“An exclusive group of affluent film-merchants got to see 20 minutes of very temporary and incoherent footage from Peter Jackson’s filming of Tolkien’s trilogy LOTR at last years filmfestival in Cannes. More hasn’t been leaked from the topsecret project until last thursday night, when New Line Cinema invited the world press and showed 25 incredible minutes from the coming 3 movies – each lasting 2-3 hours.
Here, my ladies and gentlemen, were the otherwise so blasé filmjournalists given such a treazt that you have to go back to Star Wars times for a parallel. Many even thought that George Lucas might as well sénd Han Solo, Anakin Skywalker, R2D2, and the rest on retirement, and forget everything about competing with LOTR – so much do the hobbits, elves, and dwarves kick ass!
The records do cling to this monster of a filmproduction. Roads have been constructed and demolished again, along with houses, cave systems, and castles. Adding to the production budget of 2,5 billion kroner, the company plans on spending 400 million kr. – or what equals the production of approximately 50 dogma-movies – to market the trilogy.
But much is also at stake. Even though Mark Ordesky from New Line, who also was involved in Lars von Triers “Dancer In The Dark”, claims that the 34 yr. old company will survive a flop, he looks very pale by the thought of it. Earlier this year New Line had to sack one fifth of their staff, and therefore many argues that the company’s very existence directly depends on the trilogy’s succes.
Peter Jackson: “Hollywood – in this case Miramax – would compress the trilogy into only one movie, but from the beginning I told them that it would be impossible. Surely, from a novel of 1000 pages you can’t bring everything on to the screen, but we really have tried to include all of the most important characters and events. you can say this is not solely a film FOR Tolkien-fans, it’s a film made BY Tolkien-fans,” says PJ, who has spent 7 yrs. of his life on the project.
Most of the starcast attend the several days lasting press offensive that almost can be compared to a military operation. Among others the Danish American Viggo Mortensen who plays Aragorn.
“Viggo was the last actor to be hired for the movie. We were lacking the perfect Aragorn, when a colleague asked me to re-watch some of the films he had done. And there he suddenly was as large as life in front of me. Viggo has during the shooting been completely synonymous with Aragorn, to such an extent that it’s hard to see him as Viggo again and not Aragorn. I have never ever witnessed an actor enter into the spirit of a role the way he did,” Peter Jackson says, and adds: “Even though the 3 movies first and foremost are the result of a supreme teamwork, I’m certain that Viggo Mortensen will be a world-famous star already from film no. 1. He has exactly what will make most people see him as the great hero.”
As for himself, Viggo Mortensen, who has a Danish father and who speaks a perfect Danish, says to Politiken:
“I don’t really know exactly what happened myself, but I lost myself completely in the role of Aragorn. I am a man who likes to withdraw myself into solitude, and walk long hikes in the woods and in the mountains. So is Aragorn. We just fit perfectly together.”
The Danish distributor is careful not to market the movie too massively in Denmark: “I don’t think we Danes are into that kind of overfeeding. I know from myself, if I hear and see too much of a certain thing in too short a time, I instinctively turn against it. We wouldn’t wnat that to happen in this case. Of course we will have a gala opening a week before the official release, where we will invite members of the royal family – as you know, Queen Margaret herself has illustrated Tolkien’s works – and I sincerely hope that we will get Viggo Mortensen to Denmark to promote each movie.”
“The first two movies end with a cliffhanger, followed by an appetizer for the next to come,” Peter Jackson explains.
As for the merchandise, Mark Ordesky says: “The actors have the right of veto against every single toy; if Elijah Wood doesn’t like a particular Frodo-figure, it just has to be made all over again. I think that’s the first time in movie history that such is the case”