Spoilers! Report from the Battle Front of Mordor – An Account from Within

by May 3, 2000Lord of the Rings (Movies)

The doorstep of Mordor…
“Secret Squirrel #1” reports in with this account of filming on the doorstep of Mordor… Read for more info!

Two days of cold winds, freezing body parts, 5 o’clock mornings, blisters and standing for 12 hrs straight both days. Doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of heaven does it? Well It’s mine and I want more because I was at the very doorstep of Mordor *living* the book I’ve read at least 6 times. Shivers went down my spine when I heard almost the exact words from the book (scary).

Visually speaking I don’t think many people will have a complaint in the world. What I’ve seen behind the scenes just fills me with awe and excitement, this is what’s in my mind comming to life and it’s fantastic! I know that sounds a bit weird to a few people but having walked onto the set and into the props rooms you get a feeling of just how real it’s becoming (it’s hard to describe). I’ve seen everything from orcs heads/bodys to Gondorin armour to the armor worn by the Soldiers of Rohan. The shields for the men of Rohan weigh a bloody ton (15-20kg) and holding one up for 12 hrs straight is no picnic.

Sir Ian Mckellan looks very much as he does in the preview, while Orlando Bloom (Legolas) looks completely different (better). In the preview – many would probably agree – he certainly doesn’t look as “fair” as an Elf should, but down in the Rongopai dessert he looked and sounded just the part. A very nice guy too I might add. Aragorn (Viggo) though might be a sticking point for many – although he looks good – It’s just I don’t think anyone has a firm vision of what he looks like in their minds (most people I know don’t). My vision is kind of part Ralph Bakshi version part … I don’t know what.

Second day of filming Sir Ian and a midget hobbit stand-in fell off his horse at the end of the scene (not very pleasent for the stand-in I’d say as I think Sir Ian fell on him/her). Sir Ian seemed unharmed at lunch but for the rest of the afternoon a stand-in was used for him for some riding scenes.

I got to see where the Elves had filmed on the Saturday (same day we were). Just above Happy Valley (learners ski slope) in Whakapapa. With no snow the area is spectacular! Excellent Mt Doom country (sadly I did not have my camera having been told they would be confiscated by Production staff), otherwise I would have taken some photos of the area.

PJ is the most laid-back guy I’ve ever come across – he never yells, he leaves that to his PA’s. Filming is now heading back down to Wellington in a few days for a while. One of the Production Assistants was saying there would be a short break in filming in about a month or so (the break keeps getting shorter too ), and then back into it for a final four to five months. The thing is though, this schedule could change from day to day.

Well that’s it for now. I hope that satisfies a few people – It’s all I can remember at the moment (I’m still pretty tired). When I remember some more I’ll let you know…

Secret Squirrel #1 out


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