The 42-year-old Brit met director Peter Jackson for the first time in a hotel in London. “The room was incredibly small, and I was reading a scene from the script where I try to steal the ring from Frodo. And I sat there in the chair in the hotel room and tried to enact the role, but it was such a physical scene and hard to do in there… so when I later left the room I felt like ****, I could have done that a lot better’. But I obviously did something right, since I got the part.”
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.
We had long battle sequences, I got a tooth knocked out, broken toes, and lots of cuts and sprains and pulled muscles. Everybody had something. When my tooth got knocked out, it was lunch time, so I went to the dentist, came back and we continued the scene after lunch. The action was pretty intense.
I think that a lot of that was the friendships that we made with each other and the fact that we all needed each other. It was vital that we all had each other to survive and to be able to laugh. Everybody had a really good sense of humor, thank God. We’d be constantly making jokes and decorating the trailer with ridiculous things and being rude and that was our sort of little bubble of escape in our makeup trailer.
They sucked so much power out of you, physically as well as mentally. Mostly physically. We fought with snow and ice cold water in the winter, and heat in the summer, always wearing heavy equiptment, carrying sword and shield during long battle scenes. You fed off the adrenaline.
We’d have Sunday afternoon to do laundry and have a beer, and then before you knew it you were back on the battlefield.
He’s incredibly dedicated. He’s the kind of actor who one day had his tooth knocked out by a sword and actually asked if they could superglue it back on so he could finish the scene. He became Aragorn.
I’ve never seen anybody in my whole life work as hard as Viggo Mortensen. The guy did not complain once. He never got a massage. He never took a day off. He just worked every second. Even on the days off, he’d go horseback riding or do something that was related.
That was kind of weird. You have a Frodo running around with a mask on, but early on, they had faces that didn’t move. So, it was just Frodo with this blank look, and I was like, ‘Oh man!’ I remember that we were on top of [a] mountain, and they had a box of the faces. I opened the box and there were these hobbit faces just looking up at me, sort of dead. It was bizarre.
The stress was huge. It was absolutely huge. Especially when you’re doing night shoots and they completely change what kind of characters are due and you’ve got all these people lined up and you’ve got six hours to find another hundred people … We had a huge filing systems of people who were interested. We had A-list people who we’d ring first off and then B-list and then C-list and D-list and E-list-and by then it was like, “So, have you got a cousin? Have you got a friend? Have you got anyone?” By the end, we had a sign on the door that I liked: IF YOU’RE BREATHING, YOU’RE BOOKED. I don’t know how we did it, but we always pulled it off.
Orlando Bloom, in his first major movie role, said there was a friendly off-the-set rivalry between the younger stars and American actor Mortensen. They would play practical jokes on each other. Mortensen, who plays the human Aragorn, got his son to cover Bloom’s trailer in duct tape. In revenge, rotten fish “and a pile of fake***” were left in Mortensen’s trailer, Bloom said.
Pete counted on all the actors and the crew really bringing as much as they could to it. Rather than being somebody who was nervous over the budget and was like, ‘Just do it. Just stand here,’ Pete didn’t do that. He was always looking for detail.
“I bow down to Viggo. He came in and saved the day. A lot of things would happen on this film where a certain amount of trouble would arise, and then something would come along where it would not only solve it, but would seem like fate, like it was meant to be. And Viggo was one of those cases. …Someone just mentioned his name, they called him, he came and it was perfect. He was meant to play Aragorn, he is Aragorn.”
It was tough. All of a sudden somebosy was over in the corner crying. Somebody [else] would go over and put their arm around them or take them for a walk. There was interaction between cast and crew. It was a complete team. It was, in a sense, a fellowship of thousands of people who traveled from place to place. I didn’t always feel safe, in the sense that you’d just be diving into a scene where you’re thinking, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to pull this off right now. Here come the clouds. We get one crack at it.’ At the end of the day, though, I always felt that there was a certain safety in the family we were a part of, in isolation from the rest of the world. I thought it was good that we shot, not in Europe, not in North America, but in this place that was different.
We were shooting a lot at night, and the scene where we fight the serpent in the water, that was really hard. That was tough because it was really cold in New Zealand at the time – it was winter and the water wasn’t heated and we were in our costumes for a night shoot that went 12 or 14 hours. That was tough. That was really tough. I thought I was going to be required the following evening and I was like ‘Oh God, I’ve got to do it again in that f**king cold.’ But then I got a call saying, ‘Hey Sean, it looks like we might not need you tonight. We’re going to do this digitally. ‘I thought, ‘Oh, that’s great.’ But I think just the sheer excitement and thrill of being involved in such a thing just carried you through the days when you’re tired. It’s only afterwards, when I was finished and had gone home to England, that it just hit me and I felt exhausted.
It was good, but hard. I brought my girlfriend with me to be my assistant, so I spent a lot of time at home with her, hanging out when I couldn’t take the boys anymore. Orlando Bloom lived next door and he took me around because I was afraid to drive on the left-hand side of the road. We all had houses. It was great. We really got to know each other. Our makeup trailer became the center of things. It was given a really bad name that I cannot repeat. There were pranks, most of them also too dirty to tell.
I left the set three months before the others, which felt strange. I wanted to be with them in the fantasy world, not stuck in traffic in England. It was quite an anticlimax.
go to: https://www.orlandomultimedia.net/diary/fellowship_diary800.html
or for part II: https://www.theonering.com/docs/8594.html