I've reached the point of almost posting this several times before, but kept thinking of something else I wanted to include. It's becoming quite addictive!! So, I'm posting this without too much preamble so that it doesn't happen again:D
LIFE IS GOOD!!
… or so it would seem from this great pic. Elijah looks so happy and carefree here but the physical processes involved in becoming Frodo every day were quite daunting – not least because of these:
“Over 15 months, through every available ecosystem and weather front known to planet Earth, it wasn't all going to be sunny moviemaking and beer-bonding. It got tough. Really tough. Every day they would rise at 5am, go to make-up and stand for an hour-and-a-half while the feet were stuck on (Wood spent the time reading books such as American Psycho and High Fedelity). Exhaustion hovered over them, a grim shadow of their character's trials. 'You can't really set yourself up for what the reality of that is going to be, and the reality was very hard. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my life.'" (Empire)
Elijah & Sean share a big hug at the start of another long day:
“Each of the 4 hero hobbits had their feet – and their ears – designed specifically for them to suit their character" Hamlin explains. And these varied quite a bit – it was easy to recognize whose feet and ears were whose at a glance. The hair that was applied to the feet and the ankles was also specifically [prepared] for each character to blend with skin tone and hair colouring." (LOTR Fan Club Mag)
Elijah inspects one of his feet:)
"They couldn't sit and have their feet glued on because their feet would be bent in the wrong position so they just literally had to stand up when I'm sure they'd much rather be in bed!!" (PJ - DVD)
"They wouldn't let us sit down!!"
"We were all like little dealmakers. We were constantly walking around trying to figure out if they were going to show the feet or not. Most of the time we knew— we knew — they weren’t going to use them, and they would not admit it because they wanted to cover their ass. So constantly we’d come to them and say, “Look, they’re not going to be seen so can you just say they’re not going to be seen, so we can have an extra hour of sleep tomorrow?” And they’re like, “No, Peter doesn’t know what he’s gonna see in the shot.” Nine times out of 10 they wouldn’t agree with us, and we’d have to suck it up and put our feet on—and we would be right!" (Arena)
"On days when we didn't have feet, we'd get really excited!!"
"Were you teased for your sweaty feet?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I was the one to constantly have his feet reapplied." (Arena)
Another on-set repair job!!
However, the long process of waiting for the feet to dry did have its compensations - it provided the perfect opportunity for some serious CD playing!!
“Café society in Wellington has boomed on the spending the film has generated and Elijah Wood’s CD purchases alone are probably keeping several music stores afloat.” (The Listener)
"Every morning I bring a book this big and pick about 3 CDs to listen to 'cos we're in here for so bloody long!!" (DVD)
“Last week Elijah [Wood] took me CD shopping. I'm this unhip married guy, but now he's got me listening to Ween and Travis and Björk” (Sean Astin ~ Eonline)
"Elijah is really the cutting edge music guru. He was turning me onto Moby, Beck, single syllable new artists. (laughs) I'm sort of the old nerd hobbit. My wife and I listen to James Taylor or Elton John. Everything I like Elijah hates, but the opposite is not true for me. I liked pretty much all the stuff he listened to. It was like going to another country when I would go into a CD store with Elijah." (Sean ~ MSN Live Chat)
And of course, there was plenty of time for just chatting and really getting to know each other.
"I've learned so much about Sean at every hour of the day - it's interesting - Sean's very inconsistent - there'll be days when he'll come in and he's really tired; some days he'll come in with the most brilliant energy - he'll start talking politics, he'll want to have serious discussions." (Return to Middle Earth)
"Elijah and I really bonded - we became more than friends, almost like brothers really" (Sean - DVD)
"Observes the waifish Wood about Astin's bulge battle, "I was watching a man that at times felt very uncomfortable in his skin. It physically brought him down and put a greater strain on him."
Far easier was building a realistic bond with each other, considering how much their personal situations reflect their characters.
Says Dominic Monaghan, who plays hobbit Merry, "They just got on very well, in a kind of big brother/little brother way."
They even had sibling-esque issues. "Elijah and me, we'd be playing loud music in the morning, just trying to wake us up, and it would tick Sean off," Monaghan recalls. But mostly the pair's differences worked to their advantage.
"They come at things from very different angles. Elijah is very cerebral and feels things very genuinely and emotionally, and Sean is a big thinker who thinks everything through and works out what it all means," Monaghan says. "They are just chalk and cheese."
Or Frodo and Sam." (USA Today)
"Off to the next bus!!"
Even at this unearthly hour of the morning, Elijah would still take the time to appreciate the awe-inspiring New Zealand scenery.
"How lucky are we to be in New Zealand to see this?"
"That's half of why this movie is so amazing - this kind of stuff - every day!!" (DVD)
“So what exactly went into the process of turning Wood into a Hobbit? First, [Nancy] Hennah would slick Wood’s hair with a gel that when dry had a texture similar to concrete.
Time for a spot of brekkie!!
Next, the Hobbit ears were glued on. “The ears are made out of foam latex” she says. “ Every actor who played a Hobbit or an Elf had casts made of their ears at the beginning of the shoot. Prosthetics were then modelled off those casts creating a perfect fit for each individual actor” Once the ears were on, Hennah would blend them to match the skin tone and would apply the makeup. “Elijah didn’t need much – he’s got beautiful skin!” she admits. Lastly, the actor’s wig was put on, glued onto the forehead and then pinned in the back. The entire process “takes about an hour to do – 45 minutes if we are racing.” Hennah says. “Elijah and I used to race to beat Sean Astin. It always seemed that Sean got out of the chair before he did”. (LOTR Fan Club Mag)
"Hair and makeup is not the sort of thing that could be done in the morning and then the actors would be fine all day: the makeup artists would literally be with the actors all day long. “We are the first people they have contact with in the morning as they sit in the chair, and then we go with them on set and we stand by them all day” Hennah says." (LOTR Fan Club Mag)
One make up artist was generally assigned to each of the actors, applying, removing and maintaing his Hobbit feet each day. “The team of actor and make up artist creates an important bond, and it is especially useful to the make up artists for speed & continuity reasons” says Hamlin. (LOTR Fan Club Mag)
This was also a time for studying the script - last-minute changes were the norm:
"I take it there were a lot of schedule changes. You must have woken up a lot of times not knowing what you were about to shoot."
"We never knew. About a month into the production, it became very obvious that we could not rely on the schedule. It was constantly changing. I’ve never seen a schedule change so much. Weather was a huge factor. Sometimes actors weren’t available yet because they were coming from overseas. The script was constantly changing—and that’s a positive thing. Normally when people mention that a script had to be rewritten constantly I think people tend to assume that that’s a negative, or that something was wrong. And that wasn’t the case with this film. It was just trying to find the right balance with Tolkien and a filmic kind of perspective—trying to include as much Tolkien as possible without making it too obscure." (Elijah,Newsweek)
The make-up trailers were sometimes places of celebration - and this must be Dom's birthday:
Elijah finally emerges into the morning sun, very nearly a hobbit. (Note shadow of cameraman)
... got my ears, got my feet
got my dirt!!
I think I'll go to my trailer now, listen to a little music ...
and get ready for the scene.
And the result of all these ministrations – the perfect, and very beautiful, incarnation of Frodo Baggins of the Shire. I’m sure Tolkien would have been delighted.
“I think in some ways Frodo is quite similar to me….And Frodo’s got a sort of quietness about him. In some ways he’s kind of internal in the sense that he thinks quite a lot and, unlike other Hobbits, he’s really kind of curious about the outside world and about adventures and travel and other peoples and places. I could relate to that as well. It’s interesting, after you’re a character for that length of time, the character bleeds into you and you bleed into the character and it’s difficult to tell really how that occurs and what part of you the character contains and so on and so forth.” (People.com)
I love this little story which Elijah has also related at a couple of talks - for me it evokes a very beautiful mental image:
"I had a bit of a break and took a stroll to my trailer. I was walking alone in this beautiful field and I just looked down at my feet and stopped. It was the first time that I felt like a hobbit. It was bizarre, but – just for a moment – I imagined that I really was a hobbit”. ~ (FOTR Visual Companion)
And at the end of the day - the shedding of the hobbit skin:
"Q: Did you get athelete's foot?
A: No, surprisingly. My feet were very well taken care of. I had a foot bath every day and we were massaged, cleaned and powdered."
Q: Did they let you keep the ears?
A: I grabbed a pair for myself. And no, I don't get tempted to wear them, but they're very comfortable. But towards the end of the day your ears start to sweat. Then you take them off and your ears are soaking wet, which is kind of a weird sensation. (Arena)
"At the close of the long, intense days of filming, the makeup artists spent about 30 minutes removing the Hobbit feet. “The actors loved this” Hamlin recalls. “when they had their feet removed, followed by a bowl of hot soapy water, a foot massage, and powder" (LOTR Fan Club Mag)
TO BE CONTINUED
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