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May 15, 2003 - June 09, 2003


AICN Spy Report
Demosthenes @ 1:59 am EST

Harry from AICN received this very interesting snippet from one of his spies. Underneath the amusing anecdote lies some interesting points for pondering. I've reproduced the report below because I wanted to throw in my own five cents of speculation afterwards.

Harry writes:

Some of my lowly Kiwi spies have informed me that Viggo Mortensen made up in Aragorn's scruffy unkept beard filmed a scene a few days ago with Hugo/Elrond aka Mr. Smith for THE RETURN OF THE KING.

It was a scene where Elrond comes into Aragorn's tent wearing a hooded cape that kept his face hidden in darkness. Jackson shot the scene a dozen times at least. In this scene Hugo slowly and with a certain amount of drama removes the hood from his face to seriously talk with Viggo.

Due to various reasons Hugo kept blowing his lines, so Peter shot it over and over. Finally the Director called for the insurance, or Champagne shot, and they ran thru it all for one final take with Elrond stepping into the scene face hidden from the view of all in attendance, buuuuuut this time when he slowly exposes his face he had on a pair of his patented "Mr. Smith" sunglasses and says something along the line of, "Join with the MATRIX, Mr. Aragorn" in his best deadpan delivery.

Mr. Jackson then called for the scene wrap.

That's the end of Harry's report. The Matrix gag is worth a titter, but why is Elrond meeting Aragorn, and where? What does this all mean?

Has Elrond come looking for his errant daughter? Or, is he bringing help and advice ... or even congratulations? The fact he's removing his hood, and his face has been 'hidden from ... view' seems to indicate that he's come in secret.

As an aside, the tent is one of those we saw in the background of Peter Jackson's MTV Awards acceptance speech.

It's hard to tell if Aragorn is alone. Aragorn is the only one mentioned, and you'd think the spy would name any other actors in the scene, but maybe 'all in attendence' doesn't refer to everyone who attended the shoot.

But I'm guessing the scene is not in Rohan. In fact, I think it's probably after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and Elrond is being re-inserted into the action to provide advice at (or for) the Last Debate.

Alternate theories? I can't think of many, though it could be just before the Paths of the Dead, and Elrond has come to deliver the words of Malbeth the Seer. That seems a less likely scenario to me though, since I expect Arwen will instead show up to deliver the banner, the sword and the words of the seer ...

One things certain though, expect to see more Elves in Return of the King.


Count Zero believes that the scene will be in Rohan rather Gondor, though, citing the tents and Aragorn's stubbly pre-King look as evidence. I'll buy the scruffy look, but tents are pretty portable, Tolkien in fact wrote one in for Theoden for the meeting with Ghan-buri-Ghan.

But if Elrond were to bring the sword, what does this leave for Arwen to do in RoTK? Another inspirational dream sequence?

It would also seem to run counter to this picture from the June 25th trailer for the Two Towers with a cloaked-hooded figure that (I think) looks a lot like Arwen, lingering near the statue with the shards of Narsil at Rivendell.

But then, it could easily end up on the cutting room floor, just like all the footage of Arwen fighting at Helm's Deep from Two Towers. The Extended Edition release may tell us more about the depth of Arwen's role in RoTK. However, the folks over on TORC picked up this old tidbit from a piece that Tolkien scholar Bill Welden wrote on the Official Site way back in 2001.

"We talk about changes to the story. She clears up a number of points, chaff from the rumor mill of intense scrutiny surrounding this production. Arwen will not travel to Rohan, nor to Gondor until it is time for her wedding."

If you're interested, you can find that entire article here under the 'special features' section.

Jeremiah sent in this interesting thread of analysis that examines not only what Jackson might intend, but why ...

One thought- this may be the answer to an interesting riddle from the cinematic Two Towers. The riddle is this: Why don't we ever see Narsil/ Andúril? It's possible Arwen took it with her, I suppose... but audiences are going to find it hard to believe that Arwen had it re-forged at Rivendell without Elrond's knowledge. Furthermore, it's all but impossible to believe the sword could be re-forged anywhere else. Not to mention the suspicion that taking the shards from Rivendell without Elrond's permission would be the same as stealing...

So, where are the shards? Perhaps, when we last see Rivendell in Two Towers, they're exactly where they'd been during Fellowship, laying upon the stone shield. Imagine this plotline. Elrond, believing his daughter safely escorted to the Havens, stays behind to do what he can to help win this war. He convinces Celeborn and Galadriel to send elite troops to Helm's Deep, in his name. He sends his sons, and whatever Rangers of the North he can contact, to aid Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead. [I think that the Sons of Elrond will not make the cut, if I recall correctly. I just can't recall the source of that information right now - Dem]

He has Narsil re-forged. And he personally carries the sword to Aragorn- which is the pick-up scene Hugo and Viggo were filming here.

I don't believe this was the original, intended plotline for the sword. I think it has been well established that, as of two years ago, Andúril was to be carried to Helm's Deep by Arwen herself.

I think Elrond's role was much more of a cameo at that time- less substantial than Galadriel's. I think all this has changed since Fellowship was released. The sorrow of the parting of the Elves is obviously a plot point the co-writers want to emphasize, and their method of highlighting how dramatic the loss of the Elves is to all of Middle-Earth is to make it all very personal.

Elrond and all the rest are leaving forever, and only Arwen will be left behind- the idea of eternal separation between father and daughter is a very powerful theme. To pull this off they needed to greatly increase the role of Elrond, give him more to do, to make him more memorable to the audience. Rather than being remembered as 'the guy from the first film who ran the council' he must be remembered as 'a heroic Elf, and father of Arwen'. I think this is their answer- making him more personally involved in the War of the Ring, perhaps even putting him in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, or the Battle of the Morannon.

In short, I think Elrond is coming unannounced into Aragorn's tent, either immediately prior to the Paths of the Dead, or immediately following Pelennor Fields. He is telling Aragorn that he must realize his destiny to become King. When Aragorn protests 'Who in Gondor will believe that I am their rightful king?' Elrond brings out Andúril. The relationship between the two becomes clear- Elrond raised Aragorn as a son after Arathorn died, and Elrond's support is every bit as important to Aragorn as the sword itself.


Haldir Returns....or not.
Tehanu @ 6:24 am EST
Here's a VERY unsubstantiated rumour courtesy of Zidane: "I'd like to let you know that Haldir from the Hall of Mandos and the love story of Beren and Luthien have already made it into the ROUGH cut. I repeat: into the ROUGH cut. It's not at all confirmed that these two scenes will be included into the theatrical cut or even into the dvd cut, but PJ has already shot them.
This friend of mine told me that Haldir, *IF* he's going to appear, will appear at the end of ROTK saying farewell to all the viewers... But as this scene will only appeal to the readers of Silmarillion and will not have such a big emotional effect as the Aragorn's and Arwen's death will have, [deaths implied and foreseen, not as part of the plot, I take it - Tehanu] - it will propably not be included. But I also think that Beren and Luthien will not make it to the final cut, because of the sufficient Aragorn-Arwen love story... But if they will, there will be a comparison between these two couples.


Eowyn in ROTK Spy Report.
Tehanu @ 5:18 am EST
Ringer Spy Ciggy Fagash was involved in an interview with Miranda Otto and writes:

"I know Lawrence Makoare and Sala Baker are both supposed to have been doing work as the Witch King in the final battle with Eowyn - and she mentioned they'd be reshooting a lot of it, so that could explain at least some of Baker's work [Sala's presence at reshoots have been mentioned in recent news - T] "She also mentioned not holding out too much hope that much of the Houses Of The Healing would appear. Apparently the romance between Eowyn and Faramir, although definitely present, has been down-played somewhat. She seemed disappointed but said, 'well something has to make way - there's a lot of story to cover in the last film.'"


ROTK & TTT: EE Details?
Xoanon @ 12:59 pm EST
Real Life Shelob Model?

Mattforce sends along these snippets gleamed from the Official LOTR Magazine's latest issue:

The two major changes in RotK are addition of TTT material and cutting of Scouring:

- Isengard sequence/VOS is at the beginning of RotK.

- Minas Morgul, stairs of Cirith Ungol and Shelob's lair also in RotK

- "We don't have the Scouring of the Shire." (In case anyone was holding out hope ... )

- At this point, no Ghan-Buri-Ghan. Doubts this will be added in pickups.

- Otherwise it follows the book "reasonably well."

Other stuff:

- Shelob will be "the creepiest and scariest of creatures." Based on the Tunnel Web spider of New Zealand. Photo above

- Mumakil and Nazgul will have center-stage appearances - more spectacular.

- Post-production should be completed and film "delivered" end of October, early November.

- Also of interest: "We only meet one new character, which is Denethor - and he's only new to those who don't check out The Two Towers extended cut in November!" Sounds like a comfirmation of the Faramir / Boromir / Denethor flashback.

Frodo and Sam under Osgiliath.
Tehanu @ 5:25 am EST
Frodo and Same in Osgiliath?Frodo and Sam

MattForce's find:

"I was browsing the net, and I came across a very interesting picture of Frodo and Sam underneath some sewers alone. Then it hit me. This is how they get to the East side of the Anduin during the battle of Osgiliath. I think they add this in cuz this was never in the movie, and I have never seen this pic before."

We've heard this rumour before , and it's no surprise that TORN community member Quintessential Websites posted an image of it, as it often does. It's a fantastic source of film images if you haven't already seen it. This image originally came from the Two Towers Photo Guide published by Houghton Mifflin. [Quintessential Website]

LOTR Props Exhibition.
Tehanu @ 5:00 am EST
Merry in Oz writes, "Greetings! Not that it is really necessary, but I totallly urge all Ringers to get to the Exhibition when it comes to your town over the next few years. We saw it in Wellington and WOW--it is fantastic!! I am sure it will be even better as the ROTK finishes up and more props can be added to the displays. My favourite item was Boromir in his Elven boat. I just stood next to him, waitng for him to wake up--it was that real. The Black Rider was terrifying, the Room of Fire (featuring The One Ring) unsettling, the video clip of Gollum's debate mesmerising--it went on and on and on. Even the weave of Frodo's bracers (small and normal scale) was covered--incredible!! I can't wait until it comes to Sydney--but I suppose I have to for a couple of years!!! Oh, and take your money to the gift shop!! Cheers!"


LOTR Props Exhibition to Travel.
Tehanu @ 5:56 pm EST
A Random Hobbit wrote in to the Museum of NZ, Te Papa, to ask when and where the LOTR props exhibition would travel to next. She got this reply from the museum staff: "The venue in London is the Science Museum in South Kensington. Approximately mid September until January 2004. This is definite. It's on its way ! The proposed venues in Singapore, Boston and Sydney ( in that order) are the Singapore Science Centre, the Boston Museum of Science and the Sydney Powerhouse Museum. Except for London nothing has been signed off yet with the other museums. Arrangements are still tentative."UPDATE We've just heard that the London exhibition is scheduled to start on September 16.

Speculating on Sauron in ROTK
Tehanu @ 5:25 pm EST
Thoughts from Wilhelm of Eregion: "Though this is just a speculation from the text, if you were looking for a place to slip in a more dramatic visual presentation of Sauron, it seems more likely that Peter Jackson and crew would have visually expanded upon Aragorn’s experience of wrestling with Sauron for the control of Orthanc palantir. In this portion of the narrative, Tolkien used his somewhat familiar literary device of describing that confrontation after the fact. From a cinematic perspective, Jackson could create a tangible Sauron in the nether regions of “Palantir” reality and still keep true to the stated fact that Sauron could not take form in this reality without the possession of the Ring, (not to mention build a considerable amount of dramatic tension that would culminate in the necessity for the riding through the “Paths of the Dead”). And, on the other hand, doesn’t it seem somewhat redundant for Aragorn and the forces of Gondor to confront the “Mouth of Sauron” in front of the Black Gates only to be going toe to toe with the actual Sauron a few frames later. What would be the purpose of sending a messenger if you planned on making an appearance at the same time ?"

Stone Street Studio Pics
Calisuri @ 3:48 pm EST
Ringer Syphon12 sends in some great images from a recent visit to New Zealand and The Stone Street Studios, where ROTK reshoots were taking place. And for those of you who missed the giant gollum at the Embassy Theater, Syphon12 also sends in a great picture of the imposing remnant from the premiere! (Who wants to bet that next year's premiere will have Shelob above the theater!)

Walls of Minas TirithEdoras
Edoras 2An Eerie Entranceway
Gollum at the Embassy Theater


'Lurtz' Booksigning.
Tehanu @ 5:26 pm EST
NZboy had a bit of luck living in Wellington:
"I was just walking through town and saw a sign outside Dymocks bookstore, saying that Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz) will be in store at 2pm today. Time was 1:30pm and had left my camera at home, rushed around looking for a disposable camera, bought one and went back.

"Looked around for some books to buy, to get them signed. Got a couple, and then the big man entered the store. He was with Gino Acevedo from Weta. While waiting in line to get my books signed, he was talking away with people, saying how certain scenes happened, some of the funny moments but wouldn't give any clues about ROTK. When my turn came, he happily signed my books and posed for a couple of photos." Photos to follow.


Sauron FILMED in ROTK.
Tehanu @ 6:13 pm EST
Whether or not this makes the final cut or not, we now know for certain that Sauron was FILMED as a physical presence taking part in the events of ROTK. This came in from Dave:
"I used to flat with a guy in the NZ army, and when he was in the filming for the big battle in front of the gates of Mordor, Sauron was there fighting. I believe he will appear. I mean there is only so much you can do with a giant eye."

Sauron in ROTK?
Tehanu @ 12:01 am EST
Alex writes, "Well I saw something that could be a possible spoiler for ROTK. On the FOTR DVD extended edition, I don't remember where but I know that it was on disc 3, there is a two-second clip of what looks like Peter Jackson directing the movements of an actor dressed in Sauron's costume and there is a blue screen behind him. When I first saw this I thought PJ was just filming a scene from the prologue with the battle of the last alliance. But I looked at Sauron who was using a sword, and in the prologue, Sauron wielded a mace. This could be some more supporting evidence of Sauron's apearance in ROTK. Of course it could just be somethiung PJ redid but I just thought you might like to know."

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