Finally posting Chapter 42 of 'Journey'!! Another reason for the huge delay, on top of those mentioned in a previous post, has been problems with our internet connection. Some days I've lost the connection so often I've just had to give up. Plus, my pc is very, very sluggish. I'm not sure if this is because it's old - nearly 5 years - or because I've got so much crammed onto it!! Probably a combination of both!
As mentioned previously, this chapter covers a very emotional point in Elijah's journey with Frodo - the final pick-up filming for ROTK including, of course, Elijah's final scene. I've always wondered just how he felt when he removed his Frodo clothes for the final time. Or at least, what he then believed to be the final time. Because, as we now know, all being well, he will soon be donning them again for 'The Hobbit'!
In Frodo's journey, the Fellowship reach Lothlórien and in my own, I hear some mind-blowing news:)
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:
"A JOURNEY WITH FRODO"
Hope you enjoy
This pic was the confirmation LOTR fans were waiting for - that the cast were back in New Zealand for the final pick-up filming on ROTK.
Empire Magazine was on the set - some extracts from their article, "Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends:
"Elijah Wood is sound asleep. Lighting rigs are being repositioned, walkie-talkies buzzing furiously, and Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson's wife and cohort, is chatting intently to Andy Serkis, but nothing is disturbing Frodo's power nap at the back of the set. "Oh, he can sleep anywhere", says Sean Astin, who is taking the brief lull between set-ups to chat to Empire. Astin, dressed in Samwise's familiar battered breeches, can't seem to keep away. At every available juncture, he's up on his hairy feet to finish whatever latest rumination is on his mind. "It's what Elijah does to pass the time", he explains. "I swear he used to sleep standing up when we were having our feet put on."
Fran Walsh calls for positions and Astin pulls away. "I'll be right back", he hollers as he scampers away to finish his scene with Gollum. Walsh has got a reputation as a hard taskmaster. She pushes for repeated takes, seeking out a perfection beyond even her husband's exacting standards. Billy Boyd has re-christened her 'Franly Kubrick' in honour of her methods.
"It's about getting those moments right", says Wood seriously, upon waking. "To get those minute details right on an emotional level. I really like working with her, you discover things together."
But, for Frodo, that means staring right into the abyss.
"You've got to see where Elijah and Frodo go in the third movie", Astin says of his onscreen charge. "The power of the Ring is almost physically pulling him apart. Elijah is going to these really demanding places."
The warnings have been loud and clear from the Rings camp - this third film is going to be devastating, wrenching those tears from your vulnerable eyes by force if necessary. By the time we're crawling through the ash and poisonous fumes of Mordor, the bucolic cuteness of Hobbiton will feel like decades ago.
"The thing about the Ring is that, once it gets its talons into you, you're completely obsessed with it", says Wood. "You become incredibly suspicious of everyone around you, and in this case, that includes Sam. Frodo becomes a shadow of himself. It starts to weigh down on him physically too: it affects his breathing, it affects his overall energy."
Conversely, the now wide-awake Wood himself couldn't look healthier, his large blue eyes matched by an easy grin. Out of costume he looks younger, slipping back to his humble 22 years, chatting and goofing in his native Californian dude speak. "Wow, it's gone beyond what I expected", he announces of the experience of playing Frodo. "I thought it might be an adventure but it's been more than I could have imagined."
When it comes to talking about this project, everyone, from Elijah Wood to concept artist Alan Lee, gushes with a genuine love and enthusiasm that is all too rare in any aspect of modern society, let alone moviemaking. Simply put, these are some of the friendliest people we have encountered in 15 years of making this magazine.
Jay Schadler of 'Primetime' was also on set at this time - here he interviews Elijah and Sean during a break in filming:
Jay: Perhaps one of the secrets of the success of these films is that they debuted in a world reeling from the Sep 11th attacks,a world where monsters truly lurk and,where naively or not, the battle between good and evil seems to be waged daily. That battle seems so far away on this distant island and yet the actors believe NZs remoteness is part of the very soul of these movies.
Elijah: The fact that not only was it just simply NZ but the fact that we were all out of our element here lent itself to the films. I don't think that that atmosphere we were able to create on this, that family atmosphere, that closeness, would have been accomplished anywhere else.
Sean: Everybody's life would just have been continuing as normal.
Elijah: We had to stop our lives for this - this became our lives.
Sean waxes lyrical about Elijah's eyes!!
E: I needed to rely on the eyes to express everything that Frodo was going through.
S: One of the great motifs of the movie is the great, all-seeing, villainous eye - the eye of Sauron so they have in juxtaposition the big, blue... (pauses while searching for word) but Elijah chips in with "orbs".
I've spent many hours staring into his eyes, I mean hundreds of hours staring into Elijah's eyes and it actually looks like, if you look really close, it looks like an eclipse. The pupil has gone in front of the sun and behind the dark pupil are these kinds of rays of golden light coming through the pools of blue water.
Jay also joined the four 'hobbits' and Andy on a night out:
Jay: "A few moments around this table and you know these friendships will last long beyond the final cut":
Dom: "On this job, it's defined my social group, it's created a new social group for me. I'm now living a different life - and it's better!
Elijah: "I would have to completely and utterly agree with that. I've gained lifelong friends and my life path changed as a result of it."
Asked about how much weight he had to gain for the role, Sean replies "35 to 40 pounds. I don't know if I had to gain that much but I ultimately did gain that much! "
Andy explains how he sees Gollum and Frodo as addicts and talks of the connection between the two.
Elijah:" If I can save him, I can save myself."
Jay: What is it about now, do you think, that the message of the movie seems to strike home to so many people?
Dom: "I just think that the message is so strong that anyone wants to respond to it, you know? And I think we as people all want to find that the person we most believe in, the person who will save the day as being the everyday guy. Because that's us, you know. We feel like, 'Maybe I could do that. Maybe I could be Frodo.' It's the little people, it's the normal folk that you empathise with and you think, 'Well that's me, that's me in that story'."
Bill: "And what the story says is, yes, you can do it but you can't do it without Sam, you can't do it without this friendship that you have."
Elijah: "It's within all of us, that basic idea of good versus evil, in the most simplest of ways and on the most grand of scales and I think that's why the book has remained such a popular book over time - I think in the 60's it was being mirrored against Vietnam and those kind of things and the hippies really took it to heart."
Jay: "Yes, we did!!"
Elijah: (In a perfect English accent) "Are you leaving, darling? There were differing opinions at the time as to who it was Elijah was actually hugging here.
A few shots from the set:
Frolijah dancing a little jig!!
Whilst in Wellington, Elijah, Dom and Billy resumed their DJing activities at one of their favourite haunts:
"On Saturday last, Shamsung and Elwood accompanied by Deep Sea Diver Boyd McIver took over the Good Luck bar off Cuba Mall in downtown rowdy Wellington where they d-jayed the night away. I found bopping to rap and hip-hop a bit tricky. But that’s The Fellowship for you. Or rather, that’s hobbits". ( Ian McKellen from his website)
Elijah was on set for Ian's final scene:
Now come the days of the queen. And may they be blessed;)
Sean's final scene:
And so came the dreaded day - 30 June 2003. The final day of filming for Elijah, Dom and Andy:
Elijah obviously finds it very moving.
Bruce Hopkins - from his website:
"On Monday the 30th of June this year, 2003, I was flown down to Wellington, to be on hold for filming my last shots the next day. As it turned out I did not shoot my final material until Wednesday the 2nd of July. However that Monday, when I arrived at the hotel in Wellington, I got a call to inform me, a taxi would pick me up and ferry me to a goodbye gathering for Elijah, Andy and Dom, who were all filming their last day on this amazing 4 year journey.
As it turned out, I got to the lot ahead of time and was able walk through and watch Elijah and Peter filming their last scene together. That experience in itself was a memory I will treasure for many years to come. The emotion of witnessing these two wonderful people complete this epic aspect of what has been a 4 year relationship, was just one massive privilege. There were tears in many peoples eyes, including mine."
Elijah: "Nothing can really prepare you for that, you know. Four years down the line and finally you've arrived at that day which is your last day, your official last day.
PJ: "I think for me the toughest was probably Elijah. You know, Frodo in some respects is really the heart and soul of these movies. It's his story, it's his journey, we started with Frodo and we finish with Frodo."
Elijah: "The last shot was a pick-up from Bag End when Frodo is finishing up writing his story of what he's experienced in Bilbo's book and essentially the sub-text of the scene is that Frodo knows he's gonna leave and that he's going to leave the book to Sam."
"It was amazing because it came at the perfect time for me. Or not the perfect time, depending on how you look at it, 'cos I was also preparing to leave. It was my goodbye too." (DVD)
"And one more - that's nice Elijah. Just give us more of a sense that you're distancing yourself from Sam, that you've already made your decision and you've now got to cut your emotional ties with him."
Dom: "It was really quiet, you know, it had really quietened down and everyone was there. Pete was talking really quietly."
"Could you just give us a very slow and melancholy one now, even slower and more disconnected from Sam."
PJ:"I have this requirement when I'm shooting; if I'm happy I say, 'Right. we've got it, check the gate', which is normally fine, but it's a terrible thing on the last shot because I sort of don't want to say that."
PJ: "And at the end of each take there'd be this silence and it was like, 'Is Peter going to say, 'We've got it, check the gate.' Or is Peter gonna ask for another take?' And I think all of us really just wanted to keep doing more and more takes."
Dom: "Looking over at Pete you could just see him not wanting to stop, you know."
Not quite. There's room for a little more.
"And cut! That's great - we'll check the gate."
PJ (LOTR Fan Club Mag): "The really significant and most powerful emotional days have been those when we have finished with the actors. Regardless of the fact that my last day is going to be shooting horses, I have experienced my last day shooting Elijah Wood as Frodo and my last day shooting Viggo as Aragorn. Those, to me, are more profound than what my personal last day is going to be."
"Lovely, lovely last shot!"
"Thank you, Pete."
Elijah (dvd): "Man, I'll never forget it. It's imprinted upon my memory for the rest of my life. He burst into tears. And he just said, 'Thank you' over and over again."
"It's been so amazing Peter"
"You've been so amazing. You've been great".
"He shot most of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy wildly out of sequence, but Elijah Wood's final day on set was also one of the final scenes of the third instalment, The Return Of The King.
"Oh God," Wood said recently about his last day as Frodo Baggins, the Hobbit entrusted to bear the cursed Ring from the Shire to the fires of Mount Doom, "I mean, you can imagine the emotion tied into the last bit of filming. I think we really went through the end of the experience with the pick-ups of the last film, because that's when we really had to say goodbye to the experience of the character, to the crew, to the trailer, to the whole, all-encompassing experience of working on these movies.
It's difficult to articulate exactly how we felt. Me personally, I couldn't really come to terms with it. I couldn't believe it, after four years, that it was all coming to an end. On my last day, I was completely drained. I had knots in my stomach all day. It came time to do my last shot. And it was too perfect actually because the last shot was one of the last scenes in the movie, where Frodo's in Bag End before he goes to the Grey Havens. So there's a shot where he's writing the last bit of the book and Sam comes and says 'It's all over'. And Frodo says 'No, there's room for a little more' It had this whole meaning tied into it. When I hear me say the line, knowing it's my last shot, and also the symbolism, I'm like 'Oh, f****n hell!. Everybody came on to see it and I remember we did five or six takes, and they checked the gate, and Peter came over to me and broke down, gave me a hug and broke down on my shoulder. It was so, so sad - everybody was crying!"
"So we just said goodbye to Frodo Baggins and it does feel as though we're all off to the Grey Havens. So, it's the end of an era really - yes, another sad day."
As far as I know, there are no pics available of Elijah's farewell speech. I expect this is due to the fact that, understandably, he was completely overcome with emotion:
From 'Now' magazine:
"For Elijah the parting from Frodo was indeed sweet sorrow. 'I was given a final send-off in the summer afer all my filming was over', he says. 'They gave me a gift of Frodo's sword as a memento. But, after all that acting, when I came to make a speech to thank everyone involved I fell apart. I tried to articulate how I felt and collapsed in tears. How pathetic is that?'"
And then each actor is given an opportunity to give a speech. And I was so overwhelmed and so many of the other actors had articulated their feelings so beautifully. Dom and myself and Andy actually wrapped on the same day, and Dom gave his speech before mine, and he said some beautiful things and it came to me and I was just like, "I don't know what to say to you guys!" My heart was just so filled with emotion. But it was amazing.
How did it feel when he realised that it was his last day on the set?
"Really emotional, it was hard. When we went back for pickups, they gave each actor their own farewell, so as soon as an actor woud wrap out they'd throw a little party that night and they'd show a film of that actor, and then Peter would make a speech, and Barrie Osbourne (our producer) would make a speech. Then we were given our swords. I took Sting, and the clapper from the last shot from the last take. I loved those people and the experience so much, and it was really difficult to come to terms with the fact that it was all coming to an end. I just buckled. I was trying to be articulate and say what it meant to be a part of this, and I turned to mush. That is really when it set in that it was all coming to an end."
How does it feel to say goodbye?
It's mixed. I've loved working on these movies so much, and being able to go back every year has been amazing for us because we didn't want to say goodbye to it in the first place, so we've had this reunion every year. But this last time we had to say goodbye. And that was really difficult to accept, and incredibly overwhelming. They gave each actor their own farewell party and Peter Jackson would come up and make a speech, and Barrie (M. Osborne) the producer would make a speech, and we got the clapper from our last take. That was really special, but it drove the point home even more that this was it, and there was this real sense of ... "Oh God". At the same time, we can celebrate the fact that we've completed it, and there's something really wonderful about that - that after four years we've come to the end and we can say we've done it. Also, after all this time, we've made such close friends and those friendships will carry on. So in a lot of ways the journey will continue, just in a different way."
My Journey Continues:
Brief, but momentous.
On 27 July 2003 I posted this entry on my Live Journal:
"I know I must be dreaming - I'm just typing this in the middle of the dream - because I just read that Elijah is going to be at Collectormania in October. That is where I met and spoke to Billy in May - if this were really happening that would mean that I would be meeting and speaking to Elijah in October - but I know I'll just wake up in a minute ....."
I wasn't dreaming. Elijah, Sean and Dom had all agreed to come over to Milton Keynes here in the UK to attend Collectormania in October. However, October was more than two months away. A lot can happen in two months. A lot did happen.
Frodo's Journey continued:
“Though he walked and breathed, and about him living leaves and flowers were stirred by the same cool wind as fanned his face, Frodo felt that he was in a timeless land that did not fade or change or fall into forgetfulness. When he had gone and passed again into the outer world, still Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would walk there, upon the grass among elanor and niphredil in fair Lothlórien.” (The Fellowship of the Ring ~ Lothlórien)
They say that a great sorceress lives in these woods.
An Elf-witch of terrible power!
All who look upon her fall under her spell!
And are never seen again!!
Your coming to us is as the footsteps of doom!
You bring great evil here, Ring-bearer!
Well, here's one Dwarf she won't ensnare so easily. I have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox!
The Dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark!
You bring great evil with you
You can go no further.
PJ: We also made the sequence about Frodo's headspace; that he's just sitting there and he's just feeling now that because the Fellowship are encountering a problem because of him that they will not allow sanctuary because he has this evil with him, that they're turning against him. They're obviously not but it's just what Frodo is imagining. He's feeling this weight of responsibility and he's feeling the pressure obviously now that he's lost Gandalf.
John Gilbert, Editor (dvd): "This was a nice scene with Boromir as he tries to console Frodo -a good moment for Boromir and a beautifully-acted scene. There was a longer version again than this where he told the story of himself getting over the death of one of his comrades but this is an intermediate, abbreviated version."
Gandalf's death was not in vain. Nor would he have you give up hope.
You carry a heavy burden, Frodo. Don't carry the weight of the dead.
You will follow me.
Caras Galadhon. The heart of Elvendom on earth.
Realm of the Lord Celeborn and of Galadriel, Lady of Light.
E: I was kind of ... I was really nervous to work with her actually. Cos I have the utmost respect for her and she has this kind of energy. But she's also so beautiful.
The enemy knows you have entered here. What hope you had in secrecy is now gone
Eight there are here, yet nine there were set out from Rivendell. Tell me, where is Gandalf? For I much desire to speak with him. I can no longer see him from afar.
Gandalf the Grey did not pass the borders of this land. He has fallen into shadow.
He was taken by both shadow and flame. A Balrog of Morgoth. For we went needlessly into the net of Moria.
Needless were none of the actions of Gandalf in life. We do not yet know his full purpose.
The quest stands upon the edge of a knife.
Stray but a little and it will fall. To the ruin of all.
Yet hope remains while the Company is true.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight, you will sleep.
Welcome, Frodo of the Shire.
One who has seen the Eye!!
TO BE CONTINUED
LINK TO ALL CHAPTERS:
"A JOURNEY WITH FRODO"
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