‘The Shadow of the Past’ chapter.

Peter: But this is a much more appropriate place for it –

Fran: It is.

Peter: – in terms of the cinematic story that we’re telling.

Fran: It’s –.

Philippa: This is the one place where we felt we could stop, and the key thing about this is that what Gandalf’s saying to Frodo is so utterly important, because this is where you’re getting a sense that he knows that he is not going to be around [Fran: Yes.] for this boy…

Fran: Yeah.

Philippa: …and not going to be around to help him.

Fran: Yes. And there –.

Philippa: And I think Ian played that beautifully.

Fran: There are two great messages that come through in this scene.

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: The first one is: “Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement”…

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: …which is Tolkien’s humanitarianism, really.

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: It’s the spirit of the book. It’s forgiveness, and through forgiveness is redemption, and in that sense it’s quite a Christian…

Philippa: And also that –.

Fran: …notion.

Philippa: And that is the rôle of the Greater Being, too.

Fran: Yes, yes. “There are other forces at work [Philippa, at same time as Fran: “at work”] in this world [Philippa: Yes.] besides the will of evil.” And the other great message in this scene is: “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

Philippa: That is the essence of the book.

Fran: Well it… Well that’s about free will [Philippa: Yes.], which again, plays directly to the powerful things that underlie the story, which really informed Tolkien’s, you know, view of life.

Philippa: [in agreement] Mmm…

Fran: His Catholic faith.

Philippa: Mmm.

Peter: (beat) The sequence in the Dwarrowdelf hall was inspired by a painting that Alan Lee did for the centenary edition of ‘The Lord of the Rings’: a wonderful watercolour painting of these huge towering columns that seemed to go on and on forever, with this tiny little group of people walking at their base; and we looked at that painting while we were writing the script, long before we ever met Alan Lee, and we always took huge inspiration from the visual look of Moria. And then – that’s the image there [screen cap] – and then, much later, for my birthday [Philippa laughs] Fran gave me a present, and I opened it up and it was the original painting that she’d got. She’d persuaded Alan to part with it [laughs] and I’ve now got that original painting on the wall in our house.

Philippa: I love the scale.

Peter: Yeah.

Philippa: It’s just so huge.

Peter: It’s just… The scale’s fantastic, of just showing tiny people with this huge architecture: it’s mind-boggling. And then to think that it was carved out of the interior of a mountain; I mean, I just love the idea that it was once solid rock, and yet the Dwarves chipped away at the rock and created this hall of columns. It’s just… You know, I just like thinking about it! [laughs] It’s really exciting! (beat) Balin’s Tomb is pretty much as described in the books.

Philippa: [in agreement] Mmm.

Peter: The shaft of white light, you know… We really wanted to be as accurate as possible to the descriptions. We felt that, even though were taking liberties sometimes with characters and with dialogue and with the way that the story unfolded, we didn’t really ever want to take liberties with the world that the story was in. So we [Philippa: No.] were always very strictly accurate – as much as possible, anyway – to the places, so that, at least fans of the book would feel that they were seeing Middle-earth come to life.

Fran: [in agreement] Mmm.

Philippa: Underneath this you can hear John Rhys-Davies actually speaking some Dwarvish. I believe, except for the choral pieces, it’s the only Dwarvish we hear.

Fran: And you’re only able to see –.

Philippa: Fiendishly difficult language.

Fran: You’re going to see Viggo in profile here, because he [Philippa laughs] whacked himself in the eye with a surfboard and gave himself a black eye, so we had to [Philippa gasps] shoot him for about a week…

Philippa: He went surfing with the Hobbits.

Peter: This was shot on a Monday, and he’d come in on the Monday morning and he had this huge, swollen face – that shot there [screen cap] – he had this huge swollen face on the right side, and so I had to shoot everything from the left, which is why you see some rather slightly awkward shots of Viggo, because normally I wouldn’t choose to do that, but I had no choice in this instance. (beat) The well is used a little differently. It’s sort of how we worked on the screenplay: we’d take all these ideas of Tolkien’s and then we’d find slightly different ways to use them, because Pippin throws a pebble down a well at some point – not in Balin’s Tomb, but in some other place in Moria –, but we took that idea and we enlarged it to make it this, kind of, key moment in Balin’s Tomb when the Orcs are alerted to their whereabouts. (beat) On the walls of Balin’s Tomb are Dwarven runes. If you look closely, all around the Tomb, on every single wall, is carved the story of the history of Moria [Philippa: Mmm.] and the Dwarves of Moria, and it’s all there: if you understand runes, you can, sort of, read the odd word here and there. (beat) [shots of the Mines as the Orcs start to approach] We used some miniatures, obviously, to create the large caverns of Moria. (beat) The Orcs – or the Goblins… I mean, I don’t know whether they’re Goblins –. We called them either Goblins or Moria Orcs.

Philippa: They’re the same, they’re the same.

Peter: It’s the same thing essentially. We wanted to create a, sort of, a race of feral creatures that live underground. They’re a little different to the Orcs that you see elsewhere in the movie, that they’re much more…

Fran: Subterranean.

Philippa: [at same time at Fran] They’re paler.

Peter: Yeah, they’re subterranean, large, round eyes, which would have developed so they could see in the dark.

Philippa: Very sickly skin.

Peter: Yeah. Pale skin, yeah. Yeah. So, we, sort of… We did put a lot of thought –. And their armour is quite, sort of, ‘cockroachy’, and even, on some of their gloves they have little hooks, which is what allows them to crawl up and down the walls.

Philippa: [Frodo is holding a glowing Sting] Somebody asked me why Glamdring wasn’t glowing, and I must admit, I didn’t know why.

Peter: Er, probably due to budgetary cuts! [Philippa, at same time as Peter: budgetary cuts!] [Philippa and Fran laugh]

Philippa: Not enough blue left!

Peter: The intention with the fighting was to make you feel like you were part of it; I wanted to really get in there with the camera: it was all shot handheld. I often used to shoot this fight on Saturdays, when I was shooting Monday to Friday with the main unit, and I’d come in on the Saturdays and shoot some of this stuff with the second unit. And then, through the week, Geoff Murphy, one of our second unit directors, was also shooting a substantial part of this fight as well. He shot… Most of the shots with the cave troll were done by Geoff. (beat) [Aragorn and Boromir save Sam from the cave troll] There’s a actually a few cave troll shots that we trimmed out of the movie, which we can get to look at here: a little bit involving Sam, which I always liked, but again, we just felt that the cave troll sequence went on a little bit too long, so we nipped and tucked a few shots out. But they were actually shots that we’d already finished: we’d done all the effects for them, so we were able just to put them straight back into here. (beat) [Aragorn saves Boromir from an Orc] This little moment between Boromir and Aragorn is significant, too, because it does show that their respect for each other is growing, following the earlier antagonism between the two characters. (beat) The cave troll was a character that we developed very early: he existed at least a year before we started shooting, if not actually more than that, really: two years before we started shooting we had tests of the cave troll. And I always loved the idea of a monster that sort of felt real. I wanted to not make it an over the top movie monster, but a creature that you can, sort of, believe in, so we wanted to make him a little stupid, you know: like he’s not really evil, but he’s just fallen into bad company. He’s like a big, simple kid who has just got bad friends, and, you know, he comes in waving his hammer around, but I wanted there to be some sympathy for the troll, because I always imagined that the troll has a mother, you know, and she’s probably got his bed turned down and [Philippa, cutely: Ohh!] a glass of warm milk by his bed, and he’s just… He’s not going to come home. [Philippa: Ah!] You know, and I always [Peter laughs] [?] quite… it’s sad, really, but…

Fran: He is quite empathetic, though.

Peter: Yeah, yeah.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Yeah.

Fran: Which is, I think –.

Philippa: It is in the book.

Fran: But it’s a testament to Randy Cook, is it not?

Philippa: Yes, too.

Fran: Did Randy drive for this?

Peter: Yeah, well Randy, who was our animation supervisor… I mean, he and I are big Ray Harryhausen fans, and we always regarded this as being our Harryhausen scene. The one thing we’re doing differently is we’re using handheld cameras, whereas in the old Harryhausen movies like ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ and ‘Sinbad’, the cameras were always locked off, completely static, because it was just… it was the only way that those effects could be achieved in those days; but we thought it would be great to do what’s essentially a wonderful Harryhausen monster fight, but do it with handheld cameras, so you get much more of that documentary sort of feel. So, if you look at the troll, for every single shot, the camera’s handheld, and that gives it that little bit of life and energy. But, you know, the gags are all Harryhausen gags, really: throwing stones at monsters, he did that, you know, throwing spears, jumping on their backs, you know, it’s all been done before and in a way, we thought it was just our opportunity to pay homage to the great old Harryhausen films. (beat) Once Merry and Pippin jump on the back of the troll, they become CG characters. They’re a little computer-generated Merry and Pippin. (beat) [Frodo falls to the ground] You know, I mean, we took our lead from the book again with the mithril vest gag, where Frodo gets stabbed in the chest by the [?vest], but we just milked it a little bit more, I mean, that’s… Often what we did in the film was to take our lead from sections of the book, but then, sort of, to milk them for all they’re worth in a much more of a movie kind of way. (beat) We did a lot of pre-visualisation on this scene, which is to plan it before you shoot it. It’s quite complicated, but I’m sure there’ll be something in the documentary accompanying this DVD which will explain that in more detail. (beat) Creating the mithril vest was tricky too, because it is such a magical thing, and yet we had to create something real; but we did it… We made a chain mail vest out of tiny, tiny rings of chain mail: the finest, sort of, wire that we could bend into loops and we had it silver-coated.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: Sort of a platinum colour.

Philippa: It was a nightmare for Ngila: they had to get the measurements so right before they cut it [Peter: And it – ] because it was a one-off.

Peter: – it took somebody weeks and weeks and weeks [Philippa: Yeah.] to put all this chain mail together, but those are all tiny, little metal loops put… assembled by hand, one at a time.

Philippa: Yeah. It is actually very beautiful to look at. It’s a very beautiful garment.

Peter: [Fellowship run out of Chamber of Mazarbul] What you’re seeing here is –. You’re seeing a completely computer-generated image. [screen cap] The Fellowship are computer-generated, the environment, the columns, the architecture, are completely computer-generated. Often in movies, you know, that’s a rare thing, to have shots in which nothing is real – this is another one [screen cap] – where everything is just done in the computer. And we had no ability to build a set this big, of course, because it’s basically endless, and what we did is we built two bases of columns, so if you look at all those columns, and just imagine the bases of them, we had two of those in the studio against black, so when we cut to the live action stuff that we’re looking at here, you’re just seeing… We’re filming… Our two big column-bases is all that we have, and we’re just looking at the two – the same two columns – over and over again [laughs] from the various angles, and then, obviously, inter-cutting that with some computer wide shots. (beat) This is… This sequence, which is again enhanced from what’s in the book, that it was really… You know, the introduction of the Balrog didn’t happen quite in this way, but we just wanted to make a, sort of, rollicking Indiana Jones type sequence out of it, really to [Philippa: Yeah.] have some fun with it.

Philippa: [Boromir: “What is this new devilry?”] That’s a great Tolkien line. [whispers] “What is this new devilry?”

Peter: I love the look on Ian’s eyes. I love the way that he’s reacting to this Balrog. It’s fantastic!

Fran: And then Legolas’s eyes.

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: His close-up is coming.

Philippa: Because that is… The one thing that Elves would fear –

Peter: Is the Balrog. Yeah

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] – in Middle-earth is the Balrog. A Balrog.

Peter: Yeah.

Philippa: A Balrog is actually a, strangely enough, is actually a spirit, a Maia spirit, very similar to… Gandalf is also a Maia spirit; so these two are actually beings of a similar power, but at opposite ends of the…

Peter: In our screenplay, it –

Philippa: …the scale.

Peter: – said something along the lines of, “The Fellowship run from the Balrog [Philippa laughs] down a staircase…

Philippa: [laughing] It was two lines!

Peter: …and across the Bridge.

Philippa: [laughing] I know!

Peter: It literally goes from the Balrog appearing in the hallway and the Goblins running to the Bridge in, like, two lines; and what happened…

Philippa: And the fools fell for it.

Peter: …with the development of this scene is, to the horror of the studio, I think, is that it obviously developed into the biggest effects sequence in the entire movie. But I think it’s a great scene, and the way that it came together is that Alan Lee drew the Bridge – I mean, the Staircase – we call it the Staircase, really, where the Fellowship run down, and we were just going to get one shot of them running down, and Alan had drawn this picture exactly as you see it in the movie here, exactly, in pencil sketch, except he’d had this broken bit of bridge, and Alan just said to me, “Oh, I thought it’d be fun to have a broken bit because then they could jump over it” and that really sparked my imagination going of, well, what else could you do with a broken piece of bridge? What if, say, you were being shot at with arrows as you were trying to jump over it? So, you keep complicating it; and then Randy Cook was very instrumental in taking a lot of the ideas that I came up with and then he did an animatic, and this was about a year and a half before we started shooting, and he developed an animatic, which is a simple computer version of the scene, just done on a home PC, and Randy came up with all sorts of extra ideas and we eventually, between the group of us, we worked this scene up to the state that you see it now. And we had it pretty well pre-vized with this computer animatic – pre-visualisation.

Philippa: Pete’s got to take credit for “No one tosses a Dwarf!” [to Fran] I’m sorry, we’re disowning that line, aren’t we?

Peter: “No one tosses a Dwarf” [Philippa laughs] Dwarves… It’s a very British thing: it’s something that Americans don’t know too much about, but England has a sport called Dwarf-tossing. In fact, one of our scale doubles – one of our little, four-foot high guys, Kiran, who…

Philippa: Kiran Shah.

Peter: …who came from England – Kiran Shah who came from England – he had been tossed several times in his career.

Fran: Had he? I thought it was an Australian invention.

Peter: I think it’s English.

Philippa: I think it is English in the [?] –.

Peter: Oh, the Australians do gumboot tossing.

Fran: No, no, they have –

Philippa: [at same time as Fran] No, they do Dwarf tossing, too.

Fran: – Dwarf-tossing.

Philippa: They do Dwarf-tossing? Yeah, well it probably spread to the more crasser members of the Commonwealth! [Philippa laughs]

Fran: I thought it had a completely different meaning in England.

Peter: No, no. To toss a Dwarf is a sport. You pick up a Dwarf and you throw the Dwarf –

Philippa: [to Fran, laughing] No! That’s –. Americans have –

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] – as far as you can.

Philippa: – a completely different understanding of that phrase!

Fran: Oh, is that what it is?

Philippa: That particular phrase…

Fran: Anyway, it came from –.

Philippa: I don’t think it’s a sport in America!

Fran: Distinctly un-Tolkien.

Philippa: [laughing] Yes!

Peter: Very un-Tolkien!

Philippa: I think it usually appears in quite a different type of video, Fran.

Peter: [Staircase collapses] Alex Funke did a wonderful job of lighting these miniatures that we’re looking at. The only computer parts are the people running and the column that crashes down is the only computer part. Everything else is a miniature.

Philippa: [the Fellowship run towards the Bridge, screen cap] This is one of my favourite shots! I was so excited to see this.

Fran: [in agreement] Mmm. This is a great shot. The music is wonderful here, too.

Peter: The Balrog was always difficult. He was a real problem, because of the way that Tolkien… I love the heat-haze! [Philippa: Yeah!] The heat-haze really sells it.

Philippa: I love the fire under the skin: I never envisaged that. I think it’s fantastic.

Peter: Well that was one of the ideas earliest, to have cracks in the skin.

Philippa: I love that. It’s brilliant.

Peter: That was on the original maquette.

Philippa: And I love the soot!

Peter: Well, we tried to create the feeling of the Shadow and Flame.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: [The Fellowship run across the Bridge, screen cap] This is a great shot. I love this: this is… These are computer-Fellowship. The people you’re looking at running here are completely computer-generated – they’re not real at all, but you can look at the way their cloaks are swinging round, and they’re… just the way that they look. We’re getting the computer people looking pretty real now as we go through the film, and we’ve got a lot more of them in the second and third movie coming up. The Balrog was described as a creature of Shadow and Flame, and we decided to try to use shadow and flame – for obvious reasons – to provide his look, so we have this black smoke oozing off him, and the flame, and not really seeing too much of the physical Balrog beneath that.

Fran: And he’s got wings.

Peter: He has got wings. I read the book and I imagined Tolkien as describing wings. I don’t know what the big fuss is about.

Philippa: Yes.

Fran: [Gandalf: “You shall not pass!”] Ian has spoken many times of acting this scene to a ping pong ball.

Philippa: [laughing] Was he?

Peter: Yeah, he had a really nightmarish time with this scene, because he was having to confront something… He didn’t know what the Balrog looked like. He didn’t have a clue. We were in a little studio right beside the airport, planes were taking off at the time, and Ian had to, kind of, do his Balrog confrontation; and it was tough, it was hard.

Philippa: [Frodo tries to run to Gandalf] Some people say, “Why does Boromir stop him? Why doesn’t anyone go and help him?” and there’s two answers: one is that they’re actually –. They are actually far away; and also that the rest of the Bridge is in a bad way, and could collapse at any second. [Peter: Oh!] But what I love in the book –.

Peter: I didn’t realise that.

Philippa: It’s what it is in the book.

Peter: Ah, okay.

Philippa: What… Didn’t you do that for that reason?

Fran: I thought he stopped him because he’s carrying the Ring: you can’t afford to have him…

Philippa: Yeah, well that… I love the bit in the book where, later on, when Frodo says, “If it hadn’t been for us” – he says to Faramir – “they wouldn’t have run.” He was talking about Aragorn and Boromir. “If it hadn’t been that they had to look after us, they would not have run.” Love that. [Fran agrees] Wonder if we can get that in.

Fran: And also, on that line, “Fly, you fools” which… I think Ian does it so beautifully – that he lets go rather than falls.

Philippa: Oh yeah, absolutely. He wants them to…

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] Yeah, yeah.

Fran: The choice he makes at that moment is to…

Philippa: It’s the choice he knew that he was going to have to make from the moment he [Fran: Yes] understood the mind of Saruman.

Fran: Yes.

Peter: [Fellowship mourns Gandalf’s death] This was another helicopter location, where we had to fly all of our actors in, and we did this very –.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Didn’t Sean walk it?

Peter: We did this very early – no, no, Sean flew in – we did this very early in the shoot; I mean, we shot this sequence long, long before we ever shot Moria, long before –. In fact, Ian McKellen hadn’t even arrived in New Zealand to start working when this scene was shot – so they were all reacting to Gandalf’s death without having ever even seen Ian McKellen dressed up as Gandalf. This was late 1999, and Ian didn’t start work on the movie until January 2000, so it was one of those weird scenes where we found ourselves filming this without having shot anything leading up to it at all.

Fran: It was not Orlando’s first day, but probably his third day of shooting, ever, wasn’t it?

Peter: It was, yeah, and I love the way that Orlando does that reaction where he reacts to the death.

Fran: Yes, it’s great.

Peter: It’s like an Elf… Because Elves are immortal, we wanted to give the impression that he didn’t quite understand death [Fran: Mmm.] and he was having to, somehow, grapple with the concept of death, because it was foreign to him.

Philippa: I remember Elijah saying you gave him a great note here, Pete [screen cap]: when you asked him to turn, you said, “I want your grief to be frightening. I want it to be so powerful…

Peter: Yeah, I wanted to scare an audience [Philippa: Yeah, that’s right.] to see what’s on your face, yeah. (beat) [the Fellowship run into Lórien] Lothlórien was created in a forest called Paradise, down in the South Island; and the big trees are actually made of rubber. If you look at this forest, the trees that are nearby – the smaller ones are real – but the large, big ones are actually big rubber trees that we put down there, because the one thing that Paradise –

Philippa: Made of rubber, not…

Peter: – didn’t have trees that were large enough, that had a big enough girth, so we brought our own ones in. But the rest of the forest is real. (beat) Introducing Galadriel and the concept of Lothlórien was difficult; it was also difficult in terms of the story of the film, because it’s one of those situations where if you were writing an original screenplay, Lothlórien probably wouldn’t exist [Philippa agrees] because you’d be wanting to keep the momentum up straight through to the climax. We always regarded Lothlórien as being potentially problematical, because of the way that it suddenly stops the narrative of the film. You know, we did experiment a lot with different ways to present the Elves, and how they were introduced, and at some point we had a sequence where the goblins from Moria actually pursue them right the way into the woods and are killed by the Elves. And we shot most of that scene; it’s never made it into a cut, but it does exist. (beat) [scene on the flet] This is a totally alternate version of the entry into the Lothlórien woods. We ultimately decided that this moment on the flet was, for pacing reasons, something that we wanted to delete, so we shot an alternate scene, which has ended up in the theatrical version, of meeting Haldir – played by Craig Parker – and journeying on through the woods; but we initially wanted to make it more difficult for the Fellowship: that, as in the book, they’re not immediately allowed access into Lothlórien, because the Elves can sense that there is an evil. And we also made the sequence about Frodo’s headspace: that he’s sitting there and he’s just feeling now that, because the Fellowship are encountering a problem due to him – that they’re not allowed sanctuary because he has this evil with him, that they’re starting to turn against him. They’re obviously not, but it’s just what Frodo’s imagining: he’s, sort of, he’s feeling this weight of responsibility, and he’s feeling the pressure, obviously, now that he’s lost Gandalf. And, so, it’s nice. It’s a good scene for people to have a look at, because it’s not bad – it does start to put more pressure on Frodo, which obviously helps as we start to head towards his decision to leave the Fellowship. And we mention Galadriel by name: in the movie that was screened, Galadriel just refers to herself by name when she says, “And I shall remain Galadriel”. (beat) The thing that I like about this, too, is that we get to see the Elvish city from the outside. Obviously, in the theatrical version, we just jumped straight in there, but we get to see this shot of what the Elvish city of Caras Galadhon actually looks like from afar. (beat) [The Fellowship climb the stairs at Caras Galadhon] These were miniatures: large, model trees – huge, big, model trees that were shot, and the people were composited in: they were computer people that were walking up the stairs there.

Fran: This was… Paul Lasaine did a lot of…

Philippa: Conceptual art.

Fran: …artwork for this.

Peter: Yes, yeah. Paul did a couple of wonderful paintings of Lothlórien that we really took the look from his paintings.

Fran: Yes.

Peter: The way that… The lighting. (beat) The Lothlórien sequence was always very difficult for us in the movie, because it’s a point in the film where you naturally would want to be increasing the pace and be building up a sense of momentum to head towards the climax of the movie; but obviously, the sequence in Lothlórien is very, very significant in the book. It’s significant in the movie, as well, because it’s the point that Frodo has to decide whether or not he really is best staying with the Fellowship or leaving, and Galadriel obviously gives him advice. But we always has pacing problems, and when we cut the theatrical version, we wanted to make it as brief as we possibly could so we could propel the story along; but I felt that this cut of the meeting with Galadriel and Celeborn was actually better in that it starts to suck you into the world of the Elves and the world of Galadriel in a way that I think is ultimately a little bit more effective than the truncated version that ended up in the movie. (beat) Martin Csokas plays Celeborn. (beat) Galadriel’s a very enigmatic character, and we decided to really emphasis what is in the book, which is the sense that she herself is severely tempted by the Ring: that the Ring represents to her a threat, a test of her strength of whether she could withstand it or not, which is difficult to visualise because I think everybody who reads the book comes away with a slightly different impression of her in your mind, which is obviously the beauty of a book: it allows you to put your own vision of Galadriel into your own private movie; but showing Elves on the film was always very difficult – and Galadriel more so than most – but Cate Blanchett, obviously, does such a wonderful job.

Philippa: Cate’s on six-inch disco platform heals [Peter: Yeah.], which I think is quite funny… because she needed the height – Galadriel is described as ‘as tall as any of the Men’. She also needed it. She felt she needed it – the stature.

Peter: [Galadriel: “Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-dűm…”] And this moment that we’re looking at here is the first beat in the relationship between Gimli – who’s obviously so suspicious of the Elves: he doesn’t want to be there, but he now looks upon Galadriel with a… in a very renewed way; and we’ll be seeing more of that later on. (beat) [Celeborn: “What now becomes of this Fellowship?”] I like the way that Celeborn, too, just doesn’t let the Fellowship get away with anything – he basically tells them off, and says how they’ve failed, and that obviously impacts on Aragorn who feels a certain amount of responsibility. (beat) If you look into Galadriel’s eyes in these close-ups, you actually see something strange happening in her eyes, that… It’s called the… We called it the ‘Galadrielight’ – which was a device that Andrew Lesnie, our D.P. designed – and it was… Every time you film an actor in close-up, you see a pinpoint of light reflected in their eyes – it’s called the ‘eye light’ – and it does a lot – you can see it here in all these close-ups – it does a lot to bring the characters to life; but every time we shot close-ups with Cate, we didn’t just have one light, we had, like, a Christmas tree – Christmas tree lights all in a big circle, so that there’d be stars reflecting in her eyes, multiple light sources.

Fran: [close up of Galadriel’s eyes: “One who has seen the Eye!”, screen cap] Not in that shot, though.

Peter: In that last shot?

Fran: No.

Philippa: No, that was scary Galadriel!

Peter: No, but you see it in all the other shots, though. That was a scary one.

Fran: [A lament for Gandalf] Elizabeth Fraser is singing here [Philippa: Hmm], this lament.

Philippa: What I like about what Howard did here is it’s a lament by one voice, answered by the others, which is really lovely… choir…

Peter: And as we carry on through this sequence, we are starting to see a longer version than what we saw in the theatres. Lovely little character beats. It is something that I regretted, having to trim out: these moments where characters can start to interact with each other a little bit more, and… [Sam’s poem about Gandalf] This sequence here, we just decided we didn’t have the latitude to be able to include it in the movie. It’s a moment that I always loved in the books, and it’s a lovely way to honour Gandalf. (beat) This was obviously all shot in a studio: we built three large tree trunks, and I love the idea that the Fellowship camping beneath the roots of the tree, that they have these little sleeping quarters, which is organically, sort of, within the base of the tree. [Boromir and Aragorn talk about Gondor] This was another important beat in our Aragorn-Boromir relationship story.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: You know, we always regarded Boromir as being… not being a villain in the slightest, but being somebody who has very legitimate reasons to want to have the Ring [Philippa: Yes]. That he… You know, the one thing that the Ring does is it acts as a temptation, and you can be the person with the strongest will and the soundest heart and absolutely believe that this Ring is the best thing for you, which is what Boromir does, I mean, he comes from a country which is under siege, where there’s enormous pressure on having to come up with a weapon to fight the Orcs who are besieging Minas Tirith and Osgiliath, and that he genuinely believes that this Ring would solve all their problems.

Philippa: And underlying that, even deeper, is the fact that he has a father, which we‘re just starting to set up here: it’s that his father –.

Peter: Obviously, for those that know the book, ‘The Return of the King’ has the character of Denethor – a very, very prominent character in that story, which is our third movie – and Denethor is Boromir’s father.

Philippa: And what’s important here is that you’re beginning to sense that Boromir is… that something is wrong with him: Boromir has a sense that there’s something wrong with his father; and he is – like any son that loves his father – is trying to sort out that paternal conflict he feels between the growing madness of his father and what his father needs and desires of him. And it’s a conflict that ends up tearing him apart, and that’s how the Ring works.

Peter: The Mirror of Galadriel: one of the very, very famous iconic scenes from the book. It’s a scene that, again, we, sort of, we manipulate the scene, I guess, to serve the interests of the film [Philippa: Hmm] maybe slightly more than what’s… than how it plays in the book.

Fran: Yeah, well we took Sam out of the scene.

Philippa: Mmm.

Peter: Yeah. And we also introduced the elements of the Scouring of the Shire in the scene as well.

Fran: Yes.

Peter: Because the Scouring of the Shire, as readers of the book will know, is a sequence that happens at the very end of the third book, and we don’t have it in our movie; and yet, we wanted to give the concept of what’s at stake, and it is ultimately the Shire that’s at stake in Frodo’s heart: that he is doing what he’s doing to protect his homeland. And so we used the Mirror – more so than what’s in the book – we used the Mirror in the film to show what would happen to the Shire should the… should Sauron be victorious.

Philippa: One of the reasons Sam isn’t here is because this is a critical scene for Frodo. This is the scene in which the full weight of what he must do – the decision that he faces – is clearly put to him by Galadriel; and that is the purpose, really, of the entrance into Lothlórien.

Peter: We also wanted to use this scene in a way to plant the seeds in Frodo’s mind that the Fellowship cannot be trusted anymore, it can’t be relied upon anymore, and that the only logical way forward for Frodo is, really, to break off from the others and to go alone…

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Or he… Yeah.

Peter: And we wanted the scene to end with a sense that Frodo… you know, that there was now a very definite option for Frodo: that he –.

Philippa: But not so much that… Not so much that he can’t trust them anymore, it’s that if he stays with them, he will be the death of all of them. He can only bring them death by staying with them.

Peter: [Frodo sees the Shire burning in the Mirror] This is our homage to the Scouring of the Shire. And this is the concept of what’s going to happen to the Hobbits should –.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Sandyman’s mill.

Peter: There’s Sam and Rosie being led into the factory to a life of servitude in the Hobbiton steelworks.

Fran: Which is, pretty much, how Tolkien saw the transformation of Birmingham, wasn’t it? [Philippa agrees] From this pastoral –.

Peter: [at same time as Fran] The Midlands… Beautiful Midlands countryside –.

Fran: – to industrial hellhole.

Peter: I love the way that Cate plays this scene [Philippa agrees]. I, sort of, love the mysteriousness and the intensity of it. (beat) I know there were some comments from people once they saw the movie feeling that Galadriel was a lot heavier and darker than she was in the books, and that’s true to some extent – we did play her that way – but we also filmed a much lighter sequence where she gives gifts as the Fellowship leave, which was cut out of the original theatrical version of the film. But that does present much more of the Galadriel that I think people expected to see from the books.

Philippa: She is perilous, though. I mean, Tolkien does describe her as ‘dangerous’.

Peter: Yeah.

Fran: Mmm.

Philippa: She is a dangerous…

Fran: Mmm.

Philippa: And what she’s saying… I think, to earn these lines, where you see what she could become, you needed this sense of the power that is in this woman. And her element here, if you look carefully, is Water. If Gandalf is the Servant of Fire, Galadriel’s element is Water; and that was based on, again, on an Alan Lee working with Ngila Dickson, the costume designer; and they wanted her to look drowned, didn’t you? A sense of –.

Peter: Yeah. We wanted to make it very much [Philippa: Mmm.] a sense of water.

Fran: A siren.

Peter: A siren, yeah.

Philippa: A siren, exactly. And when we say ‘her element’, one of the things that you see here – which was, again, not in the original cut – is the presence of Nenya, the Ring of Adamant. The Ring… one of the Three Rings forged that you see at the very beginning in the prologue, and that is that she is the Keeper of Nenya. The other Ring is held, of course, by Elrond, and his element is the Sky – Vilya, I think you say it. And the Third Ring – the Keeper of the Third Ring shall be revealed… That is why she says to Frodo, “To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone.”

Peter: [The Fighting Uruk-hai] The book hints at the concept of the Uruk-hai being created as an amalgam of Orcs and Goblin-Men.

Philippa: Yes, we did… We went through that deeper into another mythol[ogy?] –. We went into Tolkien’s other writings to draw on this concept that they were, in fact, once Elves.

Peter: But we create, you know, we created the Uruk-hai, really, as being these formidable foe, who do ultimately provide us with out climactic battle of the film, really. (beat) Lawrence Makoare, who plays Lúrtz, a most incredible job of bringing the prosthetics to life, because, obviously, he’s covered in this make up, and, you know, an actor can easily get drowned in the make up, and be lost inside it; but Lawrence was just an absolutely brilliant master at just punching… using all the energy in his natural performance to just punch through the rubber and the mask to bring this creature of Lúrtz to life. I think he did it remarkably well.

Philippa: The whole thing we were constantly trying to show is one of the reasons Saruman has fallen is, just as Melkor fell – the original spirit of evil within the world fell – is because of the jealousy of the power of Life, the power of Creation; and he’s playing God, and that’s what I love about the look in his eye in that scene between Saruman and Lúrtz: he says, “And now perfected.” [Fran: Mmm] Meaning that he is… he has that power, that power is now in him, and I –.

Fran: Genetic engineering.

Philippa: Genetic engineering, exactly! Exactly.

Peter: In the –.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] And, of course, Tolkien is saying – [to Peter] sorry – within the greater... the thing of his own faith is that there is only One source of that Power.

Peter: In the movie, we didn’t pause for the Galadriel gift-giving – which is so memorable from the book – we just got the Fellowship on the River and away from Lothlórien; but we originally shot the gift-giving, and it actually appeared again in photographs, and I think some images from it even appeared is some early trailers, so it’s good to be able to see these moments as they were originally shot. The cloaks that the Fellowship wear were given to them in Lothlórien, and in the movie version, they suddenly just are wearing these cloaks and there’s no explanation for how they got them. The lembas bread is significant because lembas bread returns to the story in the second and third film, and we’ve filmed sequences in those movies with the lembas bread, and yet we never introduced it in the theatrical version of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ so this is another reason why I’m glad that this DVD has the opportunity of being seen by people prior to the release of ‘The Two Towers’; because, actually, one of the very first scenes in the ‘The Two Towers’ between Frodo and Sam involves them eating lembas bread, [laughs] so at least people will have some concept of what it actually is now. (beat) [Celeborn gives Aragorn the Elven dagger] This is where Aragorn gets his dagger, which he uses throughout the rest of this movie and the next two films, so it’s nice to be able to see it being a gift from Celeborn. (beat) [The Fellowship sail down the Silverlode] This was actually not a river at all, but it was a small pond that was in a country house called Fernside, north of Wellington; but it was a lovely pond surrounded by trees, so we though it was a suitable location. (beat) Legolas gets his bow. (beat) Now, Merry and Pippin get these daggers, which, again, form a significant moment in ‘The Two Towers’, so I’m glad that people are able to see these daggers being given. All of the gifts that Galadriel gives the Fellowship are actually used in the next two movies in different ways, and so I was pretty adamant that I wanted to include all of these scenes in the DVD; because this rope, for instance, that Sam is being given does play a part in ‘The Two Towers’ and, you know, the hope is that most people will get to look at this DVD and understand where these things came from as they look at the next films. (beat) [Galadriel talks to Gimli] This moment is a continuation of what we started in the flet with the moment between Gimli and Galadriel. It’s lovely to see Cate smiling there, too, because I know some of the criticism that people had of the Galadriel character in the theatrical version is the fact that she had this, sort of, slightly frightening, heavy persona – which… it was appropriate for the scene that she was playing; but we did originally film these moments which are more like the Galadriel from the book. She has a little bit more of a fun-loving spirit. (beat) [Galadriel talks to Aragorn] And what a lot of people don’t realise – certainly people that haven’t read the book – is that Galadriel is in fact Arwen’s grandmother, so, if you get your head round that, that Cate Blanchett is Liv Tyler’s grandmother; and so the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen has some significance for Galadriel. (beat) This is a scene that… We filmed most of this scene in Elvish. It’s a lovely language when it’s spoken by actors who really get their tongues around it. [Galadriel gives Frodo the Light of Eärendil] Of the gift-giving, this was the only bit of the gift-giving that made it into the theatrical cut; but the Phial of light that she is giving Frodo… We don’t actually see that in ‘The Two Towers’ but it’s, sort of, kept safely in his pocket all the time; but in ‘The Return of the King’ it will reappear. [Galadriel waves the Fellowship farewell] There’s a, sort of, special bond between Galadriel and Frodo, too, that Galadriel knows things that Frodo knows, and there’s some, you know, secrets shared between the two of them. She knows about the power of the Ring, she knows how it’s beginning to effect him. (beat) [Gimli reflects on Galadriel’s farewell] And here’s the final beat of the little story between Gimli and Galadriel. It’s… We could never really figure out a way of actually filming three of Galadriel’s hairs that she gives to Gimli, so we decided [laughs] just to talk about them instead! You know, in a sense, that was one of the things that we lost in trimming down the footage for the theatrical release is we lost little character moments: Gimli falling in love with Galadriel [Philippa sighs], the way he does, I think, is really…

Philippa: He does it so beautifully.

Peter: [in agreement] It is beautiful.

Philippa: John Rhys-Davies, yes.

Peter: [The Great River] These aerials were shot in a variety of different places through New Zealand: they’re all done for real – there’s no special effects involved here. Some of it was done in the North Island, some of it was done in the South Island. We just, sort of, looked around for the most spectacular bits of river that we could find [Peter laughs]. (beat) The River journey in the book is a fairly leisurely affair, which takes place over several days; and, you know, in the movie we, kind of, transformed it into a semi-chase scene, I guess. It’s quite interesting – I quite like the juxtaposition of the Uruks running on foot, you know, desperate to catch up, and the Fellowship not really being totally aware that they’re being pursued, who are taking this much slower journey down the River. I love the way that Orlando spins round and just senses the presence of the Uruks with his elven senses. (beat) [Uruks running fades to aerial shot of trees next to the River] We had a wonderful helicopter pilot, Alfie Speight, in Te Anau, who was flying the chopper filming all this stuff. It was very exciting: I was in the back of the chopper zooming low over the treetops – it was a bit of an adrenaline rush, I tell you! [Boromir spots Gollum floating on the log at night] We felt that this scene had a certain degree of redundancy, just from the concept that Gollum had already been identified in the Mines of Moria as pursuing the Fellowship; of course what this… It does help us, because it does show that Gollum is still on their tail, and that’s the way that we go into ‘The Two Towers’, because Gollum, obviously, makes an appearance very early on in ‘The Two Towers’ pursuing Frodo and Sam. (beat) [Sam urges Frodo to have some food] It also gave us these extra little character moments. This sequence here was designed to feed into the climax of the film where Sam wades into the water and says, well, you know, “I’m coming to Mordor with you, Mr. Frodo” and we deliberate wrote this scene as a way of almost making Frodo starting to distance himself from Sam, sort of, feeling that Frodo is now emotionally disengaging from his friends, from the rest of the Fellowship. You just trim these scenes out simply because you want to increase the pace, not because they’re not helpful to the movie. [Aragorn and Boromir argue about Minas Tirith] This was a scene that was potentially very helpful between Aragorn and Boromir that… We did feel that we wanted them to go onto Amon Hen, and to Boromir’s ultimate sacrifice and death, with a certain amount of estrangement; because the last time we had a scene between these two characters, obviously, it was a scene with much more warmth, in the Lothlórien forest.

Philippa: We wanted those two great characters to part on bad terms: it’s almost like lovers… I mean, you know, that adds pathos, of course, to the death scene, but we didn’t have time. Once you hit that River, the main reason to get rid of it is because you had to keep going.

Fran: Certainly there was a story momentum issue; but I think what is also was is that by the time we have left Lothlórien, their relationship has shifted and moved on. It has become more intimate, and in a way there is a degree of understanding between the two characters that doesn’t speak to this bald argument on the riverbank where they’re still harping on about things that were really –.

Philippa: Well, that’s the –. That is the seed – that is the Ring again, working.

Fran: Well, it is. It was a difficult decision.

Philippa: [at same time as Fran] It didn’t. Yeah. I know, I agree with you. Yeah.

Fran: But, in the end, I don’t think it was the wrong decision.

Philippa: No.

Peter: The Argonath is another wonderful icon from the book. These were two miniatures, the statues, which were about seven foot tall; and we shot the plate on a boat down the River, and we had to track the miniatures, which means that we had to match the rocking of the boat, and when we shot our models, the models had to rock the same way, which was a bit of a trick and a wonderful piece of compositing was done by the Weta folk. But I love the size of the statues, and this shot in particular [screen cap] I wanted to do to make them feel really grand – to be flying up past the hand of one of the statues. And there’s a little birds nest in the eye. We came up with that birds have been nesting and be frightened by the helicopter that’s filming the shot. It’s eyrie. (beat) [Fellowship approach the shore of Nen Hithoel] And there’s Tol Brandir, which is the finger of rock just above the Falls of Rauros. Again, we took into trying to create Middle-earth in the way that Tolkien described it, so that no matter what anybody’s feelings are about changes in the story, you really felt that you had gone to Middle-earth, and we’d gone there on location to shoot. (beat) I love the way that Sean and Elijah play this little moment where they… each of them know – they can sense what’s about to happen.

Philippa: We spent a lot of time on this particular –. It was Lake [phonetically] Mahora, was it?

Fran: [phonetically] Magora. [AN: The correct spelling is ‘Mavora’; I don’t know exactly how this should be pronounced, though]

Philippa: Magora… But the first time we were in Te Anau, we had the snows and the floods, and the second time, we had this horrific earthquake [laughs]. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen the ground move – wave – like a wave… undulate.

Peter: Gimli is really describing the terrain that Frodo and Sam find themselves on at the beginning of ‘The Two Towers’. His vivid description of what’s in front of them is actually what Frodo and Sam have to face very shortly.

Fran: [Legolas: “A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind”] Mark Ordesky pointed out that Legolas is forever saying, “We’ve got to keep moving” [laughs] [Philippa: Yeah!]. “We should move” and everyone always ignores him! [Philippa and Fran laugh]

Peter: Yes, well maybe they’ll start to pay more attention to him in the future. (beat) [Frodo walks up to the fallen head of the statue] This sequence was shot, again, very early in the shoot. We found ourselves filming the climax of this movie within the first few weeks of starting to shoot the film, way back in 1999.

Fran: And Peter’s great regret was that he didn’t get the art department to make the body of that enormous head.

Philippa: [laughing fondly] Oh!

Peter: I know, I know! I really do regret it, because I suggested that they make this giant, big head that we could lie there, and then afterwards I thought, “God, wouldn’t it have been great if the whole body had been there?” This huge statue just toppled over, crashed onto the forest floor and broken up, but, you know, we had the whole body; and, you know, we could have used it in the fight scene – it would have been a great thing to have in the fight that’s coming up, to have this huge statue there. But I didn’t think of that until it was too late. It would have been pretty cool. (beat) [Frodo: “It would seem like wisdom but for the warning in my heart”] This is a scene which is, you know, very much shot as it is in the book. There’s not a lot of liberties, apart from tweaking the dialogue here and there. It’s one of those very memorable scenes from the book that we were able to take our leads straight from the writings of Tolkien.

Philippa: Yeah. (beat) In fact, it was… this –. We had a lot more of it, didn’t we? It’s been cut quite a bit.

Peter: [at same time as Philippa] Yeah, this is the shortened version of it. (beat) This forest is a wonderfully ancient, mossy forest in a place called Paradise – most of Paradise is a National Park, and they don’t really like film crews going there too much; but this particular piece is on private land, so the owner of the forest allowed us to shoot there. We were obviously very careful at trying to preserve it as much as we could, but it’s just so lovely and green and mossy, and very primordial.

Fran: [Boromir shouts to Frodo once he’s disappeared] This was the very… one of the first scenes that Sean shot, wasn’t it?

Peter: Yes, the first major scene. Yeah.

Fran: Yes. And I remember when we were looking at the dailies, we were all blown away by [Philippa: Yeah.] how he… the power and energy [Philippa, in agreement: Mmm.] he poured into his performance in this scene.

Peter: The Seeing Seat on Amon Hen is a scene that we trimmed back before the film was finished. We originally shot exactly what’s in the book, where Frodo looks in various directions and he sees trolls coming out of the mountains and he sees Orcs, and he sees the ships, the pirate ships, coming up the River; and we pre-visualised that in our computer pre-visualisation, and we filmed Frodo, but we never actually completed the effects shots, and we ultimately shortened the sequence to just being him seeing Barad-dűr and the Eye of Sauron, which is in the book; but we just felt we needed to get on with the story, so we never completed the other effects shots. (beat) The sequence with Aragorn talking to Frodo on Amon Hen –. [Aragorn’s foot steps onto the rock] This is in the book, isn’t it? But it’s not quite as developed [Philippa: No.] as it is here; but it’s certainly… the farewell between Frodo and Aragorn does happen in the book.

Philippa: [bluntly] No. No.

Peter: No?

Fran: No.

Peter: [surprised, at same time as Philippa and Fran] No? Oh, it doesn’t happen in the book? Oh, okay.

Philippa: No this was –.

Peter: This was completely our [Philippa: Yeah.] original, was it?

Philippa: Yeah, this was –.

Peter: Oh, is that right? God, I always thought there was a little piece…

Philippa: No, that was Fran and I. Remember one time when we were just like, “What the hell is all of this? What the hell is all of this?” and we realised that… One of the reasons for this particular scene is that we felt very strongly that early on – especially in earlier drafts, before we started filming – that these two great characters – who go on to carry the main story threads for the rest of the films – needed this moment together. And actually –.

Peter: [interrupting] And also it juxtaposes exactly what’s happened with Boromir in the sense that [Philippa: Exactly.] there’s one Man who was tempted by the Ring [Philippa: Mmm.] and –

Philippa: Nobody’s…

Peter: – couldn’t resist and here is another Man who is tempted by the Ring at this moment, and he does resist it. He is… He has got the strength to push it away, so it’s also important for Aragorn because, in a way, this actually proves something to Aragorn himself: that Aragorn can see that he does have the power to reject the Ring when it’s offered to him.

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: And that leads Aragorn, then, to believe that there is some strength in his own race [Philippa: Yes.], so, in a sense, you know, that moment, for his character, we felt was very important.

Philippa: The other thing, I think, with this is… between the two of them, is that he does say those great lines, “I would have followed him to Mordor – into the very fires of Mordor” but he doesn’t say it to Frodo, and it just seemed such a waste to not actually say that to the person… the one person that you meant to say it to. And I have to say, a lot of Tolkien scholars, a lot of people who are real friends with the book have loved that scene and not objected to it at all, which is great.

Peter: [Aragorn fights the Uruks on the Seeing Seat] It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but this was actually shot on a massively hot summer’s day – I mean, there were probably forty degree temperatures [Philippa gasps: Oh, that’s hot!], like, over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit; and we were, literally, carrying Uruk-hais of the set who had fainted and all that, because you can imagine these poor guys wearing all that rubber and those leather costumes and stuff in the heat. It was very, very hot. (beat) I love the way that Legolas uses his arrows there to stab and to shoot two guys at once and things: we wanted Legolas to be, you know, to really show what a great archer he was, and Orlando was able to pull that stuff off so well.

Philippa: [Merry and Pippin spot Frodo hiding behind the tree] Again, this farewell was very important – doesn’t happen in the book, but we again felt was really important. And this was an important scene, because, again, we felt that… In the book this doesn’t happen, this farewell – it’s something that’s talked about while Frodo’s not there, and we wanted this moment; and I think, especially the understanding between Merry and Frodo is very, very important, because it shows you that Merry especially, who’s… slightly brighter [laughs] – shall we say? – than Pippin, has an understanding of what it is that Frodo is doing; and with their usual, extraordinary courage, these two little Hobbits help their friend.

Peter: I wanted the Amon Hen location to feel ancient, so we built all these ruins on the hillside, because people don’t realise that this hill was once a much grander structure: that the Seeing Seat at the top of Amon Hen was the climax of an ancient place of worship in the Númenorean days… When the Númenoreans first arrived.

Philippa: [at same time as Philippa] It was the borders of Gondor [Peter: Which is –.], and in fact, that’s what the Argonath stood for – the border. The borders of Gondor, yeah.

Peter: [at same time as Peter] Yeah, that’s the border of Gondor. This hill was a place of ancient worship, like a temple, almost, so we evoked that by putting these polystyrene ruins all throughout the…

Philippa: Oh, that’s fabulous!

Peter: … the hillside.

Philippa: [sarcastically] Was that Númenorean polystyrene, Pete, or was it –?

Peter: That was genuine Númenorean polystyrene.

Fran: Actually, they were borrowed from Weathertop, because we ran out –.

Philippa: I know, we did! If you look very closely, there’s a bit of recycling going on.

Peter: There is, actually.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] Númenorean recycling!

Peter: That is true. We did run out of ruins, so we brought Weathertop back into play. [Philippa: Mmm] Yep. (beat) The arrows that Legolas is firing are actually computer-generated arrows: he couldn’t get them out of his quiver and notch them up fast enough – it just was not possible. And, obviously, we wanted them to fly and hit the Uruks as well. [Aragorn runs to find Boromir] This is a Cablecam shot. This is shot from a camera that is mounted on wires between two trees, and it’s rolling down on pulleys, and it was remote-controlled; and the camera just, basically, ran down… well, we call them Flying Foxes, like a pulley between two trees – almost half a mile long. (beat) The Amon Hen fight was choreographed by our wonderful sword master Bob Anderson, who did a great job training all of the stunt guys who… You know, we were using stuntmen who had done movies in New Zealand before, but had never, obviously, used swords and axes and things, and our actors had to be trained up.

Philippa: Sean Bean…

Peter: Well Sean Bean has used a sword before. No, Sean was probably the most experienced of our sword-wielding actors. I like seeing Merry and Pippin use their swords a bit: it’s very nice to have Merry and Pippin more interactive in what’s going on, rather than just being spectators. (beat) We shot more fighting on Amon Hen than what appeared, obviously, in the theatrical version; and I put a little bit of it back here – we still shot more than what you’re even seeing here, but basically, the fight can’t go on too long. We do have to get on with the story; but there was a couple of nice, little fight moments that we trimmed. Scenes like the throat-cutting and this arm being chopped off were, obviously, trimmed back really for rating reasons. (beat) Boromir’s last stand was a scene that I really wanted to capture from the book. This is where a character like Lúrtz really comes in handy, because we could now make it personal: that it wasn’t just an anonymous Uruk that was shooting Boromir with the arrows, it was this creature called Lúrtz that we, sort of, knew, and we hated him already, in a sense; so it makes it even more powerful.

Philippa: And of course, he resonates Saruman, because he’s had so much to do with Saruman, that he is Saruman’s creation, so that plays back to [the villain?].

Peter: Sean just did this sequence so incredibly well.

Philippa: He’s so good… in this scene.

Peter: In a way, the inspiration for the soundtrack here was really a ‘Heavenly Creatures’ inspiration: the scene at the end of ‘Heavenly Creatures’ when the mother is being led down the track by the two girls, we use the humming chorus; and we, sort of, took all of the sounds away, and in sense I kept [laughs] playing that in my mind over and over again when we were filming this, and so, you know, in some respects, I ended up treating this in a similar way in terms of the way that we distance the sound from the picture, and we make it much more of a headspace kind of moment.

Philippa: The choral piece under this is… They’re actually singing in Elvish some lines from the book, which is… lines of Faramir’s, “I do not love the sword for its brightness or the arrow for its swiftness, I love only that which they defend”. It’s a beautiful sentiment under this moment.

Peter: [Aragorn saves Boromir from Lúrtz] Having created our villain in Lúrtz, we obviously have to finish him off; and we were actually shooting two things at once, because whilst I was filming Boromir’s last stand, Barrie Osborne was just on the other side of the hill: we were only about thirty or forty feet away – he was just over the hill on the other side of the slope filming the fight between Lúrtz and Aragorn, so this was largely shot by Barrie. Viggo did this incredibly well. There’s a shot coming up where he had to hit the knife that gets thrown at him with his sword, and he did it first take. That was a real knife that was being thrown, and he literally did bat it away with his sword for real: it wasn’t anything fake about it. Do a little bit of computer-enhancement here to take Lúrtz’s arm off.

Fran: We weren’t allowed to have it spurting, though.

Peter: No spurting blood was allowed. (beat) I’m sure people are going to blame me for Lúrtz licking his dagger, but that was actually filmed by Barrie Osborne, and I have no responsibility for it at all. [laughs] I can distance myself from it, although I do actually quite like it! (beat) [Boromir: “I tried to take the Ring from him”] This moment between Boromir and Aragorn is iconic from the book, you know, you can read the book and imagine our Boromir leaning against the base of the tree with the arrows in him, and Aragorn leaning over him and –.

Philippa: I think this moment is better than the moment in the book. There, I said it! [laughs] I do.

Peter: Yeah, well we definitely enhanced [Philippa: I think we did] the dialogue: we made it –.

Philippa: Not just the dialogue, but I actually think the emotional content [Peter: Yeah] of this moment, and the connection between these two characters. And I do think it was a failure of Professor Tolkien’s. I wanted more when I read that moment in the book.

Peter: Yeah. (beat) [Aragorn: “I will not let the White City fall”] As it is in the movie, this scene really becomes as much about Aragorn as it is about Boromir’s death, and it is… It’s really a moment for Aragorn to declare to us, the audience, his intention now to embrace his birthright as a noble King of Men, and to pursue that, which is obviously what… really what Aragorn’s story is over our next two movies.

Philippa: And it’s the simple identification with the world of Men, “Our People,” he says, and you can see… and Sean plays it so beautifully.

Peter: There’s a very subtle thing that happens when Boromir dies here, just coming up shortly, that on our colour [?tiling ?timing] – because we did all of our colour grading in a computer, we were able just to make his face go pale at the moment that he dies… just to take away [Philippa, amazed: Ahh!] a little bit of the colour.

Philippa: That last line was… There were advocates to cut that last line, and it was very interesting that Sean really, really wanted that line, “My brother, my captain, my king.”

Peter: Oh, that was a great line. [Philippa: Yes] I really love it. I really love it. It’s great. [Aragorn kisses Boromir’s forehead] This is an image that I really like, too, of the kiss on the forehead.

Peter: [Frodo stands on the shore of Nen Hithoel with the Ring] The final moments between… with Frodo here, before he decides to go on the boat, and then with Sam, was something that –. We actually ended up shooting this twice, didn’t we? We [Philippa: Yeah.] shot a version of it where we made it much more of an action climax, a version that was not a good idea, and we realised it wasn’t a good idea when it was shot: we actually had an Uruk-hai attacking Frodo in the water as he was attempting to escape in the boat.

Fran: Did we actually shoot that?

Peter: Yes, well half of it was shot, yeah.

Philippa: [at same time as Peter] No, you were almost… You were down to the fight – rehearsing the fight sequences.

Peter: No, we shot it. We definitely shot it… We filmed some of it; but it, sort of, just didn’t really… It wasn’t ultimately what this part of the story should be about, so [Philippa: And…] it was reconceived, and we travelled back down to Lake Mavora doing pick-ups, and we actually shot this stuff… Well, it wasn’t really doing pick-ups, was it? It was shot during the shoot. [Philippa: No, it was shot –.] It was shot right at the very end of the shoot.

Philippa: It was –.

Fran: Well, what happened was, initially we had a studio note. They were really worried about the closure of the story, and whether the film would be satisfying to an audience, you know, if it didn’t have some kind of big action moment for Frodo; and so we promised to go away and have a think about it, and we tried –. We wrote something which, you know, we didn’t feel wonderful about, but we thought, “Maybe they’re right”. We didn’t know, and as soon as we started to try and execute it, we realised [Philippa: Yeah] it was completely wrong, and we also understood that – I mean, having seen the footage that we did have cut together – what was needed. That it was… This was entirely about the breaking of the Fellowship, and it was an emotional climax to the story; it didn’t have to have an action content.

Philippa: And the great triumph for Frodo is not over some, sort of, Uruk-hai of Saruman’s, but it is over the Ring. It is when he grabs that Ring and does not allow the Ring to control him, so that it is, in a way, that’s his great enemy; and that scene, that rewrite – as I said before – the great scenes, they write themselves. And that was an easy write. Once we knew, we wrote it, and we knew we were going to hear Gandalf, and hear that… We knew exactly what he was hearing in his head. I remember we did it in, like, ten minutes.

Peter: This sequence with Sean Astin underwater was actually shot in a studio dry, it’s called dry-for-wet; he was in front of a blue screen with fans blowing on his cloak to make it billow round, and we put all of –. The water effects were added in later, so he wasn’t having to worry about holding his breath: he was able to just act and concentrate on that. (beat) The last sequence between Frodo and Sam on the boat here was actually directed by Fran. She was there on the day when this was shot, and I was about 300 miles away directing Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chasing the Uruks at the beginning of Film Two.

Philippa: This was a though afterwards to reprise Sam’s lines from the cornfield: we wrote the cornfield sequence, which was just something that we, sort of, threw in there as a nice thought of setting up… of Sam’s feeling that he must protect Frodo; and when we actually came and rewrote… and we wanted to resonate – that to resonate – at this moment – which I think it does really well – but unfortunately, we got one word wrong, which is, “Don’t you leave him, Samwise”, which I think it much nicer at this moment… But earlier on he says, “Don’t you lose him”.

Peter: [Boromir floats towards Rauros] This was a rubber dummy of Sean Bean., because he wasn’t around anymore when we shot that, but we did make a model of it.

Fran: [overhead shot of the boat going over the Falls] Mmm. I always thought there should have been some spray over there.

Peter: And this is the Niagara Falls that we – [wide shot of the boat falling] That’s a Peruvian fall somewhere in South America – we had some footage of a barrel going over the Niagara Falls and we used our computer to replace the barrel with Boromir’s boat, a computer version of Boromir’s boat.

Fran: So Viggo’s just put on Boromir’s gauntlets…

Philippa: Yes. He nicked them!

Fran: …which travel with him all the way through Parts Two and Three.

Peter: Yep.

Philippa: It’s a bit of grave-robbing!

Fran: Well…

Peter: Well, he probably pulled his rings off, he probably took his wallet out of [Philippa laughs] his pocket, put all his money in there! [laughs] So, it’s actually interesting, because Viggo came up with the idea of wearing Boromir’s gauntlets for scenes that we were doing in the second and third film; so we shot this much later, so this was ultimately our opportunity to show him at the moment that he actually obtains the gauntlets.

Philippa: And he has taken up the gauntlet.

Peter: Oh, that’s right.

Philippa: He’s challenged by Boromir. [whispers] [?] in this movie! If you look really hard!

Peter: And these three guys go running off into Part Two, which is another story again of the chase across the Rohan plains.

Philippa: [Gimli: “Yes!”] I love Gimli’s laugh!

Peter: Yeah.

Philippa: It’s the best laugh! (beat) [Frodo and Sam look over the Emyn Muil towards Mordor, screen cap] This is the old car park in Mount Ruapehu, isn’t it, Pete?

Peter: Yes. This was… We were in Mount Ruapehu filming Mordor scenes, and Emyn Muil scenes from the second film, so we picked up this shot while we were there for the end of Part One. That’s a real sunset behind them: this was actually shot at the very end of the day as the sun was going down.

Fran: What I really like in this scene in the quality in Sean’s performance, because you feel that Sam’s really moving on now into the rôle of Frodo’s protector much more, that he starts to take over as in Films Two and Three: he becomes the driving force behind getting this mission completed and…

Philippa: Hmm. His will. You’re starting to see his will.

Fran: Yes, you are.

Philippa: And the strength of that will.

Fran: And… yes, you are, yes.

Philippa: It’s his cool.

Fran: It’s in his… in his…

Philippa: In his eyes.

Fran: … In his eyes.

Philippa: Yeah. [screen fades to black] Yay!

Peter: So, you know, it’s interesting because… I mean, I… I don’t really regard this version of the film as being the director’s cut: I think that the term ‘director’s cut’ implies something that’s not true, you know, it implies that the director somehow wasn’t happy first time round, and I was very happy with the theatrical version of the film; you know, we had certain considerations because nobody wanted to release a movie that was too long, or felt too long. You know, the thing that I guess I missed from the theatrical version is that most of the trims we made were to do with the characters, were to do with little moments between Merry and Pippin, or Legolas and Gimli, Boromir and Aragorn; and so it is nice to have this alternate version of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, this longer version, which has a lot of those moments fleshed out. And I think that the wonderful thing about the DVD format is the fact that, you know, it allows you to present you with an alternate version of the film – it doesn’t replace the theatrical version, it simply allows people to see more of what the theatrical version was.

Philippa: It’s telling more of the tale: it’s being able to show [Peter: Yeah.] more of it.

Fran: It was a hugely daunting task to be taking on these books, and in a way, we felt we had to give ourselves as much permission to deviate and as much creative latitude as possible, and so that was our starting off point: “Don’t be afraid to make changes”; and we made a lot of changes – we did! – in our first passes, we thought, “Well, what do we need to do in order to get this functioning as a screen story?” and then, having done that on, you know, a few drafts, we started to feel secure enough to start to adjust the screenplays back to book – it was like, once we had a really firm sense of how the stories could play, it was like, “Okay, now retrieve it and make it the story that everybody knows and loves” and that –. That was not a, sort of, conscious path that we plotted, it was just the way it organically happened: that we really wanted to give the fans of the book something that they would love, and a story that would reflect the book in a truthful way; and there’s always a tension between doing that and also creating something which is cinematically satisfying. So, we started off regarding the needs of cinema, and then came back to the needs of the people who love this book, and hopefully we found some sort of balance.

Philippa: Tackling this huge task was… It found its own path, it found its own level; and it was extraordinary, the places you found yourself in with the old laptop open and pages and books scattered around; and there were many times when Fran, Peter and myself found ourselves on the sides of volcanoes with [laughs] people walking around in prosthetics, trying to do rewrites. And some hotel rooms: I remember you guys tried to go away for a holiday, which was, like, this fantasy you held onto in your heads, that you were going to get a holiday in July of 2000, during the shooting, and I remember when you were packing, you were packing [laughs] cases full of tapes that you had to review and, of course, we had the script… It just kept [Peter: Yeah.] happening. But you held onto that dream.

Fran: Yes. (beat) I want to make a special mention of Brian, Brian Bansgrove our Gaffer, who is no longer with us. He was very loved by members of the crew and did a fant – and the cast – and he did a fantastic job on this film, and really we would have been sunk without him.

Peter: In a sense, filming ‘The Lord of the Rings’ – the Trilogy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ – was all in one big hit over fifteen months, you know, it was something that you would not normally do, you know, conventional wisdom would say, “Don’t do it!”; I mean, there were reasons that we did do it: reasons of economy, reasons of being able to release the films one year apart instead of three years apart; but it really laid huge demands on everybody involved, and, you know, the situation was simply one in which everybody just had to put their nose down and get their work done – including the cast – you know, everybody knew what they were involved in: there was no room for people who were complaining, no room for people that found it too hard or too difficult; you just had to do your job with the minimum degree of fuss and not place added pressure on anybody else. And I’m forever grateful for that, for the cast and the crew, you know, everybody was feeling stressed because it was so long but they didn’t dump it on me, they knew that I was carrying enough of my own, and so, you know, it ended up being an incredibly arduous, long shoot, but with a minimal amount of complaining, and a really great spirit [Philippa agrees], which I think everybody felt, “Well, I can’t complain, because the next person has got just as much of a problem as I have getting through this, and…”

Philippa: I think the reason nobody complained, Pete, is because you were… They were… I mean, I remember Elijah saying this: whenever he got tired, he’d just look across at you and know that you… your day wasn’t over. You had four hours of dailies to watch; and he always felt that if you could do it, he could do it. And I think a lot of them were doing it for you.

Peter: You know, if you stop to think too much about what you’re involved in, you would start to worry about it, you know, if you rationalise it too much; and it became a process of really just putting your head down and thinking about what you were doing in the week – it was working, like, one week ahead. Lots of times, as the pressure really went on, we’d be walking onto sets and the paint wasn’t even dry, you know. I mean, I remember Alan Lee, our wonderful conceptual artist who did the most brilliant pencil sketches and delicate watercolour paintings of scenes… you know, we arrived at the set of Rivendell, which was something that he had conceptualised and designed, and Grant Major had ultimately built it; and the set wasn’t really finished at the time the trucks were arriving and the gear was being unloaded and the actors were in make up, and Alan was there with a five inch paint brush actually painting the set [Peter and Philippa laugh] furiously! And then we’d tell the crew, “Don’t lean on this wall because the paint’s not dry yet!” and, you know, it was pretty much… It became something which we planned for a long, long time: we, you know, we knew what we were going into – we had a lot of it planned – but nonetheless it was a seat-of-your-pants operation, really, that we were… We were revising the script, we were editing the movie as we were going, figuring out ways to improve it all the time; the art department got to the point where they started the movie with, you know, lots of sets built and complete, but of course, as the schedule moved on, they had less and less time because sets would have to be torn down and that studio space would have to be turned into a different set. They got to the point that they were building huge sets from scratch in the space of five or six days, with nothing to us being on the set shooting. The fact that it was three films at once certainly created this rolling steam train that you just couldn’t jump off it – it was rolling and it was just going to go with you or without you [Philippa agrees], and you had to somehow keep running in front of the train laying the tracks.

Philippa: This was a crew that always went there and had faith and that sudden inspiration.

Peter: The head of physical production for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ at New Line was Carla Fry, an incredibly courageous, wonderful lady who, really, was responsible for steering us through the process that led us to the green light of the film, and then supervised the production of all three movies through to the completion; and unfortunately, Carla succumbed to cancer about four months after the premiere of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ so out thoughts are always with her when we see the film, and certainly, she was very heavily involved in the next two movies as well, so I hope that in some way, these films are a legacy for Carla, because she certainly… she deserves all of our thanks and respect for the work that she did. (beat) We’ll see you round next time on the commentary for ‘The Two Towers’, which… We do need to get back and finish that film, so I’ll say goodbye now, rush off, finish ‘The Two Towers’ and we’ll all talk again at some point, I’m sure. So bye-bye everybody! ‘Till next time.

TTT Disc 1 >>

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.