Skip To Content

    30 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About "The Lord Of The Rings" That Are Guaranteed To Change The Way You Watch The Trilogy

    One does not simply click on a facts post about these movies...

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the greatest film trilogy of all time.

    And, since we're in the midst of celebrating 20 years since the films were released*, we thought it'd be fun to revisit some of the coolest behind-the-scenes facts about the making of the film!

    Ready? Here we go:

    1. Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for the role of Frodo, and recalled it as being "literally one of the worst auditions."

    2. Both Nicolas Cage and Daniel Day-Lewis turned down the role of Aragorn.

    3. Then, Stuart Townsend won the role of Aragorn, but was replaced by Viggo Mortensen immediately before filming started.

    4. And Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf because he "didn't understand the script" — even though his contract would've included an absurdly good deal.

    A side view of Sean Connery

    5. Alternatively, Christopher Lee (who played Saruman) was a huge fan of the source material and the only cast member to have ever met author J.R.R. Tolkien. He wanted a role in the film so badly that he campaigned for it.

    Saruman wielding a wand

    6. In the late '60s, the Beatles (yes, the Beatles) wanted to make their own movie adaptation with Stanley Kubrick directing, but Tolkien himself was basically like, "LOL, no."

    The Beatles sitting on a doorstep

    7. Also, Ian McKellen (who played Gandalf) once stated that he and Elijah Wood (who played Frodo) never filmed a scene together.

    Gandalf and Frodo having a conversation

    8. Andy Serkis was under the impression he was only being asked to do voiceover work for three weeks in New Zealand when he was cast as Gollum. However, when he auditioned in person, Peter was so blown away that he decided to use performance-capture technology so that Andy could play the character on set.

    Andy Serkis in a purple suit

    9. Andy also drank what he called “Gollum juice” — a mixture made up of honey, lemon, and ginger — to prepare his throat for the laboring voice work.

    Gollum looking at his reflection in a pool of water

    10. In The Two Towers, the Battle of Helm's Deep alone took three and a half months to shoot.

    A battle from "The Two Towers"

    11. In a very meta choice, the Orcs seen making weapons were part of the crew, and actual blacksmiths onscreen making the weapons.

    Orcs making weapons

    12. Many beloved little moments from the films were unscripted and/or outright improvised. This included when Gandalf hit his head on the entryway in Bilbo's home.

    13. And when Aragorn whacked Lurtz's thrown knife away with his sword, like he was swinging a baseball bat.

    14. And when the flag tore off and dramatically flew away while Éowyn looked over Edoras.

    15. AND, of course, when Aragorn infamously improvised kicking an Orc helmet, which resulted in his breaking two of his own toes.

    16. Speaking of injuries, the filming of this massive franchise had quite a few of them behind-the-scenes. Some of which included: Viggo chipping a tooth during a fight scene after being hit in the face with a sword.

    Viggo holding his sword up

    17. And Orlando Bloom (who played Legolas) cracking a rib after falling off a horse.

    Orlando Bloom and Peter Jackson with others on set

    18. And Sean Astin (who played Sam) stepping on a giant shard of glass during the climactic final scene of The Fellowship of the Ring when he chases Frodo into the water.

    Sean Astin as Sam in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

    19. But, in happier news, not one of the 300 horses used were harmed during the making of all three films!

    Soldiers on horses

    20. Moving past injuries and into more cautious territory, Sean Bean (who played Boromir) was so afraid of flying that he opted to hike up the side of the mountain they were filming at in full costume, rather than take a helicopter.

    Sean Bean on set with Peter Jackson and others

    21. Plus, a lot of thought and care were put into tiny details you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for them, like the leaves falling during the Council of Elrond scene.

    Frodo speaking to the Council of Elrond

    22. And how the floors in Bilbo's Bag End home were made to be magnetic in order to show the metaphorical weight of the Ring, so that it wouldn't bounce when dropped.

    Peter Jackson holding the ring

    23. And how the filmmakers used a special light for close-ups of Galadriel's (played by Cate Blanchett) eyes, so it appeared there were stars in them.

    Galadriel's eyes

    24. Many of the Riders of Rohan in The Two Towers and The Return of the King were women horseback riders donning fake beards.

    A Rider of Rohan with an arrow pointing to her face and the words "Lady in a beard!"

    25. Jane Abbott — the stunt double for Arwen (played by Liv Tyler) — loved riding Arwen's horse so much that Viggo bought the horse for her so she could keep it at the end of production.

    Peter Jackson and Liv Tyler on set

    26. Helm's Deep from The Two Towers and Minas Tirith from The Return of the King were both built on the same site.

    27. Peter snuck himself into the films, with one cameo per movie.

    Each of Peter Jackson's cameos

    28. The studio wanted to cut Galadriel's iconic opening monologue in The Fellowship of the Ring down to two minutes because they thought it was confusing.

    29. In The Return of the King, Pippin (played by Billy Boyd) sings a sad little song as Faramir rides off to his demise — this was added because producers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens heard Billy sing at a karaoke club one night, and were blown away by his singing voice.

    View this video on YouTube

    New Line Cinema / Via

    And, while the lyrics for "Edge of Night" were taken from the books, Boyd created the melody and sang the song himself. 

    30. And finally, the last day of filming on the trilogy took place after The Return of the King was already released — yes, you read that correctly.

    Dead soldiers

    Well, there you have it! Which facts did we miss that you love? Who's your favorite character?! Share all of your LOTR thoughts and feelings in the comments below!