Acting in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy put Dominic Monaghan at the center of large scale battle sequences and in scenes acting opposite a CGI tree, but these moments didn’t hold a candle to the challenge of saying goodbye to Frodo. Monaghan revealed on his “Friendship Onion” podcast (via IGN) that the Gray Havens scene in “The Return of the King” was the hardest scene to shoot in the trilogy. The scene takes place at the end of the final “Rings” film and finds Frodo bidding farewell to longtime hobbit friends Samwise, Merry, and Pippin. Monaghan starred as Merry in the trilogy.
“Well, we had to do it three times! If you were to ask all four of us, ‘Pick a scene you can guarantee you only have to do once and not go back to,’ we probably would have said Grey Havens, just cause we were all there weeping like children,” Monaghan said. “So, doing it three times, I definitely think that the third version that I did, the one that’s in the film, is probably not quite as hysterical in terms of the state that I’m in as the first one, or possibly even the second one. So, that was tough.”
Because “hobbits are so in touch with the vulnerability of their emotions,” Peter Jackson requested the four actors be emotional messes during the filming of the scene. Monaghan said that was a challenging ask because “you don’t often get asked to do that as actors and all four of you are standing there very vulnerable doing it three times. It’s pretty costing.”
Making the scene even tougher was that it had to be re-filmed several times. “For those of you who don’t know why we did it three times…Sean Astin was wearing the wrong costume,” said co-star Billy Boyd, who hosts “The Friendship Onion” podcast with Monaghan. “After lunch, he took off his vest to eat lunch. When he came back he forgot to put the vest on, so for continuity, it was ruined.”
Boyd continued, “We came back another day and filmed it again, and the film got destroyed in the factory where it gets processed. So we had to then do it again another day! That’s why we had to do it three times.”