Christopher Lee On 'The Return Of King'

Christopher Lee spoke with The Guardian about going back to New Zealand to do some pick-up shots for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

"I cannot wait for Return of the King. It is the climax and people will get an overall picture of Middle Earth and of Tolkien. I want people to appreciate what has been achieved. Before Lord of the Rings, some people would have just classed Peter Jackson as a horror director. But there is a mind there. Somebody once asked me how I found Peter Jackson and I said: 'Well, I parted his hair and there he was'. Look what he has done. He persuaded New Line to invest in making three films at the same time. When I first read Lord of the Rings I wanted to see a film of it. But at that time the technology wasn't there, there was no such thing as CGI."

As it happens, Lee seems as eager to watch the final film as the fans. Either that, or he's playing coy about the details. "I am very excited about Return of the King. [I want] to see how they have done it. I have only seen a few short rushes of the film and I am still not sure how it ends. If I did, I still couldn't tell you. I have, however seen the schedule for Return of the King and it is hectic. The premiere is in Wellington then it is something like Berlin first, London the day after and then Copenhagen the day after that. "

But the event that Lee seems to have set his sights on is next year's Academy Awards. "They can't not give awards to The Return of the King," he insists, still smarting from the way the previous two films were passed over on Oscar night. "When there were no best picture or best director awards for The Fellowship, I thought it was a disgrace. The other [nominated films] were good movies but they did not even compare. You can't compare anything to these films. You cannot compare it with Star Wars or the Matrix, which I didn't understand a word of. There will never be anything like it again. I am very lucky to in this late stage of my career to have worked with Tim Burton, Peter Jackson, George Lucas. I love to work and to be able to still be working is wonderful, after all how many roles are there for 81 year olds. It has been hard work but definitely worth it."

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