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I thought I'd die making this movie; Aragorn feared for his life on The Two Towers .. but Frodo is sad it's all over.

VIGGO MORTENSEN feared the second instalment of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy would end in tragedy.

Viggo, who returns as Aragorn in Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, believed the demands placed upon them would prove fatal in Peter Jackson's epic battle scenes.

He broke a tooth in one scene, while Orlando Bloom fell off a horse and broke a rib - but Vigo believes they got off lightly.

He explained: "It's amazing a whole bunch of people didn't get killed in this movie considering the pace that we were going and the amount of battle scenes at night in the rain, when people were tired."

The 44-year old Danish actor's comments only serve to enhance the reputation of director Peter Jackson - and, for Elijah Wood, the fact that all three films have been completed means he'll miss playing Frodo Baggins.

Elijah, a child actor whose first film appearance was in the 1989 movie Back To The Future Part II, has shot to superstardom thanks to his role as the lovable hobbit.

But after 18 gruelling months in the wilds of New Zealand, he claims leaving the fantasy world of Middle Earth behind will be something of a culture shock.

The 21-year old, who will have to return to New Zealand for post production work on the third film, sighs: "It's going to be hard, especially going back to New Zealand to film revisions."

He insists fans will see a darker film than The Fellowship Of The Ring which opened the trilogy. In The Two Towers Boromir, played by Sean Bean in the first film, is dead.

Frodo Baggins and his friend and Samwise Gamgee have gone to Mordor alone to destroy the One Ring.

And, in the process, Gollum tracks Frodo and Sam in a bid to recover his "precious" ring.

For Elijah, the second film has been far more gruelling to make than the first by a Middle Earth mile.

But that hasn't put a dampener on what has been an experience of a lifetime.

He admits: "What happens to Frodo and how profound it is, meant some huge demands on me as an actor. It was a real effort on my part to try and manifest all of that and not only show the negative side of what the ring's doing to him, but also make it a progression."

But while The Two Towers is even better than the first, the actor insists it is the last of the three, next year's Return of The King, which he is most excited about.

Elijah explained: "The great thing about Tolkien is, that even when there's great triumph, there's also great loss. Everybody loses, to a certain degree, in the next story.

"I also loved working on it and taking Frodo to that extreme and so I'm very excited for people to see that movie, because it's going to freak people out, especially having been with these characters for so long.

"As opposed to this movie, the third movie is the most complete. This movie was very complicated, because it was difficult to iron out in terms of all the different narrative elements.

"The third movie, on the other hand, is a conclusion and a very ironed out thing. It was always very clear with the third movie what it was going to be about and how it was going to be filmed and ended. It is more emotional and is the saddest and darkest of the three."

WOOD says he has had enough of the Tolkien fantasy and won't return to the role after the trilogy has been played out.

It means that if director Peter Jackson decides to adapt Tolkien's The Hobbit, he'll have to recast the part of Frodo.

"I've done Lord Of The Rings and it was wonderful, but I don't want to do it again," he offers.

"If I had the chance to do that experience all over again, I would in a heartbeat because it was amazing, but I don't want to make another fantasy movie. I want to work with David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson and people like that."

His co-star Liv Tyler believes the elaborate trilogy, which is laced with lurid creatures and bloody battles, should be enjoyed as a heart-tugging love story.

The 24-year-old lush-lipped American actress plays elf princess Arwen, who falls for Viggo Mortensen's swashbuckling Aragorn as he defends the heroic hobbits against hordes of Middle Earth nasties.

The romance will not be be played out until the third part of the trilogy, The Return Of The King to be released in a year's time.

But with The Two Towers, the middle instalment after last year's The Fellowship Of The Ring, Tyler provides the often dark epic with feminine grace and beauty.

Her character is really an elf who falls in love with a mortal. She recalls: "When I read about Arwen and Aragorn for the first time I burst into tears. I really responded to it the way you would to a classic love story.

"I love the idea of these two who are so sure of their love they're willing to risk so much for it."

MEANWHILE, the heart strings are tugged as Miranda Otto plays one of the first human characters to interact in the saga.

She's the strong-minded owyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, a fiery, beautiful princess who has to help her uncle, Theoden, King of Rohan, defend her nation from the armies of the villainous Saruman the White.

She falls in love with the heroic Aragorn, but since he's in love with the beautiful elf Arwen, it's doomed to all end in tears. Filming all three films over a year in New Zealand made it like stepping into a wonderland, says Tyler.

She added: "It was like going to a whole other world, a magical place, which for films like this made sense."

Tyler wasn't familiar with the original books before being cast, but says that's the beauty of Peter Jackson's epic.

Unlike Wood's Frodo, Tyler's character doesn't play a central part in the sprawling trilogy.

But she admits it has been an experience of a lifetime and insists a new generation of fans will enjoy Peter Jackson's latest instalment.

She insists: "You can go see the movie not having read the books and still get everything from the story and just enjoy it."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 12, 2002
Words:1061
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