Trivia Time: The Fellowship of the Ring

Trivia Time: The Fellowship of the Ring

Time for more movie trivia and little know facts. Yeah! Last time I covered Star Wars tidbits — that post is HERE if missed — and continuing on the trend of my geekdom, here are some fun and perhaps little-known facts from the first Lord of the Rings movie, The Fellowship of the Ring.

 

Viggo Mortensen wasn’t originally cast as Aragorn. Two weeks before shooting, Peter Jackson realized that his first choice for the role (Stuart Townsend) was too young and decided to offer the role to Mortensen, who was convinced by his son, Henry, to take over the role of Aragorn.

Aragorn2
Viggo Mortensen (L) – Stuart Townsend (R) as Aragorn

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Lord of the Rings holds the record for the greatest number of false feet used in one movie: 60,000.

During the scene before Bilbo’s party, when Gandalf and Bilbo are inside Bag End, Gandalf hits his head on a beam upon entering Bilbo’s study. This was actually unintentional, but Ian McKellen did such a good job of acting through it that Peter Jackson left it in the movie.

When the Hobbits enter Bree, right after the wheel of the carriage passes in front of them, there is a man you see to the right who’s holding a carrot and burps. That is Peter Jackson making a cameo appearance.

AlanLee
Alan Lee

Alan Lee (a Tolkien artist and conceptual designer with John Howe) has a cameo as one of the nine men who received a Ring of Power in the Prologue.

The actors who played the members of the Fellowship all got the Elvish symbol for “9” tattooed somewhere on their bodies, apart from John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) who sent his stunt double instead.

When Frodo falls over in the snow and loses the Ring, there’s a close-up of the Ring, with Frodo in the background. A giant ring of six inches in diameter had to be used to keep both Frodo and the Ring in focus.

Christopher Lee (Saruman) reads “The Lord of the Rings” once a year, and is the only cast member to have actually met J.R.R. Tolkien.

When Aragorn parries the knife Lurtz throws at him, Viggo Mortensen successfully parried it on the first attempt. This is also done without special effects – the actor who played Lurtz’ vision was so impaired that he could not see where he was supposed to throw the knife. If Mortensen had not parried it, he could have been seriously injured.

At the end of the shoot, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh gave each, Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Andy Serkis (Gollum/Smeagol), one of the gold rings used as the “One Ring” in the films.

Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum, also voices the Ringwraith who says, “Shire…Baggins” to the hobbit outside Hobbiton.

Galadriel’s opening narration was originally supposed to be provided by Frodo. Gandalf was also considered.

Pippin
Billy Boyd as Pippin

After being cast as Peregrin Took, Billy Boyd was advised by Peter Jackson to tone down his Scottish accent because it stood out from the other hobbits’ English accents, so during rehearsals he used a Gloucestershire accent. However, PJ and crew decided that Pippin’s lines sounded funnier in his normal accent, so he returned to it.

When Merry and Pippin light the firework, Billy Boyd was so shocked by the firework going off when it was being filmed that he actually let out the high pitched shriek that is heard when the tent goes up. Apparently, Peter Jackson had told Billy Boyd it would only spark and fizzle, so he was fairly surprised when it shot off in his hands.

The scream of the Nazgul (Ringwraiths) is actually Fran Walsh, co-writer with Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson (director) on the film.

The Orc blacksmiths beneath Isengard are the WETA workshop staff who made the weapons for the film. Since molten metal is hard to fake, the goblin forges of Orthanc were built in a real foundry and filled with real molten metal.

Towards the end of the film, Sam runs to catch up with Frodo when he’s in the boat, but during one of the takes, Sean Astin stepped on a piece of glass in the water, that cut through his fake hobbit foot. Astin had to be taken to the hospital for stitches via helicopter.

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Billy (L) & Katie Jackson

Every single character wears a wig, apart from Billy Jackson (Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh’s son) who had “perfect hobbit hair”.

Even though Bilbo Baggins’s opening scenes are in Hobbiton, Ian Holm never actually worked on the location. All of his scenes were done against a blue screen.

The portraits of Bilbo’s parents over the mantlepiece in Bag End are modelled on Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.

The first person to join the Lord of the Rings fan club in October 2001 and earn himself a place in the credits was… Elijah Wood.

In all the close-up shots of Galadriel, you can see a reflection of a ball of white Christmas lights that was held up near the camera. The filmmakers did this to make her eyes look deeper and more complex.

Galadriel

 

One Comment for Trivia Time: The Fellowship of the Ring

  1. I love this trilogy of films. I’ve also listened to all four of the commentary tracks available on the each of the extended version DVDs – yes I really have! It passed away a lot of time while I was doing the ironing on a considerable number of occasions.

    So, most of what you’ve said above, Sharon, isn’t news to me but there are some little snippets that will now go into the awful mess in my brain that is my memory for arcane pieces of trivia. Trust me, I can remember the most irrelevant stuff and forget really important things!

    One thing that made me smile on one of the commentaries was regarding the Nazgul scream. Philippa Boyens said that Fran Walsh was reacting to (or pretending to) Peter Jackson telling her he’d bought the rights to The Silmarillion!

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