Shocking, violent, hard-hitting, the introductory scene of “Return of the King” has remained in the memories of its spectators. However, the third opus of “Lord of the Rings” almost started in a completely different way.
An earthworm on the end of a hook, the shimmering reflections of a melodious river, a rural fishing trip between two happy hobbits. And then … a strange discovery, a curious object, a mysterious Ring that suddenly turns everything upside down.
When it was released in theaters in 2003, Le Retour du Roi – third opus by Lord of the Rings – takes everyone by surprise by opening up to a memorable … and unexpected flashback scene. Rather than filming the great armies of Middle-earth who are preparing to wage their final battle, Peter Jackson indeed prefers to begin his last chapter with a more modest story, but just as fascinating.
The filmmaker thus decides to return several hundred years before the events described in The Lord of the Rings, and to explore the most secret memories of Sméagol. In a few minutes, we therefore witness his disturbing discovery of the One Ring, the assassination of his best friend Déagol to seize the “precious”, and his slow transformation into Gollum, the disgusting creature we know.
However, as the New Zealand director explains in the audio commentary for the feature film, The Return of the King almost opened with a very different sequence, and much less original:
“We left the Chemin des Morts tunnel, we traveled the plains of Edoras … All filmed from a helicopter, and we ended up in the Golden Castle where Aragorn woke up from a nightmare”, tells Peter Jackson. “That was the start of the film.”
In order to think outside the box, and above all in a desire to put the Ring – which had been somewhat forgotten in Les Deux Tours – on the front of the stage, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens then decided to review their copy:
“The opening scene of The Two Towers was reminiscent of the James Bond, with this spectacular fight, and we didn’t want to do the same thing for the last film. It felt like we were applying the same recipe.”, remembers Peter Jackson.
The three screenwriters therefore went to draw their inspiration from a cut scene from the second opus, a sequence that was initially supposed to take place just after the discussion between Frodo and Sméagol in the Marais des Morts, but which was ultimately not selected for the editing of Les Deux Tours.
“When we reviewed this sequence between Sméagol and Déagol, it appeared to us as an excellent counterweight”, continues the director. “I knew Andy [Serkis] was disappointed to have been cut during the assembly of the Deux Tours, because it was the only opportunity to show his true face. I don’t think he expected us to use the stage. “
The sequence in question, almost horrifying and truly memorable, was also directed by Andy Serkis himself. Peter Jackson being too busy that day, it is indeed the interpreter of Sméagol who was responsible for staging the murderous fight between the two hobbits.
(Re) discover our special video dedicated to Gollum …