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Viggo Mortensen on filming The Lord of the Rings: “It was very sloppy”

In a wide-ranging interview for The Telegraph, Viggo Mortensen has described the process of making The Lord of the Rings film trilogy as chaotic and confusing.

The actor, who was cast at the last minute as Aragorn, told film-reviewer Tim Robey:

They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter [Jackson] had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 – he’d shot all three films in the trilogy – but really the second and third ones were a mess. It was very sloppy – it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year.

Mortensen reflected that “the first script was better organised” and that The Fellowship of the Ring, with its relatively few CGI shots, had “an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it’s grittier.” The other two films fell victim to Jackson’s embrace of new and developing technologies, he argued:

The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like that to the power of 10.