"Mercy!" cried Gandalf: "if
the giving of information is to be the cure of your
inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in
answering you. What do you want to know?"
From: John Kozempel
Q: Despite the good professor's comments to the contrary, many people
characterize LOTR as a World War II allegory, what with both stories (if
one is willing to call WWII a story for argument's sake) involving the
unthinkable rise of an ancient enemy, a protracted world-encompassing
conflict, and a strange and largely-misunderstood technology largely
affecting the war's outcome. Were you aware if Mr. Jackson shared any part
of this interpretation of the story, and whether it might be included in
A: Tolkien composed Lord of the Rings during the years 1936
to 1949 and tellingly refers to it as "a history of the Great
War of the Ring" (Foreword to the Second Edition). His denials that
he was writing an allegory must be accepted, whilst noting that his
labours overlapped the political events that led up to the 1939-45 War and
World War II was fought by conscripted civilians and volunteers including Tolkien's own son, Michael. Adolf Hitler's
dominance over Europe must have impinged on the father's life and writing.
The basic plot of ordinary peace-loving Hobbits drafted by Gandalf into
the fight against Sauron mirror contemporary events. The Wizard warns
Frodo about spies being everywhere, just as there were posters in wartime
Oxford saying the same thing.
Having been born in 1939 and remembering sleeping in an Anderson Shelter
against the Nazi bombers, I found it easy to identify Hitler with Sauron.
Beyond that, there will be nothing I have seen of the films to go further
From: Wayne Hitchcock
Q: I'm driving my wife nuts
with all my talk about this film (she hasn't read the book). Any chance of
putting the poor woman out of her misery by releasing the first film
earlier than the end of 2001?
A. I promise you that it was never the intention of the Lord of the
Rings team to contribute to anyone's marital strife! Take comfort that
more than six million people downloaded the first trailer from the official
site so you are not alone in your impatience. Only seven months to go
you going to utter the words about 'meddling in the affairs of wizards as
they are quick to anger' to Pippin?
A. Would you believe, three months after filming finished, that I can't
be sure whether those telling words were included or not? Nothing unusual
in that: these days strangers call out Magneto's lines from X-Men
that I don't remember ever having said myself!
From: Roger Sweets
Q: Although I confess that some of Tolkien's dialogue is a bit stilted,
large stretches have always seemed simply wonderful to me, and in
particularly some of Gandalf's lines, such as: 'Many that live deserve
death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?' He was an
expert at writing heroic dialogue.
A. Ah now, I do remember speaking those lines.
Q: How would I go about attending the movie premiere? I am very interested
and have no idea how such things work.
A. Premieres are usually fund-raisers for charity, so an invitation
might involve a hefty donation, I expect. Details of the openings
worldwide have not yet been announced but maybe the official site can
help. If you have no luck, don't worry: whenever or wherever you see the
movie it will be exactly the same, unlike first nights of stage plays,
which are unique.
From: Dane Crocker
Q: Do you know anything about what Peter Jackson is doing about the music
in the movie and whether or not he will use lyrics that Tolkien wrote in
A. There will be songs in the movies although fewer than in the novel.
From: Christopher Swann
Q: When you fight Saruman, will it be when Gandalf is captured at Orthanc
at the beginning of the first film, or will it be when Saruman is
confronted after the Battle of Helm's Deep? Also, will we be able to see
Gandalf's ten-day battle with the Balrog?
A: Christopher Lee and I (and our younger and fitter doubles) have
filmed some spectacular fighting at Orthanc before Gandalf is rescued by
As I tackled the Balrog over what seemed like ten exhausting days in the
studio, I began to wonder whether the battle would last as long but as I
haven't yet seen the cut film, I can't tell you how Peter Jackson will
feature my labours.
Q: I've begun to view
certain aspects of Tolkien's view with a critical eye specifically,
suggestions about racial difference and good and evil being innate
qualities of specific races; and evil being associated with physical
ugliness (dark skin, "slanty eyes") and "harsh"
A: There is nothing in the films to support xenophobia or the
suggestions you make, I'm glad to report.
From: Angie Dancer
Q: I am curious to know if the characters you play teach you something or
inform your own life in some way...if so what has Gandalf said to you as
you climb inside his character?
A: It would be impertinent to identify myself with a being as wise and
all-achieving as Gandalf but I treasure his exemplary determination, both
mental and physical.
Q: Could you describe
what it's like viewing the rushes every day? Is it like going to the
Under Peter Jackson's regime, rushes can be quite
social pizzas and fizzy drinks are provided free. As well as his own
work, he views footage from special effects. During it all he chats
quietly to his editors. I suspect that he knows which take he would prefer
to use the moment it is shot and that the rushes only confirm his initial
A: I attended rushes early on during shooting to check that Gandalf's
appearance, his make-up and walk, were as intended. Once I felt he looked
right, there was less need to attend and anyway three hours of repetitious
takes cut into precious spare time at the end of a long day's work. If I
wasn't working next day, it was exciting to look at the previous day's
footage and yes, on the big screen, it is like going to the pictures! It
soon becomes tedious not to say embarrassing watching yourself in the
company of colleagues. What is reassuring is that the take which felt best
at the time is often confirmed to be the best onscreen: always remembering
that the editor's cutting work is yet to come.
Q: Are the financial problems really so bad at this time as far as the
LOTR movies are concerned? If so, would it not be a plan to bring out the
first movies sooner to finance the third movie? Or maybe it is just a bad
rumor and the budget is fine.
A: Thanks for your rescue plan which
fortunately won't be needed as filming was concluded on time and within
the budget set by New Line.
Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in
The Lord of the Rings