Dec 8 2010, 5:14pm
Post #1 of 1
“We knew that the sword fighting had to look authentic -- we also we wanted someone to design the actual fight routines for us and to train the actors.” – Peter Jackson
**TTT-EE Appendices Discussion -- Warriors of Middle Earth, Part 2: "Darth Vader to the Rescue"**8
The man for this job in TTT (and all the films) was Bob Anderson, who designed all of the sword fight sequences. Here are some interesting facts about this ultimate swordmaster:
Here are comments from Bob Anderson about his work on the films:
- He’s worked with a lot of actors through the years
- He was in the Darth Vader costume fighting Alec Guinness in the original Star Wars
- He did the swordfights in Princess Bride and Zorro
- He was Errol Flynn’s stunt double…
“It was wonderful for me because I had never had a group of 20 stuntmen who’d never done swordplay so I could mold them in the fashion (I wanted to)…”
“Once you start the tempo goes ‘whack, whack, whack, whack, whack, whack’…”
“A lot of people think that when you’ve got a fight all you need to do is rehearse the moves and then ‘Ok, where’s the director, let’s shoot it.’ That is not it! When you first got the fight, in sequence, you then have to learn it, because you’re not safe until you can do it at the speed the camera desires.”
“To me any sort of swordfight has a story of its own within the main story.”
And here are comments from the actors and crew on working with Anderson:
“He’s an absolutely amazing guy, very hard, but you have to be because you’re dealing with weapons, you’ve got to make sure that when he tells you something you have to stick to it because you can end up stabbing your own friend in the eye or cutting him in the face…” – Sala Baker
“(He) would take you through these movements – ‘Oh yes, a Number 3 and a Number 4 and a 5 and a here and a here and a here and a here’…and then he’d say ‘That’s wussy, no one fights like that, we’ll speed it up now!’ and he would do the sequence and it was breathtaking, deadly, wonderful!" – Craig Parker
“We used to practice do it over and over again, it was really good training, really disciplined, he’d say do it right again and again until you really got it in your head.” – Sean Bean
“We were all there doing it, slowly day by day, day after day after day after day night after night after night after night…” – Bernard Hill
“I was in LA doing another film and I’d walk down the street doing 1, 3, 5, 8, trying to remember all the sword positions...” – Miranda Otto
“Working with Bob gave me an insight what it meant to get the job done in a stunt sense, in an action sense, in a sequence sense, but also maintain the character.” – Orlando Bloom
“I remember saying, ‘Hey, Bob in a normal situation that wouldn’t happen,' and he’d just chuckle and go “Ho, my boy, this is the movies!” He really had a nice feel for the balance of reality and movie magic as to what you could and couldn’t get away with..” -- Kirk Maxwell, Assistant Swordmaster
This is another fun part of this feature – it’s great to watch Bob Anderson on the job, and to see him explain how he works. There are also two really great anecdotes related about Viggo and Miranda being “introduced” to the kind of sword fighting they’d have to do for the films, which are too long for me to transcribe here.
1. Were you one of those people who thought swordfights in movies were easy until you learned what was involved? (I know I was – this feature taught me a lot!)
2. Did Anderson succeed in his task of getting the actors to know the sword moves so well that they can make it feel real for the camera?
3. What are some of the "stories", within the main story, told by the swordfights in TTT? (Or any of the films?)
4. What are some of your favorite swordfights in the films? In the ones you picked, or any other sequence, can you point out the parts that are “real” and the parts that are “movie magic?”
5. For you, which actor wins the prize when it comes to sword fighting in the films?
6. Other comments or observations on this topic?