The Academy Award nominated and winning sequel to the box office hit “The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”. The film was an enormous box-office success, earning over $926 million worldwide and winning over the hearts of people around the globe.
Here are 43 precious things you might not have known about The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:
1. A Precious Actor
When Andy Serkis was told about the role of Gollum, his agent thought it would be a simple three weeks of voiceover work in New Zealand. Peter Jackson was so blown away by his audition that he gave him the part for the movements of Gollum/Smeagol too.
2. Uruk-Hais and Lows
Extras that were greater than 6” tall were needed to play the Uruk-Hai but unfortunately they couldn’t find as many tall people as they would have liked. They had to go ahead with casting shorter extras who were given the nickname the “Uruk-Low”.
3. My Precious
Andy Serkis based Gollum’s pain and desperation for the one ring on the withdrawal experienced by addicts.
4. More Than Just a Dwarf Beard
John Rhys-Davies played the role of Gimli as well as provided the voice for the Ent, Treebeard. They achieved the voice by having Rhys-Davies speak in his natural voice at the lowest pitch he could muster while speaking through a wooden megaphone.
5. A Happy Ending
A beautiful story emerged from the Battle of Helm’s Deep. During the battle, a one eyed man turns toward the camera revealing an empty eye socket. The actor who played him showed up to set wearing an eye patch. When Peter Jackson learned of the actor’s condition, he was asked if he would be interested in appearing in the film without the eye patch. The actor was reluctant at first and rather self-conscious, but afterward claimed the experience on set made him more comfortable with himself.
6. Gollum Beta Test
To render the special effects for Gollum it would often take around six hours for a single shot. WETA (the digital effects studio that worked on the film) would leave the shots over night to render and check the results in the morning. Every so often there would be a glitch resulting in the team waking up to find pretty hilarious results. In one instance, every hair on Gollum’s head standing straight up as though he had just discovered what hair gel was. Another time his eyes would pop in and out of his head when he spoke. If that’s not horror, I don’t know what is.
7. A Special Talent
In the scene where Grima Wormtongue sees Saruman’s army of Uruk-Hai, he becomes so shocked that he sheds a tear from one of his eyes. This was actually unscripted and Brad Dourif can do this on command.
8. Candy Blood
Orcs have black blood. Peter Jackson decided that the actors playing Orcs should have black flesh and saliva as well. In order achieve this, the actors playing Orcs had to rinse their mouths with black liquorice mouthwash before every one of their scenes! Tasty!
9. Stadium Conflict Cry
To create the conflict cries of the Uruk-Hair army, Peter Jackson went to a cricket stadium, filled it with 25,000 people and led them all in chanting the words “Derbgoo, nashgshoo, derbgoo, dashshoo".
10. Precious Juice
To keep his voice and throat lubricated for his harsh vocal performance, Andy Serkis drank bottles of what he called “Gollum Juice”. To make Gollum Juice you will need honey, lemon, ginger, a touch of love, and a dash of precious.
11. The Movie Is So Different From The Book!
In one of the scenes at Osgiliath, Sam says “By rights, we shouldn't even be here”. This was said in order to acknowledge how the screenplay had deviated from the book’s storyline because in the book, Frodo and Sam never pass through Osgiliath.
12. Horse Whisperer
The scene where Gandalf calls for his horse, Shadowfax, and it gallopings across the fields right to him, was captured in just one take. This is proof that Sir Ian McKellen is indeed a wizard.
13. Helms Deep Survivor Stories
Filming the Helm’s Deep battle was extremely complicated and went on for so long that all the extras were given t-shirts that read “I Survived Helms Deep".
14. Musical Planes
Bernard Hill, who plays Theoden the king of Rohan, met a woman who told him about one of her children who had passed and how parents shouldn’t have to bury their child. The moment resonated with Hill so much that he requested to have the iconic line “No parent should have to bury their child” put into the script.
15. Brego Finds A Home
Viggo Mortensen formed such a strong bond with his horse, Brego, that he purchased him from the owners. I think it was Viggo’s way of thanking Brego for saving him from the river after the warg rider fight.
16. A Bloody Good Prank!
Earlier in John Rhys-Davies’ (Gimli) life he had lost the tip of his left middle finger in a farm accident. For filming purposes the special effects team made him a prosthetic fingertip from a cast of his right middle finger. While filming, he decided to prank Peter Jackson but cutting the prosthetic finger and filling it with fake blood. He was said to have gone up to Jackson in agonizing pain saying,"boss, I had an accident!”
17. The Most Delicious Candy
In the scene where Gollum is eating a whole fish, Andy Serkis is actually snacking on a fish shaped lollipop.
18. More Women On Set
On Miranda Otto’s (Eowyn) first day of filming Liv Tyler (Arwen) approached her with open arms, enthusiastically saying, “I'm so glad there's another woman in this film".
19. It Rained For Four Months…
The Battle of Helms Deep was only shot at night and took four months to film.
20. No Harm No Horse
The production used over 200 horses and because most scenes involving them were action-packed battle scenes, the horses were in danger of being hurt. To mitigate the risk, both horses and riders were fitted with motion capture suits and were filmed in studio doing actions like galloping and rearing. They were then digitally inserted into battle scenes so no horses (or riders) were hurt.
21. Vigo “The Dream Boat” Mortensen
After Miranda Otto (Eowyn) was introduced to her cast mates she commented on meeting Viggo Mortensen saying, “It's going to be SO easy to fall in love with this man!”
Andy Serkis has said that he based Gollum’s voice on the sound of cats coughing up hairballs.
23. Andy’s Favourite Spittle
In the scene where Sam is cooking rabbits, Gollum spits in disgust. It is actually Andy Serkis’ own saliva flying through the air. Serkis has said that this was his favourite scene from the trilogy.
24. A Real Fake Map
Faramir and Madril observe a map in the film that is used in the original books and was drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien’s son, Christopher.
25. Stubbed My Toe
The morning after the riders of Rohan end the Uruk hai there is a scene when Aragorn kicks an Orc’s helmet and collapses. When Viggo Mortensen kicked the helmet, he actually broke two toes and screamed out in pain. He kept acting through the pain making the scene very realistic.
Treebeard was actually an animatronic puppet that was 14 feet tall.
27. The Best Job
All of the passed horses seen at the end of battle scenes are made of polystyrene. Next time you think you have a weird job, just remember that someone had to spend a month making passed horses.
28. A Very Different Movie
Nicolas Cage was supposed to play Aragorn but passed it up due to "family obligations”.
29. King of Gondor: The Best Swordsman
Olympic fencer Bob Anderson choreographed the fight scenes in The Lord of the Rings. Anderson, who has trained professional fencers and also did the choreography for Star Wars, said that Viggo Mortensen was the best swordsman he ever trained.
30. An Actor AND a Song Writer
It was Andy Serkis’s idea for Gollum to sing while he is catching fish in the Forbidden Pool. The song is based on a poem from Bilbo and Gollum’s riddle contest in The Hobbit.
31. Stupid Fat Academies-es!
Unfortunately Andy Serkis was considered “ineligible” for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in the 2003 Academy Awards because Gollum was computer animated.
32. Being For The Benefit of Mr. Baggins
In the 1960’s, The Beatles wanted to make a Lord of the Rings movie adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick but Tolkien rejected the idea. They had already cast the movie with Paul McCartney as Frodo, Ringo Starr as Sam, and George Harrison as Gandalf.
33. The Uruk-hai Are Getting Old
Signs such as matted hair and blotchy skin are used on the Uruk-Hai to show that they are inbred creatures already beginning to fall apart.
34. Small and Steady
The armour that John Rhys-Davies wore for Gimli weighed around 30kg (66lb).
35. A True Fan
Christopher Lee was said to have read the Lord of the Rings trilogy every year until he passed in 2015. He was the only member of the movie cast to have actually met J.R.R. Tolkien in real life.
36. He won’t be needing these
Aragorn’s costume changed slightly for The Two Towers. In this sequel he wears the leather Gondor gauntlets that Boromir wore before he fell in combat.
37. Keep Filming!
When the Riders of Rohan surround Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, three or four cameras were used at the same time to get the most realistic shot. They filmed continuously for the entire sequence from the moment the riders arrive until after they ride away.
38. Full Circle
The actor who played Grima Wormtongue, Brad Dourif, has a goddaughter in real life named “Arwen”
39. If You Ain't First, You’re Third.
The Two Towers is the first sequel to be nominated for a “Best Picture” Academy Award when the first film didn’t win the award, and is the third sequel ever to be nominated.
40. 10000 hours
Designing Gollum took over 100 maquette sculptures and 1000 drawings before he was just right.
41. My Sword Will Go On
Kate Winslet was initially offered the role of Eowyn.
42. THIS IS ROHAN!
While Legolas talks to Aragorn before the Battle of Helm’s Deep he speaks of 300 against 10,000. This is a reference to famous Spartan battle at Thermopolyae where a few Spartans held off a massive Persians invasion. David Denham (played Faramir) would star in the theatrical epic “300” based on that same event.
43. Too Hard To Follow
Originally Sean Connery was offered the role of Gandalf, but he turned down the role because he had never read the books and “didn’t understand the script”.