Just taking advantage of a quiet time at work to get this latest chapter posted. It may be a little shorter than most of the others - there doesn't seem to be a great deal of behind-the-scenes material for this scene and I did consider combining it with the next scene but that would have made it far too long. So, here it is
Elijah spent much of 'The Dead Marshes' scene submerged in freezing cold water and at other times they were constantly interrupted by passing trains, so this was not the most comfortable of scenes to shoot as the following pics and text will illustrate.
"The Dead Marshes were filmed in a parking lot and a variety of parking lots - first and foremost on this wet set that was initially used for outside the Gates of Moria and was switched over and made into the Dead Marshes." (Elijah - DVD)
"Peter Jackson wanted an ominous feel to the Marshes," Lesnie explains. "He needed a misty, eerie, unsettling reality where there is no escape. A vast, never-ending landscape." ...
Initially, Jackson and Lesnie considered the large marshes near Te Anau, on New Zealand's South Island. But they soon realized that location wasn't a realistic option.
"We discovered that it is incredibly difficult to negotiate those marshes on foot, and a step in the wrong direction resulted in sinking up to your waist," Lesnie remembers. "We also heard from local farmers that some livestock disappear altogether. Consequently the decision was made to create our own marshes, for practical and safety reasons."
That meant building a water-ready facility in their Wellington studios. ...
"Apart from one aerial shot of the real marshes, the rest of the Dead Marshes was created on three 'wet sets', one indoors and two outside," Lesnie explains. "The biggest exterior set was a flooded carpark spanning thousands of square meters and skillfully dressed by the art department with structural landmasses and moss and vegetation transported from the real marshlands. ...
"The set was strategically positioned facing north to guarantee maximum backlight over the course of each shooting day, and massive sky backdrops or bluescreens were backed by shipping containers and scaffold ran along the north, east and western edges of the set."
Shooting was divided into distinct tanks, depending on the demands for the particular scene.
"The majority of the sequences were filmed on the big, exterior wet set," Lesnie says. "The smaller outdoor set was created in the studio carpark to offer more control for WETA Workshop's 'spectral corpses' [the "dead" who give the marshes their name]. Night and pre-dawn scenes were filmed on the interior set in order to avoid subjecting the actors and crew to freezing night temperatures (lotr.net)
Waiting for another train to pass!!
"He had to fight for Gollum to be realised as an actor and so I think a lot of the time when he would completely destroy himself physically he was giving his all so that the reference pass could be as perfect as it possibly could." Elijah, DVD)
"That suit took a beating too 'cos I remember it was all kind of clean and pristine and Andy - his approach was so intense and he gave absolutely everything every day and physically bashed himself about so the suit was just screwed. Also with the voice he'd give everything and as a result he'd be spitting and drooling - he tore up his throat with that voice - hence the Gollum juice!!" (Elijah - DVD)
Preparing for Frodo's fall ...
Considering he's about to be completely submerged in the freezing water, Elijah looks amazingly cheerful!!
A little apprehensive here perhaps ...
"Elijah Wood had been filmed suspended above a wind machine, and shot in slow motion to create the right look for Frodo under water. The top image by Gus has some of the other filmed material added as a guide for the compositors, while Alan’s study [below] is an earlier version."
(The Art of ‘The Two Towers’ ~ Gary Russel)
“But even indoors or on the warmest days, shooting the marsh scenes was a chilly affair for all concerned, especially the actors.
"Their clothing would become sodden as the day progressed," Lesnie recalls. "Elijah, Sean and Andy Serkis are wonderful actors who never complain, but it was a fragile and dangerous environment to work in, and everybody could feel the dank moisture permeating their bodies. Filming Frodo falling in and the immediate aftermath required Elijah to be soaked and Sean and Andy to be wet for hours at a time. ...
"I don't remember how cold the water was, but even though the actors had wetsuits and crew wore waders or wetsuits, it was bloody cold! You could feel it no matter what you had on."
The only antidote? "Plenty of hot soup," Lesnie says with a laugh”.
Wrap him up well!!
Frodo has his hair combed ...
There was always time for a few lighter moments ...
Q: "And then maybe on the set, do you sneak games when you're not working?"
WOOD: "Sure, Sean and I, for a period of time, actually played quite a lot of Tony Hawk. That was our game of choice."
WOOD: "Tony Hawk – what would that have been at the time? Well, 4 just came out, so it was Tony Hawk 2, I believe. So, at the time that was huge, and we were all involved in that." (IGN)
But for now a game of 'Thumbs' would have to suffice!!
The pic below is from Andy's book - it's from the scene where they're still in the marshland, Sam is asleep and Frodo, whilst indulging in a bit of Ring- worship, is disturbed by Gollum. He then confronts Gollum and reminds him of his long-forgotten, former self, Smeagol.
"Then Fran came up with the defining idea that this terrified Smeagol child could re-emerge through his growing connection and trust with Frodo, so that a fierce internal battle would really beging to grow, with Gollum being 'outed' and replaced by a new master. Smeagol could remember who he was again, feeling emotionally free from the hideous shackles that Gollum kept him in, and could, by talking to someone else apart from his Gollum self, find a kind of peace. This would also feed into Frodo's growing compassion and understanding of the weight of Smeagol's addiction and pain. As he helps Smeagol to reveal himself, Frodo learns to show pity and mercy, because he truly is beginning to sense the power that the Ring is having over himself. He needs to save Smeagol to know he can save himself. He is almost looking at a vision of himself, but much sicker. I started to think of Gollum/Smeagol as a sufferer of a severe terminal illness in its latter stages of development, whilst Frodo is just coming to terms with having contracted the same disease. This connection, of course, is a complete anathema to Sam, who remains defiant that it is all a ploy for Gollum to get the Ring." (Andy Serkis - "Gollum")
"Frodo learns to show pity and mercy, because he truly is beginning to sense the power that the Ring is having over himself"
TO BE CONTINUED
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