After having faced the formidable armies of Saruman at the Deep of Helm, Gimli, Legolas, Merry and Pippin celebrate their victory among the soldiers of Rohan, in the Great Hall of Edoras, a mug of beer in hand. But if the characters in The Lord of the Rings consume the fruit of their triumph with relative moderation, what about their performers?
So what is the amber drink that we can see sparkling in the glasses of John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd during this scene of rejoicing, present in the long version of the Return of the King ? In the film’s audio commentary, Peter Jackson provided an answer to this thorny question, which apparently we weren’t the only ones asking ourselves:
“People often wonder what makes beer in this kind of scene”, explained the New Zealand director. “Obviously, we can’t use real beers, otherwise the actors would collapse on the spot. Which also happens, by the way. We use a low alcoholic beer, made with hops, which tastes the same as true. Only the degree of alcohol changes. A Nelson brewery [en Nouvelle-Zélande] even created a special Hobbit beer for us for the purposes of the film. “
A rather wise and judicious solution for the actors, especially when we know that such a sequence (comprising multiple dialogues between different characters, and requiring the presence of many extras) can easily be spread over several days of shooting.
As for the catchy song sung by Merry and Pippin in the same scene, the audio commentary of the feature film tells us that the lyrics were written by screenwriter Philippa Boyens, and that the music was composed by the American rock group. Plan 9.
(Re) discover all the hidden details of the “Return of the King” …