Peter Jackson was interviewed by Matt Lauer this morning which started off with an extended video clip of Saruman giving his speech to the Uruk Hai on the balcony of Orthanc.

Matt started off with a joke, reading a piece from a press clipping written before the opening of “Fellowship.” He read, “Peter Jackson is the guy that may ruin New Line Cinema if this movie sucks.” Matt went on to say the movie proved the critics wrong by getting 13 Academy Award nominations and winning 4, and going on to earn $890MM. Matt then asked if now that the studio pressure is off, is it much easier this time around. Peter said he is in the fortunate position – “that ship has already sailed.” Over the course of a year and a half, the film has already been shot. Then Peter said he must remain faithful to the movie, even more so than the book, because he views the films as one long story, broken in to three 3-hour pieces. He said he took some license with the film as he did with Fellowship, in order to tell the story the best way on film.

Peter said The Two Towers literally picks up where Fellowship leaves off. Matt asks if this version is darker and more violent. Peter explained that the second chapter of a trilogy is inherently darker. He said the first piece sets up the characters and sees them set off on their Quest. Now, things get more difficult. At this point, we hear Peter’s voice as we see some of the filming of TTT. There are shots of orcs falling off the ladders scaling the walls of Helms Deep. There are some beautiful shots of Edoras, Helms Deep, and of Theoden walking out of what looks to be an opening of the rocky wall at Helms Deep and Theoden turns around stopping Aragorn in his tracks and places his hand on Aragorn’s chest. He speaks to Aragorn very enthusiastically and has the power of the healed Theoden.

Then Matt asks him about the work ahead for ROTK. Peter just smiles and says next week he begins cutting the film together and that they have about 800 effects shots to work on, so they will be busy.

Peter was actually wearing shoes this time, his black sneakers and a regular short sleeved polo shirt. Brave clothes, since it is 30 degrees Fahrenheit here in NYC today! Peter seemed quite calm and with his understated sense of humor.