It’s strange to think about, particularly given the way its managed to stay consistently in the public consciousness, but this year will mark the 15th anniversary of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. The film and the franchise it started had an absolutely massive impact on the pop culture world when it was released at the end of 2001, and the sheer scope and scale of the production made massive changes to the world of blockbuster filmmaking. For star Elijah Wood, however, what will always stick out in his mind is the experience of spending years making the trilogy, and the incredible family of colleagues with whom he worked.
Earlier today, I had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down one-on-one with Elijah Wood to talk about his new movie The Trust - which just had its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival – and it was at the end of the interview that I brought up the special anniversary that The Lord Of The Rings will be celebrating this year. Wood was actually visually taken aback by the amount of time that has passed since Fellowship of the Ring (noting that it has been 17 years since he first started working on it), and after noting that he actually ran into co-star Dominic Monaghan this week, reflected on what stands out most in his head about the experience:
I think what sticks in my mind is largely what’s loomed in my mind since we finished, which is just the experience of having made it. Being in New Zealand. The two months of prep before we started shooting when we got to know each other, and had this buzz of excitement about the adventure we were going on. We knew it would be special, but we didn’t know what was right around the next bend.
Further discussing the earliest days of the production, Elijah Wood acknowledged that everyone involved with The Lord of the Rings movies knew the importance of what they were working on, and the love that audiences have for J.R.R. Tolkien’s original novels – but they still had absolutely no idea what it would ultimately all mean – both for cinema and their own lives. Said Wood,
We knew they were going to be significant - but there’s no way we could have known what they would become! That’s an amazing snapshot. Two months, three months into shooting, and looking at literally years of work ahead of us – the horizon line is imperceptible. We were on the precipice of an experience that we knew would be life changing – not just for what it could do in regards to the films being successful, but life changing for us just in terms of life experience – living in that country and undergoing one of the greatest undertakings of cinema history.
This is no understatement. Not only did the production just take a massive risk in filming all three chapters of the Lord of the Rings movies at once – over the course of a couple years down in New Zealand – but there are few blockbusters in existence that have the same kind of grandeur and scale (and even after 15 years the film looks absolutely glorious thanks to the work of Weta Digital and Weta Workshop). None of us would ever forget working on something so massive, and it is clearly still as important to Elijah Wood as it has ever been.
Of course, you can now find The Lord of the Rings trilogy wherever movies are sold (still waiting for the big LOTR/Hobbit box set), and you can next see Elijah Wood in The Trust with Nicolas Cage - which will be going to DirecTV on April 14th and in theaters and VOD on May 13th.