TheOneRing.net and Lee Pace on set to talk ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
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MEDIA: So he’s involved?
PACE: He’s involved. He knows, he knows. He knows what’s going on. He knows the way the wind’s shifting in Middle-earth. But his response to it is a very different one that Gandalf takes. Gandalf is engaged in Middle-earth. He wants to see it to a good conclusion. I think Thranduil is– During those events, the rise of evil in Middle-earth, he is– I don’t know, I’m unsolved on it. It’s actually a very interesting question that I want to think more about.
He is, I wouldn’t say passive, but patient. I think he’s going to wait out the storm. He’s seen it before. You know what I mean? And if he hasn’t seen it before, he has heard the stories first-hand of what it was when almost all of the Dwarves were annihilated. And then they grew back and built these incredible palaces under the– He’s just been there. He knows. He knows the living processes of the earth. I don’t know, it’s a good question.
MEDIA: How easily did you adapt to having– On the one hand, part of the sets are so lavish and so detailed down to every last inch, and then there’s green screen on the other half. Reconciling those in your performance, was it an easy shift?
PACE: Well, I hate green screen. I hate that color, I hate looking at it, I think it’s so ugly and awful. And when I’m on set, I noticed it, when I’m doing ADR, I noticed it. So it is such a present thing that when I actually see the movie and the magical things that they put in place of it, it’s like– I mean, I understand the purpose of it because they can do these extraordinary things with it. But when you’re working with it, I just find it a huge distraction.
I’ll be honest. And it’s nothing to do with the CGI, because I know that Peter’s got something incredible planned. I just hate the color. I think it’s an offensive, awful—
PACE: The blue, yeah.
MEDIA: I don’t think you can use the blue screen on a red.
PACE: Yeah. That’s right.
Yeah. There’s that. So I don’t know. We’ve definitely had our share of green screen in this movie. Because it’s a beautifully lit scene, and there’s that fluorescent green all over the stage. These incredible sets, incredible costumes, and then you’re fighting with these weirdoes in green suits.
MEDIA: Was this a color dislike that pre-existed the rise of green screen as a technology, or back to childhood or something? I want to go back to the very beginning of your hatred, if at all possible. (This was definitely NOT TheOneRing.net for the record.)
PACE: I don’t know, I just don’t like it. Whenever I see it, I’m always like, “Can’t they figure out a better color?” But I guess it makes sense because you see it, you know what I mean? You see its reflection, you see its evidence everywhere. And it doesn’t really occur in nature, obviously. So it’s, I guess, a useful– Bigger minds than mine are at work on that subject, but for myself, sitting on that green throne, it’s like, “This is not what Thranduil would have done at all.”
MEDIA: So is there any piece of the costume or prop that you would like– I know at wrap they gave you your sword. But is there anything that you’re hoping that while they’re looking the other way you might be able to sneak out of the country?
SPOILER ALERT! (Minor)
PACE: A good question. I loved a lot of Beorn’s house. I wanted to take parts of that. I’ll take the whole thing actually, to be honest. I’ll take Beorn’s house. His giant chair, all the cool carvings and stuff, I love that. But with my stuff, I don’t know. I get two swords in the third movie, so I want another sword.
MEDIA: Is there any feeling– You were in the first film, you were in the second film, but do you get a little impatient though, really wanting your stuff to get out there and be released?
PACE: No, no, it will happen when it happens. Bigger minds than mine are at work on it when they shot the movie, the people. It’ll happen when it happens. It’s fun to know what you’ve got in the can. Do you know what I mean? And I think when it’s ready, people will see it.
MEDIA: You just talked about how patient this character is, so—
PACE: Well, that’s the character
MEDIA: Well, how about the other side to his question about anything you wish you could just make off with? Is there any part of the costume or the overall ensemble that you wish you could have burnt on day two and never had to deal with again for the rest of the shoot?
PACE: Like those that I hated?
MEDIA: That you just hated, that was uncomfortable, that you couldn’t act with.
PACE: Well, all of my costumes, they are big. They are huge and they’ve got capes and trains and big robes. I don’t have one costume that doesn’t have a trail of fabric coming behind me. And I don’t think there’s one scene that I shot that I haven’t tripped on it.
In the first scene that I appeared in in the movie, I go up these steps, and I’ve got these big golden robes falling behind me. And every single take, I tripped. I know I forced a cut on Peter because I’m trying to walk up these steps and I– With the cape in the Battle of the Five Armies, it gets everywhere. It doesn’t feel very Elfish, by the way, when I fall.
MEDIA: An Elvis in Elfish sized cape
PACE: More Elvis, less Elvish
MEDIA: Everybody sees Peter as this cinematic genius. But when you go to work with him, he’s Pete, and you’ve got to communicate with him. So what was interesting to learn about watching this genius in action and getting to know him just as a guy?
PACE: His sheer creativity is one of the most interesting things about him. And he and Fran’s generosity. The work that they did on the Memphis Three I find very inspiring. And the fact that they’re making this massive movie that millions of people will see in the world, and they are still engaged, and people forget– But I think a lot of that came from Lord of the Rings.
The more I’ve gotten to know the people originally involved in Lord of the Rings, the more I come to respect how much work they do. We get a lot of Make-A-Wish kids who come to be a part of the set, to watch it. There’s something about these movies that people going through a very difficult time in their life respond to. And I admire Pete and Fran and Philippa so much for welcoming that into their life, into their creative process with such generosity.
That’s important. Making movies, entertaining people is one thing, helping people deal with very difficult moments in their life is something completely different. And I think that they’ve got an eye to that when they make these movies, and eye to the difficulty of death, living life for the moment, courage in the face of insurmountable odds. That’s the story they’ve told with Lord of the Rings that I find so interesting and moving.
And it’s been moving to so many people around the world in lots of different languages and cultures. They’ve had an idea the whole time, and that’s pretty incredible. And I think they brought that to The Hobbit as well, in a way that– It’s a different movie, it ends in a funeral. In a big battle and a funeral. It doesn’t end in a wedding. That’s, I guess, the answer to that, yeah.
MEDIA: I was curious as to how the past couple of years have worked for you. How much time have you actually spent here? What has your flexibility been like, scheduling-wise, being on call to come down here, etcetera?
PACE: No, I’ve worked a lot in between working on this. Yeah, no, I’ve come down, shoot for– First time I was down here for two months, and I came down for– I shot for three months last summer, but I came down a month early and travelled around New Zealand and saw the place and enjoyed it. It’s an extraordinary place.
So to have a month, and to have three trips down here to get the opportunity to see more of it has been awesome. But yeah, it’s been a welcome thing for the past few years. I’ll miss it, to be frank. If it’s ever done. But talk to Ian about that. (NOTE: Ian McKellen told us that very day that these films never end and I am quite sure it is just what he told Lee Pace as well.)
MEDIA: Did you have a favorite New Zealand place? Any place you’ve especially loved?
PACE: I went for a really great hike around– Is it Tongariro?
MEDIA HANDLER: Tongariro Crossing? Crossing, yeah.
PACE: Yeah, Tongariro. Yeah, I did the Tongariro– With the crossing. But there’s this four day hike that goes all the way around both of the volcanos, and hiked up to the top. And it’s where the mountain in Lord of the Rings is. Doom. You’ve been up there, too?
(NOTE: The Tongariro Crossing is on the North Island and TheOneRing.net representative, as you are about to read, tried it. It is about 12 miles or 19 km long at the shortest route and it is pretty hard with a steep elevation climb. I happened to try it in full-on zero-visibility rain, but it was a trek to be sure. So Pace, talking about a four day hike, is pretty amazing. Be impressed. Pictured above.)
MEDIA: We went on a hike. Actually we had to cut it short.
PACE: Did you do the Crossing or the Northern Circuit?
MEDIA: The Crossing. But the weather made us turn back.
PACE: I know, it can be pretty gnarly up there. But I was taking these– I did what’s called the Northern Circuit which goes in a bigger loop around them and then you can go through the Tongariro Crossing. And there are guest books in each of the huts that you could stay in.
And there was one that had Frodo and Samwise Gamgee going through. “Where are you from?” “Hobbiton.” “Where are you going?” “Mount Doom, to destroy the one ring.” What was one of the other things? And then it went, “Where are you going to next?” And Samwise Gamgee said, “To win back the girl of my dreams.” What was one of the other funny things? I forget.
MEDIA: There are a few nerds.
PACE: I know, I know.
MEDIA: Thank you.
PACE: Cool. Well, thank you all very much. Yeah, good talking to you. Enjoy the rest of your stay here.
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