Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom Interview
Question: How hard was it for you to learn to speak Elvish?
Liv Tyler: A thousand different series of lines. Like the first couple of lines I had to memorize were very hard. But eventually it got easier for me and I really enjoyed it. I could actually do it really quickly after a while. Sometimes I would have to film 3 or 4 four scenes in Elvish and I would have to take it in stages because if I memorized it all at once I would get confused so I would do them one at a time. After a while it became very natural.
Orlando Bloom: Well the thing with the Elves is there is hard to grasp onto as far as there is no real rhythm for how the Elves spoke. So I found it hard to learn at times.
Question: What was the effect of taking a year out of your life to film this movie?
Liv: Very good question. I came and went a lot. It was a major decision, particularly in the beginning; not necessarily for my career, but more on a personal note. Like, oh my God can I handle being on the other side of the world for so long? I'm a very family-oriented type of person and I get home-sick really easily. I think I was more homesick than anyone else. It was really hard because I would go home for 2 months and stay for a week and go so on. Instead of traveling a lot I would take the opportunity to go home whereas the boys [looking at Orlando] were there the whole time and really explored the whole time…
Orlando: We learned to surf. And we spent a lot of times outdoors. Its such a beautiful country with so much to do. Jumping out of planes. Bungie-jumping. All sorts of crazy stuff. So it's a good place for 18 months.
Question: What's it like to be the only girl amongst all the boys here for so long?
Liv: I'm really used to that. It seems like every movie I do as me and the guys. But it was great, I love everybody and I feel really special because I was treated so well.
Question: How is it playing with a love interest older than you like with Viggo Mortensen?
Liv: Well he's not as old as Richard Dreyfuss from my first movie! (laughs) I had to make out with Richard Dreyfuss when I was 16.
Question: How was Viggo to work with?
Liv: Viggo’s amazing.. I mean the whole
cast is amazing. Viggo in particular was unbelievable because he literally
became Aragorn. It's funny for me to see him now because he’s a lot more
relaxed and he doesn't have the facial hair and I'm thinking “boy Viggo
you're pretty cute” [female reporters all laugh] He really submersed himself
in the part and every way as everyone did. Learning to horseback ride,
archery, and sword fighting, the language involved; Viggo being a
ranger, it was really important to him that he was in the clothes all the time and kind of dirty. He brought his sword everywhere and really got into that. He did all of his old stunt and stuff.
Question: Is there romance involved?
Liv: Yes. Oh my God she's madly in love with him. The love story for me is the main core of my part in a way is the love that these two people have for each other. In a really girlish way is what drew me to the part. It's a real classic heart wrenching love story. If you read the appendix in the back of the book. It was really like Romeo and Juliet in that level of a classic love story. It's a very complicated situation of love.
Question: According to the press kit, your character is supposed to be known for her superior horsemanship. I've heard some rumours that that is a bit exaggerated….
Liv: Me and horses don't go so well together. (laughs) I think that horses are the most beautiful creatures and I love to touch them and kiss them on the nose and hang out with them and all that stuff; I just don't like to be on them. (laughs) I learned how to ride really well. I cantered in everything.
Question: But you were scared?
Liv: There's something about being on top of an animal that is four times the size of you and has four legs and can run is kind of scary. But I did it. These guys [looking at Orlando] could ride bareback…
Orlando: Yeah we had a lot of training before the filming started. About two months worth.
Question: But you had to do all kinds of training didn't you?
Orlando: Yeah we started off with archery
training. The Elves are a really superior race. They have this superhuman
strength, reflex speed, sensory awareness, they're kind of angelic spirits.
They were the first race to be placed on Middle-earth by the Valar, the
gods of Middle-earth. So we had to learn movement training, for Legolas
particularly I learned a style of martial arts training to use these two
blades, two knives that he uses. It was kind of an ancient European
and Asian style of fighting. There was horse training and sword training with Bob Anderson who was such a genius and quite the character. Lots of training in the gym just to keep your stamina going.
Liv: When everyone arrived, everybody had to be prepared very early on. Everyone was given a trainer to prepare physically. Even if we weren't filming the most physical scenes, just from the hours being so long, they wanted everyone to be prepared physically for this long road ahead. Every day if we weren't working we were doing lessons.
Orlando: As Elves, it was quite tiring, because they are these incredibly composed characters. So when you were on set you just had to have this real focus on you because that what was demanded of you from the nature of the character. There was no sort of slouching.
Liv: They were always perfectly composed. We couldn't relax (laughs)
Orlando: Yeah, when the Fellowship was all taking a rest and sitting down Legolas would be standing on a rock staring off into the distance. Using his senses to be aware of danger and keep an eye out for the Company.
Question: What were some of your favourite scenes?
Liv: Oh my god how can we begin? There's so many.
Orlando: You saw the footage right? I really enjoyed the stuff inside of Moria. It was an odd environment for Legolas because he is used to being in the trees. I had to have this different mindset because he was in this enclosed space and the stuff with the Cave Troll. It was such a relief to see how well that had turned out to have this great sort of interactive beast. It looks so real.
Liv: They were acting with nothing there.
Orlando: Yeah they had this poll with a cross on it and I had to duck and dive with all of these plastic explosions going off all around me. That was really fun and interesting.
Question: What was it like filming on the other side of earth?
Liv: Well for us it was really a beautiful thing. In a way, it was Middle-earth. We were sitting in our trailers with the doors open and everywhere around us were walking little people, big people, and monsters, and everything you could imagine around us.
Orlando: It was a very happy set. It was a real labor of love from everyone. Everyone was so totally involved. Being so far away from the rest of the world as it were really brought us all together and made us really good friends. The cast and crew got very friendly and it was really an adventure to be there all on this big team. We were very welcomed by the people of New Zealand. They kept the shops and stores open for us if we needed to get stuff after a day of shooting. It was really a special place to be.
Question: Did it feel like Peter Jackson’s world? The way he talks about the characters makes it seem like he is really at home in this world.
Liv: He's a Hobbit. (laughs)
Orlando: He's definitely created a world.
Liv: It was all around us. This town we shot in, Wellington, we actually shot in just about every possible warehouse space. My last day was at the shipping port, suddenly there was this Elvish set in there. There was also Weta and Weta Digital and the studio and everything all around us. The people of the country really participating in the movie with their encouragement.
Orlando: There's so much natural beauty in New Zealand. It was quite easy to be inspired to recreate the images of Middle-earth.
Question: What did you have to help you remind you of all those images?
Orlando: Well everyone on the set was a complete fanatical genius in terms of what they knew about Lord of the Rings.
Liv: And at Weta, one of the first things we did was go on this huge tour. It was essentially this huge warehouse with each room for something. One room was for the Army of the Dead, Hobbit feet being made, one the feet being cooked in the oven, the next one with individual hairs being sewn on, and the next room swords being made by hand. All of these really young guys and girls, these talented young people, who worked so hard. They were so familiar with the text and the story, everyone who worked on the film was sort of a diehard fanatic of the book. We shot dependent on what sets were ready, we didn't really shoot in continuity of the film. There were always sets being built and you could go watch them be created and see all of the drawings.
Question: How old were you when you first read the books?
Liv: I hadn't read it at all.
Orlando:. I got halfway through when I was 14, but then I got interested in girls and sports and stuff. I picked it up and finished it when casting began. It's great to have a book like that which, like the Bible, people refer to it if you need to. Tolkien was so detailed, a professor of history. And everything was layered with so much detail you could easily go there for reference. All of the characters were described in the finest detail. It made it really accessible and easy to get in touch with your character.
Question: How do you feel about the responsibility on your shoulders for adapting a story loved by so many?
Liv: Whenever you are adapting something from a novel it is always really sensitive. People will always be hyper-critical and have their vision of it. Anything that you do and obviously something like this that is so visual everyone creates in their mind what things look like. But this is Peter’s version, and everyone's, but essentially but he and the few close people that he started working on this with a few years ago. There is a lot of pressure, and particularly with the Elves, but you cant have that looming over you ever day; because then you cant perform at any task. You have to trust in what you are doing.
Question: Had Lord of the Rings changed your expectations career wise?
Orlando: No. I don't know about changing the, I don't know what expectations I really had. It was a very educational experience in terms of learning about the industry. Learning about the business of making films….
Liv: And seeing both worlds: Effects and Performance…
Orlando: And working with some of the greatest actors around. That was inspirational and made me feel very lucky and spoiled rotten.
Question: What was it like to like on such a big-budget film?
Liv: I always found on this film, that
even though it's one of the biggest films ever made, that if felt like
a small independent film in a way. Because of the nature of where we were
and how dedicated everyone was. There weren't a lot of perks. We didn't
have these huge trailers and all these excess things. It was really kind
of down and dirty in that way. The passion that went on made it feel like
not a typical big-budget movie.
Interview from The Tolkien Guild.
Watch video of the interview (plus a few other LOTR related interviews) on the French site Canal +.