November 26, 2001

Voices from the Last Age
Anthony Brown

Writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley brings a unique perspective to his role as the author of The Official Lord of the Rings Movie Guide, and two further volumes on the production of the saga which will follow as the remaining films are released. On top of being a Tolkien expert and the author of a number of maps of Middle-earth, he was also the co-writer of the BBC's acclaimed 1981 radio adaptation of the tale. So it's hardly surprising that he found himself comparing notes with the script writers responsible for this latest version when he visited the set.

"I had long fascinating conversations with Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens, about ‘How you do this, and that', because we'd been through the same experience, though they're having to contract it even more... Director Peter Jackson (also interviewed in this issue - Ed.) said to me, ‘Yeah, but you had 13 hours to do it!', which is considerably more than they're going to have for the entire story, and yet we still had to make contractions, such as dropping the character of Tom Bombadil. So in many ways I think they've been more courageous than I'd been in some of the things they've done. I was reading the response of people in the Tolkien society magazine to some of the things that are coming out, about the role of Arwen for instance in the film, and realizing that there is going to be a huge amount of criticism from the purists, which is a pity in a way."

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