One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring
Director Peter Jackson and co-writers (with Jackson) Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens envisioned this as a trilogy from the start. Filming never stopped until all three were done, allowing for a sequel every year. Based on the books of J.R.R. Tolkein, the first movie is centered on hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), nephew of Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo had acquired a powerful ring composed of pure evil in "The Hobbit" (see below), and now Frodo must go on a quest to take the ring to Mt. Doom, where it can be destroyed. But its evil creator wants it back, so a fellowship is formed to protect the little ring-bearer (hobbits are not a warrior race; they're almost like a cross between humans and rabbits, “Adventures make one late for dinner”).
This 3-hour first installment stays closer to the original novel than previous efforts, and is the first live-action version. There is enough action and special effects/visuals, you won’t notice that three hours have gone by and will probably want to see this movie more than once. It blends live action and special effects even better than the Robert Zemeckis film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In fact, Jackson worked with producer Zemeckis in “The Frighteners” (in which conman Michael J. Fox and his ghost friends including John Astin go up against a real, evil spirit plaguing a town. It was the New Zealand writer/director’s first U.S. film). This is the kind of epic Hollywood used to make (think Gone With The Wind or Lawrence of Arabia). Whether it’s the high-angle tracking and helicopter shots of Saruman (Christopher Lee) building his army of Orcs; or the original, huge battle (told as a flashback) in which Bilbo participated; or simply the scene in which our heroes are running through the underground dwarf ghost town. When Gandalf (Ian McKellan) is visiting Bilbo (Ian Holm), and uses a bit of sorcery during an argument, it would be a big deal in any normal movie, but is still nothing compared to even bigger scenes in this movie.
Set just after the last one, Frodo and Samwise are still making their way to Mordor. Gollum is following, though not really helping their progress. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli join forces with the people (and creatures) of Rohan to fight Christopher Lee’s army of Orcs. Gandalf is back with his magic, as are more epic battles. Frodo has a battle of wills with Gollum – and himself.
Additional new cast:
Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Karl Urban, Brad Dourif 179 minutes rated PG-13 The Two Towers movie trailer on Yahoo.com
Lord Of The Rings 3: The Return Of The King (2003)
There can be no triumph without loss. No victory without suffering.
No freedom without sacrifice
This final chapter in the trilogy runs almost three and a half hours, yet no one was complaining (they’ll have to cut out a lot to make room for commercials on network TV). After the big battle for Helm’s Deep in the last movie, the Fellowship Of The Ring, along with Rohan’s forces, head for Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor (Sauron’s next target) to battle him again and distract him from Frodo & Sam. They have their own problems on their continuing quest to Mt. Doom, including personal deceit and some giant spiders (and Indiana Jones was afraid of a few snakes). Though the two plots are completely separate, they don’t distract from each other. And the photography, as always, is sweeping and great. The special effects team went right from this movie to the Chronicles of Narnia, which has a battle scene of 20,000 participants and 70 different species, none of which were seen in the Rings trilogy.
Winner of ten Oscars, though Sean Bean says it’s ridiculous that he was nominated for an Academy Award for this third movie because his character is seen in it only briefly as a flashback from one of the earlier movies (he didn’t win).
Return Of The King movie trailer on Yahoo.com
"Dread has come upon you all...the Goblins are upon you! Bolg of the North is coming...the bats are above his army like a sea of locusts. They ride upon wolves and Wargs are in their train!"
Orson Bean (no relation to British actor Sean Bean of the above Rings trilogy) is the voice of Bilbo Baggins in this prequel to the Trilogy, based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel “The Hobbit.” Bilbo journeys through Middle Earth and encounters its other creatures. He and his new friends battle evil beings and creatures in his quest involving the ring composed of pure evil. Note from IMDB.com: The 2001 DVD release by Warner Brothers omitted a number of sound effects from the original Sony VHS release: The sound when characters die; when Sting attacks the Spiders in Mirkwood; Smaug's screams as he attacks Lake Town; the flapping of the Thrush's wings in all scenes; when the arrows bounce off of Smaug and when the Black Arrow pierces Smaug's belly; and the howling of the Wargs during the Battle of Five Armies.
Produced/directed by Jules Bass & Arthur Rankin Jr., nine years after their stop-mation feature Mad Monster Party (1968)
Additional voice cast:
Smaug: Richard Boone (star of TV’s Have Gun Will Travel)
Thorin: Hans Conried (voice of Captain Hook in Disney’s original Peter Pan)
Gandalf: John Huston
Elven King: Otto Preminger
Gollum: Brother Theodore (Theodore Gottlieb, of the David Letterman show)
Bombur and Troll #1: Paul Frees (voice of evil KARR in Knightrider TV-series, narrator of many cartoons & movies, including George Pal’s “Doc Savage Man Of Bronze” (1975)
Balin/Lord Of The Eagles/Troll #3/Goblin: Don Messick
Elrond: Cyril Ritchard
Great Goblin/Dori/Bard: John Stephenson (Mr. Slate in Flintstones cartoons, Dr. Quest in Johnny Quest)
Goblin/other voices: Thurl Ravenscroft (Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion as one of the grim grinning ghosts)
Glen Yarborough (lead singer of The Limeliters) is heard as an unseen singer
Associate Producer: Masaki Iizuka (also Assoc. Producer of live-action movie Coneheads)
J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings
In this animated movie unrelated to the other one in cast, director Ralph Bakshi used live actors then roto-scoped them (the animators essentially tracing the actors to get realistic motions). This one covers the first one and a half books of the trilogy, with various hobbits, elves, dwarfs and wizards competing for possession of the powerful rings. Leonard Maltin says the action “begins to drag – and confuse – during the last hour” and ends “rather abruptly.” Peter Jackson later re-filmed some scenes with live actors as done in this movie, however. 133 minutes rated PG. Voices of John Hurt (of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, as Aragorn), Christopher Guard (Frodo), Dominic Guard (pippin), William Squire (Gandalf), Michael Sholes (Samwise), Norman Bird (Bilbo), Anthony “C3P0” Daniels (Legolas), John Westbrook (Treebeard)
The Return Of The King
Orson Bean returns as the voice of both Bilbo, and Frodo Baggins, as Frodo sets off on the quest (with his faithful servent), opposed by “Orcs, Gollums and other ooky creatures.” Directed by Bass & Rankin, lyrics by Bass Additional voice cast:
Roddy McDowall (Planet Of The Apes) as Samwise Gamgee
John Huston (again as the gray wizard)
Theodore Bikel as Aragorn
William Conrad (narrator of various Jay Ward cartoons, and of the Buck Rogers TV-series) as Denethor
Glen Yarborough as The Minstrel
Paul Frees (Goblin, and Elrond)
Casey Kasem (voice of Scooby-Doo in cartoons inc. Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island) as Meriadoc Brandybuck
Sonny Melendrez as Peregrin (Pippin) Took
Nellie Bellflower (The Last Unicorn as v.o. The Tree) as Eowyn
120 minutes, available on video and DVD from Amazon.com
J.R.R. Tolkein books available from Amazon.com
Finnish, 270-minute miniseries, shown in 9 parts. The story is told from the hobbits’ perspective as they journey from to Mordor, only mentioning the events in Gondor and Rohan. This was the first production in Finland to use the technique of putting actors in front of a screen and adding the backgrounds later electronically. It has never been officially released outside Finland
Lord Of The Rings
(2006 Canada/2008 US)
This 55-person live stage version started in Toronto, then will open 2 years later in New York. It runs over three hours, and the actor playing Frodo says that it's not hard being boggle-eyed onstage with the multi-million dollar special effects.
There have also been major audio versions, including BBC radio (Ian Holm in 1981), available from Amazon.com in their books and audiobook section
The Last Unicorn
Based on Peter Beagle's popular fantasy, this animated version features Christopher Lee as the voice of the King (see trivia below). A young unicorn, fearing that she's the last one, goes on a quest to find others of her kind. Directed by Jules Bass for Lord Lew Grade (producer of Raise The Titanic and the original Thunderbirds). Also featuring the voices of: Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Tammy Grimes, Angela Lansbury (the voice of the Teapot in Disney's Beauty & The Beast), Mia Farrow (Rosemary's Baby), Robert Klein, Keenan Wynn (The Devil's Rain). 95 minutes rated G
Flight Of Dragons
Directed by Bass & Rankin, this beautifully animated feature is set in the transition between the Age Of Magic and the Age Of Science, when dragons still ruled the sky.
Featuring the voices of: John Ritter (Stay Tuned), Victor Buono (The Silencers), James Earl Jones (Star Wars), Donald E. Messick (who's also in The Hobbit), and Larry Storch (Silence of the Hams). 98 minutes
* Weta's special effects team had to create ten different races of creatures for "Lord Of The Rings." Then for Chronicles of Narnia, they had to create 170 characters representing almost 70 races over a space of two years, none of them created previously for "Rings." After a character was created for either movies, 14 sculptors translated the images into 3-D for digitizing into a camera and/or creating masks for actors
* After Narnia, the special effects team left early for another movie, the remake of King Kong, which was in theaters the same month in 2005
* In the battles, the various characters clash. A computer program designed for "Lord Of The Rings" battles kept track of them all, and decided how each would act and react. New Line didn't know if it would work so the director bought the software himself in 2001
* Elijah Wood dressed up in breeches and a flowing shirt and went out into the hills to shoot his audition tape. His friend George Huang, directed the video. His first movie was a bit part in Back To The Future, Part 2 (1989)
* Although David Bowie was said to be keen on playing Elf Lord Elrond, the part went instead to Hugo Weaving.
* Daniel Day-Lewis turned down the role of Aragorn.
* Originally the narration at the prologue was to be spoken by Elijah Wood, but it was felt that the information imparted had little bearing on the character of Frodo. Ian McKellen also recorded a narration but once again it was felt that Gandalf wasn't the right character to speak it. They eventually settled on Cate Blanchett as Galadriel as it emphasizes the timelessness of the elves.
* The Tolkien estate was never in favor of Peter Jackson's film adaptation but seeing as J.R.R. Tolkien signed the rights away in 1968 for $15,000, there was nothing they could do about it. Tolkien's grandson Simon came out in support of the production and was disowned by his relatives. Tolkien's son Christopher later retracted any opposition.
* Hobbiton was filmed in the Hinuera Valley near Matamata, New Zealand. The village was constructed and plants and trees were planted a year before filming so the set had an aged look as though Hobbits had lived there for hundreds of years, to make it look like it was a natural, lived-in place, complete with real vegetable patches. The greens department regulated the length of the grass by letting sheep eat it.
* A puppet with a horrific face was superimposed over Ian Holm's face when Bilbo Baggins catches a glimpse of the ring again in Rivendell. Holm was so delighted with the puppet that the design team had a cast iron version of it made for his mantelpiece and gave it to him as a parting gift when Holm wrapped all his scenes on the film
* The nocturnal screams of possums were used for the screeches made by the Orks in the mines of Moria.
* The main sound elements for the cave troll were a walrus, a tiger and a horse.
* The shots that were too visually complex to be conveyed on a storyboard where rendered digitally on a computer in a stage known as pre-visualisation. Peter Jackson received a lot of pointers on this from George Lucas and his Star Wars producer Rick McCallum at Skywalker Ranch. When he returned to New Zealand, he hired a lot of recent digital artist graduates to help him create his previz concepts.
* The total crew amounted to over 3,000 people of which approximately over 300 were in the art department alone.
* The Weta Workshop produced 58 miniatures which were so large and detailed they were nicknamed "bigatures".
* The design for the Hobbits's feet took over a year to perfect. Over 1800 feet were produced for the 4 lead Hobbits alone, and each pair would take about an hour and a half to be put on over the actors' real feet. They could each be used only once.
* Weta Digital is named after the Giant Weta, the heaviest insect in the world.
* Peter Jackson originally contemplated having the character of Tom Bombadil, a character that was in the book but never made it to the movie, incorporated into a cameo scene in which the Hobbits are walking through the forest and see a man with a feathered cap dart through the trees, then they hear Tom singing and begin running through the forest, but ran out of time to film it.
* Orlando Bloom originally auditioned for the part of Faramir. He was called back and subsequently cast, instead, as Legolas.
* New Zealand's army was cast as extras for large battle scenes in the first film, but was forced to back out due to having to serve as peacekeepers in East Timor.
* When the trailer was released on Internet on 7 April 2001, it was downloaded 1.6 million times in the first 24 hours.
* The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) were filmed simultaneously. The back-to-back shoot lasted a record-equaling 274 days, in 16 months - exactly the same time as taken for the principal photography of Apocalypse Now (1979)
* For high-tech tasks, a computer program called MASSIVE made armies of CG orcs, elves, and humans. These digital creations could 'think' and battle independently - identifying friend or foe - thanks to individual fields of vision. Jackson's team could click on one creature in a crowd scene of 20,000 and see through his "eyes". Different species even boast unique fighting styles.
* Viggo Mortensen lost a tooth while filming a fight sequence. He went to the dentist on his lunch break, had it patched up, and returned to the set that afternoon.
* 1,460 eggs were served to the cast and crew for breakfast for every day of shooting.
* More than 1,600 pairs of latex ears and feet were used during the shoot, each "cooked" in a special oven running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There was no way of removing the feet at the end of the day without damaging them and so each pair could only be used once. The used feet were shredded to prevent a black market in stolen hobbit feet but apparently Dominic Monaghan (Merry) kept a pair.
* Sean Astin gained 30 pounds for his role as Samwise. On 4 December 2001, Sean had his image as "Samwise Gamgee" immortalized on a 90 cent New Zealand postage stamp that he shares with "Lord of the Rings" co-star Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins). However, Sean's last name is spelled incorrectly on the presentation pack of the stamps (Austin instead of Astin). He is the second actor from a "Lord of the Rings" adaptation to have a relative in an Addams Family adaptation. His father, John Astin, played Gomez on "The Addams Family" (1964 TV-series). John Huston, who voiced Gandalf in the animated version of The Return of the King (1980), is the father of Anjelica Huston, who played Morticia in the Addams Family films.
* The title of Sean's autobiography, "There and Back Again", is actually the alternate title for "The Hobbit", and, in the story, is the title of Bilbo Baggins' autobiography.
In The Goonies (1985), his character cries out "Holy Mackenzie!" His brother is Mackenzie Astin. He claimed he was allowed to keep the treasure map used in the film. However, the map was lost forever when his mother (Patty Duke) discovered it several years later, thought it was just a crinkled piece of paper, and threw it in the trash.
* Viggo Mortensen did his own stunts. He also insisted on using only the real steel sword, instead of significantly lighter aluminum sword or safer rubber sword which were manufactured for battle scenes and stunts.
* Orlando Bloom (Legolas) did most of his own stunts and broke a rib in the process.
* John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) developed an allergic reaction to his makeup.
* While filming the scene where Sam rushes through the river after Frodo, Sean Astin stepped on a shard of glass that was sticking up from the riverbed. It pierced his foot, even through the prosthetic foot, which bled so much he had to be airlifted to hospital.
* The map Gandalf picks up in Bilbo's study is a reproduction of the map Tolkien drew for the book "The Hobbit"
* Sean Bean starred in a UK TV series as a soldier during the Napoleonic wars by the name of Richard Sharpe. He subsequently appeared in a series of commercials where he would allude to his earlier role, saying things like, "Sharpe idea". In this movie he continues the joke: after touching the Sword of Elendil he says, "Still Sharpe"
* Sean Bean is one of four "Lord of the Rings" stars to star, pre-"Rings," with Harrison Ford. He starred with Ford in Patriot Games (1992), and Ford starred with Viggo Mortensen in Witness (1985), and with John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and with Miranda Otto (Éowyn) in What Lies Beneath (2000). Has also worked opposite two Aragorns. Prior to working with Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings, he appeared in The Field with John Hurt, who had voiced Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi's animated film. Also, in Sharpe's Challenge, he worked with Toby Stephens, whose father, Robert Stephens, played Aragorn in the BBC Radio Adaptation.
* Tom Baker Was considered to play Gandalf in "The Lord Of the Rings" trilogy. However he was not selected because Peter Jackson did not want to type-cast an actor (or an actor who had played similar roles in the past) and felt that Doctor Who and several other roles of his were too similar to Gandalf. In the 1970s, Tom Baker co-wrote an unpublished screenplay for a Doctor Who movie titled "Doctor Who Meets Scratchman." Baker wanted Vincent Price to play Scratchman. Vincent Price and Christopher Lee were born on the exact same day, 27th of May
* Vincent Price narrated the Haunted Mansion ride at Euro-Disney (replaced 2 months later by a French guy, though Price's laugh remains on the ride's Paris soundtrack). Paul Frees & Thurl Ravenscroft (of 1977's The Hobbit) are both heard in the American version of Disney's Haunted Mansion ride.
* 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 himself
* As well as being the only member of the cast and crew to have met J.R.R. Tolkien face to face, Christopher Lee was also the first person to be cast in the trilogy because of his extensive knowledge of the books. He frequently visited the makeup department and often gave tips about the facial design of the monsters.
* John Rhys-Davies, who plays Gimli the dwarf, is the tallest of the actors who play members of the Fellowship. He is 6' 1".
* Peter Jackson gave one of the rings used in the movies to both Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis as gift when the shoot was finished. They both thought they had the only one.
* The three trolls which were turned to stone in "The Hobbit" are in the background during the scene where Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and Strider/Aragorn are resting after fleeing from Weathertop/Amon Sul.
* Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, changed its name to Middle Earth for the film's opening.
* Peter Jackson's two children are listed in the first film's end credits as "Cute Hobbit Children"
* The original plan was to film the trilogy in two movies. Miramax said that it had to be done in one movie so the producers went to New Line Cinema. When their presentation was done, one of the people at New Line told them that they were crazy and that the film had to be done as a trilogy. This caused the producers to go back and rewrite the script.
* Cate Blanchett joked that she took the role of Galadriel because, "I've always wanted pointy ears"
* Ian McKellen based Gandalf's accent on that of Tolkien himself. Gandalf's painful encounter with a ceiling beam in Bilbo's hobbit-hole was not in the script - Ian 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 (Aragorn), who is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Danish, requested the script be revised to let Aragorn speak more of his lines in Elvish.
* The Orc blacksmiths shown beneath Isengard are actually the WETA Workshop staff who made the weapons used in the film.
* The Elvish language lines spoken in the film are not just quotes from the book, they were derived from Tolkien's own limited dictionary of that language. Dialect coach Andrew Jack used actual recordings of Tolkien reading his books to guide the actors' pronunciation.
* The different colors of blue for the elves' eyes revealed what race they were. The Lothlorien elves had light blue eyes, and the Rivendell elves were dark blue.
* Over 12.5 million plastic rings were made in order to fabricate simulated chain mail for the movie. Two crew members spent the length of the shoot linking the rings by hand into suits of armor. By the end of production, they had worn the fingerprints off their thumbs and index fingers.
* 20 of the 30 minutes of the unusually long credits at the end of the Extended Edition, are dedicated to listing the Charter Members of the Official Lord of the Rings Fan Club. Included as Charter Members are Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, and many other cast and crew members.
* The portraits hanging above the fireplace in Bag End are based on the likenesses of director Peter Jackson and producer Fran Walsh.
* 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.
* The scream of the Ringwraiths is actually Fran Walsh, the co-writer and co-producer of the film.
* One of the indistinct words that Gandalf whispers to the moth when he is trapped by Saruman is "Gwaihir", the name of the eagle that later rescues him from the tower. The moth was born shortly before filming that day, and died soon after the scene was finished.
* The cast often had to fly to remote shoot locations by helicopter. Sean Bean (Boromir) was afraid of flying and would only do it when absolutely necessary. When they were shooting the scenes of the Fellowship crossing the snowy mountains, he'd spend two hours every morning climbing from the base of the mountain to the set near the top, already dressed as Boromir. The crew being flown up could see him from their helicopters.
* Peter Jackson shot many scenes directly from the earlier, animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (1978) directed by Ralph Bakshi. when Bilbo is naming various hobbit families, he says "Proudfoots" and a hobbit calls back "Proudfeet", with his large feet in the foreground. The shot was deliberately framed to imitate the shot used in The Lord of the Rings (1978), as an homage to the film that introduced Peter Jackson to Tolkien's works.
* Peter Jackson's original plan was to exclusively hire British actors for the roles of the hobbits. As it turned out, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan were the only ones, and one of the tasks he charged them with was to coach Elijah Wood and Sean Astin in the ways of British pub culture.
* There is a second hidden extra in the 4-disc version of the DVD. It is the preview of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), that was attached to theatrical prints of Fellowship of the Ring near the end of its cinema run. You can find it by going to the chapter index of the second disc, going to the last chapter "Official Fan Club Credits" and pressing "down". An icon of The Two Towers appears. Press play and you'll see Peter Jackson presenting this feature.
* The MTV Council of Elrond spoof easter egg does not appear on the UK version of the 4-disc set. This is because the BBFC would have required a "12" certificate for the set had it been included, instead of a "PG" certificate. For the same reason one of the documentaries has had some swearing cut out.
* When Frodo is leafing through Bilbo's Book in Rivendell, a page with dwarven runes is shown. The runes translate thus: "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the keyhole." This is a reference (actually a direct copy) to a map in the book "The Hobbit" and the runes tell of the secret entrance into The Lonely Mountain.
* While filming the trilogy, Viggo Mortensen got so into character that during a conversation, Peter Jackson referred to him as "Aragorn" for over half an hour without him realizing it.
* Christopher Lee broke his left hand after he slammed it on his hotel door. He made his stage debut in school as the demonic lead in "Rumpelstiltskin," a sign of things to come. His stepfather (his mother's second husband) was the maternal uncle of writer Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame). Lee and Ian Fleming are therefore step-cousins. Lee was the author's personal pick for the role of Dr. No (1962) in the first 007 film. The part, of course, went to actor Joseph Wiseman, who was brilliant. However, fans of the literary Bond might want to check out Lee's portrayal of Chinese master criminal Fu Manchu, for an idea of how Ian Fleming himself envisioned Dr. No
* Both he and his fellow Star Wars Sith Lord, David Prowse, have played Frankenstein's Monster opposite Peter Cushing. As Darth Tyranus, he plays the first Sith apprentice to act in both body and voice. Was originally offered the role of Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977). He turned it down and the role eventually went to his good friend Peter Cushing. Played King Haggard in both the animated and live-action versions of The Last Unicorn (1982). When he arrived in the recording studio to do the voice over for King Haggard in the original animated version of The Last Unicorn, he came armed with his own copy of the book with certain excerpts marked pertaining to parts of the book that he felt should not have been omitted. Has starred in 3 movies with Johnny Depp: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), and Sleepy Hollow (1999) These were also all directed by Tim Burton
* In real life, he is fascinated by public executioners and knows the names of every official executioner England has had since the middle of the 15th century. "There are many vampires in the world today - you only have to think of the film business."
* Sometimes when there is a close-up of the ring you can hear a gruff voice chanting. This is the voice of Sauron and the words he is chanting are, "One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them," in the language of Mordor.
* 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.
* Dominic Monaghan (Merry) originally auditioned for the role of Frodo Baggins.
* Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for the role of Frodo
* Patrick McGoohan was the first choice for the roles of Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (which went to Ian McKellen) and Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" films (which went to Richard Harris and later to Michael Gambon after Harris' death) but turned them down. Reprised his "The Prisoner" (1967) character (Number Six) in "The Simpsons" episode "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes." Turned down two roles that eventually went to Roger Moore: Simon Templar in "The Saint" (1962) and James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973)
* Pregnancy changed Peter Jackson's vision of "Lord of the Rings". Originally, he wanted to cast Lucy Lawless (Xena) as Galadriel, and Uma Thurman as Arwen. Unfortunately, both actresses became pregnant after being asked to read; and the roles were filled in by Cate Blancett and Liv Tyler, respectively.
* Galadriel's opening narration was originally supposed to be provided by Frodo.
* The voices of the Black Riders (Heard when they reach the shire, before Gandalf returns, and when Arwen carries Frodo across the river) were provided by Andy Serkis, the voice of Gollum.
* Wherever possible, costume designer Ngila Dickson followed J.R.R. Tolkien's descriptions of the characters' clothing to the very letter. One such example is Bilbo Baggins's waistcoat which does indeed sport brass buttons, as referred to in "The Hobbit".
* Ian Holm was always Peter Jackson's first choice to play Bilbo Baggins.
* Every actor in the film wore a wig apart from Billy Jackson, the director's toddler son, seen listening wide-eyed to a tale told by Bilbo Baggins at his birthday party, had the perfect Hobbit hair.
* Peter Jackson has the entire Bag End set in storage, hopefully for future use.
* Orlando Bloom landed the role of Legolas two days before he finished drama school. He spent two months learning how to use a bow and arrow
* Miramax was the first studio to express an interest in Peter Jackson's interpretation of the books but they wanted to do it all in one film. Jackson refused, leaving him with four weeks to find another studio for funding, touting the project as two films. Calling upon his friend Mark Ordesky, who was an executive at New Line, a pitch was set up with New Line President Robert Shaye. His only quibble with the presentation was that it had to be three films.
* Co-producer Rick Porras's wedding ring was the template for the One Ring.
* Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop made over 45,000 individual items from prosthetics to armor for the films.
* Costume designer Ngila Dickson had 40 seamstresses working for her, creating over 19,000 costumes.
* John Howe designed Bag End to resemble a perfectly English home even though he's never actually been to England.
* Viggo Mortensen joined the film when it was already shooting, never having met Peter Jackson before, nor indeed having read the Tolkien books either. It was Mortensen's 11 year old son Henry who was the chief instigator in convincing Mortensen to sign on as Aragorn.
* Director Cameo: [Peter Jackson] As the belching peasant, outside the Prancing Pony Inn in Bree.
* Many viewers reported that they spotted a car in the background of the theatrical version when Sam says that he is now the furthest he has ever been from home. In a December 2003 Newsweek article, director Peter Jackson confirms the presence of a car, seen in the theatrical release of the movie. The DVD versions reveal no such car, because it was subsequently removed digitally. Jackson says: "We actually didn't know about the car until we were cutting the movie. The smoke and dust wasn't so bad because there was already lots of it around, but the bloody windshield was reflecting the sun back into the camera lens. So we erased it for the DVD. I think some people were upset because they tried to show it to their friends and it was gone." In most TV versions of the film the "Infamous Car" can still be seen
* Toward the end of the credits, there are some lines in Maori, thanking the
people of New Zealand, where the movie was filmed.: He mihi nui hoki ki nga tangata whenua o Aotearoa. Ma rangi raua ko papa tatou e manaaki, e tiaki hei nga tau e tu mai nei.
* In the version shown on TNT, in the first shot of Frodo reading under the tree, right after "The Fellowship of the Ring" title flashes, there is a subtitle that reads: "The Shire. Sixty years later..."
* The members of the Fellowship are shown wearing matching green cloaks and leaf-shaped pins after they leave Lothlorien. A sequence showing the Fellowship receiving their cloaks from Galadriel's people in Lothlorien was shown in some promotional stills and in the Sci-Fi television special, but does not appear in the final movie.
* In March 2002 a 3-minute preview of the sequel, The Two Towers, was added to the theatrical release right before the end credits, making the film's running time 181m.
* One photograph from unused publicity shots shows the four hobbits making their way through a swamp, presumably the Migewater Marshes from the novel. This sequence does not appear in the final cut of the movie but is included in the Extended Edition DVD
* In the Extended Edition, the opening of the first film includes Bilbo Baggins describing the nature of Hobbits.
* The Gollum that is briefly glimpsed in "The Fellowship of the Ring" is an entirely different creation to the one that appears in "The Two Towers". It was during the filming of the second movie that Peter Jackson realized that Andy Serkis's physical performance would have to be employed in the digital creation of Gollum. So Weta Digital had to alter the design of one of the lead characters in the film, scanning Serkis's face so that they would be able to incorporate some of his facial characteristics. (The fact that Jackson had also filmed a flashback to be included in "The Return of the King" with Serkis playing the original Smeagal only cemented this decision.) This ultimately meant however that Weta Digital had two and a half months to redo two years' work. Serkis himself thought that the final result looked like a combination of his father and his newborn baby.
* The design for Gollum took over 100 maquette sculptures and over 1000 drawings to get right. Peter Jackson and producer Barrie M. Osbourne actively campaigned for Andy Serkis to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Gollum. Academy regulations however forbid an actor to be nominated when he is not physically to be seen on screen, despite Serkis' active input into the role
* Elijah Wood's sister is one of the refugees in Helms Deep. As is Henry Mortenson, Viggo's son. Philippa Boyens' son Callum is the boy who gives Aragorn his sword but that is not his voice in the final film. Callum's voice had broken by the time it came to do the looping, so a different voice was cast.
* One of the chief incentives for Sean Astin to take the part of Sam was his own father (John Astin of the Addams Family TV-series) who had previously worked with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on "The Frighteners" (1996) and had been so enthused with their rapport, understanding of film and appreciation of their crew.
* When Frodo and Sam (Sean Astin) are in Osgiliath, Sam says, "By rights, we shouldn't even be here." This was a nod to the deviation the screenplay had taken from the book's storyline. In the book, Sam and Frodo never passed through Osgiliath at all.
* It was clear to the writers from the very beginning that the entire final sequence of the novel (Frodo and Sam's encounter with Shelob) would be part of the third film, not this one. This tactical move meant the battle for Helms Deep became this film's natural climax
* Some of the physical inspirations for Gollum's wiry frame were resident artist (and Tolkien expert) John Howe and rock singer Iggy Pop.
* Andy Serkis' hobby of rock-climbing came in very handy for his mainly on-all-fours performance as Gollum.
* The Orc battle cries for the Helm's Deep battle sequence were provided by a stadium of 25,000 cricket fans, who screamed the war chants, spelled out on the Diamond Vision screen, with Jackson himself leading the crowd.
* Gollum/Smeagol is a CGI character, but Peter Jackson wanted the character to be performer-oriented, so actor Andy Serkis, the voice of Gollum, played the character in a motion capture suit. Serkis also played scenes with Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Sean Astin (Sam) on set to give the actors a focal point. On those occasions when Serkis was actually in shot Gollum was composited over him in post production. Perhaps Jackson got this idea from a previous movie he assisted on, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," in which the voice of the animated character wore a rabbit suit onset in order to do his off-screen dialogue in character to Bob Hoskins
* Director Cameo, 2nd movie: [Peter Jackson] Wearing chainmail at Helm's Deep.
* Cameo: ['Barrie Osborne' ] the executive producer appears as a Rohirrim soldier throwing a rock down on the Uruk-Hai attacking the gate at Helm's Deep.
* Cameo: ['Alan Lee' ] The Concept Designer can be seen as the Rohan collecting weapons at Helm's Deep (to the left when Aragorn yell's "Then I shall die as one of them!")
* Cameo: [Dan Hennah] the art director is getting suited up in the armory at Helm's Deep. Look over Aragorn's right shoulder after Legolas says "They're frightened - I can see it in their eyes"
* 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.
* John Rhys-Davies, also provided the voice for Treebeard in the 2nd and 3rd movies, though he is only credited for this in the 2nd movie's credits. Before getting the role of Gimli, he auditioned for the role of Denethor. Orlando Bloom, who played Legolas, auditioned for the role of Denethor's other son, Faramir. In Helen of Troy, Rhys-Davies played Priam, and Bloom played Paris, Priam's younger son. Will there be a 4th Indiana Jones movie? "Every three or four years the rumours start again, but any new script has got to be approved by Steven, and by George, and by Harrison. Everyone would like to do one, but the script has got to be better than the other three. Every year Paramount must send boxes of goodies to all three, saying 'please please please make us another one.....'"
* Peter Jackson's children appear as "cute Rohan refugee children" in the 2nd movie credits.
* The map that Faramir and Madril look at is the map featured in the books, drawn by Tolkien's son, Christopher.
* 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.
* In the wide shots of Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli running after the Orcs, all three performers are running injured. Orlando Bloom had a couple of broken ribs (from a fall off a horse); Aragorn had a broken toe (from kicking the helmet in the Orcs funeral pyre scene); and Brett Beattie (Gimli's scale double) had a knee injury. Peter Jackson said that all three were very dedicated and continued to film the scene, often yelling "ouch" or "ow" after "cut" was called.
* Viggo Mortensen's son, Henry Mortensen appears as an extra in some of the Helm's Deep sequences.
* 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.
* The scene where Gamling (Bruce Hopkins) and Theoden (Bernard Hill) get ready for the battle (speech from Gamling), Bruce Hopkins's sons, Tom and Joe, are sitting at the entrance of the room, their backs to the camera, as Refugees.
* Andy Serkis said that he based Gollum's voice on the sound of a cat coughing up a hairball. He also did the voices for the three orcs arguing with each other at the Fangorn Camp scene. Andy said he based Gollum's desperation and cravings on the withdrawals of heroin addicts (Jimmy Cagney told Michael J. Fox in an HBO interview that he used the same inspiration for his psycho gangster roles).
* 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
* Orlando Bloom originally auditioned for the role of Faramir.
* In the 2nd movie, one section of credits is for the "Hammerhands" (presumably for
carpenters). This is a reference to the name of the "historical" founder
of Helm's Deep, Helm Hammerhand. Also, apprentice builders are known as
"hammerhands" in New Zealand.
* In November 2003, an extended edition of The Two Towers was released on DVD with over 40 minutes of new footage. The EE is a complete re-cut of the movie and almost every scene includes small changes in framing, pacing, dialogue or camera angle.
* Trivia for the 3rd movie:
* In December 2004, an extended edition of the movie was released on DVD, containing 50 minutes of new footage. It a complete re-cut of the movie and so almost every scene contains small changes in pacing, music, framing, etc. Some use slightly altered takes
Most of the lines Legolas says in the Extended Edition scene of the Paths of the Dead are direct quotes from the book.
* Cameo: [Howard Shore (composer of all three films) and Michael Semanick (recording engineer)] seen over Legolas' shoulder during the drinking game in the Golden Hall, in the Extended Edition.
* The scene on the extended DVD version of the "Corsairs of Umbar" being attacked by the army of the dead includes several cameos. Peter Jackson is the one hit by Legolas' arrow (in the commentary, he states that he performed 6 or 7 takes of the hit - without any padding). Co-producer Rick Porras is seen with a "look of horror" as the ghostly hoard attacks at the very end of the scene.
* Lawrence Makoare, when wearing the Gothmog makeup, was called "Pimplehead" by extras who didn't know his name.
* On the Extended Edition DVD, Disc 1, as per the first two movies, go to the scene selection menu, to the last page. Press down until a ring icon appears next to the "new scene" phrase; Up comes a satellite "interview" of Elijah Wood, given by Dominic Monaghan using a German accent. Do the same thing on disc 2 to uncover an MTV skit featuring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn pitching LOTR sequels to Peter Jackson.
* The dead oliphant carcass used in this film is reportedly the largest prop ever built for a motion picture.
* In the Extended Edition, the Mouth of Sauron is played by Australian actor Bruce Spence. Spence's real mouth was digitally enlarged to underscore his role in Sauron's service, as well as further give the character an un-human aspect.
* According to the cast commentary, although Lawrence Makoare was the person in the Witch-King's costume, his voice was later performed by Andy Serkis (also playing Gollum)
* The first film in the trilogy had 560 computer-generated effects. "The Two Towers" had 800 and "Return of the King" has 1500.
* Peter Jackson's children appear twice in the film: in Gondor, when the horsemen leave the city, and in Sam's wedding.
* Cameo: [Christian Rivers] Art Director and Storyboard Artist, appears as one of the Gondorian soldiers watching the beacon in Minas Tirith.
* Cameo: [Rick Porras] The other soldier watching the beacon at Minas Tirith is the co-producer.
* Sean Astin's daughter, Alexandra Astin, plays Sam Gamgee's daughter, Elanor. Sarah McLeod's daughter, Maisie McLeod-Riera, plays Sam and Rosie's son Frodo.
* Three generations of John Astin's family have worked with Christopher Lee. His son, Sean, and granddaughter, Alexandra, appeared in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. He and Lee appeared together in Gremlins 2. John's other actor son, Mackenzie Astin, played Tom Brennan in a 2005 episode of "Lost"
* The battle scenes, which reportedly contain over 200,000 digital participants, are so huge that an extra room had to be built onto Weta Digital's effects facility to house all the computer equipment needed to render the scenes.
* 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.
* Cameo: [Royd Tolkien, the author's great-grandson] as a Gondorian Ranger handing weapons to his fellow soldiers when the orcs are invading Osgiliath.
* The opening scene which tells the origin of Gollum was originally shot for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), to be shown after Gollum remembers his real name (Smeagol) for the first time.
* 'Billy Boyd' (Pippin) sang and composed the tune for the song in Denethor's hall (Tolkien wrote the lyric)
* Gollum is missing his left ear lobe. This is due to an air trap in the casting that was made for Peter Jackson's approval of the figure. When looking at the casting, the design team concluded that it should stay that way since it looked like a battle wound that might have occurred during Gollum's past adventures.
* John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) originally auditioned for the role of Denethor.
* The final day of filming on the trilogy actually happened over a month after this movie was theatrically released, and three weeks after the 2004 Academy Awards. Peter Jackson arranged to film one final shot of skulls on the floor in the tunnel of the Paths of the Dead, which was included in the Extended Edition of ROTK. He thought it was funny to be doing filming on a movie that had already won the Best Picture Oscar.
* The last words exchanged by Elrond and Aragorn are "I give hope to Men," "I keep none for myself," are taken from Appendix A, in which the Elvish translation of those lines (Onen i-Estel Edain, u-chebin estel anim) are the final words of Aragorn's mother, Gilraen. Estel, meaning hope, was also the name given to Aragorn before his true heritage is revealed to him.
* While filming Saruman's death scene (now on the extended DVD), Peter Jackson tried to tell Christopher Lee how to react and breath after he was stabbed in the back. Lee, a WWII veteran with British special forces, assured the director that he knew what a man sounded like when stabbed in the back.
* The Oscar-winning end-title song, "Into The West", while being directly about Frodo's departure, was inspired by Cameron Duncan's struggle with death. The first time the song was ever played publicly was at his funeral.
* 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.
* Lawrence Makoare plays both the Witch King and the orc Gothmog. At one point the two characters exchange dialogue, and later Eowyn fights both (she injures Gothmog, who is then killed trying to attack her, and she kills the Witch King).
* Andy Serkis's last day of filming was only a few weeks before the theatrical release. On the carpet of the floor of Peter Jackson's house, they filmed the facial reaction of Smeagol/Gollum when he realizes Frodo intends to destroy the ring. The resulting video was e-mailed to Weta Digital so the animators could replicate the shot with the CGI character.
* The opening scene, where Deagol finds the ring and is killed by Smeagol, was directed by Andy Serkis himself.
* The model of Shelob was based on a New Zealand tunnel web spider. Peter Jackson is arachnophobic.
* Peter Jackson hated the Army of the Dead; he thought it was too unbelievable. He kept it in the script because he did not wish to disappoint diehard fans of the book trilogy.
* 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?"
* The deformed orc leader Gothmog is based on the alien leader from Peter Jackson's earlier movie Bad Taste (1987)
* The confrontation between Saruman and Gandalf from the second book was filmed but was not included in the final cut for reasons of length and pacing. The scene will be included on the DVD.
* 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.
* Special care was taken to make sure that the destruction of Sauron's tower of Barad-dur did not resemble the destruction of the World Trade Center. For this reason, it disintegrates from the ground up, and the sound was made from breaking glass, so that it would not sound or look as if it were exploding.
* Like Billy Boyd earlier in the film, Viggo Mortensen also composed the tune and sung the part to the song Aragorn sings at his coronation. The translation of the Elvish words runs "Out of the Great Sea to Middle Earth I am come. In this place I will abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world." This is, according to the lore of Middle Earth, the same verse Elendil sung when he first arrived in Middle Earth from Númenor.
* A scene was cut from the finished film that showed Eowyn (Miranda Otto) stripping away her regular clothes and then dressing herself in the armor of a Rohan warrior.
* The last scene shot during principal photography was a scene where Aragorn was dressed by Gondorian Soldiers in his armor before riding to Mordor. The soldiers were played by people from the wardrobe department but the scene was eventually cut.
* During one of the shots filming the charge of the Rohirrim, a horse rider fell off the back of his horse. All the horses that came behind him miraculously managed to either miss or avoid him.
* Even though Saruman's demise appears in the Special Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Christopher Lee was (and still is) "not amused" that his character was cut from the theatrical release. In an interview done after the release of the Extended Edition, he acknowledged that the makers gave him several arguments for trimming the scene (pacing and time constraints), but in his opinion, none of them justified omitting such an important narrative element.
* The scene where Aragorn's army assembles in front of the Black Gate of Mordor was shot in a desert that was used by the army as a training field. Because it was still littered with mines and bombs that hadn't gone off, the army had to sweep the field with metal detectors to make the danger for the actors and extras acceptable at least.
* Since John Rhys-Davies suffered constant rashes from wearing the Gimli make-up, the make-up department gave him the opportunity to throw his Gimli mask into the fire on his last day of pick-up photography. He didn't hesitate a moment to grab and burn it.
* Peter Jackson's and Fran Walsh's children are listed in the credits as
'Cute Gondor children'. In the Fellowship of the Ring, they were 'Cute
Hobbit children' and in The Two Towers, they were 'Cute Rohan children'.
* In the theatrical version Sean Bean receives a major on-screen credit
at the end of the 3rd film, even though he only appears on screen momentarily
in a flashback from the first film.
* The credits are accompanied by preproduction sketches that appear along the left and right sides of the screen. The final sketch, in the center of the screen, is The One Ring. There's a text written in maori: "Me mahara tonu taatou nga Uri-aapakura noo
tuaanuku nei, noo te waaotuu te tu kekehua ana o ngaa Eldarin kua hohouu mai i te Uru-moana." Which is in english: Let us dedicate our memories to the spirits of the
Eldar who came to us from the Ocean that lies to the West.
* Just like the two previous "Lord of the Rings" movies, there are no opening
credits after the title has been shown.
* Jack Black was cast by Jackson in his remake of "King Kong" after Black appeared in a parody of the Council of Elrond scene shown during the MTV movie awards
* Miles Bellas was a digital artist on all 3 Rings movies. His first job as a digital artist was for the original movie version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
* At 35 letters "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" has the longest title of any Best Picture Oscar winner in history. It surpasses the record previously held by Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) which has 26.
* The Lord of the Rings trilogy became the most nominated film series in Academy Award history with 30 nominations, surpassing both the Godfather trilogy (28) and the Star Wars franchise (21). The first sci-fi/fantasy movie to win a top category since 1990 (Whoopi Goldberg won Best Supporting Actress for the fantasy film Ghost (1990)).
* The movie marks the second time in history that the third movie in a trilogy was nominated for Best Picture, by the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, after The Godfather: Part III (1990) and the only time that a third movie has won the Best Picture Oscar.
* The movie tied with Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997) to win the most Oscars (11) in a single year. It broke another record by winning all the Oscars for which it was nominated (11 out of 11). The previous record was nine out of nine by The Last Emperor (1987) and nine out of nine by Gigi (1958).
* Won the Science Fiction Achievement Award (Hugo Award) for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form in 2004. This makes it the first work to take the top film honors in both the Oscars and the Hugos. The "profane acceptance speech" Gollum made for the MTV Movie Awards won the Hugo for Best Dramatic presentation, Short Form.
* Facts and numbers about the trilogy: Over 6 million feet of film shot during production; 48,000 swords, axes, shields, and makeup prosthetics; 20,602 background actors cast; 19,000 costumes made by the wardrobe department; 10,000 crowd participants at New Zealand cricket game who made orc army grunts; 2,400 behind-the-scenes crew members at height of production; 1,600 pairs or prosthetic hobbit feet created; 250 horses used in one scene; 180 computer special-effects artists employed; 114 total speaking roles; 100 real locations in New Zealand used for backdrops; 50 tailors, cobblers, designers and others in wardrobe department; 30 actors trained to speak fictional dialects and languages; 7 total years of development for all three movies.
All scenes for all 3 movies were filmed in New Zealand. In February 2004, became second film to break the $1 billion mark in worldwide box-office revenue (Titanic (1997) was the first).
* Bob Anderson (III) was sword master or instructor for all 3 films; Orlando Bloom's Pirates Of The Caribbean, Highlander (1986 movie & TV-series), Star Wars (1977) and others
* Sean Connery (Highlander) turned down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings because he didn't want to film down in New Zealand for 18 months
* Peter Jackson: "This is a giant undertaking, but I consider this a personal film. It's my film of a lifetime. I read the book when I was 18 years old and thought then, 'I can't wait till the movie comes out.' Twenty years later, no one had done it — so I got impatient."
"I don't take stuff seriously. I saw 'Hellraiser 3' the other day at Cannes; it's OK, it's a good film, I didn't hate it or anything. I thought it was quite good, but it was all just so serious. Some guy walking round with pins sticking out of his face. I just can't sit there and think ,'this is really scary.' If I made a Hellraiser film, I'd like Pinhead to be whacked against a wall and have all the pins flattened into his face. I immediately start thinking of funny things and gags - that's just the way I am. I doubt I could ever control myself sufficiently to make a serious horror film."
* During the flower-power sixties Leonard Nimoy recorded "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"
* Director John Boorman (Zardoz, Excalibur, Deliverance) originally envisioned making the entire trilogy as a single 100 minute film. "Everything I learned, the technical problems I had to resolve in planning for 'The Lord Of The Rings,' I applied to Excalibur (1981). That was my recompense." Ralph Bakshi heard that he was going to do this, and, as a fan of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and J.R.R. Tolkien, was horrified. When Boorman's plans to bring Tolkien's novels to the screen fell apart, Bakshi approached J.R.R. Tolkein's daughter to do the novels as a trilogy of animated films. Tolkein's daughter loved Bakshi's fantasy "Wizards" (1977), so she gave him the rights to The Lord of the Rings. Bakshi filmed "The Fellowship of the Rings" and "The Two Towers" (which were collapsed into a single two-and-a-half hour film), and had planned to film "The Return of the King" but the trilogy was never completed.
* Cel animation was produced and shot for this film, but was cut out at the last minute. The final product is entirely rotoscoped. Filmed with live actors in black-and-white and rotoscoped, each animation cel drawn over a film frame of an actor. This was the first entirely rotoscoped animated feature.
* Many of the actors portraying the physical parts of the characters in this movie provided the voices. Other characters, such as the hobbits were portrayed by animators and by Billy Barty in the live-action footage, and then voiced by other actors. The actors who play physical parts but not voices are credited as "Character Actors."
* Used battle footage from Aleksandr Nevskiy (1938) for some rotoscoped animation scenes.
* Rotoscoped action scenes were filmed in Spain. The rest were filmed in Los Angeles and California's Mojave Desert
* Peter Woodthorpe (Gollum) and 'Graham Michael Cox' (Boromir) played the same roles in the BBC radio dramatization in 1981.
* John Hurt has worked with two Boromirs. In Ralph Bakshi's film The Lord of the Rings (1978), he played the voice of Aragorn, opposite Michael Graham Cox as Boromir, who went on to reprise the role for BBC radio. He later appeared in "The Field" with Sean Bean
* The voiceover at the end of the 1978 film has been changed for recent home video releases. The original voiceover, heard after the credits were over, stated (paraphrased), "And so ends the first part of the Lord of the Rings." (At the time, a second film was planned; it unfortunately never came to be due to studio idiocy.) The new voice-over, as heard on recent DVD releases as the film comes to its stunning climax, states, "The forces of darkness were driven forever from the face of Middle Earth by the valiant friends of Frodo. As their gallant battle ended, so, too, does the first great tale of the Lord of the Rings"
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, 1892-1973:
* Shortly after the original publication of The Hobbit in 1937, the publisher, Allen & Unwin, tried to license several foregin language versions, included a German version. Before any German publishers would publish it, the Third Reich government wrote him a letter asking whether or not he was Aryan. He responded by saying that "I can only assume that you are asking if I am Jewish. I regret to respond that I have no ancestors among that gifted people." On account of this backhanded reply, The Hobbit was not published in Germany until after 1945.
* By 2004 his "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy [1954-55] had sold more than 100 million copies and is the best selling fiction book of all time. It is the 3rd best selling book of all time after "The Bible" (more than 6 billion copies) and "Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-Tung" 
* The Inklings (Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams & Owen Barfield) met on Tuesdays for lunch at the 'Eagle and Child' pub in Oxford where they would read out pages from their books.
* Lord of the Ring-saga's world and its cast of characters have roots in real-world history and geography, from the world wars that dominated Tolkien's lifetime to the ancient language and legends of Finland. The Finnish national epic Kalevala inspired Tolkien and he taught himself the Finnish language so he could read it. Tolkien's mother introduced him to Latin, French, and German. While at school (mostly at Oxford) he was taught or taught himself Greek, Middle English, Old English (also called Anglo Saxon), Old Norse (also called Old Icelandic), Gothic, Modern and medieval Welsh, Finnish, Spanish, and Italian. Other languages of which he had a working knowledge include Russian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, and Lombardic. In addition to these languages, Tolkien invented 14 different languages and assorted alphabets for his Middle-earth dwellers. Was extremely annoyed when 'The Lord of the Rings' was published in the mid-50s as three different stories, because he had never intended the single tale to become a trilogy.
* On their grave markers, Tolkien included the names Beren, and Lúthien, for he and his wife. The character names are those of lovers in Tolkien's novel, 'The Silmarillion,' which never found a publisher during his lifetime.
* Forrest J. Ackerman (Mr. Sci-Fi) had once proposed an animated film of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien rejected the submitted storyline in 1958, the same year that George Orwell's "Animal Farm" was done as an excellent animated feature in England
* Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) plans to do two movies based on Bilbo's previous adventure "The Hobbit." Peter Jackson's next movie is "The Beautiful Bones" based on a 2002 novel about a teenage murder victim narrating her story from Heaven
* Spoofs include the soft-porn "Lord Of The G-Strings: Femaleship Of The String" by the producers of "Planet Of The Apes" spoof Playmate Of The Apes
Lord Of The Rings theatrical trailers available from movies.Yahoo.com with a convenient Fullscreen button
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Christopher Lee, 2007 schedule:
Channel Date & Time Title
Past broadcasts in 2007:
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (Lee in remake of Willy Wonka)
Fri Aug 31 06:30P on Cinemax
Sat Sep 22 09:00A on More Max
Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse (Lee, 2004, cops vs. doomsday cult)
Wed Aug 29 04:45A on Action
Sat Sep 22 06:50P on MysteryThe Goonies (1985, Sean Astin)
(click Goonies page for schedule)
Gremlins 2 (Lee, Keye Luke, Tony Randall, dir: Joe Dante)
Tue, Oct 16, 1:10 PM on More Max
Horror of Dracula (Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, 1958)
Wed Sep 5 06:20A on More Max
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, 1959)
Tue May 29 08:05A on Showtime Beyond
Fri Jun 1 06:30A on ShowtimeHowling 2 (Christopher Lee in a werewolf movie)
Thu Jun 14 02:35A on The Movie Channel
Sun Aug 26 11:30P on Flix Movie Channel
The Last Unicorn (1982, Christopher Lee as the King, Angela Lansbury as the witch)
Mon Jun 18 09:00A on Showtime Women
Fri Jun 29 07:00P on Showtime Family Zone
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Sat Aug 25 08:00P on TNT
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Moulin Rouge (Lee, 1952, life and times of Toulouse-Lautrec)
Sat Sep 1 02:00A on Encore Drama ChannelReturn from Witch Mountain (Christopher Lee)
Sat Sep 15 11:00A on Hallmark Channel
Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow (1999, Lee, Johnny Depp, about a Headless Horseman)
Thu Sep 13 11:40P on TBS
Star Wars Episode II & III (Christopher Lee)
(see list above for any scheduled this month. Peter Cushing was in the original Star Wars, 1977)
The Three Musketeers (1974, Lee, Michael York, Oliver Reed, Charlton Heston, Faye Dunaway)
Sat Sep 29 02:15A on HBO Family
The Four Musketeers (Lee, Michael York, 1975)
Thu Aug 23 04:15A on HBO Family
The Wicker Man (1973, Lee, pagans in coastal Scotland)
Thu Aug 30 03:20P on More Max
1941 (Christopher Lee, in Spielberg's flop comedy set during WW2)
Wed Aug 22 05:45P & 4:30A on HD Movies