One of the most moving moments in “The Lord Of The Rings – The Two Towers” is the death of the Elves Warlord / Leader of an Army (?!) Haldir, who catches a last glimpse of his fallen people while dying. Fear, horror and sadness mirror equally in his face – the immortal people, slain. Haldirs death became a symbolic act for director Peter Jackson.
“That’s definitely the biggest movie, I ever participated in”, tells Craig Parker in an interview with SPACE VIEW. “I was already involved in the early stages of the process and back then I was totally enthusiastic about the concept and Peter Jackson’s vision, to make this movie.”
When the New Zealand actor Craig Parker tells about his experiences at the shooting of “The Lord Of The Rings”, his eyes start to glow and the 32-year-old is becoming a little boy again.
Perhaps, it’s precisely this natural charm, but perhaps it’s also his teasing look, which since a short time melts away some woman-hearts, cause since his big-screen appearance in the fantasy epic “The Lord of the Rings” the open-minded New Zealander faces big popularity among the fans.
“Peter Jacksons vision is simply unbelievable.”
Craig Parker was involved in the mammoth production since the beginning and felt the energy and passion, with which this story was filmed, from the first hour on. Craig Parker spoke the Hobbit Frodo, his personal favorite, in the early animated storyboards. But to be involved in the shooting, he would have done anything, according to himself, even cooked coffee on the set.
It should not come to cooking coffee – Craig got the role of the elves march-warden Haldir.
In the novel “The Lord Of The Rings” Haldir greets the fellowship at the edge of the Elf wood of Lothlórien und leads them blindfolded – under the protest of the Dwarf Gimli – to Lady Galadriel, the Lady of the wood.
Actually that would have been the end of his appearance, but director Peter Jackson had something special in mind for Haldir: The ordinary march-warden became the warlord / leader of an army Haldir and in contrast to the novel of the second part Haldir leads an Elf-army to the endangered fortress of Helm’s Deep to help the Men of Rohan there and battle against the terrible Uruk-hai.
And even if the most followers of the Tolkien-epic look very critical at most of the changes, Haldir’s death at Helm’s Deep is one of the successful ones. “To all the fans who like the books, it’s good that the basic intention of the novel was preserved in the movie.”, tells Craig Parker in the SPACE VIEW interview. “Naturally some of the story arcs were changed and some of the characters do not appear, but the basic intention did survive. And I believe that’s why the movie is accepted by the fans. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh (script) and Phillipa Boyens (script) were aware, that the basic idea must remain. They love the story, too.”
“A Aragorn in Dúnedain istannen le ammen”
For the role of the noble Elf Craig did not only have to learn some sentences in the Elfish language of Sindarin, but also undergo some sword training and wait up to three hours per day in the make-up, cause not only the pointy ears were naturally not real, but the long blond hair was real neither.
In spite of the hardship he likes to remember that time: “The filming was great fun, we had to fight hard often. We filmed once for an entire month in the winter out in the rain when we had to fight against the Uruk-hai. That was truly wonderful: You go to work and fight against men who are 2, 10 m tall [~ 6.9]. And you kick their butts. That’s very exciting, but very hard, too.”
It seems to be thanks to director Peter Jackson that everyone on set worked with unconditional passion and enthusiasm on this no matter the hard circumstances. “Peter Jackson knew the entire time exactly what he wanted. He always sat surrounded by at least three monitors, which sew him via satellite the pictures of other sets. A he always knew exactly, how he wanted the shots. And he always stayed calm. It was great fun to work with him.”
“The Dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark.”
As Haldir Craig does not seem to be always so sympathy on screen, yet he is never the less fascinating. Haldir symbolizes in the movie the superiority of the Elves that seems to Men, Hobbits and Dwarves often like arrogance. Thus, the Fellowship is not welcomed friendly, but with drawn weapons and only after long negotiations and some quarrel they are brought to Galadriel. Haldir always seems reserved and condescendingly. “The Elves with their arrogance remind me of the British colonials in India. Perhaps it’s good that they leave Middle-Earth.”, describes Craig his interpretation of the role.
“Haldir for President”
In the past, Craig was mostly seen on New Zealand TV-screens, for example in the daily-soap “Shortland Street” or in the show “City Life”. But fantasy-fans could already admire Craig’s guest appearances in the shows “Xena” and “Young Hercules”.
But “The Lord Of The Rings” brought the break-through. Since then Craig receives daily fan-mail from all around the world and tries to answer as many letters as possible. At conventions like the Ring*Con in Bonn he’s admired by fans, who wear t-shirts with the inscription “Haldir For President”, and even in the internet the name “Craig Parker” has become a common search-term. But the countless websites make Craig a little nervous: “I avoid watching the fan-sites about me, because as you can read really nice things there about yourself, you can also discover really terrible things. The best thing is, if I don’t know too much about what people do behind my back.”
Imagining that his face appears on collectable cards or that there’s a Haldir-tin figure for a table-top-strategy-game is a little bizarre to Craig. He’s humble and hopes that he’s not recognized too often in public. Yet, he’s open to his fans and finds them according to his own statement “wonderful” [I find it odd, that they would quote a single word, even if it fits to please the fans … but I thought that perhaps he said it in German, since he learned some German words before visiting Ring*Con].
Unfortunately, he’s not in the third part of the Ring-legend, that’s why all the Haldir-Fans hope that in the Special Extended Edition DVD of the second movie (will be released in November 2003) will be more of Haldir, as it was in the first movie.
“Originally the film took five to six hours. And there were loads of scenes that got cut out”, he reveals, “and of course many members of the crew are disappointed, when a scene is cut into which they put a lot of work. But that’s why DVDs are something beautiful.”
At this time Craig is shooting for the new season if the New Zealand TV-show “Mercy Peak”, where he will most likely move as doctor son Alistair Kingsley some other woman-hearts.
Thanks to Michelle for the translation!