Ringer Spy Nazz attended the MANY press confrences during the ROTK media blitz last month. In this article he chats with producer Barrie Osborne.
Special thanks to Rip It Up Magazine in South Australia for this transcript
Barrie Osborne at the ROTK Premiere in Berlin
Barrie Osborne (producer – now a proud citizen of New Zealand):
How much involvement did the producers have in casting the films?
BO: “Pete and Fran ultimately picked the cast but they would show us testing tapes people they were considering to cast. We’d get together and say, ‘yes that’s a good idea. Don’t like that idea’ There were a few people I had a hand in directly – in particular Hugo Weaving of course. When it came to Elrond, they weren’t sure who to go with. I said Hugo and they said, ‘wow, do you think we could get Hugo?’ I said, yeah.
“Elijah got on the film by sending in his own casting tape because he was totally overlooked.”
What about Viggo?
BO: “Viggo came in late because we had someone else cast in the role [Stuart Townsend]. It was an idea that Pete and Fran had, to go with an unknown Aragorn so he could be this ranger that no one knows about. It would have been an interesting journey but – not that he wasn’t a good actor – he was just too young for the role. He himself felt that.
“We were extremely fortunate to get Viggo. I think early on, [Executive Producer of New Line] Mark Ordesky kinda pushed the idea of Viggo. Then Peter and Fran, when they decided the other actor wasn’t going to work out and we brought in Viggo, there could have been nobody better than Viggo to play that role. He was terrific. Not only did he become King of Gondor but he also became a leader and example for the rest of the cast. He and Ian McKellen were both champion actors, really professional, really dedicated and really committed. So they set the best example to the younger cast members about how you conduct yourself on-set; how to conduct yourself professionally and still have a good time.”
As producer, was there moment were you could have a sigh of relief?
BO: “No [laughter]. I think when it’s all done I really do feel – and I don’t know if I used this analogy already in this group – that I stuck my fingers in the power-point and someone just turned off the electricity after five years; because it’s been a pretty intense experience. Making any movie is an intense experience but we’ve done this for five years – or I have. Normally you finish a movie and take a couple of months off and get to relax and regain your perspective. We’ve never had that opportunity. We’ve gone right from one movie to the next one. It’s been really intense.”
The Academy Awards is that just something that, if it happens, it happens?
BO: “The way I look at is, we made really classic movies and I think those stand the test of time. I know they will. I think the work on these films is as good as the work on any film. Getting honoured is getting nominated. Winning is somewhat a stroke of luck depending on the circumstances, depending on whatever other films are out, depending on what captures people’s imaginations at that particular time. Certainly I’d like to win. It’d be fun to win and it’d be a great honour. I’d love to see Peter win best director. He deserves it and it would also be a great honour but it is dependent on so many other factors that I don’t really feel hung up on it. Going to the awards is a great celebration of film.”