The German online-magazine Spiegel Online interviewed Philip Capil (a.k.a. Beren), webmaster of the NZ-LOTR-Website Company of the Ring. I asked the editor of the interview and he send in the original version. Here it is, only for you, my english speaking visitors ;-)
On the set of "The Lord of the Rings?
"One of the coolest things I?ve ever done?
29-year-old Philip Capil, information systems student from Christchurch, New Zealand, is the webmaster of one of the oldest sites on the ?Lord of the Rings?-movies. For the last six weeks of shooting he was working as a production assistant on the set and saw more of Peter Jackson?s ring vision than any other fan. SPIEGEL Online talked with him about his experiences.
Spiegel: For six weeks you were right in the midst of the "Lord of the Rings? world. Have you now gotten readjusted to real life at all?
Philip: I am graduating this year, so there was no other choice. Besides, I am glad I don?t have to get up that early like during production .
Spiegel: Thousands of fans must have envied you for this job. How did you get your hands on it?
Philip: Through my website I got friendly with Peter Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh. In September they invited me to the Edoras set where the scenes at the court of the king of Rohan are taking place. When I thanked them in a letter, I cautiously asked if there was any chance of a job. And they said sure.
Spiegel: What exactly did you do?
Philip: I was production assistant to Rick Porras, the director of the Blue Screen unit. Basically our job was the folloing: We set up parts of scenes with stand-ins where the special effects would be added later on. As soon as the stars, who were shooting with other units, became available, we would bring them over and shoot with them in front of the Blue Screen. Having no previous filming experience I was busy with all sorts of odd jobs: I looked after the extras and stand-ins, I was on the wind machine, took the stars to our set or to their hotel and so on...
Spiegel: With productions of such a gargantuan size shooting tends to end up in chaos. How did it go with "Lord of the Rings??
Philip: Of course we worked overtime, but everything went on schedule. The mood of the staff was pretty harmonic, although most people were glad when it was over. The stars were really with it, no matter how hard we tossed them around.
Spiegel: And Peter Jackson?
Philip: Whenever you watched him directing, you wouldn?t know he had been working these long months on the movie. He was always calm, relaxed and collected. I think he knew exactly what he wanted.
Spiegel: Are you happy with this images of the Tolkien world?
Philip: Everything that I got to see was totally amazing, for example the rough design of a Balrog, a huge fire demon, or the puppet for the creature Treebeard. What?s also incredible is the attention to detail. Some things,
like bands with runes on the weapons, you will probably not even see in the movie. At a special showing we were finally shown 35 minutes of material. Although it was not a finished product, everybody was psyched.
Spiegel: Have there been changes from the book?
Philip: There is one radical difference from the third book which I am not allowed to tell you anything about. In some scenes the action elements have been expanded, like at theentrance of the mines of Moria where the heroes are attacked by the Watcher in the water. Other scenes are funnier than in the book, for example in Moria when Pippin drops a stone into the well and Gandalf dresses him down.
Spiegel: You think these changes work?
Philip: I think they make the plot flow a bit better. After all the book wasn?t written to be made into a movie. Just hardcore fans may not be happy with certain things.
Spiegel: What would happen to you, should you give away any details?
Philip: I don?t believe one could sue me. Some guys were taken to court because they had stolen props. And even they got only a slap on the hand. But I don?t want to jeopardize my friendships with the people from the production.
Spiegel: Apparently they?re already planning the ?prequel?, the film version of ?The Hobbit?
Philip: From what I picked up they are wanting Sir Ian McKellen to play Gandalf again. But according to my information Peter is also planning a completely different project, a World War I fighter pilot movie.
Spiegel: Now you?ve taken a look behind the curtain. Doesn?t this destroy the myth of this movie?
Philip: On the contrary, since I?ve only seen unfinished pieces. Now I am really looking forward to seeing the completed movies.
Spiegel: You feel like returning to the movie world one day?
Philip: Probably not. A film set is not my cup of tea. Still I will never forget my job with "Lord of the Rings?. This is one of the coolest things I?ve ever done. And if they should be shooting "The Hobbit?, who knows...