Peter Jackson was hardly the obvious choice to helm the Lord of the Rings saga, but in hindsight his very commitment to living in Tolkien’s world for eight years should have been enough to convince fans of his intentions.
With Return of the King sweeping the Oscars and the DVD special edition now available everywhere, Total Film caught up with Peter Jackson to ask him what he thought of his final Lord of the Rings movie.
Is this your favourite Lord of the Rings movie?
Peter Jackson: The Return of the King is the most enjoyable, because in the structure of the movies, it is nothing other than pay-off, there is no more setting up to do, no more exposition, no more introducing characters. From my point of view it was always great, because we were heading toward an ending, a climax which we never had in the other two.
Would you say that this instalment is more emotional than the rest?
Jackson: The pay-off is very character-based. It is action-orientated as well, but all of our characters have been pushed to a point where their life and death depends on what happens in the third movie. It is very emotional, and from an actor’s point of view it is very enjoyable to work on, because they were able to play some pretty intense drama.
How did you decide on the ending for Return of the King?
Jackson: We wanted to do exactly the same ending as in the book and we wanted the last line of the film to be the last line of the book. That was very important to us.
Now that the special editions have been released, have you finally finished with the movie?
You don’t stop making the movie. We were always rewriting scenes and writing new scenes and constantly challenging ourselves to think of last-minute improvements. You never just say, ‘This is perfect.’ You’re always fighting and grappling with yourself to push it further and further and take every opportunity that you can...