The Rings of Power Cast talk about their experience on Set
Hey everyone! In a new article, some of the “Rings of Power” cast members were interviewed by Deadline about their experiences during filming. As we all know, Rings of Power takes the throne as the most expensive show ever made, and Morfydd Clark, portraying the young, fierce Galadriel comments:
“When I heard all that stuff about numbers I thought, ‘Isn’t it amazing that so much has been put into a piece of art? You did feel that when you were there. You could be completely transformed, see nothing but set. The orcs and the background actors are such a massive part of it. I’ve never felt more like [acting] is not an individual pursuit.”
The cast also talked about the portrayal of supernatural characters like elves and dwarves, and how it required to act and think outside of human limits. “You never feel more human than when you fall over while playing an elf,” Clark adds. Sophia Nomvete adds on the effort it takes to create a fantasy show:
“Fantasy pushes you to elevate your craft. There is a theatricality about it; everything has to extend that little bit further because you’re working hard through these costumes and prosthetics to match a story and a performance. That’s what’s exciting about the craft for actors working with fantasy. It’s unreal that it’s not noticed or given the credit it deserves, because every single department is working in such a tough and more elevated place. Creativity at its highest form, I think.”
Talking of creating something outside of human limits, the cast also have used many prosthetics, from dwarves to orcs. Proven by the beautiful and immersive characters we’ve got on screen the prosthetics do their job, though making it harder for the cast to act in them. Owain Arthur shares his experience working with prosthetics for the first time:
“I’d never worked with prosthetics before, so I was excited. But I quickly realized how challenging it was going to be. With all of this stuff on, it is a hindrance. You try to focus on your intentions, but you have to make these things work for you. So, it took a while. But still, today, I’m humbled. I consider myself very lucky to go in and play a different being every day, to stretch how far you can go from being a human.”
Although challenging, he has found joy in playing his character.
“It feels like theater. I remember coming off the day’s work buzzing with adrenalin. And I’ve never had that on TV or film before, only on stage.”
Arthur also commented on his relationship with the showrunners, McKay and Payne:
“They were so inspiring. John and Patrick were my gateway into this world. Just watching both of them being so excited about what they were creating was intoxicating. I felt that I had the right to contribute to that level of excitement like, what about this? What about this? There’s stuff that happens in Season 2 that I think came from a conversation we had together. It’s wonderful to have such receptive showrunners.”
As well as the prosthetics, the costume department also shines throughout the episodes. Kate Hawley, while making the costumes had an “inspiration room” where she had put different materials, key colors and design motifs in each corner of the room for each race. Their histories and motifs had been beautifully inscribed on many of the costumes, leading fans to investigate the costumes when the first promo pictures flocked our way.
These beautifully made characters needed a beautiful world to inhabit, leading us to the set design, another category Rings of Power had aced in.
“I remember seeing someone making the lichen on the rocks,” says Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays Arondir. “I thought they were real, and I grew up in the mountains! It was that level of detail; there’s mythology in each of the sets for each world. What it does to you as an actor, even when you don’t perceive it, is it infuses your work.”
Córdova adds: “I fought tooth and nail for the role. Fantasy, growing up, did give me magic. I always wanted to be an elf. It inspired me to go into filmmaking, because of the bonus features on Lord of the Rings. In my mind, I have always been on the fringe and so is Arondir, so I really believed in this role. Genre is overlooked because I don’t think people know how much goes into preparing for these roles, what it requires of an actor. It’s very removed from anything we can pull from life.”
Growing up, devouring the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and its DVD bonus content “the making of”, Córdova had found his passion for playing characters. He recalls going to a local park and trying to improvise among the trees, apologizing to and praying for a tree before resolving to cut it down. That moment, repeated in his audition, made it to an episode of the show. This moment adds to Arthur’s comments on how the actors also add to the script, shaping the way the production evolves and making the whole process very collaborative.
The cast also had faced serious problems like Covid-19 impacting the whole world at the time of the filming, and the backlash, mainly the racism they’ve received after the filming.
“We were some of the only people in the whole world who could keep going,” Clark says, about their time filming during the Covid-19 restrictions. “That feeling was very difficult to wrap your head around. We already felt so lucky to be a part of this, and then when we could carry on doing it… I don’t know about you, but I watched so much TV [in lockdown]; I felt very grateful for it. It elevated us to be as good as we possibly could be, and everyone became deeply obsessed.”
After the trailers and the episodes aired, Córdova and Nomvete were targeted by racist fans who were above unhappy with the diverse cast, going as far as harassing and bullying them online.
“Sometimes I want to say it was fine. But it floored us,” says Cruz Córdova. “It really, at one time, destroyed my sense of, ‘Why am I doing this?’ We would get on the phone just to cry, to scream. The real bonds that we had were necessary for us to be able to withstand that. [Clark and Arthur] were two of the biggest allies we had in that, in terms of standing up for us in interviews, taking and redirecting those questions, creating structures that kept us safe. It was that bond that kept us going.” Namvete adds, “We were tired. But we weathered that storm, and we couldn’t have without the solidarity of everyone in our team. I’m excited for Season 2 and getting to talk about Disa and her story [instead], because she’s such an extraordinary character.”
Clark credits the majority of fans who has stood up for bullies, sometimes at the cost of themselves by interacting with their hateful existence. But now the cast intents to leave all the drama and fuss behind, and shine through their work.
“Season 1 was a time of relative peace, an introductory time meeting everybody,” says Nomvete. “Season 2 is the unravelling of it all. It’s when the force of evil really starts to put pressure on Middle Earth and we watch how everyone that we know and hopefully love handles that situation. The stakes are higher. We see what that force of evil does to each race and to each relationship. There’s so much more action. We weathered the storms, and there’s a real sense of confidence in who and what we are. I’m really excited about it.”