Viggo Mortensen — aka Aragorn, son of Arathorn, in The Lord of the Rings — has revealed that production on Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy trilogy was “a mess.”
In fact, the actor. who played the man formerly known as Strider, Ranger of the North, and the Once and Future King Elessar of Gondor almost 14 years ago now, said that Peter Jackson went so far over budget that The Two Towers and The Return of the King would have been fit to go straight to video were it not for The Fellowship of the Ring’s success back in 2001.
Well, that's a bit harsh ... here's what Mortensen said in an interview with The Telegraph:
“Anybody who says they knew it was going to be the success it was, I don’t think it’s really true,” he says. “They didn’t have an inkling until they showed 20 minutes in Cannes, in May of 2001. They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 – he’d shot all three films in the trilogy – but really the second and third ones were a mess. It was very sloppy – it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video.”
Mortensen believes that the first film was the best in the trilogy because it was all filmed in one go, and that the subsequent sequels over-relied on special effects and that they lacked subtlety:
“It was very confusing, we were going at such a pace, and they had so many units shooting, it was really insane. But it’s true that the first script was better organised,” he says. “Also, Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back. In the first movie, yes, there’s Rivendell, and Mordor, but there’s sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it’s grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like that to the power of 10.
“I guess Peter became like Ridley Scott – this one-man industry now, with all these people depending on him.”
What do you guys think? Do you agree with Viggo Mortensen and also think The Fellowship of the Ring was the superior entry in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy? If not, which one was your favorite?