For years, The Lord of the Rings novels by J.R.R. Tolkien have captured the hearts and imaginations of fans. Beloved by fans and critics alike, The Lord of the Rings films amassed a total of thirty Oscar nominations. To date, The Return of the King stands triumphant with eleven Academy Awards—a record that's shared with other films like Ben-Hur and Titanic.
Recently, our team looked at some of the deleted scenes and shocking mistakes from the franchise, along with some false facts which are bound to raise some eyebrows. We’ve also rounded up some little-known trivia about Éowyn of Rohan, Saruman the White, and Boromir. While there's still no official word about any upcoming films set in Middle-earth, and definitely nothing confirmed about a possible film adaptation of The Silmarillion, fans can set their sights on the upcoming video-game title, Middle-earth: Shadow Of War (October 10th).
While it’s been over a decade since the release of director Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there’s always a chance to relive some of the magic of Middle-earth. We wanted to take a closer look at some hidden gems in the form of some behind-the-scenes photos from the cast on set. Here are Lord Of The Rings: 16 Behind the Scenes Photos That Change Everything.
16 Evil Frodo
Out of all of the original characters from the Lord of the Rings and the nine members of the fellowship, it’s clear that Frodo Baggins must endure the heaviest burden of them all. Tasked with the responsibility for carrying the One Ring and dealing with the immense pressure from the quest to destroy it, Frodo undergoes a huge transformation during his journey.
In this photo, actor Elijah Wood definitely has the terrifying look down pat! With a seriously gnarly set of details, including colored contacts, grimy fingernails, and a wild set of hair, this look is pretty chilling. Wood certainly looks like he’s a far cry from those carefree days in the Shire, when Frodo Baggins was perfectly content to read a book out in the woods.
15 Orlando Bloom’s blue contact lenses and blonde wig
Last December, actor Orlando Bloom posted some of his reflections on being part of The Lord of the Rings cast over the years. December 19, 2016 marked the fifteen year anniversary since the release of The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring. Interestingly enough, the film was one of the first projects Bloom landed when he was fresh out of school - it was only two days after finishing up his program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and then he landed his role as Legolas Greenleaf in The Lord of the Rings franchise.
On his Instagram, Bloom posted a collage featuring the makeup and prosthetics needed to complete his transformation into an Elf. One photo shows his pointed ear prosthetics, while two others reveal the bright blue contact lenses Bloom donned for his role. In the bottom corner, another image shows off Bloom, all smiles, with his wig on.
14 Crazy Hobbit Foot Prosthetics
Orlando Bloom wasn't the only actor who needed some serious prosthetics for his role. Actors Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, and Elijah Wood all needed a specific set of makeup and prosthetics for their roles as Hobbits of the Shire.
According to the Extended Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring DVD, the main hobbit actors needed to wake up much earlier than the rest of the cast, in order to get a head start on their detailed makeup and prosthetics.
Each actor needed to be set with a pair of hairy Hobbit feet, along with makeup and setting their signature wigs. The entire process took about an hour and a half every morning, and many times, the prosthetic feet would need to be glued on again later in the day.
13 Viggo Mortensen kissing Billy Boyd
Actor Viggo Mortensen, who played the enigmatic Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings franchise, couldn't keep his hands to himself during the filming process.
Amusingly enough, actor Billy Boyd (Peregrin Took) relayed some of his anecdotes in the Cameras in Middle-earth documentary found on the Extended Edition of the Return of the King DVD, Mortensen helped inspire a crucial scene towards the ending of the film. When actor Sean Astin, who plays Sam Gamgee, and Sarah McLeod, who portrayed Rosie Cotton, were filming their wedding scene, Mortensen decided to nudge things along in his very own way.
On the DVD, Mortensen explains that Astin was having a little bit of trouble with the scene, and Mortensen had an epiphany. After running over to Billy Boyd's trailer to wake him up, Mortensen surprised Boyd with a big kiss on the mouth.
In the documentary, Boyd said, “Viggo grabs me and kisses me hard on the mouth. I mean like, I’ve never been kissed from man nor woman and…by god. I saw stars and I think I fell in love for a split second and then I felt a bit sick.”
12 Ian Holm and the Bilbo puppet
In one of the more hair-raising scenes from The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins succumbs to an uncontrollable force of evil. In a sentimental sequence, Bilbo gifts his nephew a protective mithril shirt, with the intention of helping to protect Frodo on his journey. When Frodo decides to change into it, the One Ring catches Bilbo's eye, and he becomes possessed with rage. Frodo flinches and quickly draws away from his uncle, who lashes out at Frodo after seeing the one ring in Rivendell.
The scene might be short, but definitely made a long lasting impression on viewers. In a behind the scenes image from New Line Cinema, actor Ian Holm is shown with a menacing grin, and lurking behind him is the puppet used to film the scene. Talk about creepy AF!
11 PJ Tongue out with Orc head
In what might be the most unusual selfie of all time, director Peter Jackson decided to pose with a fearsome looking Orc head while on set of The Lord of the Rings. In this behind-the-scenes photo, Jackson is shown sporting a navy blue baseball cap, along with his signature pair of glasses, all while striking an amusing pose with his tongue out.
The best part? Jackson's posing right next to a pike wielding a dead Orc's head, which just so happens to be assuming the same facial expression.
Originally from New Zealand, director Peter Jackson made his film debut with titles like Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Dead Alive. In 1994, Jackson received critical acclaim with his work on Heavenly Creatures. Over the years, Jackson has received praise from both fans and critics alike for his work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
10 Sir Ian McKellen staying cool
In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is a pillar of strength and wisdom for the core members of the fellowship. In the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf’s attire is practically synonymous with his gray hat and cloak. Off screen, actor Sir Ian McKellen traded his pointed hat for a more modern style—a baseball cap.
In one photo, McKellen is all smiles while keeping cool under a wide umbrella. McKellen thoroughly enjoyed his experience in New Zealand while filming the Lord of the Rings with director Peter Jackson. This behind the scenes photo was found from Sir Ian McKellen's official website, which stated that the photograph was taken in 2000, while filming on the set of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
9 Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom fly high
In the books and movies, Legolas Greenleaf might be able to walk on top of snow without leaving footprints… but in real life, he opted to fly in a helicopter with other members of the cast. In an Instagram photo (which has racked up nearly forty thousand likes), actor Orlando Bloom revealed a behind the scenes photo of himself and co-star Viggo Mortensen. In the image, both of the actors are shown in the backseat of a red helicopter. Both actors appear to be wearing hats, and they look ready to go on their next adventure.
In the caption, Bloom wrote, "#TheLordOfTheRings: The Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters 15 years ago today. here's one of #ViggoMortensen and me. more photos at the link in my bio!"
8 Mini Minas Tirith
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy set the bar high in terms of the strong attention to detail and incredible production quality. The team over at WETA spared no expense when it came to creating a larger than life rendition of Tolkien’s imaginative works.
In a similar vein, the city of Minas Tirith looked immaculate on screen, especially during a time when The Lord of the Rings graphics were considered state of the art and continued to push the envelope. In this behind-the-scenes photo, we’re given a glimpse at the miniature scale model used to create Minas Tirith off screen.
When watching the final result, it’s easy to assume that the city was nearly a real life set, but a behind-the-scenes shot like this pretty much ties everything back into place.
7 Viggo Mortensen and his horse, Brego
According to the commentary found in the Extended Edition of The Two Towers DVD, actor Viggo Mortensen fell in love with his equine partner on set. Although the horse was not featured in the original novels, Brego is the horse Aragorn rides in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of the King movies.
After filming was complete, Mortensen decided to purchase the horse he worked with, which was named Uraeus. That wasn’t all, as Mortensen actually bought several other horses that he worked with during production.
In an interview with Horse Nation, Mortensen said, “I bought the two horses I rode in Lord of the Rings, as well. I bought the one in Lord of the Rings ’cause I had – even though I wasn’t with him all the time, I just developed a real good friendship with him."
6 Spray painting Helm’s Deep
With a strong attention to detail and intricate set design, The Lord of the Rings is known for creating an unparalleled sense of movie magic. Here is an example of the power of cinema and special effects with this behind-the-scenes photo. Earlier, we examined a closer look at the scale model used for Minas Tirith, and here's a similar shot featuring the set for Helm's Deep.
In the final cut of the film, the stronghold looks gritty and weathered, but in real life, it's a different feel completely. In this behind the scenes photo, one set member appears to be spray painting a subtle detail or setting some adhesive onto the model, and it definitely gives a sense of scale to the overall piece.
5 Legolas and Boromir embrace in Moria
Call it brotherly love! In this behind the scenes photo, actors Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean were snapped in a sentimental pose.
While filming the escape scene in the mines of Moria, all the members of the Fellowship had everything cranked into high gear. In a good-humored moment of bonding on set, both Bloom and Bean were photographed together on the stairwell. Bloom's arm was wrapped around his co-star in a friendly manner, and Bean appears to be all smiles.
While on set, the members of the fellowship even agreed to get matching tattoos together. With the exception of John-Rhys Davies, the actors received tattoos of the Quenya elvish word for "nine" as a symbol for their bond created through working on the film, and for the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring.
4 Nazgul with Umbrellas
In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the fearsome ring-servants of Sauron known as the Nazgûl could instantly strike fear into the hearts of men and Hobbits alike. Also known as the Ringwraiths, the riders were formerly Men who were gifted rings of power by the Dark Lord Sauron.
Behind the scenes, it looks things took on a slightly different route while on set of director Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring. Amusingly enough, one of the behind-the-scenes images features six of the dark riders holding up blue and green umbrellas. While several set members tend to the horses, the riders appear to be dry from the inclement weather.
An amusing mash up between modern convenience and Middle-earth, this image is a pretty funny sight to behold!
3 Andy Serkis wearing motion capture suit
In director Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, actor Andy Serkis made a bold impact with his performance capture work as Gollum. The actor certainly pushed the envelope when it came to motion capture work, by truly encompassing the character of Gollum.
Off-screen, Serkis had to test the limits of his imagination. In this behind-the-scenes photo, Serkis is shown wearing a blue motion-capture suit. Displaying his range as an actor and his diversity as an artist, it’s clear that Serkis is willing to go above and beyond for his craft. At the time, Serkis’ work as Gollum helped to redefine the traditional model surrounding motion capture methods.
Serkis will reprise his motion-capture role as Supreme Leader Snoke for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi in December.
2 Viggo threw the apples at Merry and Pippin in Fellowship of the Ring
Earlier, we already learned that Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) is a known prankster with his costars on set, especially with his amusing antics alongside fellowship actor Billy Boyd (Peregrin Took). From the beginning of their time together while filming The Lord of the Rings, Mortensen and Boyd were always known for being light hearted and playful.
In the early scenes of the Fellowship of the Ring, fans will undoubtedly remember the famous scene where Pippin was extremely concerned about missing “second breakfast.” Amusingly enough, after Strider walks away from him without a response, he later tosses Merry and Pippin two apples from off screen.
On set, actor Viggo Mortensen was actually the one who threw the apples at his co-stars, actors Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd.
1 Christopher Lee actually knew the exact sound a person makes when they’re stabbed in the back
Although actor Sir Christopher Lee has passed on, his impact on the Lord of the Rings series will live on forever.
When working with director Peter Jackson on the set of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lee gave him some insight from his own personal experiences during World War II. According to the Extended Edition of The Return of the King DVD, Jackson was preparing actor Brad Dourif, who plays Wormtongue, for a pivotal scene in which Saruman is stabbed in the back by Gríma.
Although Jackson tried to give Lee a primer, Lee said, "Have you any idea what kind of noise happens when somebody’s stabbed in the back? Because I do.” Being a veteran of WWII, Lee had some key insight to share from his own firsthand experiences.
Are there any other behind the scenes photos from The Lord of the Rings that we might have missed? Let us know in the comments!