Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
Plot: While Frodo and Sam, now accompanied by a new guide, continue their hopeless journey towards the land of shadow to destroy the One Ring, each member of the broken fellowship plays their part in the battle against the evil wizard Saruman and his armies of Isengard.
Viggo Mortensen broke two toes while kicking the steel helmet by the orc pyre, and that take is the one that actually appears in the movie. Peter Jackson said that he was really impressed with the shout of pain Aragorn cried out for the fate of the two hobbits, realizing only later that it was real pain for his toes. He was also impressed by the fact that Mortensen continued acting even while so seriously injured.
Andy Serkis was pitched the role of Gollum by his agent, who rang him up and asked him if he wanted to do three weeks' voiceover work in New Zealand. However, Peter Jackson was so blown away by Serkis' audition that he decided to have him perform the movements for Gollum as well.
Andy Serkis said he based Gollum's desperation and cravings on the withdrawals of heroin addicts.
As the Orcs have black blood, it was only natural that the inside of their mouths should not be pink but black as well. To achieve this, the Orc actors had to swill a liquorice-based mouthwash prior to each of their scenes.
When Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are in Osgiliath, Sam says, "By rights, we shouldn't even be here." This was a nod to the deviation the screenplay had taken from the book's storyline. In the book, Sam and Frodo never passed through Osgiliath at all.
There were so many extras used in the sequences at Helms Deep, and the filming went on for so many months that almost all the extras and principal actors got t-shirts reading "I survived Helms Deep". There were so many of these shirts that extras would often meet other extras in New Zealand's main cities because they would recognize the shirts.
When Miranda Otto arrived on set, she was introduced first to the people she'd be working with the most. When she met Viggo Mortensen, she commented about her character falling in love with his: "It's going to be SO easy to fall in love with this man!"
Originally Liv Tyler's character Arwen (and love interest for Aragorn) was to be included in the fighting force of Elves who join the men in the battle of Helms Deep. This was a relic of the script treatment for Miramax, which condensed all three books into two films, and met with fan fury on the internet with its free-and-easy approach to J.R.R. Tolkien's work. Tyler had even trained with swordfighters in preparation for her scenes, when the decision to remove her was made by the writers, who realized that this approach wasn't working. Arwen, who doesn't appear in the book of "The Two Towers", was ultimately reworked into the story by lifting elements from the Appendices at the back of the novel, utilizing flashbacks to her and Aragorn at Rivendell. It took the writers about a year to come up with this solution.
The battle at Helm's Deep was edited down from twenty hours of footage, shot over a three month period with the rain machine battering down on the cast.
When Legolas is talking to Aragorn before the Battle of Helm's Deep, he refers to 300 against 10,000. It is a reference to Thermopolyae where 300 Spartans killed 10,000 Persians. David Wenham would later go on to star in the action biopic 300 (2006) about the event.
Kate Winslet was offered the role of Eowyn but she rejected it.
Peter Jackson has a cameo, wearing chainmail at Helm's Deep, he throws a spear at the attacking orcs.
The first appearance of the White Wizard in Fangorn Forest was made intentionally confusing, by compositing the eyes of Christopher Lee into the face of Ian McKellen; the voices of both actors were also mixed in alternating intensity to add to the confusion.
In the scene where Aragorn has washed up on the shore of the river that he fell in when the Warg dragged him off the cliff and Arwen comes to him in a dream to revive him, the dialogue was originally in English. But Liv Tyler was entranced by the Elvish language, and since both characters and actors knew how to speak it, she talked Peter Jackson into letting them translate the script for that scene. Everyone agreed that it turned out much better her way than the way it had been originally planned.
During one take while filming the scene when Aragorn is floating down the river, Viggo Mortensen was dragged under water for many seconds. He managed to kick himself back up off a rock, perhaps saving his life. A safety team then rescued him and took him to shore.
Gandalf's line near the end declaring that "The Battle of Helm's Deep is over; the Battle of Middle Earth is about to begin" is paraphrased from part of one of Winston Churchill's most famous speeches of the Second World War, of June 18th 1940: "...the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin."
Peter Jackson felt that in the book, Faramir's casual refusal to seek the Ring was anticlimactic, and inconsistent with the Ring's maddening temptation of other characters such as the Nazgul, Gollum, and Boromir. For this reason he added the now-controversial subplot involving Faramir's hubris and the captivity of Frodo and Sam in Osgiliath.
In the movie, Lord Elrond dispatches a squadron of Elves to Helm's Deep to assist the Rohan soldiers. This doesn't happen in the book, since the Elves are occupied with defending their own homes from attacks by Sauron's forces at the same time. However, the decision was made to include Elves in the film, to show their sacrifices and avoid the suggestion that the Elves leave all the fighting in the movies to humans.
They couldn't recruit enough men in the 6 foot height area to play Uruk-hai so men from 5 foot high were cast as well. They were affectionately nicknamed the Uruk-Low.
The Main Door of Helm's Deep was built so heavily and so well that the real battering ram that was built to knock down the gates failed to do so until the door was weakened. Someone had built the door a little bit too well and Peter Jackson can be heard on the Extended Edition DVD commenting that if they had to defend a castle, he would want the WETA workshop guys to build the door.