Everybody I’ve spoken to on “Lord of the Rings” loved the project but thought it was the hardest thing they ever did.
Yep. It was amazing. And it was so much more amazing than it was difficult. But the truth of the matter is that it was one of the most difficult experiences of anyone’s life. I’ve never felt so tired in my life, and the things that were asked of us–physically, mentally, emotionally, constantly–were really extreme. But at the end of the day, it didn’t matter because we were so passionate about what we were a part of.
Some people I’ve spoken to didn’t know how exhausted they were until was over.
Oh, I knew. I knew how exhausted I was. You go past the point of exhaustion. You do sort of lose it.
You had to spend an enormous amount of time with Sean Astin (Sam Gangee). If you hadn’t like each other, you would have been in deep trouble.
Right? Wouldn’t that have been terrible? We became like brothers. We spent all our time together.
Had you met him before?
I hadn’t. I met him about four or five days before I flew to New Zealand for the first time. He was getting his wig fitted, as I needed to get mine fitted. I went to this hotel, and we kind of crossed paths in the lobby. Obviously we both knew who [the] other was. And we kind of stopped and looked at each other, and we just ran and gave each other a massive hug–and that was the first time I ever met him. It was this instant connection because we knew what we were about to embark on together.
I take it there were a lot of schedule changes. You must have woken up a lot of times not knowing what you were about to shoot.
We never knew. About a month into the production, it became very obvious that we could not rely on the schedule. It was constantly changing. I’ve never seen a schedule change so much. Weather was a huge factor. Sometimes actors weren’t available yet because they were coming from overseas. The script was constantly changing–and that’s a positive thing. Normally when people mention that a script had to be rewritten constantly I think people tend to assume that that’s a negative, or that something was wrong. And that wasn’t the case with this film. It was just trying to find the right balance with Tolkien and a filmic kind of perspective–trying to include as much Tolkien as possible without making it too obscure.
You had to wear big rubber hobbit feet, right? Tell me about getting them applied.
We stood on a box. I had the sweatiest feet amongst the hobbits. So my hobbit feet tended to come off very quickly. The glue kinda melted away.
Were you teased for your sweaty feet?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I was the one to constantly have his feet reapplied. I had to stand up for the better part of an hour, and then I could sit down for the remainder.
Did you ever say, “Can’t you just not show our feet in the shot, sir?”
Oh, constantly. We were all like little dealmakers. We were constantly walking around trying to figure out if they we’re going to show the feet or not. Most of the time we knew–we knew–they weren’t going to use them, and they would not admit it because they wanted to cover their ass. So constantly we’d come to them and say, “Look, they’re not going to be seen so can you just say they’re not going to be seen, so we can have an extra hour of sleep tomorrow?” And they’re like, “No, Peter doesn’t know what he’s gonna see in the shot.” Nine times out of 10 they wouldn’t agree with us, and we’d have to suck it up and put our feet on–and we would be right.
You’re 20 now, right? What’s the drinking age in New Zealand?
Peter Jackson sat down for a small featurette to discuss taking The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit into 4k.