Sir Ian McKellan plays Gandalf, the wizard who counsels and guides Frodo (Elijah Wood) on his journey to destroy the ring. The actor spoke to NEWSWEEK's Jeff Giles about "the best job I've ever had."
A young Australian actor was initially cast in the key role of Aragorn--the mysterious stranger who joins the fellowship, protects Frodo (Elijah Wood) from a thousand dangers and ultimately plays a key role in the fate of Middle Earth. But just as the production got started, director Peter Jackson had to fire the actor, either because he was simply too young for the role or he wasn't willing to really throw himself into the part, or both. (The director says the former; other sources say the latter.) Jackson quickly turned to Viggo Mortensen, whom he'd never even met. As luck would have it, he was a natural. His fortitude, his love for Tolkien, his swordsmanship and mostly his abiding cool knocked everyone out on the set. The filmmakers--cast and crew alike--still talk about him as if he's some kind of folk hero who arrived at the last minute to save the day. Mortensen spoke with NEWSWEEK's Jeff Giles about the making of "The Lord of the Rings."
"An in-depth conversation with The Lord of the Rings' own Meriadoc Brandybuck."
"The Lord of the Rings must be one of the most comprehensively dismissed trilogies ever written. Critics have queued up since its publication nearly 50 years ago to denounce it. But JRR Tolkien's story has outlived one generation of critics, and will certainly outlive another..."
Die-hard "Lord of the Rings" fans are enjoying "Trilogy Tuesday," a back-to-back-to-back marathon of all three films, including the first public screenings of the third and final movie, "The Return of the King."
Listen to the MP3 of Peter Jackson discussing his thoughts on filming LOTR, King Kong, and the possibility of doing The Hobbit.
"Viggo Mortensen who plays Lord of the Rings hard man Aragorn visited the Science Museum's Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy exhibition but had to beat a hasty retreat after he was swamped by female admirers..."
"As we wrap up this first cinematic chapter of seeing Tolkien's works on the big screen, I'm glad it ends on a quality note. There's quite a bit to love about this final chapter, and just enough to question... but it's one heckuva fun ride..."
Listen (via MP3) or read the latest discussion in our series of interviews!