One of the major acts in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” is of course the Battle of Helm’s Deep. A clash that emerged during a colossal filming, marked by difficult conditions and the presence of thousands of extras.
The Two Towers : nothing is going well in Middle-earth
Attacked by Uruk-hai in the conclusion of the first installment of the trilogy, the Fellowship of the Ring is separated in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) are on the hunt for Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan), on the verge of becoming Orcas Meals. For their part, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) cross paths with Gollum (Andy Serkis), who tries to steal his precious before promising them to guide them to Mordor.
In this second opus, meetings and reunions multiply. To announce the rebirth of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) or the alliances between the members of the Community and King Théoden (Bernard Hill), the Ents or even Faramir (David Wenham), Peter Jackson sails between the Rohan, the forest of Fangorn and the ruins of Osgiliath. With his co-scriptwriters Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, the filmmaker develops many intrigues in this sequel released at the end of 2002, where the cards are reshuffled before the epic conclusion.
A huge challenge for the director and his teams
In an interview with First for the promotion of the film, Peter Jackson ensures that The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was the opus of the trilogy the most complicated to design, in particular for scriptwriting reasons. He explains as follows:
Without a doubt, the hardest episode to write and direct was The Two Towers: while the book focuses on the action, I had to struggle to deepen the characters and their psychology. (…) Funnier and darker at the same time than the first episode, Les Deux Tours is my western to me. Between John Ford and Akira Kurosawa …
In addition to the difficulties related to the script, the director and his teams must reproduce a gigantic piece of bravery on the screen. Spread over more than forty minutes and pitting hundreds of Rohan soldiers and elves against the thousands of Uruk-hai of Saruman (Christopher Lee), the Battle of Helm’s Deep is one of the most impressive clashes in the seventh art. The fight logically requires monstrous preparation.
“I survived Helm’s Deep”
Organized in the Dry Creek Quarry, a quarry located south of Wellington and fitted out with imposing scenery, the shots last four months (against 15 for the whole of the trilogy), Peter Jackson and his teams linking the night shoots. In addition to the cold and the natural or artificial rain, the actors and extras have to suffer from numerous injuries.
An unfortunate sword blow costs, for example a bit of a tooth to Viggo Mortensen. Totally invested, the interpreter of Aragorn asks if it is simply possible to put it back together. He was eventually taken to the dentist. The actor goes there in the bloody attire of his character so as not to interfere with the continuity of the images. Half an hour after his medical appointment, he is back on the set.
Upon arrival, Peter Jackson has 20 hours of rushes for Helm’s Deep. The battle combines real shots, synthetic images but also models and miniatures. The director called on no less than 20,000 extras. Obviously marked by this colossal filming, they as well as the actors proudly wear a t-shirt saying:
I survived Helm’s Deep.