Four short men, far from home. A narcissistic elf on a shooting spree. A Mancunian in rehab and the Scot who brought him flowers. The tragic loss of Liv Tyler's pinkie nail. Homos, promos, and pointy ears--stay tuned for The E! True Hollywood Story: Lord of the Rings.
In 1995, when Peter Jackson called his agent to enquire about the rights to Lord of the Rings, he had no clue what lay ahead. Perhaps that was for the best. In the next two hours, we here at E! speak to the cast, crew, and anyone else whose name you might recognise to bring you the story behind this mega-blockbuster.
Much has been made of the degree of bondage--er, bonding done on set. Did you get on well with your costars?
ORLANDO BLOOM: "Yeah, man. The film was fantastic and one of my favourite experiences, ever. It was super. Shooting, I mean. But offset... Everyone was [beep] gay."
ELIJAH WOOD: "Yeah, there were a few people on set I really liked. Liv, for starters. What an idiot, but she's so beautiful. Ethereal, even. And Billy Boyd and Dom Monagahan--we used to get so shitfaced in pubs then go to whoever's place was closest and have a threeso--I mean, pass out. Because we were all straight. Are all straight."
DOMINIC MONAGHAN: "The only thing straight about Elijah Wood is his nose. [scratches ear] I envy him that, actually."
BILLY BOYD: "Dom? Dom's an idiot. No, Dom's great. He does this really amazing thing with his tongue where -- [pause, blinks, closes mouth, blinks] I'm sorry. What was the question? No, we were -- are all straight."
DOM: "Me? I'm bi. [stretches] I bring them all to the yard."
IAN MCKELLAN: "In New Zealand, it was very fashionable to be gay if you were a young hobbit. Never mind that I've spent a great deal of time under scrutiny for my lifestyle choices. It's playtime. [world-weary sigh, knowing smile, elegant wave of hand] At least they enjoyed themselves."
SEAN ASTIN: [holds up hand] "Married. Straight. Happily married, despite whatever venom Wood is spitting."
ELIJAH: "Venom? He said I was spitting venom? What the [beep]? I can't [beep] believe that. I mean, you go down on a guy, think you know him--"
SEAN: "Elijah is, sadly, another tragic example of what can happen to children raised in Hollywood without enough discipline or guidance. I feel very sorry for him."
ANDY SERKIS: "Was Elijah a Hollywood brat? No, no. I don't think so. He was just a brat in general."
ELIJAH: "Yeah, well, Andy's a dick."
MIRANDA OTTO: "It was a really pleasant experience. The locations were exceptionally beautiful. Peter Jackson is brilliant. The hobbits... [smiles, bites lip] My mother told me if I couldn't find something nice to say, not to say anything at all. So... Sorry. No comment."
SEAN: "I know it isn't Elijah's fault that he has the sweatiest, stinkiest feet ever to belong to a human since Neolithic man. But when I'm trying to sleep and he sticks them up my nose... That's totally disgusting. What? Oh, no. No. We never slept together."
ELIJAH: "Sean? Sean can go [beep] his [beep] [beep] flying [beep] on a [beep] [beep] childish [beep] with [beep] [beep] swollen [beep]. What a [beep]. [beep] [beep] [beep], for [beep]'s sake. [beep]."
LIV TYLER: "I wanted to keep an eye on Orli because I know how vain and narcissistic the film industry can make a person. I didn't want him to end up like that."
ORLANDO: "Yeah, man, then I'm on an oliphaunt and just--bam! Look at me! And 42, and 43 and it's so cool, man. Fantastic. Then I'm sliding down the trunk -- so awesome. Then I--"
LIV: "He's a really sweet guy. I used to make him drive me around because everything's on the left side of the road and I'm not sure which side that is."
ORLANDO: "And the wig, man, the wig was great. I looked so hot. And when I'd turn my head like this-- What? Liv? Yeah, Liv's great. She has good hair, too. So, anyway, I'm standing on this cliff, you know? And I turn my head--"
LIV: "Making the movie was nice. I got to wear pretty costumes. It was fun."
JOHN RHYS-DAVIES: "When you have so many young fellows together there tends to be a special sort of... camaraderie. And far be it for me to intrude upon their fun. The hobbits will be hobbits. The Elf, however..."
ORLANDO: "So I'm CG, you know? And I'm on the troll and it's awesome, man, you know, looks totally realistic and-- What? [beep] John Rhys-Davies. That boat thing was totally his fault. Did he say it was my fault? [beep] Remind me to kill him. Anyway, I'm computer generated and have this great hair--"
IAN HOLM: "What a great load of rubbish. Ian McKellan? Daft. Peter Jackson? Halfwit."
DOM: "It's cool when you get to work like that with so many people, all these different influences. And you really get to know people after spending that much time together."
BILLY: "And they get on your nerves."
DOM: "Say that again."
BILLY: "What? Nerves?"
DOM: [giggles; to camera] "Isn't he the cutest thing ever?"
This was very much a boy's movie, at least as far as casting went. With so many men working together for an extended period of time coupled with the incredible closeness (and sometimes physicality) of the relationships formed, rumours have been flying. Are you aware of these?
DOM: "Yeah, we look stuff up on the internet."
BILLY: "Slash. It's like bedtime stories."
DOM: "I think my favourite is the one with the bug lotion. Very sexy."
BILLY: "Do you know what's fun, though, Dom? AU."
DOM: "Yes. I heart AU."
BILLY: "I heart our fandom."
DOM: "That's so sweet, Billy. Me, too."
BILLY: "We're total fangirls."
DOM: "Eh, Bills?"
BILLY: "Yes, Dom?"
DOM: "I heart you."
BILLY: "I heart you more."
[sounds of squeeing are heard off-camera]
ORLANDO: "So I had this really cool bow, you know? And I'm shooting it and-- what? Hobbits? [beep] the hobbits. Anyway, there's this CG element, you know and--"
VIGGO: "They're still calling them rumours, then? Good. My publicist will let me live to see tomorrow."
IAN: "I have Gaydar. 'Rumours' in this case is very much a misnomer. [waves hand elegantly]"
The film immerses us into a detailed, ornate world of fantasy. Much of its success can be attributed to the hard work behind the scenes. Ngila Dickson, costume designer for Rings, had the arduous task of making costumes. And making them again and again and again.
NGILA: "It wasn't enough we had to make each costume 40 times. The boys didn't understand the trousers could be taken off. [weary sigh] As I'm sure Monica Lewinsky will attest, some things just can' t be dry cleaned out."
It's said that the cast demanded twice as many breaks as is customary for... various reasons.
ELIJAH: "[beep] yeah! Do you know what SAG wants us to have? [beep] Sorry, but a man has needs and they can't always be satisfied in fifteen minutes."
DOM: "The quickies? Yeah, I remember the quickies."
VIGGO: [quietly] "I managed to get some snapshots of Frodo and Sam once during a break. Sean threatened to pour hot sauce over my testicles... among other things. I handed over the negatives. Suggested he use them for his Christmas cards. I don't think he was amused."
Tell us about the experience of making cinematic history.
DOM: "I got to eat an apple in one scene."
BILLY: "And you had the -- the juice was just sort of dribbling down your chin."
DOM: "And you wanted to lick it off."
BILLY: "Then I tripped over that bastarding tent cord."
DOM: "And Peter called cut. I tried to help you up, but you pulled me down."
BILLY: "And you still had the juice on your chin."
DOM: "Yeah, right here. Then the thing with the platypus-- [sigh] That was a good day."
DOM: "Fond memories."
ORLANDO: "Yeah, man, Pete had this thing he'd say--something like, you know, pain is temporary but looking good on film is forever."
CATE BLANCHETT: "It was... interesting." [smiles politely]
Several of the cast members have mentioned they looked to Christopher Lee, veteran film actor, as the resident Tolkien expert.
CHRISTOPHER LEE: "I've met Professor Tolkien. I'm very intelligent and have a mellifluous voice. Women (and Ian McKellan) want me; hobbits fear me. I know how to use 'whom' properly in a sentence."
The premieres must've been a whirlwind experience for you. What do you remember most vividly?
DOM: "His kilts are sexy."
BILLY: "Your lollies are sexy."
BILLY: "No, really. He has this lolly, right? And he's twirling it in his mouth and there's his tongue, saliva, moist... hot... warm lips parting, supple wet lips, tongue lapping and licking with this look in his eyes that so obviously says, 'Come here and [beep] me, Billy,' and just sucking that lolly like it [beep] means something." [bites back of hand]
DOM: [blinks twice]
BILLY: [breathing raggedly]
[DOM and BILLY glance at BILLY's lap]
BILLY: [shrug, innocent smile] It happens.
Next, on E! True Hollywood Story, tragedy strikes on set.
LIV: "So one day, I broke a nail."
And the horror ensues. Stay tuned! More up next.
LIV: "It was really, really awful."