Along with style and vision, the way a director interacts with the cast is a huge factor when putting together a film (or films). The Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the trilogy, explains director Peter Jackson’s less vocal directing style. You can check out what he had to say while speaking with ComicBook.com below.
“The most painful thing Peter Jackson ever said to me… you know, he’s a man of few words. He’s a very, very stoic guy. He can be performative when he wants to or needs to. He can act things out, and he’s very eloquent and so forth. But on a day-to-day basis, Peter Jackson is basically like a quiet guy. He sort of lets the work do the talking, and his direction was always very minimal. Mostly his direction would be, ‘Let’s do it again.'”
The actor recalls an uncomfortable time from the set of The Lord of the Rings when, as he describes below, Jackson had to do break from his quiet directorial methods to address an issue with Astin not being fully invested in the scene. You can check out what he had to say below.
“[Jackson] came up to me at one point and he looked at me and he said, ‘I just didn’t believe that.’ Oh my God, he might as well have — it was like a Mortal Kombat death blow. It was like he ripped my hair off of my body, and my spine came out with. … [But] it was, it was true. It was true that I was not invested, that I was out of it. I was out of the character, I was out of the mood, I was out of… I just wasn’t there.”
While I can see why Astin took the critique so hard, I imagine other directors wouldn’t have been so cordial. Especially considering the magnitude of the film series, and Jackson likely being under an incredible amount of pressure. From what Astin had to say above it appears as if Jackson kept his cool while conveying some much-needed advice to the actor. Astin goes on to talk about how spot-on Jackson was with his criticism.
“It was brutal. And he didn’t mean it to be brutal. He meant it to land. He didn’t mean for it to be brutal, but it was a perfect piece of direction. And he was absolutely right. And it made me be better. It made me focus harder.”
More flies with honey and all that. Just like with any job the proper treatment of those you’re working with goes a long way. Jackson did what needed to be done, but in a polite, yet hard-hitting way.
What are your thoughts on this tale from the set of The Lord of the Rings? Let us know in the comments down below!