The Lord of the Rings trilogy it seemed like director Peter Jackson might have to ask off more than he could chew. The trilogy that changed the face of fantasy films tackled a number of challenges along the way, but it all worked out in the end. In celebration J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday, here are 20 facts about the Oscar-winning trilogy.
1. IT WENT THROUGH A TON OF SCRIPT REVISIONS.
When The Lord of the Rings started out, it's just going to be two movies. Later, Concerned about the ballooning budget, producers tried to persuade Jackson to condense the movie into a single movie. At various points in the scripting process, Arwen, not Eowyn, what the one to dress up as a man, ride into the Battle of Pelennor Fields, and kill the Witch-king; and Rohan and Gondor were combined into one kingdom. Miramax also suggested that the one-movie version be as a flashback, with an older Frodo "covering [theentireMinesofMoriasequencein Fellowship ] by saying something like, 'So then we went on a dangerous Gandalf !, recalled Jackson.
2. SEAN CONNERY DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPT.
Sean Connery read the role of Gandalf but admitted that, "I never understood it. I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still do not understand it … I would not be interested in doing something that I did not fully understand, but not for 1
3. ARAGOR WHAT AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT ROLE TO CAST.
Nicolas Cage was offered the role of Aragorn, which he turned down due to "family obligations." Stuart Townsend, who "I was there rehearsing and training for two months, then what started the day before filming," the actor later recalled. Jackson went to Viggo Mortensen, who took the role in the urging of his son Henry
4. RUSSELL CROWE WAS A POTENTIAL BACKUP FOR ARAGORN.
Had Mortensen turned down the role of Aragorn, there were two other actors. Jason Patric and Russell Crowe. "We sent [Crowe] a script and he did read it and what fascinated," Jackson said. Gladiator ! "! Russell was flattered by the approach, but he was not committed to work out. "
5. VIGGO MORTENSEN TOOK SEVERAL BEATINGS.
The Two Towers A variety of injuries during the production, but Mortensen had it especially hard: That scream he let out after kicking a helmet after discovering the burnt Corpses of the Orcs who abducted Merry and Pippin might have something to do with the fact that he had just broken two of his toes. "Normally, Actor would yell 'Ow!' If they hurt themselves," Jackson noted. Elijah Wood remembered Mortensen "getting half of his tooth knocked out during a fight sequence, and his insistence on applying superglue to put it back in to keep working."
6. JAKE GYLLENHAAL AUDITIONED TO PLAY FRODO.
Jake Gyllenhaal had a less-than-successful audition for the role of Frodo. "I remember auditioning for The Lord of the Rings I really do remember Peter Jackson saying to me, 'Gyllenhaal later recalled. "We've heard it literally one of the worst auditions."
7. VIN DIESEL, LIAM NEESON, AND UMA THURMAN WERE UP FOR ROLES.
Among other could-have-beens in the casting department: Vin Diesel auditioned for Aragorn; Jackson approached Richard O'Brien, best known as Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which he thus wrote ), for the role of Gram Wormtongue, but his agents turned down, believing the films would be unsuccessful. Liam Neeson passed on the role of Boromir.
There were "discussions," recalls Jackson, about then-married couple, Ethan Hawke, and Uma Thurman playing Faramir and Eowyn; "Ethan was a huge fan of the books and very little to be involved. Uma was less sure and rightly so because we were revising how we saw Éowyn's character literally as we went. In the end, Ethan let it go with some reluctance. "
8. IAN HOLM HAD PLAYED FRODO BAGGIN YEARS EARLIER.
The Lord of the Rings Billy actor Ian Holm, who played Frodo in a 1981 radio dramatization of The Lord of the Rings, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. His performance in that factored into Jackson's decision to offer him the Bilbo role.
9. CHRISTOPHER LEE WANTED TO PLAY GANDALF.
The late Christopher Lee was a The Lord of the Rings superfan who actually met J.R.R. Tolkien (1945) Cinefantastique ) and wanted to robe up Gandalf, as he did to Sir Ian McKellen. (Lee himself admitted that by the time the movies came around, he was "too old" for the action-heavy role.) The New Adventures of Robin Hood specifically "He sent Jackson a picture of himself in wizard duds, though" it was more in the nature of a joke, really. I think Peter had already made his mind "to cast him as the wizard Saruman.
10. THE PRODUCER REALLY WANTED TO KILL A HOBBIT.
Trilogy was made at Miramax. Trilogy was made at Miramax. As Peter Jackson would later recall, Bob Weinstein really, really thought one of the four main hobbits should be: '' Well, we can not have [all of them surviving]'he said,' we've got to kill a hobbit! I do not care which one; you can pick-I'm not telling you who you want it to be, but you've got to kill one of those hobbits! 'In situations like that, you just nod and smile and say 'Well, that's something we can consider.' "
11. SEAN BEAN TREKKED UP A MOUNTAIN IN COSTUME.
Sean Bean typically The Fellowship of the Ring 's mountain filming locations, instead of climbing to their own frames in full Boromir gear , "I've been to walk the whole way, really," he said. I was two hours behind everybody else on top of this mountain because I just did not want to get into any helicopters. "
12. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS BRET MCKENZIE MADE A CAMEO.
Breton McKenzie makes a letter appearance in The Fellowship of the Ring playing an unnamed Elf during the Council of Elrond scene. Fan Iris Hadad latched onto the extra, naming him Figwit (short for "Frodo is great … who is that?") And creating the fansite Figwit Lives in his honor. Peter Jackson, responding to the grassroots support for the character, added him to The Return of the King as "Elf Escort" and even gave him a line, "just [as] fun for the fans." ( In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey McKenzie plays an eleven named Lindir, He's not the same character as Figwit, the actor noted because the two have "slightly different ears.")
13. AN ENTIRE ACTION SCENE WHAT DESTROYED BY A FLOOD.
The End of The Fellowship of the Ring The scene of an orphanage on the Anduin River , "We had all kinds of action planned with boats flipping over … and Legolas's boat afloat as it was bucks and tosses, while the Elf-standing with a footprint on each of the gunwales-would firing arrows at the attackers," Jackson shared. But Mother Nature has other ideas, and a massive flood in addition to causing a state of emergency in Queenstown, New Zealand washed the entire ambush set down the river.
14. BILL THE PONY WHAT TWO PEOPLE IN A HORSE COSTUME.
Sam's pony Bill was, in Fellowship 's Midgewater Marshes scene, actually a "panto pony," due to the difficulty of working with a live animal in a swamp. Not sure what a "panto pony" is? Well, that's a fancy way to say it. Bill was a pony suit with one person in the front and one person in the back. It was not exactly easy to work with, either. "We had a terrible struggle to get through the marshes because the performers were completely blind, buried in that costume and up to their waists in a real swamp," Jackson shared. "Bill would try to walk and then start to wobble and everyone would have to rush in and catch him before he fell over! There was one hilarious moment where the front legs moved without the back legs and Bill got stretched into a sort of long sausage dog! "
15. SEAN BEAN WAS READING HIS SCRIPT DURING THE COUNCIL OF ELROND SCENE.
Jackson and his co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens were constantly in the process of revising the script, even during production; the actors would often get new dialogue to memorize the night before a particular scene was scheduled to shoot. The Council of Elrond scene. 's Council of Elrond scene. Looking closely at the actor occasionally lowering his eyes to look at the new script page, which was taped to his knee.
16. WOMEN IN BEARDS WERE USED AS EXTRAS.
A good chunk of the Riders of Rohan in The Two Towers and The Return of the King were actually women outfitted with fake beards. Mortensen said in The Two Towers Extended Edition extras.
17. THE URUK-HAI AT HELM'S DEEP ARE NEW ZEALAND CRICKET FANS.
In the Battle of Helm's Deep in The Two Towers the chanting of the vicious Uruk-hai army Zealand cricket fans. "There's this Black Speech battle cry the Uruk do," said executive producer Mark Ordesky. "We wrote it out phonetically on the Diamond Vision Screen and Peter [Jackson] directed 25,000 people going 'Rrwaaa harra farr rrara!' '
18. A Scene of the King The Return of the King The Ark of the King to-toe with the physical version of Sauron, in a sort of updated version of the Sauron-Isildur battle from the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring . "By the time we had got to post-production," Jackson remembers, the scene no longer felt right, "they cut it. Sauron.
19. What is the meaning of the book? Sauron.
Lord of the Rings Sent from the trilogy. Possibly the most extreme example of this The Return of the King Where Frodo, urged by Gollum to think Sam has betrayed him, orders his loyal sidekick to go home. First Sam's part was filmed, then Frodo's … a year later. Frodo and Sam are actually jumping back and forth across a year-long gap, "Jackson explained.
20. Frodo and Gollum in The Return of the King "Straight-out murder," Jackson admitted, "but at the time we were OK with it because we felt everyone wanted Frodo to kill Gollum. But, of course, it was very un-Tolkien, because it was in the face of everything that he wanted to be heroes to be.
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This article originally appeared in 2016.