The LOTR Movie Site
November 15, 1999

Casting Characters for the Movies
Rolando Procupez

Let's begin with Eowyn. There is no way in heaven, hell, New Zealand, or middle-earth, for taking the daughter of Éomund out of the script. Who will take Merry to the battle on the Pelennor Fields? Who will fight the Nazgűl Lord? Who will fall in love with Faramir steward of the king of Gondor, as they lay together in the houses of healing? Or perhaps Arwen shall end in a menage-a-trois with Aragorn and Faramir? Or better yet, let's kill Faramir form the script, in that way Denethor will only have to cry for Boromir, and not blame his younger son for the lost of the older.

I respect Peter Jackson as a director, I love his movies, but not him nor anyone else has the right to eliminate a key character in movie which uses an "adapted script" and not an original one. When you adapt a script you have to respect the main work which you're basing your script on, otherwise go and write something for yourself, create a movie from that and nobody's going to blame you. If you're filming Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, you don't eliminate the ghost character, or Brutus. In the same way you can't take J.R.R. Tolkien writings and modulate to your vision, because it's not yours! It's his vision, and one should respect it. But, at the same time, when you're adapting a script, you can make certain "concessions" to the story without sacrificing or betraying the spirit of the novel.

This is the case of giving the romance between Aragorn and Arwen more reel time, after all Tolkien himself wrote in the appendix in the third book, narrating the first encounter of Aragorn and Arwen Undómiel in the woods, so it is perfectly clear that they take their romance beyond the writings, and so is not a crime, nor a betrayal of the spirit of the novel to expand in the film the romance. I don't even mind that they made a whole romantic "Titanic a la Hollywood" thing out of Arwen and Aragorn, after all she did marry him and give up her elven immortality. So again one thing is to expand a character beyond the frontiers of the book, without crossing the intended spirit of that character in the book, and another is eliminate a character, which takesus to Tom Bombadil. How can be justified the idea exposed at Elrond's council about hiding the One Ring with Tom, if Tom doesn't exist in the first time? Okay, we can delete the mention of him from the council talks, and the narration of Merry and Pippin to Treebeard, but also, and I agree 100% with David Bass, that it is killing one of the most interesting characters in Tolkien's mythology.

When Ralph Bashki filmed his LOTR animated picture, he comprised the first two books in one movie, so it was obvious the cutting in the story, but one cannot advocate for Bakshi defending what was two books-one movie, with PJ at helm is three books-three movies, so what's the point of cutting anything, because of the budget? I don't buy that, because of the producers? They only want the money, which is not going to happen if people won't go to their movie. Sure, there are more movie goers, who hadn't read the books than the ones who have read them, but is it worth the chance of having not so much audience, and flunk at the box-office? If I were one of the producers, I will not take that chance. Moreover will Peter Jackson, preferred to be remembered as the director of the trilogy who maybe surpassed Star Wars, or the director who kill Tolkien's work and infuriated his readers?

Maybe I'm too childish in my conceptions, but I had enough of the movie industry, killing good books in the name of the money machine Starship Troopers, The Puppet Masters, 2010. So I believe something wonderful can be made out of Tolkien's opus, if the director, producers, and script team swims in it along with the current, and not upstream.