By the IQ Gamer Staff
SKELETON IN THE CLOSET – The skull and facial structure for Gimli was built on a totally new design since the special effects people wanted him to look like a different species.
VIKING DWARVES – Gimli’s dress and props are Teutonic and Norse inspired, with sharp edges and more of an architectural feel; Legolas is more Celtic and whimsical – as are all the elves – with their building stressing their relationship with nature. This shows the cultural division between elves and dwarves.
TALL TALES, PT 1 – Additional scale props did not need to be made for Gimli, since 6’1″ John Rhys-Davies was just the right proportionate size – 4’8″ – in relation to the hobbits.
TALL TALES, PT 2 – At 6’1″, Rhys-Davies, who plays a dwarf, is actually the tallest of the fellowship actors.
ABOUT FACE – After six months, Rhys-Davies developed an allergy to the Gimli make-up, causing him to take many days off filming as his skin broke out in a rash and peeled off.
DIGITAL DEMON – They did more than 100 models of Gollum in order to capture his essence – a corrupted version of something that was once a hobbitlike creature. Actor Andy Serkis stood in for the twisted soul, although he was digitally removed and replaced with a CGI creature.
SHIRE STAFF – Unlike the books, Gandalf carries 3 different staffs during the films: The first is kind of a sapling with a bulbous root head, with facets that allow it to hold Gandalf’s pipe and tobacco pouch. Saruman takes it when he captures Gandalf.
MORIA STAFF – The second staff has a head of crystal that gives off light, perfect for guiding the company through the Mines of Moria. Gandalf loses it in the battle with the Balrog.
WHITE STAFF – Staff number 3 is more considered and finely crafted, with the rune for “G,” Gandalf’s sign, carved in it. He carries this as Gandalf the White for the remainder of the trilogy. Gandalf’s swords go through similar changes since he loses a pair of them to Saruman and the Balrog.
A TON OF HOBBITS – Talk about your “Long Expected Party…” There were 1,800 pairs of hobbit feet made for the film. That’s fireworks for 900 hobbits! Hobbits were designed to look like they could’ve lived in 14th, 15th or 16th century England – as opposed to Rohan, which seems to be set more around 900 A.D.
SIZE DOES MATTER – The Shire and the world of the hobbits were constructed to make it look like that they live in a world of their own apart from the rest of Middle-earth. Every prop, set and costume in a scene with a hobbit had to have a double 1.38 times bigger so normal items would look the right size with the hobbits – including Saruman’s city.
LUST CONQUERS ALL – Saruman’s chief companion is Grima Wormtongue, the King’s counselor of Rohan who thought to betray his master in order to have the king’s daughter, Eowyn. Surprisingly, “Wormtongue” is not his real name but only a nickname given to him by the people of Rohan. (Note: Eowyn is actually the king’s niece).
BLACK POWER – Saruman’s home is in the tower of Orthanc, which was originally built centuries before of unbreakable black rock by the Dunedain of Gondor – those guys whose descendants would later become Aragorn’s rangers. In the language of Rohan, “Orthanc” means “the cunning mind.”
FALL HARD – By the end of the trilogy, Saruman has lost everything – pretty sad for a guy who once led the wizard council and had a city to himself. It’s even sadder when you realize that of the 48,000 props for the film, he’s left with about four.
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE… – Saruman settled in Isengard just because he hoped he could use its magical palantir to find the One Ring. And in The Hobbit, when Gandalf and the others fought the Necromancer – aka Sauron – he refused to help, in the hope that the Ring might appear to its creator.
HITLER’S ORCS – Weta designers based Saruman’s genetically bred orcs on the idea of the Nazi superman. Additionally, WETA went to pains to differentiate the orc types: Saruman’s orcs – like Lurtz – are larger and unafraid of sunlight compared to Sauron’s. They also look more deliberately created and refined. The Moria orcs are more goblin-like.
CLONE WARS – Samoan actor Jay Laga’aia – just one of the actors who plays Lurtz – has a role in another huge film franchise. He also plays Captain Typho is “Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.”
DRIPPING WITH ARAGORN, PT 1 – Viggo Mortensen was praised for totally immersing himself in the role of Aragorn. He fought so realistically with the orcs that he chipped a tooth during the filming of one fight. Additionally, he made the WETA designers create sharpening stones he could carry in his belt pouches since Aragorn would’ve had them.
DRIPPING WITH ARAGORN, PT 2 – Viggo refused to carry the lighter aluminum sword used by everyone else, choosing to carry the 5-times-heavier steel blade instead – even when it was only a scabbard – so it would look more natural.