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The Elf: Liv Tyler

Pavement Magazine, January 2002.

Liv Tyler plays Arwen, the Elf princess who falls in love With the mortal human Aragorn. Sadly, her kind are doomed. Gladly, Liv wnll live on for many years to come.

Interview in NYC by Kathleen Matel pkxoprmhcd in NYC by Bryce Pincham

PAVEMENT: How familiar were you with LOTR before you became involved in the project?

LIV TYLER: I didn't know much actually, other than being in school and hearing boys talk about it. It was amazing to be able to discover a whole new world and to arrive in New Zealand, where they had already spent so much time designing sets and characters and creatures and effects, and then to step into the world and see everything come to life immediately after reading it.

P: How was it for you to arrive in the midst of what was ostensibly a boy's club?

LT: When I arrived, the boys had already all been there for a month so it was weird. Well, it wasn't weird but they had already established this really intense bond and I was immediately invited into that and treated with extra nice boy treatment. But, you know, just by the nature of who their characters are, all being part of the fellowship, it was important that they all had that bond together.

P: How was it different working in New Zealand on a film?

LT: I don't think it could have been shot anywhere else. I mean, the land is so beautiful and so rich and so untouched in a way I had never seen. To me, I always felt it was Middle-earth and everything I saw in my mind came to life and it was even more spectacular. There was also a real sense of excitement from all the people. They never shunned us in any way and they were just really happy that we were there, and proud. We took over all of Wellington, every warehouse and every big building, and I just got a feeling that they really supported the film. And they were such a big part of it too.

P: What qualities does an elf-princess have?

LT: It's hard to describe because it's such a powerful passion, a classic love story. These two people, against all odds. You know, one's mortal, one's immortal, and they're completely separated in everything and they come together and try to make that love work. There's a lot of sacrificing.

P:Is there a love scene?

LT:Humping elves?(laughs)

P: How do you compare the experience of working in a film like LOTR to a film like Armageddon?

LT: They are completely different films, though they are the largest films I've done. I don't always do so well in those experiences. It's hard for me. I tend to prefer the smaller experiences but it's important for me to adapt. The confusing thing and the amazing thing is that although it's one of the biggest movies ever made financially and scope-wise, it felt like one of the small independent films that I've done. We were in New Zealand. There wasn't all those Hollywood perks, by any means. You know, the big trailers and fancy lunches. That stuff just didn't exist. Even the studio wasn't a studio. It was a converted warehouse underneath the airport, so planes went by all the time and there was no heating and no air-conditioning. The conditions were intense. Wellington is a very intense place, weather-wise. It's very windy and rainy but also really magical.

P: What did you do while you were living in New Zealand?

LT: I shopped at Zambeski. Weekly. What did we do? We worked a lot and if we weren't working, we were horseback riding and sword fighting and having fittings and working with dialect coaches. And that part of it was very full-on. I'm not the most sporty person, so I didn't go bungi jumping and stuff like that. They boys did. I swam in the sea once, which was unbelievably freezing cold, and laid on the rocks like a beached whale. It's weird because the sun is so strong but the air can be so cold, so if you're in the shade for a moment, it would be freezing. Sometimes in the morning, the crew would have snow gear on, like hats and scarves, and then by lunch they'd be standing in tank tops and shorts. It's a really interesting climate.

P: How do you think your ambitions in Hollywood have changed over the years?

LT: As an adult, I can see more what I'm looking for and what I'm interested in. But it's just my nature as a person to not be that interested in the celebrity perks. I mean, yes, I like to go to nice restaurants and go shopping and stuff. But for me, I feel better when I'm with my friends and with my loved ones at home. When I'm working, I'm working, and all I want to do at the end of the day is go home. And maybe that was the difference between me and the boys on the film. They all lived there for a year and a half and they didn't come home for Christmas and they loved it. For me, although I was committed and it was a very special project, I was working and then I wanted to go home.

P: How do you feel about the themes of good and evil in the film in relation to what is happening in the world at the moment?

LT: It's a timely piece. I mean, it's about all the different creatures and the races of the world coming together in love and friendship to fight so-called evil, so it is quite relevant. It's an uncertain time in the book, with so many things changing. The elves are going to disappear from the face of Middle-earth completely and the hobbits don't know what's happening to them. The idea of love conquering all and strength, all those ideas that are in the book, are definitely things we need to be thinking about right now.

P: How do you think the reactiong to the film from cult fans of the books will affect you and the other cast members when it comes out?

LT: I don't know what's going to happen. When I walk down the street now, most people recognise me and I just keep going. But I live in New York and it's kind of normal in my neighbourhood. When a movie comes out, it tends to get a little worse. I'm not going to know until it comes out. I'm in a weird bubble, you know, because I'm me. I live a very normal life and I do all the same things that everybody else does, yet I get a package once a week with an Arwen doll in it that I have to approve, and it's weird. I love to hear things but I don't really hear about stuff a lot. I don't really look at the websites. I mean, I've tried to look at the website a coupld of times but I couldn't figure it out. I have no idea what's going to happen until it happens. I'm excited.

P: Did you request any changes to your Arwen doll?

LT: Yeah. You have to make a lot of changes to the doll. It's a hard thing to do.

P: What did you ask for? Longer legs? Shinier hair?

LT: No. It's more about getting the facial structures right. Elijah and I were the hardest characters to do, I think, because we're very young and have flat skin and we don't have wrinkles yet. When you have more character to your face, it's easier to incorporate that stuff. It's hard because it can't ever look exactly like you but it can, kind of. It's really weird. I got one the other day and it was the first Barbie-sized one and the first thing I did was take all it's clothes off, like you do when you're a kid.

P: Are you anatomically correct?

LT: The boobs were pretty good. They were bigger than mine. But then I couldn't get the clothes back on. That was my one change. The hand was too big and I couldn't get the dress back on. So I had to send the Arwen doll back in the box naked to New Line. I called to say, "Look I'm really sorry. I'm not weird but I couldn't get the dress back on."

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