Happy Froday!! Can't believe I'm finally posting this latest chapter of 'Journey'. I posted the previous one on December 1st and since then, of course, I've had a load of upheaval in my life. But things are finally beginning to calm down.
Anyway, this new chapter covers various events during the ROTK publicity tour. And Frodo and Sam are struggling through Emyn Muil.
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 new chapter:
Back in the States after Collectormania, the ‘Return of the King’ publicity tour starts in earnest.
16 October 2003 ~ Photoshoot - Central Park:
Elijah and Sean met Paul Lieberman of the LA Times in Central Park for an interview and photoshoot. These are a few extracts from the interview:
“The experience in making these movies has been very much that of the characters we embodied," says the filmmaker's Frodo, Elijah Wood. "Going on this journey with a fellowship of people and … returning home … having grown and changed." In his case that meant "being so immersed in my life in New Zealand, and in Middle-earth … that I didn't know what my life meant anymore, which is kind of similar to what Frodo goes through and, I think, what a lot of the characters go through. They go home and … it doesn't mean the same."
It was in New York that he had a brief reunion last month with Astin, whom he's seen periodically since their primary filming concluded before Christmas 2000. Last year, they went together — and stood in line — to attend the first public showing of a rival epic, "Star Wars: Episode 2 Attack of the Clones," at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
His daughters were like, "I love the hobbits!", Astin reports when he meets us off Central Park, our staging point for a rowboat ride in its lake. Astin came up with the idea for the excursion from a fond childhood memory of when John and Patty Duke Astin would come to New York to host the local taping for Jerry Lewis' annual telethon and he would play in the park.
Sean Astin is much like the eager-to-please everyman he often plays, this morning relishing the encounters with strangers in the park — if they happen not to recognize him, he just may tell 'em. Wood, though far more reserved, also is not beyond enjoying the recognition game, which he can't escape despite looking more like a bohemian English schoolboy than a Shire creature with his torn jeans, tan jacket, wispy goatee and hair fluffed into a mini-Mohawk. "To your right," he whispers as Astin rows us into the lake — there's a photographer on a bridge who he suspects is after more than fall scenery.
Wood got a taste of tabloid realities when he was linked briefly to actress Franka Potente — the "rumors" had his mother calling to ask if they'd secretly married. That's "ex-girlfriend" history, Wood reports in the boat, but his right hand still bears a ring the German beauty gave him, inscribed in Hebrew with the words of Hillel, the 1st century rabbi, "If not now, when?"
"I just love the sentiment," Wood says, and then lights a clove cigarette, which reminds him how Astin's little daughter would plead in New Zealand, "Elijah, don't smoke."
Looking back is at the heart of their key scene in 'The Return of the King', a scene that provides another reminder of how long a trip it's been. Wood recited his lines for it at three stages: In L.A., when he was a hopeful making his audition tape for Jackson; then in full costume, on the side of Mt. Ruapehu, a real volcano in New Zealand; and finally this past September, during a looping session in London, part of the seemingly endless "tweaking" to make sure they don't blow what they've started with the trilogy. Though a saga like this is fantastical by definition, Jackson's mantra was "make it feel real," as in the scenes on the mountain which he calls "the heart" of the film. "If anybody is going to cry," the director says, "that's going to be the scene that will start them."
Our rowboat finishes circling the lake, by lovers on the shore, romping dogs and a few fellow boaters who realize ("Oh, my god!") that hobbits are among them. Then we head off for photos in the north end of the park, where the woods, waterfall and stream will have to pass for New Zealand. Wood and Astin are nimble and willing, whether climbing on a tree or a boulder. Having spent most of their lives in front of cameras, they check the results on a photographer's digital screen — old pros at 22 and 32. They understand that the biggest "bounce" off a movie like this goes to the glamorous actors who have the more classically heroic roles, like the elf archer Bloom, or rugged Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn. Neither seems to mind.
Wood has his next role lined up, as a student journalist among London's hooligan soccer fans. Then he may play the son of a circus strongman. But while his face will let him play young a while longer, his quest is for "roles that are older."
In the van back from the park, he goes over photos taken of him in a tapered Prada suit that makes his shoulders look broad. His jawline is firm and clean shaven, his hair brushed back.
"That's also part of what my journey has been about," he says. "I mean, I started when I was 8, so part of my journey has been about growing up within the industry and growing into an adult actor, being recognized as a man and not a boy anymore."
Astin examines the photos and says, "Stunning, dude."
19 November 2003 – TRL
Elijah, Dom and Billy appeared on MTV’S TRL:
They are asked what they think of their hobbit figures. Elijah said Frodo seems to be more buff than he is and thanked them for making it look as if he’d been working out!!
20 November 2003 – Toronto
Elijah, Billy and and Andy move on to Canada to do a couple of days promotion in Toronto.
They appear on Much Music’s ‘Much on Demand’ (similar to TRL):
Yes, that is Elijah & Billy having a bit of a dance together!!
Extracts from Toronto Sun article by Bruce Kirkland:
1. A Sense of family: "That is one very potent thing," Serkis says of his delight in getting back with Wood and Boyd here, and the whole cast for future interviews and premieres. "Which is great -- everybody coming together for this ritual."
Says Wood: "Even the fans feel that they are part of the family. There is a connection that has been made."
The family concept grew on set, thanks to family man Jackson, and that spilled over onto the screen, says Serkis. "He had a family of actors that has built up into this huge army -- 4,000 people were at the wrap part for the principal photography. People respond to the sense of
family (watching the films)."
Getting satisfaction: "We've just started this particular tour of promotion," says Wood, "and it's difficult to imagine it ending and being finished. But, I can project, at the end of it there will definitely be a great sense of accomplishment and maybe relief in the
sense that it's done, it's finished."
Bring hankies or Kleenex: "One thing I'd like people to know," Wood says of Return, "is to come prepared with something that they can wipe their noses and eyes with, because they're going to cry. Because it's sad. It's incredibly sad and triumphant as well. It is so much about what is lost and ultimately what is gained and what is sacrificed for
the greater good. It's the end of the journey."
Story vs. effects: "I for one," says Wood, "am certainly tired of these epic blockbusters with all flash and no substance. It's starting to kill me. I have no patience for it anymore." He wants the Rings trilogy to show how it should be done, through epic storytelling, not
just special effects. "I think it has already had an influence -- I certainly hope it has."
Awe for Peter Jackson: Serkis wants audiences to realize what Jackson has wrought in his seven years of developing the trilogy. "It is probably the most inspiring act I've ever encountered working in the profession. It's on a monster scale!"
The Oscars: Even if Return fails in a best picture quest, the actors want Jackson to win, in honour of his monumental overall accomplishment. "It would be a real shame if he didn't," says Wood. "Pete's got to win best director," says Serkis. "His achievement in direction is unsurpassed." Says Boyd: "No one has ever done what Pete has done."
Says Wood: "I remember the first thing that I did after Lord Of The Rings, it was an effing walk in the park, man. Five minutes in makeup, normal clothes, no 'feet' and 12-hour days, five days a week. It was the easiest thing in the world."
TNS ‘Off the Record’ TV Show:
24 November 2003 - Nieman Marcus LOTR Window:
Back in LA, and Elijah, Billy and Sir Ian unveil the Nieman Marcus LOTR-themed window!
They chat together whilst waiting:
And then - action!!
And all is revealed!!
Interviewer: “What do you think of the window in the Bag End clothing line?”
Eijah: : "Amazing! Yet another wonderful job by Chris and Dan Hannah, our Art Designers - they're amazing! I'm just a little worried that people are going to come by and steal from this you know, break in, the Ring is in there! It could be very dangerous!
Asked if he was excited about ROTK, he said that out of the three it was the one they were most excited to bring to the world and to give the fans the end of the story.
Interviewer: “At one point we'll be able to sit and see all three.”
Elijah mentions that he is, in fact, going to attend one of those events.
“Do you have any tips for people who are going to do this?”
E: “Erm ... a catheter?”
He also mentioned that perhaps they should leave out the credits on the first two films and just include them with the third. He advised going easy on the liquids and taking plenty of tissues because there's a lot of tears!
The interviewer wanted to know Elijah's opinion of Liv Tyler as they were doing a feature on her: "She's awesome. One of the genuinely most sweet people I've met in my life. Unbelievably kind and gorgeous and warm - a beautiful heart. She brought a beautiful sort of feminine energy to the experience - it was always lovely to have her around.”
My Journey continued:
I remember being on such an emotional rollercoaster at this time; reliving my Collectormania experience through my own memories and everyone else’s reports and pics, combined with the excitement over the looming release of ‘Return of the King’. At the same time there was the same old feeling of wanting to hold back time, just not wanting it all to be over. I was also quite worried about the emotional impact of ROTK – and Mr Wood didn’t help much when he said things like this …
“FRODO GETS EMOTIONAL
LORD OF THE RINGS star ELIJAH WOOD is trying to avoid watching the final part of the trilogy - because a segment of it has already brought him to tears.
The actor, who plays unlikely Hobbit hero FRODO BAGGINS in the epic films, was left sobbing in the cinema when director PETER JACKSON showed his cast the final hour of the film this summer (03).
And he hopes he never has to sit through the experience again.
He says, "I've never cried so intensely in a movie theatre before. It's really shocking. I think fans of the book know how emotional it's going to be, but I don't think there's anything that can really prepare you for what the last hour of this movie is going to do.
"It's pretty relentless. It wrecked me, and I was in it. I was sobbing. There's a couple of moments when ARAGORN is made king - a moment between Aragorn and the Hobbits that I can't really go into detail about, but it is incredibly emotional.
"There's also a scene at the end of the movie where the Hobbits say goodbye to each other, and f***, that's hard to watch. It's so sad because I can actually see myself saying goodbye to my friends."
Frodo’s Journey continued ~ We’re Not Alone:
Andy (dvd): "I liked it in the New York premiere when Peter walked on stage and said, 'Just imagine that the reels have been swapped over and there’s been a bit of a gap in between and you’ve just got your popcorn and sat down again'.
Sean: You know, some people will get the dvd from the ‘Fellowship’ and they’ll watch that all the way through, the extended version and stuff with the commentary and then, if they’re really insane they’ll go right into the second dvd as soon as that hits the street.
Elijah: Which most people are, God bless them!!
Andy: This scene is phonomenal.
Elijah: And a great overlap, you know, really the only way he did go back to catch people up, and it's perfect.
What is it Mr Frodo?
Just a dream.
Elijah: “Ohhh, very interesting! This was cut out of the theatrical edition.
Can you see the bottom?
No, don’t look down Sam – just keep going!
Catch it! Grab it, Mr Frodo!
Dom: "Elijah’s actually a very gifted one-hand catcher."
Billy: "And also can never hurt himself no matter where he falls."
I think I’ve found the bottom!
Bogs and ropes and goodness knows what! It’s not natural. None of it!
Phillipa Boyens: "You wanted to show Frodo less grim, you don’t want to start on him grim."
PJ: "It was done to try to see a little bit more of a lighter side to Frodo and Sam before the story got too grim. It does succeed at that – I am pleased to have it back because the Frodo that we see here at the beginning of the film is more similar to how Frodo ends up at the end of the film after he’s travelled the journey he’s about to go on."
Phillipa Boyens: Fran and I went hunting for something that would remind Frodo of the Shire and sure enough there it was in the book and the salt actually is something that Sam carries all the way.
What’s in this? [Marijuana – according to Dom!]
Elijah: "This scene was actually a new scene that we added and, as our luck always is Sean, we spent a couple of days filming this and it didn’t end up in the theatrical edition.
Andy: "Was this one of the first things you shot when you got back?"
E: "One of the first things we shot, yes.
I’ll tell you what, going back for Two Towers was probably the most enjoyable time going back because we did get to spend all that time with you and I think we finally all got to connect on a level that we hadn’t been able to before.
A: "It was really kind of broken up before, wasn’t it?"
E: "It was – your time with all of the motion capture. It was such a pleasure actually this time around. The weird thing about it is it literally feels like you haven’t left."
I thought maybe if we was having a roast chicken one night or something.
You never know!
Sam! My dear Sam!
It’s very special that. It’s the best salt in all the Shire.
It is special …
It’s a little bit of home.
We can’t leave this here for someone to follow us down.
Who’s gonna follow us down here, Mr. Frodo?
PJ: The little prefiguring of Gollum is quite nice too. We’re aware that Gollum’s around after the first movie and certainly in this longer version we’d shot little bits and pieces that were teasing on him following them. We abandoned all that in the theatrical and just introduced him very quickly.
It’s a shame really, Lady Galadriel gave me that. Real Elvish rope. Well, there’s nothing for it. If it’s one of my knots it won’t come down in a hurry.
Real Elvish rope!!
Mordor. The one place in Middle-earth we don’t want to see any closer. And it’s the one place we’re trying to get to. It’s just where we can’t get.
PJ: "This was shot on a real volcano in New Zealand called Ruapehu. It was the one place we could find all these jagged rocks and mountain peaks – ‘cos the Emyn Muil scene is something that I love in the book as well – the idea of just walking round this mist-shrouded mountainous countryside and walking round in circles."
Let’s face it Mr Frodo, we’re lost. I don’t think Gandalf meant for us to come this way.
PB: "And the wider shots were shot about two years earlier, weren’t they?"
PJ: "Well, the wide shots were in the original shoot and the close-up we’re looking at now were again part of the pick-ups that we did."
He didn’t mean for a lot of things to happen Sam … but they did
It’s the Ring, isn’t it?
It’s getting heavier.
"In fact with every step towards the gates of Mordor Frodo felt the Ring on its chain about his neck grow more burdensome. He was now beginning to feel it as an actual weight dragging him earthwards. But far more he was troubled by the Eye: so he called it to himself. It was that more than the drag of the Ring that made him cower and stoop as he walked. The eye: that growing sense of a hostile will that strove with great power to pierce all shadows of cloud, and earth, and flesh, and to see you: to pin you under its deadly gaze, naked, immovable. So thin, so frail and thin, the veils were become that still warded it off. Frodo knew just where the present habitation and heart of that will now was: as certainly as a man can tell the direction of the sun with his eyes shut. He was facing it, and its potency beat upon his brow." (The Two Towers ~ The Passage of the Marshes)
Mark Ordesky: "There’s another interesting thing – we don’t go into the whole Ring thing, it’s like it’s taken as a given – he’s clutching his chest, you’ve got to know the Ring is there, and all that the Ring represents, it’s all just taken as a given.
What food have we got left?
Well let me see. Oh yes, lovely. Lembas bread. And look …
More Lembas bread!
PB: "What was the lambas bread, by the way? Was it scone? It looks like something I’d make!!"
PJ: "Well it was baked in the oven, it was like a type of pastry, biscuity, shortbread type of thing. The Art Department made them and had a big supply of them and we used to nibble on them in the course of the shoot."
But this Elvish stuff, it’s not bad!
Sean: "It was crunchy and kind of powdery."
Elijah: "It was dense – I mean it was funny because in some ways it really was as dense as it was described."
S: "That’s the thing as an actor, you need to eat food and then be able to swallow quickly while talking ..."
E: "Some actors love that though, some actors use food as a prop."
S: "But I wouldn’t say that on the continuum of foodstuffs that are easiest to work with that lembas bread is towards the easier!"
E: "No, it’s not exactly - especially if you over-compensate and put too much in your mouth, it suddenly becomes a bit of a burden ‘cos its so difficult to digest."
S: "Well, the worst thing about the lembas bread frankly was pronouncing it the way Andrew Jack and Roisin Carty wanted.
E: "They kept coming up to Sean and asking him to elongate the Laaaambas …"
Nothing ever dampens your spirits, does it Sam?
Those rain clouds might
S: "When we got back to the Powderhorn Lodge where we stayed …"
E: "God bless the Powderhorn Lodge – I love that place!"
A: "Yes, God bless the Powderhorn …"
S: … "at the Powderhorn there was this Camp Goodtimes feel to …"
E: [High-pitched giggle] "Camp Goodtimes!!"
S: ".. it's where everyone would gather in the room and the dailies were set up and Peter, who would shoot a lot of takes – that wasn’t a sort of reflection on the fact that you were sucking …
… well everybody was piped up and we had the pizza and we watched a couple of rolls of this and – look at the beautiful thing …"
E: "Then all of a sudden there are endless takes of laaaaambas bread!!!"
PJ: "This stuff here – this was a great day because we were up this mountain and suddenly the clouds descended and it fogged right up and we just grabbed our cameras and we abandoned what we were supposed to shoot and just said 'lets shoot the stuff of them wandering around lost' – its foggy, its misty, its great, its cloudy and all this is natural, none of this is like added, artificial, fake smoke, its all real clouds and mist that was suddenly there on the day and we shot this stuff very quickly, we sort of jumped onto the scene when we realised the clouds were going to be with us a few hours."
This looks strangely familiar.
It’s because we’ve been here before. We’re going in circles!!
"It was the third evening since they had fled from the Company, as far as they could tell: they had almost lost count of the hours during which they had climbed and laboured among the barren slopes and stones of the Emyn Muil, sometimes retracing their steps because they could find no way forward, sometimes discovering that they had wandered in a circle back to where they had been hours before." (The Two Towers ~ The Taming of Smeagol)
Yes. I can smell it.
We’re not alone!
TO BE CONTINUED
is a connection that has been made."
LINK TO ALL CHAPTERS:
"A JOURNEY WITH FRODO"
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