Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Trivia for The Lord of the Rings

Trivia for The Lord of the Rings

Legolas's arrows in the final battle are computer generated. It would not have been physically possible for the most gifted archer to fire off so many arrows so quickly.

It is estimated that filming of the trilogy pumped about $200,000,000 into the New Zealand economy. The New Zealand government even created a Minister for Lord of the Rings, whose remit was to exploit all the economic opportunities the films represented.

During the Council of Elrond, leaves are continually falling in the background to suggest that this is a meeting that is taking place outside. This meant about half a dozen crew members were positioned above the set, dropping leaves at various intervals. This also meant that the production department had to collect sacks and sacks of leaves during autumn, and of course dead leaves turn brown fairly quickly. Which also meant that every single one of those leaves had to be individually painted.

During filming, most of the members of the Fellowship took up surfing in New Zealand in their spare time. Among them was Viggo Mortensen, who wiped out terribly one day, and bruised one whole side of his face. The next day, makeup tried to mask the bruising and swelling, but were unsuccessful. Instead, Peter Jackson opted to film Mortenson from one side for the entire scene. In the scene in the Mines of Moria when they find the grave of Gimli's relative, Aragorn is only seen from one side in the whole scene.

Christopher Lee reads "The Lord of the Rings" once a year and is the only member of the cast and crew ever to have met J.R.R. Tolkien.

Peter Jackson's two children are listed in the end credits as "Cute Hobbit Children".

Gandalf's painful encounter with a ceiling beam in Bilbo's hobbit-hole was not in the script - Ian McKellen banged his forehead against the beam accidentally, not on purpose. But Peter Jackson thought McKellen did a great job "acting through" the mistake, and so kept it in.

Viggo Mortensen kept his sword with him at all times off set so that he could remain in character. He was questioned several times by police after reviewing his training sessions with the sword and being spotted by members of the public.

When the firework blows up in Merry and Pippin's hands the high-pitched scream is actually Billy Boyd, who didn't know the firework was going to explode.

When Pippin is being hit with the apples after asking about second breakfast, it is Viggo Mortensen himself chucking the apple at his head. They had to shoot the scene 16 times to get it just right, and Billy Boyd says he believes Mortensen enjoyed himself immensely.

Gimli's line "Nobody tosses a dwarf!" was filmed after the "Toss me" line in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

Peter Jackson can be glimpsed outside the Prancing Pony holding a carrot. Originally it was supposed to be a pipe, but after a couple of puffs, he felt sick and went for the carrot instead.

When Gandalf has his big stand-off scene with the Balrog, Ian McKellen is actually acting to a ping pong ball.

The ironic part about the Fellowship mourning the loss of Gandalf was, at that point, none of the cast members had met Ian McKellen, let alone seen him dressed up as the wizard.

Sean Astin and Elijah Wood spent most of their scenes acting to an orange ping pong ball which was turned into Gollum in post-production.

When Gollum eats a whole fish, it's actually Andy Serkis chewing on a fish-shaped lolly.

The scene where Gandalf calls for his horse and Shadowfax comes galloping across the fields and straight up his master was achieved in the very first take.

The Dead Marshes were actually a water-filled parking lot, the same one that had doubled up for outside the mines of Moria in "The Fellowship of the Ring". Passengers in passing trains on the adjacent railway line were able to see Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Andy Serkis performing onset.

The Main Door of Helm's Deep was built so heavily and so well that the real battering ram that was built to knock down the gates failed to do so until the door was weakened. Someone had built the door a little bit too well and Peter Jackson can heard on the Extended Edition DVD commenting that if they had to defend a castle, he would want the WETA workshop guys to build the door.

On the wall of Helm's Deep during the battle, a one-eyed warrior turns to the camera, revealing his scarred empty socket. The performer who played him showed up as an extra, wearing an eye patch; director Peter Jackson politely asked to see what was under the patch, and then inquired if the gentleman would be interested in appearing in the film sans eye patch. The gentleman was reluctant at first and quite self-conscious, but afterward said the experience had made him more comfortable with his condition.

Between takes, Brad Dourif stayed in character by continuing to speak with an English accent until all his footage had been completed. This was so convincing that, at the end, when he spoke with his normal voice again, Bernard Hill thought that his English accent was real and that his American accent must be fake.

Viggo Mortensen broke two toes while kicking the steel helmet by the orc pyre, and that take is the one that actually appears in the movie. Peter Jackson said that was really impressed with the shout of pain Aragorn cried out for the fate of the two hobbits, realizing only later that it was pain already, but for his two toes instead. He was also impressed by the fact that Mortensen continued acting even if so seriously injured.

To increase the number of Rohirrim riders, many of the "men" were actually women with beards glued on. Peter Jackson and others have noted that in many cases they were more skilled riders than the men.

Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan spent so much time up the tree (TreeBeard) during the making of the the film that they spent their time between takes writing a screenplay. Additionally, it was so difficult to get up and down to their "perches" that they were left there during breaks while the rest of the crew went off to eat, though someone was kind enough to pass theirs up to them.

There were so many extras used in the sequences at Helms Deep, and the filming went on for so many months that almost all the extras and principal actors got t-shirts reading "I survived Helms Deep". There were so many of these shirts that extras would often meet other extras in New Zealand's main cities because they would recognize the shirts.

The sound of the fell beasts that the ringwraiths ride is actually the noise of a donkey.

The scene with the Orcs before the Battle for Helms Deep starts, where they stomp their spears into the ground, was inspired by the same act the stuntmen would do between takes to pass time. After seeing it, Jackson liked it, and put it in the movie.

The dawn shot of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas pursuing the orcs came about when Viggo Mortensen persuaded the second unit team to camp out on location. Mortenson's efforts in organizing the overnight trip were so effective that actors and crew from the other film units, including Miranda Otto, came out to join him.

One time while Bernard Hill was in England, a woman came up to him and told him about how one of her children had died shortly before then, and that parents shouldn't have to bury their child. His confrontation with this woman affected him so much that he asked to have a line put in about it.

Andy Serkis said he based Gollum's desperation and cravings on the withdrawals of heroin addicts.

For the Special Extended Edition, the scene in which Pippin is looking for Merry after the battle on Pelennor Fields was digitally altered so that it appears to be night instead of day. According to Peter Jackson on the commentary track, this was done to make it appear that Pippin has been looking for hours instead of minutes, underlining the friendship between the two Hobbits. In the original edit, because it appears that Pippin has only been looking for a few minutes his reaction to finding Merry seems like he's overreacting.

The Grey Havens scene had to be shot three times, much to the dismay of the actors, who had to be crying for most of the scene. On the first try, it was discovered in viewing the dailies that Sean Astin was wearing the wrong shirt under his cloak. After shooting the scene a second time, the negatives were inadvertently exposed to light during processing, causing a white haze over the entire day's footage. It was finally captured successfully on the third try.

Viggo Mortensen estimates that, during the course of filming the entire trilogy and including all takes, he killed every stuntman on the production at least fifty times.

For the scene where Merry and Pippin are smoking their pipes at Isengard, Dominic Monaghan (Merry) had to drink a glass of milk beforehand to keep himself from throwing up while smoking the pipe.

The end-credit portraits of each of the lead actors appearing alongside their name was the suggestion of Ian McKellen. The sketches were created by production designer 'Lee, Alan (II)' from production stills, although what is seen on the movie is actually a slight morph between the sketch and the original photograph.

In the scene when Denethor burns Faramir on the pyre, the pyre could not truly be on fire because Gandalf's horse would not go near it. To solve this, the crew reflected a real fire onto a pane of glass in front of the camera so that it looks as though the pyre is burning.

Dominic Monaghan was allergic to the elven cloaks the Fellowship wore. Before scenes were shot, Peter Jackson used to joke around and say "Are we ready to go? Does Dom have his cape on?"

Ian McKellen's first day of shooting on the trilogy was Gandalf's first scene, arriving in Hobbiton. His second day of shooting was Gandalf's final scene of the film, at the Gray Havens.

In the scene where the Hobbits return to Hobbiton, three of the hobbits had slight problems during the shoot. Elijah Wood had a hard time controlling his pony, Sean Astin was allergic to the ponies, and Dominic Monaghan was in a really bad mood because of technical aspects revolving around the scene. Billy Boyd was "in stitches" during the shoot.

To get enough extras for the Battle at the Black Gate, a few hundred members of the New Zealand army were brought in. They apparently were so enthusiastic during the battle scenes that they kept breaking the wooden swords and spears they were given.

To get the idea of perspective in the scene where Denethor drags and throws out Pippin from the burial chamber, Billy Boyd's double was dragged and rolled out. When the double hit him in the back, he popped up.

Viggo Mortenson and Billy Boyd were standing off-camera during Sam's wedding scene, pretending to be wedding guests in order to help Sean Astin's performance. After Sarah Mcleod threw her bridal bouquet to Boyd, Mortenson gave Boyd a passionate kiss. The filming of the scene (and the kiss) appear on the extended version extras.

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