The Lord of the Rings, Campus Circle (LA, US), December 17, 2003- January 13, 2004
typed by Jen
Fellowship Lives On with The Return of the Kings
If society can coin the phrase "chick flick" for
female-themed movies, then can The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King be
described as a "d--- flick?" After all, the film does promote
brotherhood and the strength of the male bond through adversity.
"There are a fair bit of fans who see the relationship as a
homosexual relationship," Elijah Wood says about the close proximity of
his character, Frodo and fellow hobbit Sam, played by Sean Astin. "It
wasn't really how I or Sean saw it. I think it is a very loving, caring close
relationship, which happens to be between two men. I think it's still up for
What can't be debated is that this film, the last of Peter Jackson's LOTR
uber-epic, is the rare finale of a trilogy that not only trumps the previous
films, but makes them more delicious in its completion. The anxious thrust of The Return
of the King is that Frodo and Sam (Wood and Astin) are near, as
Gandalf says, "The great battle of our time," while Aragorn (Viggo
Mortensen) must deal with inner-demons for a change and do what Simba was
required to do in another far away kingdom – "remember who you are"
and take his regal place in the circle of death.
The onscreen fellowship echoes the one behind the Kookaburra tree.
Mortensen and Orlando Bloom spent much of their off-time on a green bus they
named the "C-Bago." According to Mortensen, "It was a crazy
small bus" that he decorated wall-to-wall with his behind-the-scenes
photos of the set. For Christmas, they had a tree made out of tampons. The
C-bago became a frat house, where much drinking and partying ensued – the bus even
had its own wine cellar. The motto? "Everyone is welcome, but when it's
time to go, GET OUT."
"The actors had a spiritual connection to it," director
Jackson says of the bus. "I liked the way they had photographs [Mortensen
and Bloom] taken behind-the-scenes, plastered all over the walls.
"Ahhh yes, the bus. It was mine, all mine. It was my
precious," Bloom says sifting LOTR character Gollum through an [English]
Bloom, a "sex symbol" according to Mortensen, christened the
bus the "C-word" when the makeup artist was fuming about someone and
asked Bloom's advice.
"You should kick him in the c—t and tell him to f—k off!"
Bloom said. "Viggo just lost it for half an hour. He kept saying, 'What
did you say?' [The bus] became all about "the word." We took that
word and took all of its power away. We made it the most loving word in the
world. If you were a true c—t, you were the most amazing person in the
can be read as a possible metaphor of acceptance, the Bago accepted everyone –
no matter what sex or sexual persuasion.
"Did they call it the party bus? More like the farty bus!"
Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in the film, quips.
"I can't believe he [Mortensen] talked about that. That was our
private world," muses co-star Liv Tyler, who continued, "There was a
lot of liquor on that bus. But the funniest thing about this bus is that this
thing was a beast. It was so tiny; nothing worked. If they ever washed our hair
it would go from scalding hot to freezing cold. There was no heat."
While talking about the C-Bago, the "end-of-an-era" nostalgia
that creeps into the last day of high school grips the cast. The Return
of the King is senior year for these performers, who will now
graduate and go in their separate directions. Some will become sex objects
(Bloom), some will become poets and have exhibitions (Mortensen), and some will
reunite with their families (Astin). But when they have their 20-year reunion
(the 20th Anniversary Release) you know stories of "The
Bus" will be fondly swapped.
"It was a very free-spirited bus," Bloom reflects. "It
came about because me and Viggo kept being moved around, and we ended up on
this bus one day. And the actors were fed up and we said, "This is it.
This is our home and we are not moving. If they come, tell them to go
The fellowship is complete.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
is currently in