Director Q&A - The Return of the King

December 7, 2003 Peter Jackson

"A lot of the (filmmaking) process is the same whether the project is small or big," Jackson said following a screening of his massive adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy's final chapter. "You're basically trying to create good characters and tell a good story. The scale of the film obviously impacts the budget. You need to have more people helping you. You need to have stunt coordinators and extras and people who dress the extras. The size and the logistics get bigger but, as a director, I don't think it particularly makes it more daunting.

"Tolkien was the absolute master at combining the epic and the intimate," he said. "I think that's one of the reasons the book is so great. The intimate story is the most predominant. The battles are in the book but they're short, they're sharp, they're violent and then you go back to the characters again. If you don't follow the guidelines of Tolkien and keep these battles short and sharp and relatively immersed with the characters, you are going to suddenly swamp the intimate story and that was a danger. Most of this past year has been spent with the editing process and we discovered very quickly that battles do get boring very fast no matter how spectacular the shots are. So we tried to keep the characters in the forefront. We tried to see the battle through the eyes of Gandalf or Aragorn and not to go into the eye-of-God shots too often."

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