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The Lord of the Rings is an emotional trilogy of films. The journey of the Fellowship is long and full of peril and by the end of it all the audience certainly feels like they went along for the ride. In the end, if the movie has done its job, the audience has probably shed some tears more than once, but Sean Astin recently revealed to us which scene in the films actually makes him cry, and while the reason makes perfect sense, it may not be a moment you're expecting.
Sean Astin recently appeared on our own Reelblend podcast in support of the upcoming 4K Blu-ray release of both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and he told our hosts that the scene that gets to him whenever he sees it, is near the end of The Return of the King, when the new King Aragorn tells the hobbits they need bow to no one, and then everybody bows to them. The moment had a special significance to Astin, as it was literally the last thing he filmed for the trilogy, and it brings a tear to his eye. According to the actor...
The last [scene] we shot was a scene that always makes me cry in the movie, when Aragorn turns and looks at us and says, ‘Oh, my friends, you bow to no one.’ That was the last shot of the four Hobbits. My last shot. The movie had more to do, but the four Hobbits were basically, we stood against a green screen or blue screen, or whatever, and we just hit it. And the camera just kind of did a little push in, and we all gave this sheepish like, ‘Oh, I guess they're all bowing for us?’
After spending so much time in New Zealand making three movies, an undertaking in film never seen before or since, this one moment signified the completion of everything that Sean Astin and the other Hobbit actors had been doing. It's certainly an emotional moment in the film itself, but there's a whole other level of emotion in it for Astin. Here's that moment, and yeah, even without Sean Astin's personal experience, it's still a quite emotional moment.
On the one hand, this scene where all the people are bowing to the little hobbits makes sense as the last thing the actors might film. Although, to hear Sean Astin explain it, the scene was actually somewhat unusual. The hobbits are actually just standing in front of green screen so the crowd surrounding them doesn't exist. It was, in the end, an incredibly simple thing for the hobbit actors to shoot, which is perhaps why it was left for last, though the circumstances sound less than perfect. Astin goes on...
You know, it was… we were on prison time. Everybody was counting down for the last three months. And I think they must have chosen that, or at least saved it until that moment. It was a controlled thing. It was inside of the warehouse at Stone Street, which was the studio down there. It's an abandoned paint factory. It's an old paint factory, and every time the wind blows, the windows rattle and stuff like that. But you know, there was champagne. I don't think that was the end of principal photography, but it was definitely a wrap on the Hobbits. We went around as a crew, the Hobbits. So it was like, ‘Oh, the Hobbits are on set!’ Or, ‘The Hobbits are traveling to set.’ ‘Where are the Hobbits? Are the Hobbits eating again?’
If you can't see your family on Thanksgiving due to pandemic, maybe marathon The Lord of the Rings again and remember all these great moments. Or, if you need to watch it in glorious 4K, (and really, who doesn't?) You can pick up the whole trilogy that way on December 1.