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Jackson began the shoot with one aim in mind: to create ‘a singular Tolkienesque brushstroke‘. one which would allow the actors to inhabit both their characters and the fantastical world of Middle Earth. If he could achieve this. then audiences too would be able to immerse themselves in Tolkien's world. surrendering to the power of their imaginations and believing that hobbits. elves. dwarves. wizards. trolls and orcs really were locked into a struggle between the powers of light and darkness.
liven so. Jackson fought shy of the term ‘fantasy". which he felt was misleading. ‘I felt that fantasy was a dangerous word.‘ he says. ‘I haven't liked a lot of fantasy films. So we treated The Lord Of The Rings as a historical film. We felt that Tolkien spent a large part of his life creating a mythology for Britain. what was essentially a pre- histon covering thousands of years. And just as you would if you were making a film about Rome. we did research into the history of Middle liarth. We read his books and all of the writings and it became real. There are monsters and incredible cities and armies. and there are things that are fantastical in nature. but we always treated it as history. This really happened. these people really went through this. and we‘re trying to dramatise that.‘
Ian McKellen reinforces this point. describing a day on which he and the other eight members of the Fellowship of the Ring were dropped by a helicopter on to virgin snow near the peak of a mountain. He had annotated his script to read NAR. actor's shorthand for No Acting Required. These proved to be prophetic words. ‘There really was no acting required on that occasion.‘ says McKellen. 'because we were trudging through snow about twelve inches deep. plodding up to a distant peak. At moments like those. you don‘t think: "There‘s a camera on that helicopter that’s coming round." you are on the journey. We were in Middle liaith. at a time when human beings had only just arrived. In a world where there were wizards. elves. dwarves and hobbits.‘
With more than l()() million copies of The Inn! ()f The Rings in circulation. and millions of hits on the movie‘s web site. the director was aware of the feverish levels of anticipation. plus the potential for sniping. ‘There are going to be people that have different ideas.‘ says Jackson. ‘but you can’t make a film by committee. This film wasn't made by taking votes on the net about what we should do. We had to take our own decisions. It's not a movie made for fans. but it is a movie made by fans.’
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, general release from Wed 19 Dec. The List has six CD soundtracks to give away to the first half dozen correct answers received by email (ﬁlm@list.co.uk) or postcard to the following question: Who composed the score for The Lord Of The Rings?
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For ardent supporters of the novel, the movie will be a test of nerves.
Words: James Smart
really don't know if they should have
made the movie. It‘s not that I‘m not
excited by the prospect of seeing Middle liarth on celluloid. liar frotn it. livery time I‘ve seen the trailer (twice) my voice has gone tip two octaves. my arms have flapped frantically and I‘ve hushed anyone in the nearby vicinity with the voracity of a man who knows that what he’s about to see is going to be more important than their petty conversations could ever be.
But I just know they're going to get so much wrong. They've already cut out Tom Bornbadil and increased the love interest. when we all know love has about as much place in an epic work of fantasy as quilted toilet tissue. It’s the little things as much as the big things they‘ll get wrong. I was having a conversation with a few friends recently about safe stuff: music. politics. that sort of thing. Then we started talking about The Lord Of The Rings and things got fiery: just how do you say Sauron and lsengard'.’ It‘s not just a matter of pronunciation.
Reading is arguably a more interpretative art than watching a movie and. unlike heading down the cinema. it‘s a largely personal exploration. When you find that someone else has discovered the satne land
as you. your first feeling is one of delight. of
shared experience. Then. like someone whose unspoilt. tourist-free holiday destination is invaded by belching barbarians in union jack boxer shorts. you start to feel a little bit possessive. a little bit threatened. And when you realise that people who’ve never been bothered to plough through the novels (and probably
Love has aboutas much place in an epic work of fantasy as quilted toilet
think The .S'i/murr/lion hatchback) are going to walk out of the cinema. shrug and say: "That was all right.‘ you start to feel uneasy. When you see Sean Bean (Boromir) going on lirank Skinner’s chat show. treating the whole thing as if it was a bit of a laugh and not nearly as important as the latest episode of .S'huiyn'. you feel like resorting to physical violence.
Being angry because something has been dernocratised isn‘t a nice emotion. But that’s the problem. You don‘t so much read The Lord Of The Rings as ingest it. Like that song they were playing when you kissed that beautiful girl you never saw again. it becomes a part of your fabric. something to be treasured. not something to be made into a line of action toys.
I guess the really galling thing about the lilm is that we didn’t get to make it. I can‘t believe there are many people who‘ve read the trilogy who haven‘t wanted to make it into a film. But they've wanted to make it into their film (mine had a black Aragorn and the drum-and—guitar riff from lron Maiden’s ‘Run To The llills’ soundtracking the battle scenes . . . but maybe I shouldn‘t tell you that). If Jackson fails to turn the novel into my lilm. I‘m going to be disappointed. And if he does. like Deckard ill the Clttl ()l. B/mh' Runner. I'm going to be very. very disturbed.
is a make of
; 2211i! “81’ 13Dec2001-3Jan 2002