MAJOR: There’s quite a interesting story attached to all the lettering on the walls here, because we, well, I personally, actually, wrote the text which was translated into Dwarvish and then applied onto the walls, and so I was very careful with the place names and the people’s names and what have you, and of course there is a limited amount of information that I could glean from the books in terms of the histories here, whatever; I did write down all the history part of it myself, and as fate would have it, there was a Tolkien language scholar who was invited onto set; and he happened to visit this particular Balin’s tomb set one day off-shoot, and he reported to the producer that there was all sorts of inane comments written on the walls, like—I can’t remember the exact quote he used, but something like “Joe was here” and various other irrelevancies.

DAN HENNAH: And this guy went away, really pissed off, and he sent a letter to the production saying he was outraged that we would take this so lightly, and Tolkien’s work, and there will be people who’ll have alphabets—translation alphabets—and they’ll—

SPEAKER 3: Who will freeze frame it, and—

HENNAH: And they’ll freeze frame it, and they’ll see “Joe was here” written in Dwarvish and they’ll be really pissed off.

MAJOR: You couldn’t believe how shocked I was when I heard this news from the producer and Barrie Osborne, so I immediately got our in-house translator onto the set to find out where this lettering was, and she scrutinized every last square foot of lettering, couldn’t find it.

And nevertheless this guy was insisting that these marks were there, and of course we were freaking out because it had all been shot with such a lot of attention to detail in terms of costume and stunt work and creature effects, and obviously materials collected by the computer and graphics department for the subsequent computer stuff, so we were in a state of high alert here, and we just could not find the sequence and so in the end, we had to go back to the producer, and say, “hey, you know, we just can’t find where it is; as far as we can see, everything is kosher here.”

And so he went back to the translator, or the scholar, and said “where did you think you saw it?”

And the scholar said, “Well, I just had it reported to me by one of the film crew on the set,” and of course this film crew member was obviously taking the piss out of, and was just sort of inventing a story which had snowballed into sort of a horror story from our point of view.

HENNAH: And we eventually found out that it was just one of the chippies having a joke, one of the carpenters having a joke at the expense of this guy—

SPEAKER 3 (female, Chris Hennah?): Because the guy was so serious—

HENNAH: Because the guy was so serious, it sort of made a, you know… [sighs]

SPEAKER 3: So we wasted quite a lot of time…

HENNAH: Yeah. Mind you, it was just indicative of the lengths we went to to try to keep everything as authentic as possible.

(Return to relevant CavLec post.)