Ever wonder just what those Ringwraiths were thinking while they scoured Middle-earth for those four illusive halflings in The Lord of the Rings? The fan-made short film, The Fellowship of the Ringwraiths, does just that. And, with it’s 95K+ views, it’s proved to be not only entertaining and well made, but hysterically funny as well.
In this exclusive interview, the creators of Box Step Productions, Michael and Paul Clarkson (identical twin brothers) and Gemma Hurley, reveal the secrets behind their popular video: what inspired them, how the costumes were made, when we’ll get to see the next Ringwraith film, and what projects they’re currently working on.
Grab some popcorn, watch the video, and meet and the minds behind The Fellowship of the Ringwraiths!
Arwen: What inspired you to create the video?
We were walking through the moors in Northern England on New Years Day, 2011, and got lost chasing sheep. As the sun was setting, and our hopes of survival with it, we started lamenting about how crap we would be as ringbearers. When we eventually made it back to civilisation – frozen and soggy – we spent that night watching The Fellowship of the Rings, laughing at how inept the Ringwraiths actually are – and didn’t feel so bad after all.
Arwen: How long have you been a Tolkien fans?
Since the films were released – we were all 12 years old at the time! We’ve all read the books, so we find it funny when hardcore LOTR fans comment on our Youtube page trying to inform us there is no female Ringwraith.
Arwen: How long did it take you to film the video?
We shot it in one day in a place called Rivington in Bolton, where Michael and Paul come from. The edit was another long story – and in the end we cut out about 3 minutes from the original footage – but had a lot of help from fantastic people to get it done.
Arwen: Any funny behind the scenes stories you’d like to share with your fans?
At our first proper shoot we were under-prepared, and the van broke down with Gemma making her way up from London. Meanwhile, our actors couldn’t take their costumes off, so they had to adapt to consuming fluids through their face masks.
Arwen: How did you come up with such amazing Wraith costumes?
Our costume ladies Paula Smyth, Kay Morland and Christina Fisk worked very hard on creating these. The gauntlets were fashioned from tin cans with black paint, then sewn into gloves. The Ringwraith costumes used A LOT of black cloth – and the heads were made with baseball caps and card! We were extremely pleased with the costumes.
Arwen: Are there any more Tolkien-inspired videos in the works?
We’re planning on two more Ringwraith Films to create a trilogy, releasing one each year alongside the launch of The Hobbit trilogy.
Arwen: What inspired you to get into filmmaking?
Michael and Paul have always enjoyed entertaining from a young age. As identical twins, they had the double act down, but it wasn’t until secondary school that they really got into writing. Michael and Gemma met during a dress rehearsal at uni and instantly became a bit of a comedy writing duo. Their first films were awful but a lot of fun.
We created Box Step Productions when we realised we love making comedy together – it works best as a trio with all our different creative energies coming together, meaning we’re always laughing, jumping up and acting out bits to each other during the script writing process.
Arwen: Are there any projects or plays you are currently working on?
Our next project is our most ambitious yet and while it’s not going to be on YouTube, you’re all very welcome to be part of our first audience. Colliding the off-the wall humour of ‘Airplane!’ with the ‘Titanic’ we created “DEATH SHIP 666!” – the epic and absurd disaster parody play.
It’s a fun, energetic and slick production that follows the doomed crew and passengers on board a half built cruise ship’s maiden voyage to the Bermuda Triangle. It premiered on June 19th in London, and will show there for 2 weeks before we transfer it to Edinburgh Festival this August.
We’re currently doing a Kick Starter campaign for the show so we can keep creating comedy and entertaining people! Here’s the new trailer, hope you enjoy!