Lord of the Thrills – Caltanet Cinema interviews Christopher Lee

by May 2, 2001Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Jrtfanatic informed our Messageboard about this exclusive interview at Verona Film Festival with the greatest horror actor now involved in two big productions: the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Star Wars – Episode II.

Here is an excerpt:

Let’s talk about Tolkien’s trilogy adapted by Peter Jackson. The shootings finished few months ago. What do you think about the character you played, the controversial Saruman the White?

Tolkien said that the date of the facts told in The Lord of the Rings was 7000 years ago in England. That’s what he said. Saruman is a Maiar. Great wizards. When they came to Middle Earth they were five. Two, the Blue Wizards, are not mentioned. The other three are Saruman the White -The Greatest One-, Gandalf the Gray and Rathagast. We don’t see Radagast in the book and in the movie.

Basically we have these two great wizards: Gandalf and Saruman. They are very powerful. They had human bodies but they’re not human. They are spirits of the Maiar sent to Earth. When they came to Earth, Saruman is good. At the very beginning. He is given the land to have his castle. He also has Palantir, which is the crystal ball. He finds Sauron who has been recreated. He’s come back after the great battle before The Lord of the Rings. Also Sauron, at the beginning, was not a bad person but he becomes Melkor’s servant. And then a bad and evil person.

After the battle, Sauron disappears as a human being. He becomes a spirit. The red eye. He is the Lord of the Rings. A lot of people think somebody else is. No. It is Sauron because there are many rings made but, like the poem said: “One ring to rule them all and in the darkness find them”. That one ring was made by Sauron. When Sauron finds that the Hobbit Frodo keeps it, he wants it back. Saruman knows it and wants it too, to become more powerful than Sauron.

What do you think about the relationship between Gandalf and Saruman?

It’s a very good one. At the beginning. They are friends for hundred of years. Gandalf says that Saruman was great once. When everybody wants to kill Saruman, Gandalf says “No. He was great once”. Gandalf never forgets. But the story is that Saruman becomes Sauron’s servant.

As Sauron became Melkor’s servant in the facts told by Tolkien in The Silmarillion

Well… in a way… yes. Saruman wants the Ring to beat Sauron. A great presumption mistake.

What do you think about the other actors involved in the project? Are they good for their characters?

When I looked at the actors and the actresses… for me, I just said “They are perfect for these roles”. I cannot imagine anyone else.

What about the languages spoken in the movie. Which is Saruman’s accent?

No accents. I speak normally. There are British actors, Australian actors, New Zealand actors, American actors. And actresses of course. We all speak English without accents. The other languages are Elvish: Sindarin and Quenya.

You can learn Elvish, if you want. It’s a language like Italian and English. You can learn to read it, you can learn to write it and you can learn to speak it. The Elvish languages are two. Sindarin is, basically, Welsh. More or less. Quenya is Finnish. Most of the Elves speak Sindarin and most of the characters do speak Elvish. Not all the time. I also speak a bit. And there will be subtitles during these Elvish conversations.

Does Saruman talk Sindarin or Quenya in the movie?

Sindarin. It was extremely difficult. (At this moment Christopher Lee said an entire line in Sindarin. Wonderful. N.d.R.).

Does Saruman choose the Evil side of the power as a reaction to Gandalf’s lack of ambition?

It’s an intersting point of view, but basically Saruman makes that choice to control Sauron. It’s only the love of absolute power that brings Saruman to that decision. Saruman wants to be the Lord of the Rings. The number one.

Have you ever desired to play Gandalf instead of Saruman?

Desired? I’ve dreamt it all my life. But now… I’m too old. When I read The Lord of the Rings I thought “Gandalf!”. But then when I came to do it I realize I’m too old. To do all the physical things in the movie. Otherwise I know that Ian McKellen will be very good as Gandalf.

Please click on the link below to read the entire interview.


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