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Philippa Boyens Talks About Tauriel and the Woodland Elves

Philippa Boyens

Photo credit: Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opened in theatres and we finally had the chance to see the new characters added to the storyline, like Tauriel, a Woodland Elf played by Evangeline Lilly. This is a controversial character, because she isn’t a Tolkien creation, but was invented by The Hobbit film screenwriters: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyes.

Philippa Boyens has explained how the idea of Tauriel’s character was born in an interview with Hero Complex.

“To be honest, the very first motivation was that there were no female characters in the book at all really… You really feel the weight of that. We knew that you would especially feel the weight of it in terms of a movie. We wanted to find a way to introduce a female character in a meaningful way that had a role to play that felt truthful to the world. This character came into being when we were sitting down literally trying to structure the film and talk about how we thought we’d tell the tale. […]”

She also says they chose a Woodland Elf, and not a woman of Lake-town or a female Hobbit, because “They’re not like the Elves of Rivendell. They’re not like the Elves of Lothlorien. Once we took a deep breath and said, “We’re going to do this,” we wanted to make sure that it didn’t feel jarring, that the character felt like she belonged there.”

Choosing the right actress was also tricky, Boyens admits it’s very hard to find Elves, because “They’re supposed to be these gloriously beautiful creatures, but then you also have a world that’s already been established with people like Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving.” The screenwriters had some very clear requisites to play the character, but they also wanted someone that would be different from Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel and Liv Tyler’s Arwen, and so they chose Evangeline Lilly.

Tauriel isn’t the only character who wasn’t in the book, we also see Legolas in DOS. And to the question, Why include him here?, Boyens answers:

“[…] I think the fans would have killed us if we hadn’t shown him. You can’t enter the woodland realm and not show Legolas Greenleaf. He isn’t in the book but very much this is his country, this is his part of the world, this is part of what was happening before we meet him in “Lord of the Rings.” We did want to tell a little bit of that story. […]”

Read the entire interview at Hero Complex website.

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