The Pestle


Ep 65: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”

January 09, 2019

We journey into JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” and discuss:

  • cinematography;
  • adapting a novel;
  • Wes’s favorite edit in the movie;
  • we are joined by Joe Howes, actor, aerial drone filmmaker, VFX artist, WETA Digital programmer, and resident Lord of the Rings expert encyclopaedia;
  • and other such stuff and things and stuff.

There is a dark side in all of us. And for us ‘bad’ people, the bad side dominates. I think there is a great sadness in villains, and I have tried to put that across. We cannot stop ourselves doing what we are doing. – Christopher Lee

Notes & References:
Reddit thread about Viggo dodging the Uruk Hai’s knife
Images of the giant One Ring to scale
Joe Howes’ Instagram
Joe Howes’ filmmaking page

This Week’s Recommendations:


  1. Joe Howes says:

    Just wanted to post a little addendum about the green-lighting of the film, which speaks to the passion and drive of the people of the New Zealand film industry.

    After we recorded this episode I was speaking to one of my incredible co-workers who was with Weta before the production of LOTR, and I mentioned how amazed we were that the film was greenlit back in the late 90s. They described what it was like back then, and that it was definitely not a certain proposition for a couple years. PJ and RT did in fact put together presentations and travelled the world looking for backing, wowing investors with the accomplishments of the New Zealand film industry, and through their passion and drive convinced them that not only was their crew the people to make this happen, but that New Zealand was the place.

    This person said that there were dark days leading up to production. Jackson had wanted to do Kong first, but that film was not greenlit. Some days you would come in to work and the word would be that Rings was not happening. Then the next day you’d hear it was a sure thing. You just put your head down and slogged away, hoping that you’d get a notice about the first day of production.

    When I speak to the people involved in the production, you can see on their faces that it was a hard road, but also that it was the journey of a lifetime. It speaks to that “colonial” kiwi spirit that they pulled together the sheer will not only to get the trilogy greenlit, but also to get through the actual production, revolutionizing the process as they went.

    So kudos to the crew and cast of Rings!! You people are legend.

    1. wes says:

      So cool! Really badass you get to talk to people who were actually THERE. FFS.

      Already beat you to the giant One ring images in the show-notes! HA! Hilarious that we actually used the same link. Great minds thinkareddit.

  2. Joe Howes says:

    Also, I’m an idiot: The chapter of the Silmarillion I reference in this episode about the song of the Ainur is actually Ainulindalë, not Akallabêth.

    Damn if that microphone doesn’t make you nervous!

  3. Joe Howes says:

    Also here is the giant ring that Workshop made for that scene atop Caradhras:

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