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An Interview with the Elusive Fran Walsh!

News from Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Dec 1 2012, 1:25pm

Post #1 of 12 (297 views)
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An Interview with the Elusive Fran Walsh! Can't Post

Fans of the Lord of the Rings film know that of the three screenwriters, Fran Walsh is the one who avoids interviews and other sorts of publicity. When I was doing my research for The Frodo Franchise, I managed to talk with Peter and Philippa, but not Fran, who sent word that she was too wrapped up in working on King Kong to think back to her previous project. Fair enough, as Bilbo says in agreeing to a certain riddling game. Still, fans of the trilogy can't help but be intrigued by this talented lady. After all, she not only helped write the LOTR scripts, but she did some directing and came up with the idea for the famous "Gollum talks to himself" scene.

But yesterday the New York Times published a substantial piece on Ms Walsh, written by Brooks Barnes, who is obviously a lucky fellow. Last summer, he says, he "largely roamed without supervision" during a two-day visit to the Hobbit set--spotting, among other things, Ian McKellen in full Gandalf mode catching a snooze between scenes.

Even so, his eventual interview with Fran had to be done via long-distance telephone. Philippa chimed in as well, which makes sense, given how closely these two collaborate on the scripts. Very closely, in fact, since they reveal that they often work in bed together in their pajamas, surrounded by dogs! (When I interviewed Philippa, she was living next door to Fran and Peter, and I suppose she still does.) It saves the trouble of commuting the short distance to the Miramar filmmaking facilities.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 1 2012, 7:47pm

Post #2 of 12 (122 views)
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That's a great article. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's refreshing to see a shy, protective woman not portrayed as weak. Fran is clearly a focused, talented and strong woman - I think Melanie Lynskey's comment about her is the most illuminating.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Eye's on Guard
Lorien


Dec 1 2012, 8:01pm

Post #3 of 12 (142 views)
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Gollum and the appendices [In reply to] Can't Post


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"How do you make one full cinematic meal out of that, let alone three?...Ms. Walsh and Ms. Boyens, a former teacher and hard-core Tolkien fan, said part of the solution came from Tolkien’s appendices to “The Lord of the Rings.” Those materials helped the writers create a bigger part for Gollum, a fan favorite..."


Does this mean we'll see Gollum in TDoS and/or TaBA?

Note: added emphasis mine


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 1 2012, 9:08pm

Post #4 of 12 (188 views)
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The reporter must have misunderstood Walsh. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote

Quote
"How do you make one full cinematic meal out of that, let alone three? ... Ms. Walsh and Ms. Boyens, a former teacher and hard-core Tolkien fan, said part of the solution came from Tolkien’s appendices to “The Lord of the Rings.” Those materials helped the writers create a bigger part for Gollum, a fan favorite ..."


Does this mean we'll see Gollum in TDos and/or TaBA?



I think the reporter erred on this point, because as everyone here knows that there is very little about Gollum in The Lord of the Rings Appendices (specifically Appendices B & F), really less than 400 words, as follows:


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2463 [ . .] About this time Deagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Smeagol.
2470 About this time Smeagol-Gollum hides in the Misty Mountains.
2941 [ . .] Bilbo meets Smeagol-Gollum and finds the Ring.
2942 [ . .] Gollum leaves the Mountains and begins his search for the 'thief' of the Ring.
2951 [ . .] Gollum turns towards Mordor.
2980 [ . .] About this time Gollum reaches the confines of Mordor and becomes acquainted with Shelob.
3001 [ . .] Gandalf seeks for news of Gollum and calls on the help of Aragorn.
3009 Gandalf and Aragorn renew their hunt for Gollum at intervals during the next eight years, searching in the vales of Anduin, Mirkwood, and Rhovanion to the confines of Mordor. At some time during these years Gollum himself ventured into Mordor, and was captured by Sauron.
3017 Gollum is released from Mordor. He is taken by Aragorn in the Dead Marshes, and brought to Thranduil in Mirkwood.
[2018] June [ . .] 20 [ . .] About the same time Thranduil is attacked, and Gollum escapes.
August All trace of Gollum is lost. It is thought that at about this time, being hunted both by the Elves and Sauron's servants, he took refuge in Moria; but when he had at last discovered the way to the West-gate he could not get out.
[2019] January [ . .] 13 [ . .] The Company reaches the West-gate of Moria at nightfall. Gollum begins to trail the Ring-bearer.
February [ . .] 16 Farewell to Lorien. Gollum in hiding on the west bank observes the departure.
29 [ . .] Frodo descends from the Emyn Muil and meets Gollum.
March [ . .] 11 Gollum visits Shelob, but seeing Frodo asleep nearly repents.
12 Gollum leads Frodo into Shelob's lair.
25 [ . .] Gollum seizes the Ring and falls in the Cracks of Doom

Similarly smial (or smile) 'burrow' is a likely form for a descendant of smygel, and represents the relationship of Hobbit tran to R. trahan. Smeagol and Deagol are equivalents made up in the same way for the names Trahald 'burrowing, worming in', and Nahald 'secret' in the Northern tongues.



And much of that is already part of the films of The Lord of the Rings, and therefore unlikely to be repeated in The Hobbit films.

It wouldn't be the reporter's only mistake. Consider also this passage from the article:


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Everyone agrees, however, that credit for one of the most well-known scenes in the "Rings" trilogy goes to Ms. Walsh. She had a "eureka moment," as Ms. Boyens put it, while working on "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and suggested at the last minute that Gollum, a character who started out as a type of Hobbit but becomes mad and addicted to the ring and its power, should have a conversation with himself. The idea was to crystallize how different parts of his mind battle each other and the pain it causes him.
"It's a universal moment for people," Ms. Walsh said. "We all have that voice inside: You're not good enough and you never will be and you’re a failure. I certainly do.”



What you surely realize, though the reporter does not, is that Gollum's conversation with himself is in the book, so Walsh didn't create that. What the screenwriters added was the visual of him doing so via reflection (a technique previously used in Spider-man).

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Eye's on Guard
Lorien


Dec 1 2012, 9:27pm

Post #5 of 12 (114 views)
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Yes, very true [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, here's another piece of misinformation I caught:


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Complicating that task even further, the screenwriters did not have the rights to Tolkien’s posthumously published “Silmarillion,” an early draft of which was written as a follow-up to “The Hobbit.”

(He doesn't know that Tolkien's Silmarillion writings are the backdrop for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings)

I don't really want to see more of Gollum than what is in Riddles. It's just that "a bigger part for Gollum" seems straightforward enough. That's what I was reacting to.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 2 2012, 1:25am

Post #6 of 12 (98 views)
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I caught that, too. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's so completely false that it's almost laughable. I wonder what Tolkien would have thought of that.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 2 2012, 1:30am

Post #7 of 12 (98 views)
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Wonderful interview [In reply to] Can't Post

Insightful piece. I've long wondered about Ms. Walsh. It was nice to find out a few sparing details. I find it quite amazing that she doesn't even allow herself to be seen on set (to outsiders, that is).

Obviously, I understand it's her wish (and right) to be out of the spotlight. I'm at least grateful that she provided commentary on the LOTR films. I found her insights to be very interesting, and I'd love to hear more from her in the future.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 2 2012, 1:40am

Post #8 of 12 (104 views)
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Not really [In reply to] Can't Post

Peter and Fran were featured on the cover of an August 2011 (Australian) 'Women's Weekly.' See here: http://www.theonering.net/...are-magazine-cover/#


Quote
I find it quite amazing that she doesn't even allow herself to be seen on set (to outsiders, that is).

Obviously, I understand it's her wish (and right) to be out of the spotlight.



grammaboodawg
Immortal


Dec 2 2012, 1:47am

Post #9 of 12 (82 views)
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She is so fascinating. [In reply to] Can't Post

And her friendship/collaboration with Philippa makes me think of them more as sisters than co-worker. I admire her determination not to get drawn into the public side of filmmaking anymore than she wants to. I love listening to her in the commentaries. Philippa and she have so much fun bantering back and forth AND occasionally beating up on Peter :)

I have so much respect for her!



sample

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists
Unused Scenes



Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 2 2012, 2:32am

Post #10 of 12 (85 views)
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How did I forget this? [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember seeing it and very much enjoying getting to see her.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 2 2012, 2:33am

Post #11 of 12 (106 views)
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She's very fascinating [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd love to hear more from her, but I understand her desire to stay out of the public limelight.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


JRandomRohirrim01
The Shire


Dec 4 2012, 10:16pm

Post #12 of 12 (128 views)
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At Long Last - Fran! [In reply to] Can't Post

Loved the interview!

At "The Return of the One Party," I was one of the people who called for Fran to talk, and was thrilled to pieces that she did!

http://www.dpsinfo.com/...p04/photo24.html#top

 
 

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