Anyone who doesn't already know of actress Liv Tyler will certainly do so by the
end of 2001. Possessing an unusual beauty, marked by one of the most distinctive
set of lips in the business, the five-foot-ten-inch, blue-eyed actress with
flawless porcelain skin is starring in one of the most highly anticipated
film trilogies since Star Wars.
The Lord of The Rings is J.R.R. Tolkien's groundbreaking epic of good versus
evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror, The first
installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, opens this December, with two further
films, The Two Towers and then The Return of the King, released over the
following two years. Making the first time an entire feature film trilogy shot
concurrently with the same director and cast, the undertaking was one of the
longest and unique productions in Hollywood history.
Having finished filming around last Christmas, Tyler says that the entire shoot
lasted for a year and a half and she's happy to have some time to herself now.
"We did the three films all at once, not in order, but all at the same time,"
"I'm just relaxing (we filmed) in New Zealand, so I was really far away a lot of
the year. People don't realise what hard work that is... Sometimes I'd be there
for two months and then I'd come home for a month. I went down there for a week
once and came back. I, more than anyone, went back and forth constantly over the
whole year and a half. I'm in all three films, but it was sporadic, whereas a lot
of the other guys - the Fellowship - were there the whole time. It wasn't like coming to
LA for work from New York. It was really far, but it was amazing."
Tyler feels the exhaustive traveling was worthwhile, as she became part of
the world that was created for the film. "The whole experience was amazing,"
reveals Tyler. "It was really great to be there in this magical place. It
represented The Lord of the Rings, too, because everything we were surrounded
by was somehow affected by the film. There were hundreds of people working
on it. I think we shot in every possible warehouse or big space there was to shoot
in. We just kind of took the town over."
The town that Tyler mentions is Wellington, New Zealand, where much of the film was
shot. "Everybody was so supportive and sweet and everything was so organic
and home-made," she says. "Almost everyone that was working on the film was
from New Zealand. Things weren't coming in from Hollywood. All the special
effects, all the costumes, all the prosthetics, all the armour - everything -
was being made there. Then there was another company in the same building,
called WETA Digital, doing all the digital effects."
In order to bring the world of The Lord of the Rings to life, great attention
was paid to detail from all aspects of production. New Zealand - based WETA Digital
had the enormous task of making Tolkien's fantasy land of Middle Earth real
and believable to audiences through the creation of convincing visual effects.
The WETA Workshop began creating conceptual designs for the trilogy two years
before filming got underway. With a crew of over 120 technicians, the workshop
has every facility they require under one roof. For the production, a
tremendous number of artisans were tasked with making realistic props; a team
of over 50 people worked to handcraft each costume from scratch; the dialect and
creative language coaches had the task of teaching the actors Tolkien's Elvish
language; and experts in medieval arms choreographed the enormously detailed battle
The story of The Fellowship of the Ring centers around Frodo (Elijah Wood), a
young hobbit and the nephew of Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm). In his mission to rid
Middle Earth of the powerful One Ring. Frodo finds himself caught up in epic
events that will reshape his world. In the trilogy. Tyler portrays Arwen, the beautiful
and bewitching elf who must choose between immortality and her love for Aragorn
(Viggo Mortensen), a human raised by elves who is am important member of the Fellowship.
"My story is with Aragorn and it's about our love and relationship," describes
Tyler, talking about her storyline in the trilogy. "It's really beautiful and
amazing. In the book, Arwen's only in it a couple of times and in the back of
the book, there's a huge appendix and one of the biggest chapters is all about
Aragorn and Arwen and they wanted to incorporate that more into the film.
Tolkien didn't really write about women that much - though Galadriel (Cate Blanchett)
is in it - and one of the only other women is the spider character (Shelob)
who tries to kill Frodo, so it was nice to have some female energy in there.
It wasn't like there were making it up, it was from Tolkien's story. It's this
unbelievable, classic, hopeless romantic love story about two people from
totally different worlds. Her whole thing is that she has to decide whether or not
to give up her immortality to be with this man that she loves, which means giving up her
whole life and her family, so that's really beautiful."
Born in New York on 1 July 1977, Tyler was raised in Portland Maine until the sixth
grade when her family returned to Manhattan. The 'love child' of an eight-month-long
relationship between former model/Playboy Playmate/sometime singer and rock
grupie Bebe Buell and full-lipped Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler, Liv Tyler's
natural sophistication led her to begin modeling by the age of 14. After
decorating such fashion magazines as Seventeen and Mirabella and appearing in
numerous prints ads and television commercials, Tyler had caught the acting
bug, making her film debut in 1994 as the sister of an autistic boy in the film Silent Fall.
With breakthrough performances in such films as the critically acclaimed
Stealing Beauty and Tom Hanks directorial debut, That Thing You Do!, Tyler
quickly became Hollywood latest 'it' girl. At 24, with more than a dozen films
under her belt, she has followed her heart, getting engaged to Royston
Langdon, lead singer and bassist for the band Spacehog.
"I'm in love with someone who I have been with for a really long time and
that's what makes you happy," she says giddily, when addressing the issue of
whether or not she's too young to get married. "I have been working for a long
time and, in a sense, I think that made me grow up a little quicker than most young
people my age. It's what I want and what I believe in."
Now that she is content, not just with the success of her career, but in her
personal life as well. Tyler reveals that she doesn't let movie industry
pressures to remain thin and beautiful get to her. "I'm not in this to be thin,"
she says, "I'm in this to act. I need to be healthy in order to do my job right
and that means being strong. I look at fashion magazines and I go, 'Oh, God!'
With designer clothes, the models are so thin, but that's because they are models.
That's their job. You're not supposed to look like a model. They're supermodels
because they're super-beings, in a way. I do photo shoots a lot and they'll try to
squeeze me into the samples that are from the catwalk and they're a size two.
I'm size eight, so that's hard, but I have to just see past that. I'm really
lucky that I'm surrounded by people that work for me that actually care about
me and that I'm friends with. My agent and my publicist and everyone that I'm
around really love me and care about me."
Tyler's biggest reservation about taking on the role of the elfin princess in
The Lord of the Rings was the amount of time the film would take her away from
home. "That was hard decision," she reveals. "I was like, 'Oh, my God, this is
going to be a year,' and then I thought, 'Well, it's only a year,' I got to
New Zealand and, the first time that I was down there, I was there for two months.
I was alone, living in this huge house, and it's really windy in Wellington,
and it was scary because I'm a New Yorker and I've always lived in apartments
with other people in the building. That was good for me because I learned a lot
about being alone and being so far away. I did get homesick a lot because I like
to be around my family and my loved ones, but it was a good experience..."
Behind the camera on The Lord of the Rings was New Zealnd native Peter Jackson.
Born on Halloween in 1961, Jackson received widespread acclaim for him 1994
feature Heavenly Creatures, starring Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey and went
on to direct Michael J. Fox in The Frighteners.
Tyler had nothing but praise for the man at the helm of it all. "He's done such
a superb job with this film and the performances are amazing. A lot of times,
when you see movies like this, the performances are lacking a little bit. It's
more about the effects and I don't want to go and see a movie like that. With a
story like The Lord of the Rings, it's all about the characters. Yes, the world
is really relevant, but it's all about these people and these characters and the
journey that they go on. It's vital for that to come across in the film. That
was Peter's main focus all the time and he cast it so well. Everyone was perfect
for their part and everyone worked so hard to put their characters across."