For the first time in a long while, every actor who played a member of The Lord of the Rings’ fellowship reunited (along with other former cast members) to discuss their memories of shooting the hugely popular 2000s films, do line readings, and crack jokes. The 50-minute reunion was published on YouTube yesterday.
It’s part of a series hosted by actor Josh Gad, each episode of which is a reunion via Zoom meeting to raise money for a charity that is working on some aspect of COVID-19 relief. At the time of this writing, this particular video has raised just over $83,000 for No Kid Hungry.
Much of the Zoom chat is staged and heavily edited, but there are some good moments and interesting insights to be found for fans of the film trilogy.
Some of it retreads things dedicated fans already knew—for example, that Viggo Mortensen joined the cast as Aragorn after production had already started. (A younger, Irish actor named Stuart Townsend was originally cast, but he “didn’t work out,” according to director Peter Jackson.) But even those who watched all the behind-the-scenes videos on the DVD releases and the like will probably learn a new thing or two.
As cast members joined one by one via Zoom dial-in, Gad asked questions about casting, behind-the-scenes stories, the writing process and adapting from Tolkien, and more. Starting around 25 minutes in, the conversation mostly centers around cast members doing readings of famous scenes from the movies together.
A bit later, composer Howard Shore joins to briefly discuss his work on the films, and New Zealand film director Taika Waititi dials in to ask Lord of the Rings trivia questions. The call concluded with Gad asking each cast member what the Lord of the Rings means to them and with Pippin actor Billy Boyd singing his character’s song from The Return of the King.
The video is clearly meant as a chance to enjoy some positivity in difficult times, and it’s worth a watch for hardcore fans of the franchise. Since it’s so lengthy, here are some timestamps for highlights we appreciated:
- 6:20: Ian McKellan enters with a rousing performance
- 9:10: What it was like to adapt Tolkien as a writer
- 10:40: How Viggo Mortensen was cast amid a crisis with the studio
- 14:40: Andy Serkis shares stories about playing Gollum/Smeagol
- 19:50: Sean Astin talks about playing GoldenEye with Sean Bean, who is in the movie GoldenEye
- 24:20: Karl Urban discusses his first day on the Helm’s Deep set
- 25:00: The cast begins reciting scenes from the movie; Sir Ian McKellan discusses his first and last scenes shot on set
- 25:47: Various cast members don props they kept from the shoot over the years
- 31:10: The cast talks about how hard it was to learn Elvish
- 32:48: Everything related to Boromir’s Mordor meme
- 37:40: Howard Shore and Peter Jackson discuss Shore’s work scoring the films
- 39:50: Taika Waititi asks questions
- 42:55: The cast shares what The Lord of the Rings means to each of them
- 46:20: Billy Boyd sings Pippin’s song from The Return of the King
Listing image by Josh Gad