The Lord of the Rings is one of the most well-known book and movie series today, and arguably, of all time. In fact, if you asked a bunch of random people on the street if they knew about The Lord of the Rings, most would certainly have at least heard of it. That’s not surprising though. They’re great books and great movies, worthy of their fame and success. However, as with every popular franchise, there are a few things people don’t know about The Lord of the Rings and a few myths that people don’t know are actually false.
1. The first thing many people don’t know about the movies is that according to Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen (Gandalf) accidently hit his head on the rafters while they were filming in Bag End. What even more people don’t know is that this isn’t entirely true. While it was never written in the script that McKellen was supposed to hit his head and that due to its comedic value Jackson decided to keep it in, the head bumping was not an accident. McKellen has stated on his website that “Peter, for once, is wrong. The head-banging was my idea but I’m glad if it seemed spontaneous, the aim of all actors.”
2. Another bit of information that might come as a surprise to some people is that while shooting a scene at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Sean Astin (Sam) cut his foot on something sharp. While most people speculate that this was the work of a sharp piece of glass, the object in question was never actually found. Astin himself thinks that it might have been a particularly sharp branch that the crew missed when trying to smooth out the lake for him to stomp in. As it is, no one will ever truly know just what cut up his foot that day.
3. On the topic of cast injuries, of which there were several, there was one injury that sparked a performance so great that Jackson decided to keep it in the film. It was the scene in The Two Towers where Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) finds a pile of burned orc bodies and either Merry or Pippin’s charred belt. Mortensen kicks a nearby helmet, falls to his knees, and lets out a massive scream. It turns out that the scream was one of actual physical pain. By kicking the helmet Mortensen broke two toes, but the scream that act caused was such a memorable performance that the scene was left as is.
4. Many people know that there had been many failed attempts to make The Lord of the Rings into a live-action movie. However, many people don’t know that the Beatles themselves were one of the unsuccessful hopefuls trying to put the books on the big screen. Yup, in the 1960s the Beatles approached Stanley Kubrick to direct the movie with them starring in it. They planned to have John Lennon as Gollum, Paul McCartney as Frodo, George Harrison as Gandalf, and Ringo Starr as Sam. Unfortunately for the band, Kubrick decided that the project was too daunting and it fell through.
5. It took a long time to film all three movies. During the time it took to film The Fellowship of the Ring, the nine actors who played the Fellowship had become so close they decided to do something crazy to celebrate once the filming was over. The crazy stunt they decided on was that each member got tattoos of the Elvish number 9 somewhere on their bodies. Well, almost all the members got them. John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) reportedly didn’t get the tattoo, sending in his stunt double instead.