The Hobbit: This scene was almost ruined by an unexpected cast

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One of the best things about any movie or TV series is the bloopers. These behind-the-scenes moments give viewers a unique insight into their favorite characters, the actors who play them, and the process of their creation. Mistakes show awkward tricks that went wrong, forgotten lines and, above all, the interaction between the characters and the actors, forcing each other to lose their composure. This often causes a lot of laughter and can sometimes show some comical, more lighthearted sides of some of the darkest characters. This certainly applies to the gaffes involving Lee Pace, the actor portraying Thranduil, the elven king of the forest kingdom of Likholesye.

Thranduil is a particularly cold and insensitive character. Throughout most of the Hobbit trilogy, the main emotions he seems to express are anger and frustration at those who don’t live up to his expectations. He has a special penchant for silent treatment, including with his own son Legolas, and he seems cut off from the rest of the world. He is a very proud character, someone who is so blinded by his own self-satisfied suffering that he blocks any possibility of care, love or happiness. This lasts until the very end of the trilogy, when he witnesses Tauriel, an elf warrior, mourning Kili, his dwarf love.

But behind the scenes, Lee Pace’s experience in portraying an alienated elf was very different. He has some of the most comical gaffes in the entire Hobbit trilogy. In fact, one of the most serious and vital scenes in The Battle of the Five Armies was almost ruined by a comical turn of events involving Lee Pace and his stage partner: his horse.

The moment in question takes place the morning after Bilbo slipped out of the dwarf fortress and made a deal with Thranduil and the Bard, an archer from Lake City. To save his friends and try to prevent an unnecessary war, Bilbo offers the Arkenstone to the enemies, knowing that it is the only thing big enough to bring the proud and blinded by greed Thorin back to reality after he was so badly affected by dragon sickness in the mountains. The next morning, Bard and Thranduil appear at the barricade and try to convince Thorin not to start a war. Thranduil’s famous phrase in this scene is an ominous moment:

“We have come to inform you that the payment of your debt has been offered and accepted.”

With this line, Thranduil shows that Torin was indeed betrayed, as all his paranoid thoughts told him that this would be the case. And at that moment, Thorin is too blind to realize that this was done for his good, to protect him and put an end to his madness, and not to harm him. But the phrase is pronounced by Thranduil very restrained, even slightly grinning, because he knows that he has an advantage. Here he enjoys the opportunity to gloat in front of Thorin, who refused the deal offered to him by the elven king when he was locked up in the prisons of Mirkwood.

But, despite the power of the scene in the final film, it took several takes to calmly deliver this replica. Because of Lee Pace’s horse, it was almost impossible for the film crew to take a useful picture of this scene. The partner in the film, ironically named Moose, was a very big and unyielding horse that had its own mind. Every time Pace tried to utter Thranduil’s remark, something in the tone of his voice unsettled the horse. The moose lost its way or nervously fidgeted up and down, which upset the actor sitting on it. Sometimes he turned completely around, so Thranduil was looking completely in the wrong direction, away from Thorin.

This is such a key scene in the film that the actors and crew had to redo it over and over again, trying to get it right. But every time, without fail, as soon as Lee Pace began to utter a remark, the Muses changed, and they had to start from scratch. Lee Pace finally confessed on camera: “I think he objects to the performance!” to the laughter of all participants.

Thus, one of the most important scenes became one of the most difficult to shoot and was almost completely deleted from the film due to the horse and its insubordination to its acting partner. Eventually, Moose was demoted and Pace had to perform a replica from a fake horse with a green screen. It was later edited to make it look like he was riding a regal deer, which is so characteristic of Thranduil’s image in the final films. If it weren’t for the stubborn nature of the Moose, the moose might never have existed.

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