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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 13:44 GMT
Actors' joy at Rings trilogy
The film is premièred in London on Monday
The film is premièred in London on Monday
The Lords of the Rings trilogy may be one of the most challenging and demanding film projects ever undertaken, but the actors say they have no regrets.

Peter Jackson directed all three movies back-to-back in his native New Zealand at a cost of £190m.

The shoot took more than 15 months to complete and now the first of the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, premières in London on Monday.

Hundreds of fans are expected to turn up and see its stars, who include Elijah Wood, Ian Holm, Sean Bean and Liv Tyler, at Leicester Square.

'Overwhelming'

Many of the actors admit that starring in such a hugely-anticipated film had been very tough.

Tyler said: "I wasn't familiar with the book at all when I was offered the part. It was kind of overwhelming for me to take on this whole new world.

"It was a big challenge to take on the role of an elf. They are just extraordinarily perfect beings, it took me a long time to portray someone who is immortal and nearly 3,000 years old."

Bean said the 11 months he spent on the movie had an amazing impact on him, saying it was a "life-changing experience".

"The prospect was so thrilling. The fact that we were working on something that people had so much passion for, it meant I became totally immersed in it," said Bean.

He revealed that all nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring had bonded during the filming, going as far as to have tattoos made with the elfish symbol of nine.

More than 2,000 people were involved in the filming of the epics, and on one of the days about 1,400 eggs were served for breakfast.

Director Jackson said preparation was the key to the film getting off the ground.

He said: "Normally on a movie you would get six to eight months to prepare a movie before you start shooting, in this case we had three years of planning from the time we started writing the script."

Philippa Boyens had the mammoth task of translating the JRR Tolkien books onto the big screen, but said she was determined to succeed.

Passion

"It was a process of navigating the demands of film and navigating the demands of the book and we always had Peter Jackson's vision," said Boyens.

She added that the project was a "great joy" and that it was a "privilege" to work on, a point echoed by Wood, who plays the main character Frodo.

"This is something I wanted to do with an absolute passion. There was no second thought," said the 20-year-old.

"It's the opportunity of a lifetime and it proved to be one of the greatest experiences of my life."

Wood acknowledges that filming was not always plain sailing, especially when it came to the hairy, fake feet the Hobbits had to wear.

"The feet became the bane of my existence. Every morning at about five am I had to stand up for 90 minutes to have these things glued to my feet," said Wood.

"They did fall off a lot when you were running. Our feet took a lot of damage. Sean Astin (who plays Sam in the movie) got a branch through his foot and had to be helicoptered to hospital."

'Huge risk'

Jackson admits it was hard to juggle the wishes of the fans of the books, along with movie-goers who had not read Tolkien's classics.

"I guess that two-thirds of the people who see this movie will not have read the book. My primary responsibility as a filmmaker was to make a film that could be enjoyed by everyone," said the New Zealand-born director.

He acknowledges that the movies were "a huge risk" but joked that they were just a "bunch of Kiwi filmmakers, using American dollars, to make an incredibly English movie".

He said: "We felt England should be honoured with the world premiere out of respect for the fact that this is where the story was born."

The movie opens across the UK on 19 December with the two other films of the trilogy, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, expected to be released at the end of 2002 and 2003.



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