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"Gollum will be the big surprise of The Two Towers--it's something you've never seen in the movies before."

How has making The Two Towers compared with making The Fellowship of the Ring?
The Two Towers was a lot harder than the Fellowship. The story splits into three and we've enhanced Tolkien's narrative more. The key moments from the book are all there, but we've written scenes that Tolkien didn't write and things he didn't describe, to beef it up a bit more.

  Can you give any examples?
We've extended Gollum's story. Tolkien hints at Gollum's schizophrenic nature. He's Gollum, as a result of 500 years of owning the One Ring, but there are threads of his past life as Smeagol. We've enhanced that more--Frodo shows him pity, which allows Smeagol to dominate over Gollum. We've added scenes where the Smeagol side and the Gollum side conflict, which we think makes him a more interesting character.

Gollum is complex on a technical level as well, right? How did you go about developing him?
We decided we'd go with a computer-generated character. Once that decision was reached, two things became important. The first was to make a computer-generated creature that looks absolutely real and authentic. He's turned out more successfully than I ever dreamed. You'll see close-ups of his face that don't look like he's a CG figure.

  And what was the second essential ingredient for Gollum?
We wanted to ensure he gave an amazing performance. He's a major cast member and he has about as much screen time in The Two Towers as Frodo does, so he had to match the level of Elijah or Viggo or Ian. A lot of what makes a great performance is in an actor's eyes. We studied how eyes work, and we built the muscles around Gollum's eyes and face, so we can change the slightest nuance in his facial expressions and create those complex emotions.

What was Andy Serkis' contribution to Gollum?
We decided we wanted an actor to drive Gollum's character. There's a team of animators working on Gollum, with a huge range of shots, so there was a danger of the result looking unfocused. We cast Andy Serkis originally as the voice of Gollum, but that was only the beginning. We told Andy to own the character, and tell us what Gollum should do and how he acts, just as Elijah is in charge of Frodo. Gollum will be the big surprise of The Two Towers--it's something you've never seen in the movies before.

What other elements did you expand from Tolkien's original story? Tolkien has brief descriptions of Wargs, giant wolf-like creatures with Orcs riding on their backs like saddles, like a cavalry. They're not in the forefront of any action in The Two Towers, but we found them interesting, so we've added a pitched battle between horsemen and the Wargs.

The Two Towers also sees the introduction of crucial human characters, like Eowyn and Faramir. How does that change the mood of the film?
It gives the film a very different feel. You had fantasy in Fellowship, with the elves in Rivendell and Lothlorien. You come to The Two Towers, and the story takes a turn into the world of humans. Edoras is a feudal kingdom, a human society, and a lot of the story is set there. The fantastical feel of Fellowship is less present--it's much grittier and more earthy, like Braveheart. I think it's healthy that we're not just replicating Fellowship, especially after its success. The Two Towers has its own voice.

You also get to introduce new characters and showcase some new talent.
The Two Towers has a nice combination of familiar characters returning, and new characters who are as strong and complex as those in Film One. Actors like David Wenham (Faramir) and Miranda Otto (Eowyn) and Bernard Hill (King Theoden). The Two Towers introduces us to this group of core characters, who then go onto the extraordinary climactic events of The Return of the King.

The Fellowship ended with an action climax (the Fellowship dismantling) and an emotional climax (Frodo continuing on his quest). Will The Two Towers have a similar ending?
Yes, it does. The combination of the epic and the intimate is what's wonderful about the books, and I think it worked very well in Fellowship. Audiences appreciated that there was character depth and emotions within such a vast epic. We've tried to create that same feeling for The Two Towers.

Can you reveal what the climaxes will be?
Our action climax is the Battle of Helm's Deep. It does have an emotional power of its own, as you're seeing enormous heroic acts and the world of Rohan being saved. We also have Frodo, Sam and Gollum's storyline with Faramir. We've gone a little further than the books, and deviated in some of the detail, and created a much more intimate emotional climax with those characters.

In the book, the Battle of Helm's Deep is a very violent affair. How does that translate onto the screen?
We've got a PG-13 battle scene, but it's a fairly gritty battle. It's about as far as we could possibly push it within that rating. We filmed some heads and limbs being chopped off which we've taken out. We'll probably put them back in the DVD, which will have an R rating.

During the five-year journey of making these films, have you ever felt like Frodo on his quest?
I guess it has. Where I would differ from Frodo in my experience is that Frodo looked ahead. He had to get to Mount Doom, and put one foot in front of the other, and it was an outward-looking experience. I felt more like I've got a steam train coming up behind me and I have to lay the rails in front of the train. I've had more a backward-looking pressure on me-"Oh my God, I've got to do this, because I've got the train bearing down on me!" It is similar because it leaves you physically and emotionally exhausting. You do feel like you've been through a war. I've worked harder these last five months than I've worked since the shooting of the films, and I've come out of it exhausted. I can take a bit of a breather now that The Two Towers has been delivered, though!

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