In terms of epic trilogies, The Lord of The Rings series is among the best and brightest. Peter Jackson's meticulously crafted, wondrously extravagant adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved literature is one of the most impressive feats in cinematic history. It lavishly created a sense of grandeur, epic scope and overlapping emotional pathos that has rarely been seen in the movies before — or, at least, as successfully as it done here — and may never be seen again, at least in this same exact way.
As a result, movie lovers have combed over these films intensely and restlessly, hoping to glean any sort of information that can be found from the films' journey to the big screen. Like the eye of Sauron, it's hard to imagine anything slipping from their notice. Yet, there are a few movie facts about The Lord of the Rings trilogy that might have missed their gaze, shockingly enough. So we're here to list some details and information about the making of these marvelous movies that might not be known by everyone, even some die-hard Lord of the Rings fans.
The Filmmakers Used A Special Lighting Rig For Galadriel To Make Her Eyes Reflect The Starlight
If you want a great example of how the small details in The Lord of The Rings trilogy make it so impressive, take no further look than into the eyes of Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett. As noted by Reddit user epicazeroth, to show how thoroughly the filmmakers took painstaking efforts to bring her story to life in just a few details, you can see that Galadriel is the last elf in Middle Earth to have seen the light of the Trees of Valinor by the reflection of wondrous light that is found in her eyes. Most filmmakers wouldn't got out of their way to make a special lighting rig to accomplish this small visual trick, but there aren't a lot of filmmakers quite like Peter Jackson.
In order to bring this effect to life on-screen, if only for a moment or so, the filmmakers used a special lightning rig that would create the optical effect. No doubt it took a lot of time and a lot of hard work, but it's small details like this one that make the movie so visually stunning and narratively impactful for viewers all around the world. Peter Jackson made many efforts to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's books to life on the screen, and this is one of those details that you might not notice at first, but it is critical to us learning or appreciating the expansive lore that is brought into focus in these films.
Gandalf Smashing His Head In Bilbo's House Was An Accident
In movies, there are many happy mistakes made. Since directors can never completely control every element of a film, there are always bound to be mistakes and mess-ups that dramatically affect or impact the final product. And sometimes they are for the better. For instance, in the beginning of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf (Ian McKellen) smashes his head on the wooden beam in Bilbo's house, that wasn't intentional. As it turns out, that was actually Ian McKellen hitting his head on the roof due to its small size. Peter Jackson just decided to keep in it.
In the scheme of things, it makes total sense to keep that flub in the film. The scene has a lighthearted feeling, a sense of whimsy and levity that is meant to be charming and good-hearted for the dramatic stakes of the story are introduced to, and by, our central characters. This silly little mistake on set ultimately made the scene better, effortlessly helping to establish Gandalf's enormous size compared to the hobbits and how he is unable to adjust to their cramped living quarters. The result, ultimately, was a splash of movie making, even if it was completely accidental in how it came to be.
Sean Bean Would Hike To Set In Costume Every Day
Actors are often dedicated to their craft. They have to turn into their characters, living in their shoes and becoming one with their plights, endurances and struggles. As it turns out, Sean Bean would often find himself getting into character each day by hiking two hours up the snowy terrain to do the scene, completely in costume. But apparently this wasn't merely the actor staying true to character. In reality, it was because of his fearing of flying.
In order to make it up to the mountains, the cast would be flown up to shooting locations via helicopters. But because he was afraid of flying, Sean Bean refused to be taken up to set by winged vessel, opting instead to hike the mountain all the way to where they were shooting ... only to act out a scene with a lot of footsteps in play. That's definitely dedication to your craft, though it sounds like Bean just reallymdidn't want to fly anywhere.
John Rhys-Davies Created Treebeard's Voice By Speaking In The Lowest Pitch Possible Through A Wooden Megaphone
Beyond playing the lovable Gimli, John Rhys-Davies was also the voice of Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings series. But while most voice performances are made in a recording booth, sometimes using voice distortions to bring the character to live, Rhys-Davies' method of bringing the wooden character to life was decidedly a lot more, err, natural. Namely, the voice was created by the actor speaking in his lowest pitch possible through a wooden megaphone.
Since the actor has a booming voice that is heard vigorously throughout his scenes as Gimli in the films, this voice work was decidedly a lot more subdued and nuanced, capturing the wood-based character he was playing in addition to his other role. The result allowed the actor the illusion of playing two separate characters in this expansive trilogy, all while creating the voice of this character through more appropriately environmental ways.
The Leaves Blowing During The Council Of Elrond Scene Were Painted Individually And Blown Onto Set By Crew Members
It takes a lot of hard work to make movies seems natural. Because a lot of movies are filmed on sets, you can often forget that minor elemental things like snow, sand or wind is not the work of Mother Nature, but several dedicated crew members trying to keep the illusion alive for the audience. As such, while most audience members probably didn't think much of the leaves that were blowing around during the pivotal Council of Elrond scene, the truth of the matter is that it took several dedicated members of the crew and the art department to bring that seasonal illusion to life.
While the leaves are only seen in the background, it took six crew members above the set to keep them blowing onto the scene in regular intervals. And if you think that's dedication, think about the art department. They had to gather up a ton of leaves to have available during shooting, and when the leaves started to wither and die, they painted each of them individually to make sure that they could stay brown during the filming. That's the sort of dedication that is critical to the lasting success of The Lord of the Rings series, even if you were paying attention to, say, the leaves in this scene.
The grandness and greatness of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series wasn't a fluke. It took a lot of patience, hard work and persistence from many of the cast and crew members in order to get everything right. And even when things were meticulously planned out, there were happy accidents along the way that informed the movie in a major way, giving it spontaneity, levity and sincerity that was crucial to each movie's success.
It's hard to imagine their success ever being recreated in this exact way. The Hobbit movies were well-liked, but not nearly as beloved. And Amazon certainly has its work cut out with its reported $1 billion Lord of the Rings series in the works. More power to anyone who tries, one has to reckon. But these films might honestly be untouchable in a lot of different ways, and it is all thanks to the key details found in these great movies.
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.