The Lord of The Rings- Exploring the history
From humble beginnings to a global empire, how it all began.
The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies have been hugely successful movie franchises based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, they breathed new life into the previously stuffy Hollywood world of fantasy movies, and to this day remain some of the most loved films in the history of entertainment.
Like a lot of good movies, it began with a book.
J.R.R. Tolkien Early life.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January the third 1892 in Bloemfontein South Africa, moving to England with his mother after his bank manager father died of Rheumatic fever.
His mother, Mabel homeschooled the children, and John quickly discovered that he had a natural aptitude for writing, languages, and botany, being able to fluently read and write by the age of four.
Tolkien is said to have taken multiple aspects of his childhood and early life as inspiration for the books. ‘Bag End’ for example is said to be based on his aunt’s farm, the spiders are supposed to be in reference to an unpleasant childhood experience getting bitten by a Baboon spider in South Africa, and Bilbo’s travels over the misty mountains in the Hobbit are said to have been inspired by his visits to Switzerland.
During World war two Tolkien’s aptitude for languages got him earmarked as a codebreaker. By that time he had learnt Dutch, French, Danish, Latin, German, Greek, Gothic, Middle and Old English, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Serbian, Welsh and archaic Welsh, Spanish, Lombardic, Norwegian and Norse. The first language he created himself was called Naffarin, he went on to create at least 14 more.
From book to Movie success.
PeterJackson’s excellent creative development brought Tolkien’s work to life in a way that garnered new fans of all ages, and the franchise gave new depth to the world of fantasy cinematography.
This was new territory for us, man shoulder to shoulder with Dwarves, Hobbits and Elves, locked in a battle against seemingly insurmountable evil forces, all over a magic ring. Just like that the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films captured the hearts of a generation and the praise of critics across the world.End’ for
Some interesting and amusing things that you might not know about the movies:
- Sir Christopher Lee actually sent Peter Jackson a picture of himself in full Wizard regalia as a joke. The late actor told Cinefantastique, ‘This is what I look like as a Wizard, don’t forget this when you cast the movie!’ he subsequently leaned that Peter Jackson had him in mind as Saruman from the very beginning.
- Sir Ian McKellan was actually still busy working on the X-Men movies at the time and wasn’t due to finish that project until 3 days after LOTR. started, but they made it work and very glad we are too, he makes the perfect Gandalf!
- Jake Gyllenhaal actually auditioned for the part of Frodo, but didn’t realise he would need to do a British accent until he got to the audition, he credits it as the worst audition of his career.
- Gandalf banging his head on the beam in Bilbo’s house was accidental, but Peter Jackson kept the scene as Sir Ian did such a great job acting through that it seemed so natural you would never know.
- Stuart Townsend was initially given the part of Aragorn, and trained for two months for the role but lost it to Viggo Mortensen just days before filming started. Peter Jackson is said to have decided that the role must go to someone much older. As it turned out, Mortensen did a fantastic job in a role some say he was born for. He did all his own stunts and used a steel sword during filming, unlike other cast members whose swords were made of Aluminium and rubber. In an article by the Guardian newspaper the late great stunt performer Bob Anderson who worked with the likes of Sean Connery and Antonio Banderas once said that Viggo took to the art of swordsmanship like a natural, the sword belonged in his hand, and he was ‘The best swordsman I have ever trained.’ High praise indeed from a movie great.
- Sean Bean is afraid of helicopters, so he made the two-hour trek up the mountain for filming on foot, already fully dressed as Boromir while the rest of the crew flew up by helicopter.
- Some of the actors and crew got to take home mementos from the filming, with Sir Ian McKellan getting some of the best including Gandalf’s staff, hat, and the keys to Bag end, which reportedly hang in his hall, and Sean Astin getting Sam’s goodies including the sword, backpack, ever those famous sausages!
- Bill the pony was actually two people dressed in a specially made horse costume, It was agreed that filming with a live animal in the swamp would be far too dangerous so a fake Bill was created and manned by two members of the team.
- Around half of the riders of Rohan were women, given fake beards to look like male riders. The scenes called for a large number of extras who were extremely competent riders, and it turns out that NewZealand has fantastic horsewomen by the score so it was easier to dress the ladies up as men using prosthetics and make-up.
Article: Emma Murfin for Movie-Reliquary