Aftonbladet at the set of the Two Towers


We are in Edoras, which are a big part of the Two Towers. King Theodén is talking to Aragorn about the evil that is threathening Rohan. The actors Bernard Hill and Viggo Mortensen are struggling to get the shoot right so it will fit in with the footage that was shot more than 18 months ago.

“Sometimes it’s like doing a puzzle,” says the director Peter Jackson to Aftonbladet.

Aftonbladet is the only Scandinavian newspaper at the set of the box-office success movie The Two Towers. From midsummer in Sweden I travelled to the other side of the world and midwinter in New Zealand.

To Middle-Earth

Peter Jackson and his crew have recreated the landscape and the enviroment that Tolkien created to do pic-up shoots for The Two Towers.

The Two Towers is going to be released on the 18th December, and during the seven weeks of pic-up shooting, Jackson is getting the shots he wants to get everything right.

The wind is blowing hard and cold as though it’s coming straight from Mordor. On the backyard of the studio a man is standing and smearing mud on the extras before they can go on stage.

No re-shooting

The outstanding Christopher Lee has Saruman‘s hair tied up as braids between takes. He is telling me how much he loves Stockholm and how disappointed he was on the jury at the Oscars this year.

“It’s a shame that The Fellowship of the Ring didn’t win the best movie and director.”

Peter Jackson walks around in shorts all the time, even when we were up in the mountains and it’s pouring cold rain and he was filming a scene where it was loads of dead orcs lying on the ground, Rohan-soldiers and horses are lying in a ford.

After Christmas and the premiere of the first movie, Peter Jackson sat down to cut and edit the second movie, while Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens continued writing new scenes for it.

“When I had done the first rough cut of the movie, The Two Towers, I felt what had to be more clear and what I had to brushed up in the story,” says Peter Jackson.

“It’s no re-shoots of stuff we had already filmed 18 months ago that we are shooting here today, only new shoots. We did the same thing with The Fellowship of the Ring and we will be doing this for the third movie as well.”

How much time in the new movie is it that your filming now?

“I would guess about 25 minutes, but nothing is finished yet. I haven’t even edited the movie yet, and I dont know for sure how long the movie will be. It will probably end up at 3 hours — as long as the first one.”

More than one team is filming

I am walking around in stonestreet studios that Jackson built in a former paint factory. Right now they have multiple units filming everyday for pic-up shoots for the Two Towers. A normal film usually has an A-team and B-team that are filming, but here it’s A,B,C,D and E. Seven inside and four outside is filming at the same time.

The palace in Edoras have many important shoots in the movie. The filmmakers built the whole city on a remote mountain on the south island, one and a half hours walk from the nearest road, on the other side of the three rivers.

Everything was demolished after they shot it the first time more than 18 monts ago. Now they are building the Golden Hall in the king’s palace again. Viggo Mortensen is checking the clip they have in the computer so that the movments match the edited scene.

“It is hard work and very complicated but it is good,” says Mortensen. “It’s good that Peter doesn’t get satisfied easily and that he is always raising the bar a bit and making it always a bit harder.”

How hard was it to transform into Aragorn after 18 months of break?

“When I got my Aragorn gear on me I felt I was in the role straight away again.”

The movie will be better that the first one

There are a lot more new characters in The Two Towers. Two of them are extra-hard challenges. The talking Treebeard and the hissing Gollum are both computer generated, but it is actors behind the voices and their movments.

King Theodén and his niece Eowyn and his nephew Eomer are playing a big part in the story.

“I am sure that the Two Towers will be better than the first movie,” says Bernard Hill who’s playing Theodén. “This movie is more human feelings and more deep.”

When the day’s filming is over Viggo Mortensen walks over with a red and white t-shirt just to show that he supports Denmark in the world cup of football.

Viggo compares the work of the three movies with a garden.

“The first movie blossomed into a beautiful movie last year, then it withered away and disappeared. Now we are planting seeds again. We aren’t just throwing seeds all around the place and hoping that it will be like last time, this time we are digging deep and working hard to make a new and even more beautiful garden.”