The Evening Post
Minas Tirith

The Evening Post
January 2, 2001

Rings Polystyrene Battle Set 'Cost $1m'
Staff Reporter

What cost almost a million dollars and is largely made of polystyrene?

According to the official Lord Of The Rings website, that was the cost of the Minas Tirith, setting for the key battle of the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy based on J R R Tolkien's book.

The final cut was called on December 22, ending a 274-day shoot which spanned almost 15 months.

The first part, The Fellowship Of The Ring, will be released in December this year.

An article posted on the site says construction of the Minas Tirith set, at Dry Creek Quarry, at Haywards in Lower Hutt, began in June on the site of the old Helm's Deep set, another key battle scene.

"At a cost of nearly $1 million, the set was built from a Lord Of The Rings staple - polystyrene - as well as concrete and wood, with steel reinforcements," the site's report says.

"Red tape on the tops of the buildings show where . . . towering computer-generated heights (will be added)."

The article says one of the last scenes shot before filming ended was the coronation of Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen, as King of Gondor. Mortensen lost his straggly beard and mud-splattered clothes for a suit of armour and a rich scarlet robe, along with a long, black velvet cape for the scene where he is crowned by Gandalf, played by Sir Ian McKellen.

As Mortensen finishes his speeches, huge wind machines blew paper rose petals into the scene.

The website also revealed that John-Rhys Davies, who plays Gimli the Dwarf, will also provide the voice for Treebeard the Ent.

Treebeard, a tree-creature who helps the Hobbits on their quest, will be computer-generated.