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 Inteview with Frodo

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PostSubject: Inteview with Frodo   Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:33 pm

Quote :
"My name is Elijah Wood and I'm Frodo Baggins."

What's it like in New Zealand?

I'll tell you what it's like in New Zealand. New Zealand is gorgeous. It's so beautiful and with this project, we've been able to travel around and we're going to continue to travel to various locations and many places that people don't normally get to see, so that's been really great.

How do you think the landscape of New Zealand compares to Middle-earth?

That’s actually the first thing I thought when Peter showed me all the pictures and things of the locations… this is Middle-earth. I mean it has every sort of geographical, geological formation, landscape, it's got everything, you know. So, it's absolutely perfect for New Zealand.

What is it like physically, going by helicopter to locations, etc.? Have you done this before?

EW: There's so many elements to what we do everyday. We fly to locations in helicopters, to the tops of mountains and to remote locations. It's overwhelming, but absolutely brilliant. It's such an adventure. It actually feels in some ways like the adventure that's taking place in the film, because we're working hard and we're going everywhere and there's just all of these magical, magical elements to what we're doing. It's really, really incredible and it's an experience of a lifetime. I'll never have another experience like this. It's truly wonderful.

What was your first meeting like with Peter Jackson?

I met Peter after he had seen my audition tape. I auditioned prior to meeting him and I was so set on meeting him, initially, because I really wanted to just talk to him and sit down. I read first and then he came to Los Angeles and I got to read for him again, for him personally, and I met Fran and Peter and that was just incredible. I had been waiting for that for a while. I mean, I'm a fan of his work. Heavenly Creatures is one of my favorite films.

So I was thrilled in a geeky sort of way, you know. And it was just wonderful. I found him to be really sweet and lovely, both of them. And talking to him about the movie was just wonderful. I mean, he's so, so passionate about the project and he's been working on it for almost three years now. So, really, it's kind of in his blood, you know. And I remember the moment I met him. After I read for him, he actually showed me a lot of the drawings and sketches and pictures of locations to kind of give me an idea of what the vision of the film was and where he was going with it.

But one of the things that I really loved about his ideas for the film was that he really wanted to make the movie realistic because it is a fantasy film and fantasy books. But the thing about these books and what we're doing with the movie is that they are so real that you believe that Frodo existed. You believe that Gandalf existed. There's a certain quality in some fantasy novels that you don't feel as if they really existed. They feel too far away. And one thing he really wanted to covey with this film is the realism.

The Hobbits were to be slightly dirty and the sets and the atmosphere to be lived in and to be realistic and aged, so it didn't have that weird, sort of cheesy fantasy look to it and that was just music to my ears, because that's what I wanted it to be as well. It's just wonderful. The guy is so excited and he never loses energy. And he seems to have this endless energy, you know, constantly has ideas and is thinking and moving forward. It is inspiring.

How does this project, when you know you're going to be on the film for eighteen months, feel differently than other projects you've worked on?

I think that on every film that I've worked on, as a rule the people that you work with become a bit of a second family because you tend to work together for an average of about three, four months, and so you have that family atmosphere. This makes me look at everything else that I've done and realize that because this is a year of my life and a year spent with these people, they will become even more of a second family to me.

It really etches in stone that a lot of these people will end up becoming lifelong friends. And the thing that I realize now is that when the movie is over, it's going to be the most impossible thing to leave because I will have spent so much time with it. And that's when it hit me, on New Years. Usually at New Years, you think, well, what am I going to do this year. I've got so much on my plate and so many things can happen and the only thing that was in my head was, well, I'm doing The Lord Of The Rings, that's all year and that's amazing.

It's really incredible. Three movies at one time over the span of a year. I'm living in New Zealand for a year. It's absolutely overwhelming, but I couldn't ask for a better crew, better cast and the cast I'm working with is just amazing! I'm so blessed and lucky to be a part of this project and to be playing Frodo. It is just the most wonderful, brilliant role and he ends up being a hero, so you can't beat that.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One year after you've had a chance to digest the accolades and the awards, how gratifying has the reaction to Lord of the Rings so far been for you, personally?

Well, it was extremely gratifying initially when [the movie] first came out and people responded to it in the way that they did. Both the fans and the critics were responding not only to how beautiful and grand it all was, but [also] how intense emotionally it became, and how you as a viewer were thrust into the movie emotionally and could actually care about these characters. That was really important, and was very important to all of us while making the movie—we really wanted to involve everybody in the story. So the fact that [audiences] responded to those elements of the movie, and not only the fact that it was a good, fun, escape kind of film, was amazing.

Obviously, after working on it for as long as we did and anticipating seeing the movie, and having that overwhelming experience for the first time, for the movie to do so well was just wonderful. I think all of us expected it to do as well as it did to a certain degree because we knew how special the product was and how much passion and love and effort went into making the best movie that we could make. And taking into account the amount of Lord of the Rings fans already in existence, we kind of assumed that it would do well. But even though you assume something, the initial feeling of that kind of excitement of everyone's reaction is pretty wonderful.

But it only really lasted for a small period of time. It's like the movie was released, and I think we were all extremely happy and surprised and just ecstatic about the reaction. I certainly can't deny that I was bowled over with excitement and pride, proud to be a part of something so beautiful and special and so well loved. But there's also a part of you that kind of accepts it and kind of moves on. Since then, obviously, the fervor has continued, and people constantly mention the movie to me; they're excited about the second one, so the anticipation is now geared toward that.

How much of the filming seems like a blur now that you look back?

I think things are a little less fresh in my memory, understandably, seeing how it's almost two years now since we wrapped. But, having said that, I've been back to New Zealand this year doing pickups and additional scenes for film two, so it kind of reminds me of the experience and puts me back in that head space, which is great because, come time for the press, it makes it a lot easier to actually talk about the movie. Things are a little bit fresher in my head, particularly about film two, but at the same time the experience of making the movies was so vivid and so profound for all of us that the imprints that they made on our psyche and on our souls I don't think will ever really be removed. So as certain stories may become a bit blurry and the various experiences that we had might, some of those memories might fade away, the ultimate profound memories that we have of the experience will never really fade.

What are some of the memories that are so vivid in your mind that they aren't fading?

So many things. Really, the closeness with Dom and Billy [Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd], the other two hobbits, and Sean Astin, and Viggo [Mortensen], and Orlando [Bloom], and not only the time that we spent on set, but the times that we'd hang out after filming and surfing trips with the guys on weekends. I remember Dom, Billy and I took a trip up to Auckland for a weekend and spent time there. Dom, Orlando, Billy and I went to Sydney and had a crazy weekend there. Those are memories that I'll never forget, never lose.

And at this point they've become general. Obviously there are specific events that I'll always remember, but in terms of just—the memories that I'll always hold close are the times that I've spent with those guys, both on and off set.

I think one of the most vivid memories that I'll always hold close is just on any off time that we would have, if it was a day that the four of us would be working, you'd generally find us sleeping in one of our trailers, all three of us. We had these really long big couches in our trailers, so we'd all kind of be set up along the couches at any given time. That was pretty common.

We also used to watch a lot of videos on set as well. There are so many things, it's actually really difficult to encapsulate it all; there's so much.

What was it like getting back into your Frodo mode?

Pretty easy. I spent so much time with the character. I've never spent so much time with a character before, so much of it is second nature. It's extremely comfortable. Especially for the second time around, I've had so much experience playing the character that it wasn't too difficult to get back involved and get back in the mindset—particularly because we also sat down and viewed all the footage that we'd shot thus far in film two and had a briefing as to what we were going to do to change it and make it better. That then put both Sean and I in the mindset that we needed to be in for our characters.

After so long away from Rings, how did it feel going back to embellish Two Towers so long after you filmed it?

It was actually really enjoyable, and not very difficult at all. It's in some ways more of a fun reunion experience than it is getting down to hard work. Obviously, it was quite difficult, and the work was hard and long hours just like any other day, but there was also a kind of slightly relaxed atmosphere as well, because we've already done the really difficult work, and this was just adding bits and moments that we felt strongly about, really.

What kinds of things did you try to do in the pickups to strengthen Two Towers?

We worked a little bit on the Frodo/Gollum/Sam relationship, and tried to create a little bit more tension between Frodo and Sam as Gollum enters the picture, because Sam immediately doesn't trust Gollum, and finds it strange that Frodo does trust Gollum, and we kind of played that relationship up as well.

We also made the Ring a little bit more present than we had, where we were more clearly showing Frodo's growing obsession with the Ring and his fear that someone else will take it from him. And we really showed Frodo's understanding of where Gollum comes from, and the fact that Gollum was once a hobbit himself who had this Ring, and he turned into the wretched creature that he is because of the Ring; that really hits home for Frodo, because he understands that he could very well end up in that same place. And that really dictates the relationship between him and Gollum.

So [the pickups] were about heightening and expounding on those themes.

How was it working with Andy Serkis, who voices Gollum?

He was there [during filming]. All of the scenes were approached with a pretty standard approach with him there as an actor, and we'd all sit down together and talk about the scene and rehearse with him, just as you would any scene.

Then, when it came down to shoot it, he would be present for this thing called a reference pass, which is a filmed pass, we'd probably do two or three of them to kind of perfect it and get it right. That would then be sent to the digital [department] for them to review, to get an idea of how Andy moved in the scene and how I interacted with Andy, and so on and so forth. So it's really a reference for the digital department and what they would end up doing.


To be continued...

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PostSubject: Re: Inteview with Frodo   Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:34 pm

Continues........

Quote :
And then Andy would step out of the scene and do lines off camera while Sean and I would interact with Gollum, who wasn't actually there. So they would set up either a pole with a kind of golf ball to look at, or they'd set marks way off in the distance that were right with the eye line, so on and so forth. So you get an idea.

The thing is, having had Andy there and running through the scene as many times as we did with him, that made it pretty easy to work without him, because we'd kind of gotten used to how it went with him there, and basically knew where he was placed and where we had to look, and what we had to interact with Gollum. It's certainly a challenge, but made a lot easier with Andy and the kind of technical brilliance that he brought to his character.

How much did you find that that interplay really did help you, though, as an actor, to find what you needed to do?

It totally helped. I think the scenes were made and created in those moments with Andy, and then everything after that was kind of almost muscle memory of what had been created with Andy and trying to recreate those moments without him there. Had those scenes been done without anyone there at all, it obviously would have been quite different—and certainly more complicated. So his involvement and his presence was a great saving grace.

Also, we had plenty of reference as to how Gollum actually appears, so there was never any real want for material; we didn't have to use our imaginations to imagine what he actually looks like. So that part was pretty easy as well.


In Fellowship, we see Frodo and Sam forging a bond. What direction does that dynamic take in Two Towers?

In this film, you really see what the relationship is all about. I think the first movie kind of sets it up in a pretty direct way, but you don't really ... I think some of it gets lost slightly in the fact that the focus is on the whole fellowship, and you don't really see their complete closeness until the end. Whereas this movie really starts to show what that relationship is about as well as actually [setting that up]. You also see it disintegrate quite quickly.

And in this particular part of the story, Frodo and Sam are alone together on their journey, and as Gollum comes into the fold, Frodo starts to turn on Sam because of Sam's immediate distrust of Gollum. So there's that [dynamic] at play, and you see the tension between these two great friends, but you also see the amazing qualities of Sam, and how Sam is always the positive one trying to—ultimately believing in Frodo to the last minute: Even though his friend is turning on him, he's still there for him, which I think really shows the closeness that they have, more than if they were totally, completely cordial with each other.

Sam never really fades; his honor and his determination to be there for Frodo never wanes, even as Frodo starts to turn on him and starts to reject him. And I think that really shows how close they really are, or how devoted Sam is to him.

On camera and off, you and Sean had a tremendous chemistry and rapport. Tell us how that carried through to what we see on-screen.

Well, I think it was completely germane to depicting that relationship, and it was something that actually came quite easily to both of us because, for I think two-thirds or maybe half of the film experience, we were spending every day together. It was just us. So we became very close very quickly, and had we not liked each other, that could have been a nightmare.

But because we were so close, and because we spent so much time together, I think showing that relationship was effortless. It wasn't something we actually had to think about; it worked on its own because we were so close in real life and we knew so much about each other. And when you spend that much time with someone every day for months on end, you can't help but grow close to them, and for that to somehow seep into the work that you do with them.

I'm so thankful to have made a friend in Sean, and really [found] a brother in him. I'm also thankful that it worked out the way that it did, because I think it really brought to life the reality of their relationship and the closeness that they have.

In what ways does our intrepid hero, Frodo, change in Two Towers?

Well, he starts to recognize his growing obsession with the Ring, which is made a little bit more obvious by the fact that Gollum is also obsessed with the Ring, and he sees the pitfalls that Gollum has gone through as a result of that obsession. That's a real wakeup call for Frodo, and a frightening one, something that he doesn't really want to accept. I think part of why he creates a bond with Gollum is really for himself to believe that Gollum can come back from that, that humanity can be extracted from him. Because if Frodo can extract humanity out of Gollum and bring him back, then he himself can be brought back; then there's hope for him. That's a pretty intense thing to have going through your head, and that's much of what is torturing Frodo. And all the while, he's going on this arduous journey as the Ring literally starts to weigh heavily upon him; it starts to bear down on his body physically, and it becomes difficult for him to bear.

And it's an interesting thing, because there's a point in the second film in which Frodo literally thinks he's incapable of doing it any longer. It takes him to the end of his own belief in himself and what he's capable of doing. And it's interesting to see Frodo go in that direction, because it's really not at all what you've seen of Frodo since the first movie. Things just get a lot darker for Frodo, and the Ring just bears more and more heavily on his mind and on his body as the journey progresses, and obviously that gets worse in the third film as well.

For those who have read the books, we don't have to wait three years to see how it all turns out. Yet there is suspense in the films, just enough to keep audiences wondering.

I keep hearing that as well, and people were really confused by the ending [of Fellowship]. "What? It really didn't end. What was up with the ending?" It's not an ending. It continues. People don't really get it, which is funny. But it's also a unique film experience. This has never been done before, so I can understand why people are really reluctant or unable to understand the setup for all of these movies that are going to be released.


Because all three films were shot simultaneously, this was a very different experience from other films that you've worked on. In your words, what was it that set this experience apart?

The opportunity to live out a character and take that character on a journey in somewhat real-time never really comes up. It's not an opportunity that comes along often, and I think that that's essentially what we were able to do. That opportunity to be working on one character for that length of time I think made the characters stronger, and it allowed us to grow with the characters as well, so as the characters changed, we changed in an odd kind of way. The actual meat of the story takes place over about a year and a half, give or take a few months. It's up to interpretation, but it's quite a lengthy journey, and that was also our length of time in terms of filming the movie.

Had we actually gone in sequence, [filming] very well would have mirrored that of the book, and we literally would have been taking our characters through a journey in real time. We didn't do it in sequence, so that wasn't necessarily the case, but I think the same thing applied. We had a very, very long time—it was 16 months in New Zealand—to live with our characters and to know our characters every day, day in and day out, and that was all we had to think about for that length of time. So it was an incredible blessing as an actor, and it made the process somewhat easier, actually.

I mean, I can't imagine the idea of going into New Zealand shooting one movie, taking a very long break, and shooting another movie a year later. It would lose its relevance; it would lose its momentum. The focus on the characters would be less. It would be more and more obviously difficult to jump back and forth.

.

To be continued

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PostSubject: Re: Inteview with Frodo   Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:36 pm

Continues...

Quote :
And then Andy would step out of the scene and do lines off camera while Sean and I would interact with Gollum, who wasn't actually there. So they would set up either a pole with a kind of golf ball to look at, or they'd set marks way off in the distance that were right with the eye line, so on and so forth. So you get an idea.

The thing is, having had Andy there and running through the scene as many times as we did with him, that made it pretty easy to work without him, because we'd kind of gotten used to how it went with him there, and basically knew where he was placed and where we had to look, and what we had to interact with Gollum. It's certainly a challenge, but made a lot easier with Andy and the kind of technical brilliance that he brought to his character.

How much did you find that that interplay really did help you, though, as an actor, to find what you needed to do?

It totally helped. I think the scenes were made and created in those moments with Andy, and then everything after that was kind of almost muscle memory of what had been created with Andy and trying to recreate those moments without him there. Had those scenes been done without anyone there at all, it obviously would have been quite different—and certainly more complicated. So his involvement and his presence was a great saving grace.

Also, we had plenty of reference as to how Gollum actually appears, so there was never any real want for material; we didn't have to use our imaginations to imagine what he actually looks like. So that part was pretty easy as well.


In Fellowship, we see Frodo and Sam forging a bond. What direction does that dynamic take in Two Towers?

In this film, you really see what the relationship is all about. I think the first movie kind of sets it up in a pretty direct way, but you don't really ... I think some of it gets lost slightly in the fact that the focus is on the whole fellowship, and you don't really see their complete closeness until the end. Whereas this movie really starts to show what that relationship is about as well as actually [setting that up]. You also see it disintegrate quite quickly.

And in this particular part of the story, Frodo and Sam are alone together on their journey, and as Gollum comes into the fold, Frodo starts to turn on Sam because of Sam's immediate distrust of Gollum. So there's that [dynamic] at play, and you see the tension between these two great friends, but you also see the amazing qualities of Sam, and how Sam is always the positive one trying to—ultimately believing in Frodo to the last minute: Even though his friend is turning on him, he's still there for him, which I think really shows the closeness that they have, more than if they were totally, completely cordial with each other.

Sam never really fades; his honor and his determination to be there for Frodo never wanes, even as Frodo starts to turn on him and starts to reject him. And I think that really shows how close they really are, or how devoted Sam is to him.

On camera and off, you and Sean had a tremendous chemistry and rapport. Tell us how that carried through to what we see on-screen.

Well, I think it was completely germane to depicting that relationship, and it was something that actually came quite easily to both of us because, for I think two-thirds or maybe half of the film experience, we were spending every day together. It was just us. So we became very close very quickly, and had we not liked each other, that could have been a nightmare.

But because we were so close, and because we spent so much time together, I think showing that relationship was effortless. It wasn't something we actually had to think about; it worked on its own because we were so close in real life and we knew so much about each other. And when you spend that much time with someone every day for months on end, you can't help but grow close to them, and for that to somehow seep into the work that you do with them.

I'm so thankful to have made a friend in Sean, and really [found] a brother in him. I'm also thankful that it worked out the way that it did, because I think it really brought to life the reality of their relationship and the closeness that they have.

In what ways does our intrepid hero, Frodo, change in Two Towers?

Well, he starts to recognize his growing obsession with the Ring, which is made a little bit more obvious by the fact that Gollum is also obsessed with the Ring, and he sees the pitfalls that Gollum has gone through as a result of that obsession. That's a real wakeup call for Frodo, and a frightening one, something that he doesn't really want to accept. I think part of why he creates a bond with Gollum is really for himself to believe that Gollum can come back from that, that humanity can be extracted from him. Because if Frodo can extract humanity out of Gollum and bring him back, then he himself can be brought back; then there's hope for him. That's a pretty intense thing to have going through your head, and that's much of what is torturing Frodo. And all the while, he's going on this arduous journey as the Ring literally starts to weigh heavily upon him; it starts to bear down on his body physically, and it becomes difficult for him to bear.

And it's an interesting thing, because there's a point in the second film in which Frodo literally thinks he's incapable of doing it any longer. It takes him to the end of his own belief in himself and what he's capable of doing. And it's interesting to see Frodo go in that direction, because it's really not at all what you've seen of Frodo since the first movie. Things just get a lot darker for Frodo, and the Ring just bears more and more heavily on his mind and on his body as the journey progresses, and obviously that gets worse in the third film as well.

For those who have read the books, we don't have to wait three years to see how it all turns out. Yet there is suspense in the films, just enough to keep audiences wondering.

I keep hearing that as well, and people were really confused by the ending [of Fellowship]. "What? It really didn't end. What was up with the ending?" It's not an ending. It continues. People don't really get it, which is funny. But it's also a unique film experience. This has never been done before, so I can understand why people are really reluctant or unable to understand the setup for all of these movies that are going to be released.


Because all three films were shot simultaneously, this was a very different experience from other films that you've worked on. In your words, what was it that set this experience apart?

The opportunity to live out a character and take that character on a journey in somewhat real-time never really comes up. It's not an opportunity that comes along often, and I think that that's essentially what we were able to do. That opportunity to be working on one character for that length of time I think made the characters stronger, and it allowed us to grow with the characters as well, so as the characters changed, we changed in an odd kind of way. The actual meat of the story takes place over about a year and a half, give or take a few months. It's up to interpretation, but it's quite a lengthy journey, and that was also our length of time in terms of filming the movie.

Had we actually gone in sequence, [filming] very well would have mirrored that of the book, and we literally would have been taking our characters through a journey in real time. We didn't do it in sequence, so that wasn't necessarily the case, but I think the same thing applied. We had a very, very long time—it was 16 months in New Zealand—to live with our characters and to know our characters every day, day in and day out, and that was all we had to think about for that length of time. So it was an incredible blessing as an actor, and it made the process somewhat easier, actually.


to be continued

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PostSubject: Re: Inteview with Frodo   Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:37 pm

Continues....

Quote :
I mean, I can't imagine the idea of going into New Zealand shooting one movie, taking a very long break, and shooting another movie a year later. It would lose its relevance; it would lose its momentum. The focus on the characters would be less. It would be more and more obviously difficult to jump back and forth.

And there's really something to be said about the moment—so much came out of that moment. We were in New Zealand for 16 months with these characters, in this world, on these sets, every day, with seemingly no end. So much is born out of simply the experience and the relevance of the time, and I've never had an experience where something was more reliant on those factors. And I think that that's part of why the movie is as realistic in some ways as it is, and authentic as it is, because we were literally going through hardships ourselves. The schedule was incredibly intense. We were always exhausted. Halfway through the movie we're shooting an average of six-day weeks, sometimes seven. It was an intense, intense journey; it was not a luxury. Nor did we necessarily want it to be. It was a joy as well as a hardship.

All of those things—and the way that we worked, and the process for making the movies—totally played into the actual film and how the performances ended up. And that sort of intangible, kinetic atmosphere that was created—not only by the artistry of everyone involved, but out of that experience that we were all going through, that journey, that waking up at five in the morning and flying in a helicopter up to the top of a location to do a scene, and the weather being so bad we had to wait—I totally believe all of these things lent themselves to the film and ended up creating an atmosphere that no one can really put their finger on or explain.

Had Lord of the Rings been [done] differently, it would have ended up being a different film, and for us as actors there really couldn't be any other way to do it. It was a joy.

What did you learn from doing it this way?

It's funny. The book was essentially thrown out when we made this movie. We, for most of the time, didn't know what we had to do in the next couple of days in the schedule. We'd find out what we had to do the next day that evening. So the idea of being prepared, sitting at home, running lines, getting familiar with the scene for the next day, is something that we did, but didn't rely as heavily on as I'm used to doing. I'm used to every night before I go to work the next day reading over the scenes a few times, memorizing the lines and so forth, but it literally got to the point where, and I think I speak for everyone, that idea was almost completely rejected. We just kind of go to work and it would just kind of happen. We'd say, "Okay, right, we're doing this today." "Okay, I know where that is." And you become so familiar with the entirety of the movie, with all three scripts and the whole one story, that you can literally do that.

And I don't know if that's necessarily learning anything, but it was a totally different process. It was a process all its own and by its own making, in the sense that we didn't always know what we were doing from one day to the next, but once we were on that set, we knew exactly what we were doing, because we were so familiar with the characters and so familiar with the world and the script.

There was an interesting kind of madness about it, and a kind of chaotic, out-of-control, organized madness. At times it felt like we were making the biggest independent movie of all time, because we didn't always have it straight. Nobody really always had it straight, and certain things were reliant on weather, and so on and so forth.

We had to learn to work on our toes, to really be ready for anything, and be prepared for sudden changes in the schedule, which we'd suddenly have to re-evaluate our mindset to go to a mindset of our character months and months down the line of their journey. So that was probably a lesson.

At the same time, you couldn't really be that focused, because if you focused too much it would inevitably be changed. I don't know how much I learned. I think part of the process was just to be present and to be passionate and make sure that that is unending, because if you have that then everything will be fine. If you lost your focus at any particular time, you'd lose your place, and slightly lose it, I think.


You were doing all these different scenes that were at different points in the character's progression, so at the time it must have been a challenge to you as an actor.

It was difficult. It was certainly a challenge, particularly when we first started jumping around from film to film. We'd primarily been filming film one from the beginning, and then because of weather we had to shoot indoors and shoot something from film three. And at that point, Frodo is a shadow of his former self. He's completely gone and taken by the Ring. So I hadn't really given that part of Frodo that much thought, because I assumed it was farther ahead in the schedule. First lesson in Lord of the Rings: Don't assume anything. If it's that far away in the schedule, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be.

And so we were thrust into film three and material I hadn't given a whole lot of thought [to], and that first time it was a serious challenge because I had to [figure out] how I was going to play this and how I was going to play the internal, evil, the kind of hatred and jealousy that's coming over Frodo at that time.

But once we started to make motions towards those very specific changing and developmental moments in Frodo's journey—and we'd covered all of the groundbreaking moments, the moments that really started to change Frodo throughout the process—switching around actually became quite easy. Because I'd taken Frodo to the various areas that he needed to go, and once you've got that groundwork laid, it's relatively simply to do anything.

What stands out for you about the scenes in film two?

I remember a lot of—a lot of film two and film three was in rocks, a lot of it, seemed to be an unending maze of rocks. And we'd go on the set, and we'd find another maze of rocks. And it kind of became a joke to Sean and I, because we were like, "Oh, right, stuck in the rocks again." So that was part of my film two and film three experience that I remember quite clearly.

Also, the Dead Marshes. I remember vividly filming those sequences. We've also added bits to that. There's a whole sequence with Faramir, and that's actually quite a pivotal moment in Frodo's journey, and also in the journey of the Ring itself. Because Faramir threatens to take the ring away from Frodo as a way to kind of prove his importance to his father. So there's an interesting tie there also to Boromir because he's Boromir's brother. So I remember those sequences quite well.

Tell me about some of the scenes that stand out in your mind.

There's a whole sequence in a ruined city towards the end of film two. It's under siege, and the hobbits are led through once Faramir basically decides, essentially, in the middle of this battle-ruined city, that he's going to let Frodo and the Ring go. He sees in Frodo that the Ring is truly dangerous and trusts that it's Frodo's destiny and allows him to go on his journey.

And that was a difficult sequence to film because a lot of it, any of the wide shots, Sean and I would have to be taken out, and they'd have to do a blank pass to that shot, and I could then go on a blue-screen stage and be put on, and be put back into these sequences as hobbit-size because so much of it was done with large actors, so it was kind of difficult, logistically. And there was quite a lot of shots and sequences within that city. So that proved to be a challenge and took some time to shoot.

That was probably the most difficult thing. And there's also a whole added moment or few moments that were tacked on to that particular sequence that I can't actually speak about because it actually includes some surprises that, even though we're filming a novel when you can't imagine there'd be any surprises, there are in this particular sequence, and it's actually really exciting and something I'm very much looking forward to seeing. It really pushes Frodo in another kind of stratosphere in terms of what the Ring is doing to him and how it's influencing him. And an interesting battle ensues. And I can't say much more than that, but it's very interesting and quite dark, and it's going to be a brilliant sequence.


Any filmed adaptation of a written work is going to reflect the filmmakers' interpretation of that work. What's your take on the interpretation of Two Towers that this film offers?

Well, ultimately it's an adaptation of the book, and it's made by fans of the book, so we are trying, and always trying, to keep it as close to the books as possible whilst still making a movie. And the first movie is actually a great example of how you can have changes and diversions to simplify to a certain degree, and to format the book material into a movie format.

In the book, during the first I guess hundred pages or so, the hobbits go on a journey through the Shire and meet up with Tom Bombadil, and there's this whole long sequence. But when writing the script for the movie, you realize that that has very little to do with the Ring and the actual journey at hand, which is the focus of what these stories are about. So you rightly cut that out. You rightly completely remove that aspect of the book because it actually doesn't lend itself to the story that we're trying to tell, which is there's this Ring that needs to be destroyed and there has to be a [sense] of immediacy and urgency related to this Ring, and that urgency would be completely lost if you were to include Tom Bombadil.

That's actually a really good example of what the head space is and what the thought processes are in adapting a novel like this to the screen, and that certain things either have to be removed or certain things need to be embellished or added to make "a movie." I guess that's the easiest way I can describe it. It has to have a movie format. And it has to be entertaining, and it has to have a certain energy to it that has a throughline through the story.

And each movie has to tell a story, has to have a point to it, as opposed to just being a continuation of this immense journey. If you were really to do a completely faithful adaptation, these movies would have to be five and six hours long. So that's part of it as well: trying to condense and somewhat simplify what is there to tell the meat and bones of the story without getting too lost in the complexities and the density of the novel.

In terms of adding things, certain things are added for excitement, but also to increase tension, and to also draw more attention to the individual tension and experiences of the characters of the story. And certain things that were added to film two, that I can't speak about, were added to draw more attention to Frodo's individual journey with this Ring and to make that a more tension-filled, immediate and dramatic situation than it was if it hadn't included what we added. That was the idea, while still trying to stay as close to the book as possible.

We don't create things that don't exist. Everything checks out in terms of the mythology that was created. So there aren't characters or beings or beasts that don't exist in the novels. It's all there. So anything that is used from the actual material may not necessarily come at the same point it would have in the novel.

For instance, the Shelob, the spider sequence from The Two Towers in the book, is not actually included in The Two Towers, the film. It's going to be in the third film. So that's just a slightly different change, but it's still there. It's like you can't complain too much, because we are trying to be as close to the book as possible; it's just that certain things are moved around and changed just to make that film format a little bit clearer to better tell the story, I think.

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