Peter Jackson’s love for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings shows in every detail of his trilogy. His enthusiasm is what launched a generation of fans around the world–new and old–into Middle Earth.
No matter what brought you into the magical and mystical world of Lord of the Rings; one thing is for certain – The Producers of the Lord of the Rings movies kept a few things hidden from fans.
Wouldn’t you like to know which cast member they chose to let keep THE “one’ ring.
Click “Start Slideshow” To Begin The Journey Through These AMAZING Hidden LOTR Secrets…
All in the family!
Family members of the cast and crew were regularly used as extras throughout the trilogy. In The Return of the King, Samwise Gamgee’s daughter is played by Alexandra, his real-life daughter. Peter Jackson himself made a cameo appearance in each of the films.
Guest of honor
Speaking of extras, Royd Tolkien, J.R.R.’s 34-year-old great grandson made an appearance as a Gondorian in the ruined city of Osgiliath. But don’t blink or you’ll miss him.
An arm and a leg
Sean Bean (Boromir) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) were two of the only actors who did not need prosthetics (eyes, nose, ears, etc.) to create the look of their characters, and John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) could only wish to be as lucky. He had such severe allergic reactions to the makeup needed to create his look that his eyes swelled shut on several occasions. As a result, Rhys-Davies could not wear the make-up two days in a row and had to arrange his film schedule accordingly.
Do the math
Speaking of prosthetics, the trilogy required 10,000 facial appliances, 3,500 pairs of feet, and 2,500 body suits.
Take a stand
The actors who required prosthetic feet had to stand for an hour and half every morning while the feet were applied. For approximately 50 days of the 15-month shoot, the feet didn’t even make an appearance on film.
Jack of all trades
Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) earned a reputation for being good at everything he tried on set. Mortensen mastered Elvish (making it the sixth language he knows) and took personal responsibility to wash and repair his costume, despite an available wardrobe crew.
Speaking of Viggo Mortensen’s skills, he was the one swordsman who barely needed coaching before appearing in fight scenes. (His cohorts needed weeks of training with Olympic fencer Bob Anderson.) Irony: Mortensen wasn’t Peter Jackson’s first choice to play Aragorn.
Lord of the Rings legend is replete with actors who turned down the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play important roles. Sean Connery, for instance, was originally offered the role of Gandalf, but he turned it down because he never read the books and couldn’t figure out the script.
Speaking of Sean Connery’s decision to turn down the role, he was offered up to 15% of total box office receipts on Lord of the Rings–which would have garnered him $400 million. This would have been the most any actor has ever made on a single role. Lesson to students everywhere: Literature class matters.
John-Rhys Davies (Gimli) also provides the voice of Man Ray on Spongebob Squarepants.
You’ve got mail
Lord of the Rings required chain mail–and lots of it. Lined side by side, the chain mail (actually made with tiny, plastic links) would stretch 6 miles. Two designers put together so much of the chain mail that it rubbed off their fingerprints.
Speaking of the plastic chain mail, 12.5 million plastic links were used to create the costumes.
When Liv Tyler was given the role of Arwen, she was the most recognizable name in the cast. The role required her to lower her trademark high, breathy voice–something she did by using a technique she learned from her famous musical parents.
Liv Tyler was so successful lowering her voice that her famous dad, Steven Tyler, didn’t recognize it and asked if it had been dubbed by someone else.
By the end of production, the 9 members of the Fellowship were so closely knit that 8 of them decided to get matching tattoos. Their choice?–the Elvish “nine.” John Rys-Davies declined the opportunity.
Rys-Davies may have declined the tattoo, but Peter Jackson went along for the ride. He received a tattoo of the Elvish “ten.”
Thanks, but no thanks
Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for the role of Frodo. In his own words, “We heard back it was literally one of the worst auditions.”
Ian Holm (Bilbo) played Frodo in a radio dramatization of The Lord of the Rings in 1981. This experience caught Peter Jackson’s attention and made him a natural choice to play Bilbo.
Peter Jackson was notorious for changing the script, even in the midst of production, leaving actors little to no time to memorize the updated lines. The scripts were re-written nearly every day of the 15 months of shooting, with additional input from the actors who–the later the films got–were heavily invested in their own roles and wanted the lines to be perfect.
Speaking of re-writes, during one particular scene in The Fellowship of the Ring–the Council of Elrond–Sean Bean (Boromir) read his script by lowering his gaze every few seconds to where the new script was affixed to his knee.
New Zealand is filled with good horse riders–many of whom are women–and the directors believed it would be foolish not to take advantage of them while filming. Riders throughout the movies were often women wearing beards.
Home sweet Hobbit-hole
During production, Peter Jackson became emotionally attached to Bag End–Bilbo Baggins’s home–and it now sits on a hill behind Jackson’s house, serving as a guest home to Jackson’s many impressive guests.
Speaking of Bag End, two versions of the set were built. One accommodated the hobbits, and the other was built 33% smaller to accentuate Ian McKellen’s full size. Not a detail of the second home was overlooked–even the books on the shelves were re-created smaller.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the first fantasy ever to win “Best Picture.”
Christopher Lee (Saruman) was a lifelong fan of The Lord of the Rings, reading it yearly from the time it was published until Lee died in 2015. As the only actor in the cast to have actually met J.R.R. Tolkien, Lee was particularly proud of the fact Tolkien gave his blessing for him to play the role of Gandalf. (Lee never played Gandalf because his age would have made it difficult to carry out fight scenes, but he agreed with the casting decision.)
Minister of the Rings
Because the film created such a boost to New Zealand’s economy, the New Zealand government created a role–Minister for Lord of the Rings–specifically to take advantage of the opportunity and to bring in even more revenue.
Watch your language!
The Elvish spoken in The Lord of the Rings movies is not just a compilation of quotes from the book. Instead, writers used Tolkien’s dictionary to create the lines. Recordings of Tolkien reading his books were used to ensure correct pronunciation.
If the barn needs painting
During the scene in the Mines of Moria when they discover the tomb, Aragorn is only filmed from one side. The reason? He went surfing the day before and wiped out terribly, bruising his face so badly the makeup team couldn’t conceal it.
Falling and getting up again
Frodo falls down a whopping 39 times in the trilogy.
A touch of Tolkien
Ian McKellen (Gandalf) patterned his accent after J.R.R. Tolkien’s accent.
Staying in character
Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) decided to keep his sword with him at all times so as to remain in character. This created several run-ins with police in town as bystanders noticed and reported the man with the sword.
Sean Astin gained 30 pounds–as required–to play the role of Samwise.
40 seamstresses made a whopping 19,000 costumes during the production of the trilogy.
Speaking of costumes, the designers took very seriously J.R.R. Tolkien’s descriptions and followed each one as closely as possible. One example: Bilbo Baggins’s waistcoat actually includes real brass buttons (thanks to the reference in The Hobbit).
In Bilbo’s party, Pippin is playing a guitar in the band.
What’s for breakfast?
A whopping 1,460 eggs were served daily to the cast and crew.
Call in sick
It would take 681 minutes (or 11 hours, 21 minutes) to watch the extended versions of the trilogy back to back, start to finish. Many fans have enjoyed a marathon or two over the years.
The screeches made by the Orcs in the Mines of Moria are actually the nocturnal screams of possums. Say what?
Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) was required to shave his eyebrows 5 times during production. Small price to pay.
The average height of the actors playing the roles of the hobbits was 5’6″. Great lengths were taken to make them look smaller without suffering in the quality of the film. Often tricks of light or spacing were employed.
All is not as it seems
The giant trees in the Lothlorien Forest are made of rubber.
A dream come true
Cate Blanchett said she took the role of Galadriel because she “always wanted pointy ears.” Following production she had the pointy ears bronzed. (Liv Tyler intended to have her prosthetic ears bronzed as well, but she left them on the dashboard of her car and they melted.)
The Lord of the Rings trailer was downloaded over 1.6 million times in its first 24 hours.
With this ring
Two main rings were used–as props for the one ring–in the movies. Following production, Peter Jackson gave one to Elijah Wood (Frodo) and one to Andy Serkis (Gollum). For a long time, both men thought they had the only ring.
Peter Jackson’s original plan was for Frodo to push Gollum off the ledge into Mount Doom, but believing this would not be true to Tolkien’s intention for his hero, the scene was re-shot as it ended in the movie.