The Lord of the Rings films have gone down in history as some of the most timeless beloved fantasy movies of all time.
Peter Jackson's epic trilogy – based on J.R.R Tolkien's fantasy novels – was a huge hit with critics and was nominated for a whopping 30 Oscars – winning seventeen of them.
The cinematic saga was shot in rural New Zealand, and the cast certainly weren't afraid to throw themselves into the deep end as they battled through grueling shoots and tough weather conditions.
The first film of the series, The Fellowship of the Ring, premiered on this day two decades ago on December 19 2001 – which means the film series is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first film, the Daily Star have uncovered some juicy behind the scenes from the film series – and some might just surprise you.
Aragorn broke his toes in one scene
Everyone loved Viggo Mortensen as the heroic warrior in the series – Aragorn.
Just like his courageous character, Viggo decided that he'd do all of his own stunts.
However, it's fair to say that he took a beating during his time on set – and some of his injuries were caught on camera.
During one famous scene in The Two Towers (2002), Aragorn screamed as he kicked a helmet – after discovering the burnt corpses of the Orcs who ambushed Merry and Pippin.
Although Viggo's acting was incredible, his character's yelling may also have had something to do with the fact that he had just broken two of his toes by kicking the helmet.
Director Peter said: "Normally, an actor would yell ‘Ow!’ if they hurt themselves. Viggo turned a broken toe into a performance."
Frodo star Elijah Wood also recalled a time that Viggo got half of his tooth knocked out during a fight sequence, but he bravely carried on.
The actors got matching tattoos
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The Lord of the Rings cast formed a bond for life during the production of the three films – and some of them even got matching tattoos to reflect it.
Dominic Monaghan, who played hobbit Merry, said that him and the actors who were part of the on-screen Fellowship wanted to to do something special to mark their time on set.
The cast agreed to get tattoos, and they played around with various designs until settling on the word 'nine' written in Elvish – a language created by Tolkien himself for the story.
Eight out of the nine Fellowship actors got the tattoo – including Game of Thrones star Sean Bean (Boromir), Elijah Wood, and Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf).
The stars got the same design inked in different places on their bodies at Rogers Tattoo Art in New Zealand.
Sean Bean had to hike up a mountain in his costume
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Sean Bean, who played Boromir, had to walk up a mountain to set every day during the filming for Fellowship of the Ring.
He even did it in his character's warrior costume – because he was afraid of flying – which meant he decided against taking a helicopter to set.
Sean said: "I used to be a bit terrified of flying,
"I had to walk the whole way, really. I was two hours behind everybody else on top of this mountain because I just didn’t want to get into any helicopters."
The cast used to surf in the mornings
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Some of the cast members would kick off their mornings by going surfing at the beach.
Actors Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan revealed that they would sometimes catch some waves on their podcast The Friendship Onion.
They also explained that they would visit a record store together and bond over their shared love of music.
Elijah, Dominic and Billy would often visit a vinyl store together called Real Groovy – where they would buy new CDs to listen to on their long car journeys to film locations.
Dominic said: "The three of us are all massive music fans and our experience in so many ways was coloured by music."
Sean Astin's gory foot injury
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Sean Astin won everybody's hearts as Frodo's side-kick, Samwise Gamgee, and it turns out it wasn't just Viggo that suffered some injuries.
In the Fellowship of the Ring, there is one scene where Sam sprints into a lake in a desperate bid to catch up with Frodo when times got tough between the two.
During the shooting, though, Sean stepped on a sharp shard of glass in the water which pierced his foot – and he had to be rushed to hospital.
Behind the scenes footage showed Sean limping as he walked out of the water, and when Elijah saw the injury he remarked: "That's a lot of blood, man!"
Gandalf bumping his head was an accident
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In one of the first scenes in the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf bumps his head on a wooden ceiling beam, which demonstrates how small Biblo's hobbit-hole really is.
However, the bump wasn't actually in the script – it was an accident that happened in the middle of the scene.
A true professional, Ian didn't let it affect his performance and he decided to plough on with the scene and work the bump into the act.
Director Peter liked it so much that he kept it in the final cut.
Sean Bean secretly read his script during a scene
During the first film, there's a famous scene that sets out the eventual ark of the story – Frodo's quest to take the ring to Mordor and defeat the evil lord of Sauron.
This was the Council of Elrond scene – and Sean's character of Boromir had a famous speech in it.
However, Jackson and his co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens were often changing the script – sometimes up until the last minute.
It meant that Sean and his co-stars would occasionally get sent the final scripts just a night before a scene was due to be shot.
In the Council scene, you can see Sean subtly reading the pages of his script – and it was taped to his knee.
Viggo joined the films late
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As great as Viggo was as Aragorn, Peter Jackson had initially cast another actor in the role.
During pre-production for the first film, Stuart Townsend was supposed to play Aragorn, but after the first days of shooting, Jackon felt that he was too young for the role.
Mortensen then came in to replace Stuart, and he wasn't sure about taking on the role at first – but he decided to go for it in the end as his 11-year-old son loved the idea.
It seems like he settled into the set pretty quickly, because behind the scenes footage showed the actor fishing on set in between scenes.
Russell Crowe was a potential back-up for Aragorn
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Peter said: "We sent [Crowe] a script and he did read it and was fascinated
"I remember getting the phone call from his agent and being told that he had just finished another film which involved him having to have a sword and armor- Gladiator.
"Russell was flattered by the approach, but he had other films he was committed to and it obviously wasn’t going to work out."
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