One Blu-ray to rule them all.
To mark the debut of “The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition,” which hits stores today, PopcornBiz sat down with two notable denizens of Middle Earth: “Fringe” star John Noble, who appeared in the trilogy as Boromir’s troubled father Denethor, and actor/stuntman Sala Baker, who played the evil Sauron, not to mention a fair number of nameless Orcs.
With each film in the trilogy featuring 30-50 minutes of more footage than the theatrical edition – now in glorious HD – the actors admitted they were thrilled that director Peter Jackson’s uber-faithful mega-versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s saga restored personal favorite scenes that initially ended up on the cutting room floor.
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“We shot a beautiful scene for ‘The Two Towers,'” recalls Noble of a flashback that was reinserted. “It was Sean Bean, myself and David Wenham – I loved that scene. Apart from the fact that I just love working like that with Sean Bean. Then in the second there were a couple of quite powerful scenes that had to be cut. One scene in particular, I remember it was so hot, and I had to fall over in it a lot. And Peter Jackson kept saying, 'That was great. Do it again.' And I was bruised and battered all over the place. And that didn't go in to the cinema but it came into the next one and I was very pleased to see. I was rewarded.”
“There was a cool sequence that we shot which was actually my favorite shot that was never in the movie,” says Baker. “In the forging of the ring, I have this golden nugget in my hand as Sauron. And I put my hand over the Edge of Doom and the gold melts into a liquid form. And I have this little dagger – Sauron ends up stabbing his hand and mixes the gold with the blood. And then when I bring it up it forges the one ring. And I was like, 'Cool, dude!' And it wasn't even in the movie.
And then there were the behind-the-scenes memories: “We were doing the première of the first movie and Viggo [Mortensen] goes, 'Sala, go and head-butt Orlando Bloom right now,’” remembers Baker. “Because when Viggo and I and a bunch of the stunt guys used to go out we used to do shots. As a brotherly love kind of gesture he would head-butt you. Viggo goes, 'Do it. Do it. Do it.' And I was like, 'Hey, Orlando, bro – I love you, dude.’ WHAM! And I got in trouble because the next day makeup was like, 'Why does Legolas have a big red dot on his forehead?'"
Noble’s off-screen memories are somewhat sweeter. “Two of my daughters came to visit me, and they were only teenagers at that stage. And, of course, they had a wonderful time – they were able to hang out with Elijah [Wood] and Billy [Boyd] and all the young fellows. That was kind of special for them."
The actors fondness for their time on the landmark films remains uniquely palpable. “I remember in a big meeting of actors once, John Rhys-Davies once saying in his big voice, he says, 'This is the finest ensemble of actors that's ever been gathered' – because John liked to do that sort of thing,” says Noble. “But what he meant was that the energy that existed in that room of people was amazing.”