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Feature: The Lord of the Rings

One Ring to Bind Them All

Frodo needs the Ring…

Director Peter Jackson and stars Elijah Wood and Liv Tyler tell Ultimate DVD about their wonderful experience on the biggest independent film ever made…

Such is the quality of director Peter Jackson’s achievement in bringing the first part of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy to the screen that you don’t have to be a wizard to predict that the DVD release will be watched and re-watched by generations to come. And this despite the fact that many had thought the trilogy unfilmable, a massive undertaking for which the cost alone was thought to be prohibitive, let alone the aesthetic decisions necessary to visualize and conflate such an epic tale.

There are some, of course, who will not have read The Lord of the Rings before. Liv Tyler, who plays elf princess Arwen, is probably typical of many twentysomethings out there who were unfamiliar with the doings of Bilbo, Frodo, Saruman and the rest.

“Not being familiar with the book it was overwhelming for me to take on this whole new world all at once,” she explains. “I read the script first and then started reading the book, and it was a very big challenge to take on the role of an elf because they are such extraordinary perfect beings. It took me a long time to figure out how to portray someone who is immortal and full of wisdom and power and around 3000 years old.”

By contrast, Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo, was such a fan of the book that he lobbied for a role when he heard that Peter Jackson was undertaking this Middle-earth masterpiece. “This is something I wanted to do with an absolute passion,” he nods, “I even did my own audition tape. I knew it was a challenge for me because I knew they were looking for an English actor, so I thought I’d do my own tape, get in a hobbit outfit and go into the woods and really give it to them. Maybe then I’d get it. I ended up meeting with Pete and he actually called me at home to offer me the role. I had no second thoughts, this was the opportunity of a lifetime and it proved to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

Everyone involved seems to have come out of the project with a genuine love for New Zealand, and just as authentic a respect for the man behind the film. A BAFTA winner for his efforts, Jackson missed out on the Oscar many thought would come his way. The only consolation he can take is in the potential of the two other films, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, which are likely to be challenging for the big awards over the next couple of years. If nothing else these films are a testament to the vision and, above all, stamina of the man behind them.

“When you’re making it you don’t stop and look at the big picture too much,” says Jackson, “it’s a psychological thing. You just look at the next day’s worth of work and the day after, and the next week, taking one job at a time. We had a lot of preparation. Normally on a movie you would expect to prepare the movie for between six and eight months before you start shooting – putting the crew together, finding the locations, planning the schedule and all that. In this case we had essentially three years of planning, from when we started writing the script. So we had sufficient time for something this difficult.”

by Anwar Brett

Read more from this interview and the first DVD release review in
Ultimate DVD #32

Image © New Line
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Ultimate DVD #32, see below for ordering options
Ultimate DVD #32
August (Lord of the Rings) 2002
ships from Jul 16 2002
News-stand Price

UK £3.99 / US $7.99

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