Lord of the Rings stars unite to save the house where J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and more news from Middle-earth.
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy carries a message of hope, but it can also be a bit of a tearjerker. There are plenty of dark and hopeless scenes scattered throughout the three films — and even some of the happier moments can evoke an emotional response. Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee, knows this all too well. In fact, there’s one scene in particular that always makes him a little teary-eyed.
During an appearance on Cinemablend’s Reelblend podcast, Astin revealed that one of the many endings in The Return of the King always gets to him:
The last [scene] we shot was a scene that always makes me cry in the movie, when Aragorn turns and looks at us and says, ‘Oh, my friends, you bow to no one.’ That was the last shot of the four Hobbits. My last shot. The movie had more to do, but the four Hobbits were basically, we stood against a green screen or blue screen, or whatever, and we just hit it. And the camera just kind of did a little push in, and we all gave this sheepish like, ‘Oh, I guess they’re all bowing for us?’
There are some massive payoffs in this scene, especially after everything the Fellowship has gone through to get there. It also sounds like it holds some nostalgic value for Astin. “[W]e were on prison time,” he explained. “Everybody was counting down for the last three months. And I think they must have chosen that, or at least saved it until that moment. It was a controlled thing. It was inside of the warehouse at Stone Street, which was the studio down there. It’s an abandoned paint factory. It’s an old paint factory, and every time the wind blows, the windows rattle and stuff like that. But you know, there was champagne. I don’t think that was the end of principal photography, but it was definitely a wrap on the Hobbits.”
And there were other days on set that were equally difficult for entirely different reasons. Astin also spoke about a bit of feedback Jackson gave him while filming, something he took to heart so much he still remembers it today.
Mostly his direction would be, ‘Let’s do it again’… But he came up to me at one point and he looked at me and he said, ‘I just didn’t believe that.’ Oh my God, he might as well have — it was like a Mortal Kombat death blow. It was like he ripped my hair off of my body, and my spine came out with. … [But] it was, it was true. It was true that I was not invested, that I was out of it. I was out of the character. I was out of the mood. I was out of… I just wasn’t there.
The actor didn’t delve into detail or specify which moment he was talking about. But given that Sam’s scenes always feel genuine in the films, it appears he found a way to get back into character.
And with 4K Ultra-HD versions of the films on the way, we can enjoy Astin’s performances all over again. Jackson talked a bit about his approach to to remastering the movies, together with his Hobbit movies:
Finally, we can’t end a Lord of the Rings post without telling you about Project Northmoor, a project undertaken by several stars from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies — including Ian McKellen (Gandalf), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli and Treebeard), Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and more — to save the house at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford, where J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his books, for future generations.
They lay it out in the video below:
“This is just an opportunity that can’t be ignored,” Rhys-Davies told PEOPLE. “If people are still reading in 1,000 years, Tolkien will be regarded as one of the great myth-makers of Britain and it will be evident within a matter of years that not to secure this place would have been such an act of arrogance and ignorance and folly on our part.”
If The Lord of the Rings is about anything, it’s not so much about Hitler and his rise, it is about the fact that generations may peacefully go by but now and again there emerges a threat that actually will challenge your very civilization and a generation must arise to deal with that threat. This is a wonderful opportunity to preserve that. If you had been able to get Jane Austin’s house just 30 to 40 years after her death, what a snip it would have been. Future generations will thank us. I can’t honestly see any reason why one would not want to support this.
If you’d like to learn more, head to the Project Northmoor website.