Paulie (not_alone) wrote,

A Journey With Frodo Ch.37 - Red Carpet Reunions

First of all, I hope all my US friends are enjoying their 4th July celebrations!!

I've been rushing to get this chapter of 'Journey' posted as we're going away tomorrow, just until Friday. We're off to the English Riviera - aka Torquay!! It's a long time since we had an English seaside holiday!! Torquay is also where we spent our honeymoon back in the mists of time:)

Before I give you the details of Chapter 37, I should let you know I've just edited Chapter 36 to include an event which happened on 09 Dec 2002 - the opening night of the Tolkien Exhibition at the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris which was attended by Elijah, Sean, Billy and many other LOTR cast and crew. For years I hadn't been able to work out exactly when and where this had taken place - I had no idea it was held in Paris!! Much as I would like to include the pics from this event, I can't because of copyright - they're on John Howe's website so instead I have just given the links. Here is the link to Chapter 36:

Chapter 37 'Red Carpet Reunions' covers a few events in NY before the LA TTT prem and then on to the prem itself - probably one of the smoochiest of all the prems!! My own journey alludes to the discovery of fan fiction and the eternal unanswered question re Frodo & Sam's
relationship!! And Frodo and the Fellowship leave Rivendell.

For anyone unfamiliar with my pet project, 'A Journey With Frodo' (a work in progress) is the story of Elijah Wood's experience in becoming Frodo, from back in 1998 when the LOTR movies were just a whisper up to the triumphant Oscars of Feb 2004. In reliving Elijah's journey, and mine, I am using everything I can lay my hands on - behind-the-scenes material from the various dvd's, magazine articles, books, internet sites, tv coverage, word-of-mouth info, etc. Previous chapters can be found here:


Hope you enjoy this latest chapter. We're taking my hubbie's Notebook with us so I should be able to keep up with any news but not sure if I'll be able to reply to any comments until we return:)

I was quite tempted to call this chapter Red Carpet Romances - but more on that later!

Firstly ...

12 December 2002:

Elijah attends a special screening of 'The Two Towers':

"A private screening in New York of 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers' for influential US investors may stimulate new investment in key New Zealand industry sectors, and attract more film production to the country.

The sneak preview of the second film in Peter Jackson's epic trilogy, hosted by
Prime Minister Helen Clark in Manhattan today, attracted over 350 key US investors, film executives, trade and business representatives, as well as journalists from heavy-weight business publications The Economist, Fortune, and Wall Street Journal.

The event was organised by Investment New Zealand.

While the hook for many was the chance to see the critically acclaimed film before general US release on December 18, many were drawn by New Zealand's growing reputation as an innovative developer of cutting edge technology, according to Jane Cunliffe, Investment New Zealand's North American Director.

"The Lord of the Rings is an ideal showcase for New Zealand creativity, talent and innovation. It has grabbed the attention of many influential people here, not only in the film industry but those from other sectors as well. They are making the connection between our achievements in film and our world leading 12ability in other fields.

In the past we were practically invisible to US private equity investors, but now that New Zealand creativity and brainpower is playing a leading role in many US industries, investors are taking much greater interest in New Zealand," Ms Cunliffe says.

The success of The Lord of the Rings means that screen production is still one of the hottest investment prospects for New Zealand. Representatives of AOL, New Line Cinema and Miramax, as well as actors Elijah Wood, Ian Holm and Meryl Streep attended the New York screening."

While still in New York Elijah appeared on The Today Show, Regis & Kelly and TRL. There were always fans around desperate for a glimpse. These are just a few pics taken by fans around that time:

There was one tv show which must have given Elijah a massive thrill. He hosted an hour on MTV2 in which he could choose some of his favourite music videos!

Amongst the vids he chose were Verbena, Black Sabbath, Stone Roses, Pavement, Portishead and the Smashing Pumpkins. He mentioned that he had discovered some of the bands while in NZ and that his friend Dominic Monaghan had introduced him to The Stone Roses so when he played that video he dedicated it to Dom.

The Today Show:

"Great Hair", says Matt. "Well, it's all inspired by you!" replies Elijah. This gets a laugh round the studio!

Regis & Kelly:

"Look how beautiful you are", Elijah tells the pregnant Kelly!

She asks if she can stroke the new buzz cut!!

Regis & Kathy rhapsodise over Elijah's sparkle, his beautiful eyes, etc. "Born to be a star", declares Regis!!

At one point during the interview Elijah recounts the story of how, as a toddler, he locked his mom out of the house and proceeded to wreck the kitchen!!

15 December 2002

And so to Los Angeles for another TTT premiere:

This was a night of fun and laughter, happy reunions, roses, kisses and snuggles!! It was a night when fans of a certain fan fiction genre thought all their birthdays had come at once!!

Scott Huver (Totally Hollywood) : "I heard about the cameraderie you guys had. I heard about the tattoos. Anything else you guys did as a bonding experience?"
Elijah : "Ummm ... made sweet love!!!" :D And even though he did follow up with a quick denial - from the following pics it's very easy to believe him!!

Michael Musto (The Village Voice): "I even went to the 'Lord of the Rings II' premiere - it's a hard Hobbit to break - and asked Sean Astin if his character's as madly in love with Frodo (Elijah Wood) as he seems. 'He is in love,' Sean said, 'but it's a love bond between two males without the injection of eros.' Sort of like me and my boyfriend, I suggested. 'You have to get him drunker', said Sean."

Elijah and Viggo greeted each other with a head butt - albeit quite a gentle one!

I think Elijah's camera clicked away more than anyone's that night - including press and fans!!

Kung Fu Hobbits!!

Even one of the interviewers gets grabbed for a pic!!

But the fans weren't neglected ...

A rose for Elijah:)

Elijah solves the problem of not having enough hands!!

Hollywood Reporter:

"You've said you'll never have another experience like filming the Lord of the Rings ..."

E: "Never!"

"Does that make you kind of sad or relieved or .."

E: "No, it's not sad. No, it's incredibly positive I think - I mean I had that experience, it was amazing and it will be with me for the rest of my life. I mean I'd love to go back and do it all over again but I can't and that's alright, that's life, you know."

"Who do you think was the real hero - Frodo or Sam?"

"Well I think they both have heroic turns, I think they're both heroes. When Frodo can't openly be a hero any more and succumbs to the evil of the Ring, Sam picks him up and carries on. So it's up for debate, I don't really think it matters,I mean I think Sam is just as much a hero as Frodo is in a very different way.

"Do you relate to Frodo a lot?"

"Yeah, especially living with the character for that long, you can't help but relate."

"In the movies Frodo had to grow up really fast, did you have to, being 18 ..."

"I feel like I've been growing up really fast all my life, I mean I've been surrounded by adults for most of it, so yeah in a lot of ways."

Scott Huver: "Did you take any souvenirs away from Middle Earth when you were done filming?"

E : "Yes, I've got the One Ring at home so I maintain my burden!!"

Smile Frodo!!

My Journey Continues:

"Are you puzzled by the mysterious mushiness of those hobbit boys?" asked Ted Casablanca on Enews following the LA prem. By this time I had been in the Elijah/LOTR fandom for almost a year so I was, of course, fully aware of slash fic even though beforehand I'd been completely ignorant of its existence. I also followed with fascination various discussions about Elijah and the other cast members regarding possible gayness and real life pairings. Most of it was fun although I did come across some forums where these debates became far too serious and descended into unpleasant slanging matches. At that time I would read and enjoy many of the fics and was really impressed by the standard of the writing. I was never tempted to write anything myself - probably because I knew I couldn't hope to match such creativity. Regarding the online discussions, well I decided it was safer to observe from a distance!!

However, around this time there was a flurry of press articles concerning possible gayness - not about the actors but about Frodo and Sam!! Had JRRT hinted at more than friendship? Again, I'd read many online articles and opinions about this very subject but it was interesting to now hear what Elijah and Sean's views were:

The Mail on Sunday : A Tale of Two Hobbits

"Predictably, perhaps, Frodo and Sam's close relationship has led to suggestions that they are having a homosexual relationship - and interestingly this is something Wood does not
dismiss. "They have a very close relationship that sort of transcends friendship" he muses. "Those feelings are probably there and they probably exist. I wouldn't say that it has anything to do with homosexuality but it is certainly one possible interpretation of
it. I don't think Frodo and Sam, in the way they are portrayed, either confirm or deny it. But I personally don't really see it from that perspective. I just see them as being completely tied to each other in a very personal and emotional way. Sam sort of tends the
earth and comes from a very servile background and he kind of dotes on Frodo who helps and guides Sam. They complement each other in terms of where they come from. That's how I see it anyway".

Widescreen also used part of the above quote but followed it up with: "Elijah Wood fails to rule out speculation that Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee are lovers."


GC : Have you read some of these theories about a gay relationship between Frodo and Sam?

Sean Astin: Yeah. I've seen some things on the Internet. I have my own feeling about it. This is a very powerful love bond between two males where there's the absence of eros. [That reading] doesn't honor the historical context that Tolkien was writing from in terms of the First World War and English officers and their enlisted men. It also cheapens the purity of love in some way. Now, I wouldn't presume to deny any viewer or reader the right to experience the story or the characters in any way that is meaningful to them. But as far as my interpretation is concerned, no. Which is not to say that Elijah's not a good kisser, but still. [laughs] But no, I don't think it's a homoerotic relationship.

GC : "Ian McKellen says that anything is possible."

"Ian McKellen wants anything to be possible. [laughs] The thing is, he may well be right. He's a lot older and smarter than I am. He did direct me to the passage in the book where Sam comes to the bedside of Frodo and holds his hand. He said, "Audiences will want to be seeing that!"

Movie Profile : Scott Collura

The other crucial relationship for the Frodo character in these films is with his fellow Hobbit Sam, played by Sean Astin. In fact, the two characters are so close that at times their sexuality has even be questioned!

"The thing about Frodo and Sam is there has been speculation about those characters and the nature of that relationship since the book was released," says Wood. "Certainly more so during the '60s and '70s when that social atmosphere in terms of homosexuality was a little bit more popular, but I think it is up for interpretation. I, however, don't think it was written with that intention. It was two people that care about each other and rely on each other in a way that you don't really see anymore; I don't think there is anything wrong with a relationship like that. There is certainly nothing wrong with Frodo and Sam being homosexuals but I don't think that they are. It is interesting, I think it is cool if people want to talk about that and draw those comparisons, but it isn't actually how we saw it, certainly not how Sean and I played the roles."

I'm cheating slightly to include the following article as it was actually published just before the release of ROTK, but it is so relevant I just had to include it here.

Houston Voice | Southern Voice | New York Blade | Washington Blade | Eclipse

"Actors Sean Astin and Elijah Wood acknowledge the close bond between their characters Sam and Frodo in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy, even saying that the relationship could be interpreted as gay.

The Queerness of Hobbits by Web Behrens:

It began with a shy caress on the hand. From there, it grew into sleeping side by side. By the time the tale winds to its dramatic end, there are sacrifices, kisses and open declarations of love. Indeed, the couple’s relationship might be hailed as a great romance of 20th-century literature — but for the tyranny of gender. The characters in question are Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, the two hobbits at the heart of “The Lord of the Rings.” And though they grow preciously close to each other during their quest to destroy the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron, the fact that both characters are male suppresses a thorough discussion of their love — a sort of Middle-Earth “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But since the billion-dollar blockbuster film series renewed interest in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic, some fans are asking a question no one seemed to think about when the trilogy was first published in the mid-1950s: What exactly is the nature of Frodo and Sam’s relationship?

Between the two characters, some fans see a close bond between master and servant (Sam is Frodo’s gardener), and others find a deep fraternal love between comrades in wartime. Still others discover clear evidence of romantic love. Could it be that the heroes of this spectacular tale, beloved by millions across the world, are gay? Could Tolkien, a renowned linguist who utilized words with precision, have crafted a subtle statement about gay love? The very notion that the hobbits had a romantic interest in each other is enough to send some people into apoplexy. Between the release of the first and second films, some fans were surprised to learn that actor Ian McKellen, who portrays the wizard Gandalf, is gay. For a time, the official “Lord of the Rings” Fan Club message boards even censored the word “gay,” until McKellen found out and helped lift the ban. So one can imagine the potential for hostility to any suggestion that Sam and Frodo, making their way towards the fires of Mount Doom, were also heating things up with a fire of their own. There is no direct reference to any sexual passion between the pair. Then again, there’s nary a spark in the source material between the tale’s human protagonist Aragorn and his immortal lover, elf princess Arwen. The films clearly play up that star-crossed love affair.

McKellen posted a statement on his Web site about the relationship between Sam and Frodo.

“Frodo and Sam would not be the first young gentleman and his servant to be a little in love with each other, but Tolkien doesn’t make their affection explicit sexually, nor does every reader agree that he has dropped any real hints about it,” McKellen writes. “Theirs is certainly a close interdependent relationship.”

Even Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, the heterosexual actors who play Frodo and Sam, acknowledged that the pair could be gay during interviews after the release of the second film “Two Towers.”

“I think the gay community has certainly embraced it as a beautiful, special thing, and I think it can be interpreted that way,” Wood said at the time. “It’s good to know that people appreciate the relationship, because it is powerful, and it is integral to both individual journeys. Frodo wouldn’t make it without Sam, and Sam wouldn’t make it without Frodo.”

The comic relief duo Merry and Pippin could also be interpreted to have a love relationship, according to the actors who play them.

“There’s a nice kind of loving, close friendship that goes on, a kind of unconditional love between the hobbits,” said Dominic Monaghan, who plays Merry. “It is something that you can associate with gay people.”

Even as some straight fans shy away from the notion that Frodo and Sam might be gay, the topic is of great interest to gay fans of the series.

“It’s not a specifically homoerotic relationship, but it is a homo-romantic one,” asserts Shawna Walls, a Tolkien historian who runs the gay-friendly site, and moderates a Yahoo group for queer “Rings” fans.

“The thing is, Tolkien didn’t talk about sex at all, so using sex as a litmus test to decide whether or not Sam and Frodo are a gay couple doesn’t really apply,” Walls says. “On a non-sexual level, they definitely compare to the other romantic relationships that Tolkien illustrates.”

Clifford Broadway, a writer and Tolkien expert who pens a regular column (under the name Quickbeam) for, the most popular Tolkien fan site, continues the debate and the dichotomy between gay fans and heterosexual “Rings” followers.

“It would be OK if they were gay — but they’re not,” Broadway counters.

In his niche in cyberspace, Broadway weighed in on the topic four years ago, well before pop culture reawakened Tolkien-mania.

“I had observed a lot of people yammering on other sites, speculating, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to have homo hobbits holding hands and kissing each other,’” Broadway recalls.

“I always hear, ‘Oh, they’re so gay together,’” Broadway continues. “My response is: ‘No, they’re just affectionate. You need to deal with your own issues.’ American men cannot deal with two literary characters supporting and loving each other in a time of dire need, so it becomes a gay issue when it never really was.”

Regardless of the interpretation in Tolkien’s books, one thing is clear about the films: Hobbits holding hands are a no-no at New Line Cinema.

In the second book, Sam watches Frodo sleeping and remarks, “I love him.” The screen version excises that moment.

The movies choose to leave the Sam-Frodo relationship ambiguous ...

Sam and Frodo’s plight grows ever more dire, but “I don’t think we’re going to see the two of them cuddled up, sleeping close together, using each other’s bodies for warmth, as Tolkien expressly states,” Broadway predicts.

But for fans of the books, the compelling question “Are they or aren’t they?” remains.

“You can interpret it either way, and I think either interpretation is valid,” Walls says. “You just have to look at it from different perspectives. I think Tolkien tells us that they are a couple. It’s beyond friendship, that’s for sure.”

Stephen Holt contributed to this article."

When I first became aware of the speculation, I must admit I wondered why it hadn't occurred to me, on reading the books, just how physically affectionate Frodo and Sam were with each other. Sadly, we will never know the answer to what exactly was in Tolkien's mind, but it does make for some very fascinating discussions!!

Frodo's Journey Continues:

The Leaving of Rivendell

My old sword, Sting!

Mark Ordesky, dvd: "It's a testimony to the attention to detail when you see the engraving on Sting. It's actually the exact engraving as described in the book. I've heard different versions of what the translation of that Elvish writing is - one that I heard said 'Orc-killer' but then I heard something a little more eloquent but whatever it is it's a complete match to the script in the books."

Here, take it! Take it!

It's so light!

Yes, yes, made by the Elves, you know.

The blade glows blue when orcs are close ...

and it's times like that, my lad, when you have to be extra careful!

Here's a pretty thing!


As light as a feather and as hard as dragon scales! Let me see you put it on!


My old Ring!

I should very much like to hold it again, one last time.

John Howe, dvd : "I love this scene where Bilbo sees the Ring again. It's a very, very powerful scene. I haven't met anyone who hasn't remarked on the incredibly disturbing quality of this split second, and the simpler gesture of Frodo buttoning his shirt back up again."

"To his distress and amazement he found that he was no longer looking at Bilbo; a shadow seemed to have fallen between them, and through it he found himself eyeing a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands. He felt a desire to strike him." (Many Meetings ~ The Fellowship of the Ring)

I'm sorry I brought this upon you, my boy. I'm sorry that you must carry this burden.

I'm sorry for everything!

PJ, dvd: "I think the scenes between Bilbo and Frodo are very special in the film. It is really in a sense one of the reasons Frodo does what he sets out to do - the fact that he sees through Bilbo just how evil this Ring is and why it must be destroyed."

I can never watch the following scene without a lump in my throat. I really wish it hadn't been left out of the theatrical version. Frodo looks so vulnerable - and Elijah portrays this to perfection. The almost imperceptible swallow, the little glance upwards at the others, as he takes his first faltering steps into the unknown. And his face just haunts me –the wistful acceptance of his burden. As PJ says on the dvd:

“Its just nice because it allows Frodo a moment where he can convey to us the enormity of what he’s been thrust into, where suddenly he’s been put into the spotlight, that he’s the symbolic leader now, he’s the Ringbearer, the leader of the Fellowship.

"In the theatrical version, as you know, we just thundered straight out of Rivendell following the scene with Bilbo and Frodo and we had shot this farewell. We'd actually shot a little bit more of it too, there's some more footage which doesn't appear on this version of the film either where Elrond and Frodo have a little conversation [Oh PJ! Why did you have to tell us that!!] but this one was what we thought was going to be in the film for quite some time until at the very last minute we decided to trim it out.

The Ringbearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom.

On you who travel with him no oath...

nor bond is laid to go further than you will.

Farewell. Hold to your purpose.

May the blessings of Elves ...

and Men ...

and all free folk go with you.

The Fellowship awaits the Ringbearer!

The music changes at this point to a most beautiful but sad-sounding melody which really emphasises the poignancy of the scene.

Mordor, Gandalf. Is it left or right?

Ian M (dvd): "Do I go to the left or the right?" (laughs) "It just brings everything down to a human level".


"Many others of Elrond's household stood in the shadows and watched them go, bidding them farewell with soft voices. There was no laughter, and no song or music. At last they turned away and faded silently into the dusk.
They crossed the bridge and wound slowly up the long steep paths that led out of the cloven dale of Rivendell; and they came at length to the high moor where the wind hissed through the heather. Then with one glance at the Last Homely House twinkling below them they strode away far into the night."
(The Ring Goes South ~ The Fellowship of the Ring)


“I think the gay community has certainly embraced it as a beautiful, special thing, and I think it can be interpreted that way,” Wood said at the time. “It’s good to know that people appreciate the relationship, because it is powerful, and it is integral to both individual journeys. Frodo wouldn’t make it without Sam, and Sam wouldn’t make it without Frodo.”

Tags: a journey with frodo
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