With showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiering worldwide on Prime Video this Friday, I recently got to speak with Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) and Charlie Vickers (Halbrand) about making the highly anticipated series. During the interview, they talked about what they’re most excited for people to see in the series, their characters‘ relationship, what LOTR fans would be surprised to learn about the making of The Rings of Power, their favorite Season 1 episode, and their favorite moment from the original Lord of the Rings movies. In addition, they talked about filming the Sundering Seas sequence and how they pulled it off. For a lot more on the Sundering Seas, which includes a number of behind-the-scenes images, read our exclusive article.
While the rest of the year has some big shows set to premiere, Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was my most anticipated series. I actually got to watch the first two episodes, and they’re incredible. Everything from the cinematography to the costumes to the movie quality sets. And, of course, the cast. I can’t wait to see more. Look at the new trailer and tell me you’re not excited to see this show or read our review.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power also stars Rob Aramayo (Elrond), Benjamin Walker (High King Gil-galad) Sara Zwangobani (Marigold Brandyfoot), Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow), Trystan Gravelle (Pharazôn), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Queen Regent Míriel), Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa), Owain Arthur (Prince Durin IV), Daniel Weyman (The Stranger), Maxim Baldry (Isildur), Ema Horvath (Eärien), Lenny Henry (Sadoc Burrows), Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo), Lloyd Owen (Elendil), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), and Leon Wadham (Kemen).
Watch what Morfydd Clark and Charlie Vickers had to say in the player above or you can read our conversation below.
COLLIDER: I am so excited for this series, and I’m curious, what are you guys most excited for people to see in The Rings of Power?
CHARLIE VICKERS: There’s been some incredible love, care and attention to detail put into the show in every single aspect, be it costumes, the set design, the performances. I’m really excited for people to see the specificity of the detail and love brought to life, I think.
MORFYDD CLARK: I think Númenor. I’m really excited about, I love the beginning where you see Isildur refuse to throw the ring into Mount Doom and I’m really looking forward to people seeing Isildur and Elendil in Númenor.
I love learning about the behind-the-scenes, the making of a show. What do you think would surprise people to learn about the making of this specific series?
CLARK: I think what really surprised me was the prosthetics team. We were really lucky that the Orcs are all practical. And also a surprise was the fact that that means that you’re getting in there at 7:00 AM being like, “Gosh, it’s so early,” and the Orcs have been there since half midnight getting their prosthetics put on.
VICKERS: Ridiculous hours.
CLARK: It is incredible. It was really frightening. I feel really lucky that we got to actually be terrified by very nice people, but in prosthetics. And then got to see them eating lunch.
VICKERS: I’d say the simplicity of some of the things in such a vast production, in such a vast world, the simplicity of some of the processes. There were parts when we were on the raft and there would be occasions when we’d have huge wind machines and wave machines going, and other times when it would just be guys with buckets of water throwing the water at us because the wind machines make too much noise
CLARK: Sometimes simple’s best.
Without spoilers, what’s your favorite of the eight episodes and why?
CLARK: I think the first episode has a special place for me because you’re being reintroduced to Middle-earth, and Middle-earth at a different time. And I think also just in terms of its filming, we had to stop filming the first episode because of the pandemic. And coming back, loads of us thought we wouldn’t necessarily come back to film, and coming back to film, it was just so wonderful. So I think the first episode for me.
VICKERS: I’m going to say the opposite. I’m going to say the last episode, the eighth episode. But I’m not going to say why, because I’m going to leave a few details unexplored.
A lot of your fellow cast has said episodes six and seven. So I’m very curious about seven. But anyway, when you think back on The Lord of the Rings, the original trilogy, do you have a favorite moment from those films?
CLARK: Yes. It’s when Aragorn comes through the doors at Helm’s Deep, and that had a profound effect on me.
VICKERS: Very sexy. I’d say mine is in The Fellowship when the Hobbits have just left the Shire, and they’re being chased by the Ringwraiths, and they’re hiding under the road under where the roots are of the tree.
CLARK: Oh yeah, so scary.
VICKERS: And I was quite young when I first watched that, and I found that bit terrifying, and it’s always lingered with me.
CLARK: Actually though, it’s not necessarily favorite, but probably one that’s had the biggest effect on me is that I can’t eat a cherry tomato without thinking of Denethor.
VICKERS: Denethor eating the tomatoes. The singing.
I’m going to be talking to you a little bit about the Sundering Seas and filming that specific sequence. I’ve seen 14 behind the scenes photos, and it looks amazing how you filmed it. Did you do any sort of advanced training to be able to be in that tank and film that sequence or sequences?
CLARK: Yeah, we did lots of training with amazing people.
VICKERS: Some amazing people at the top of their game that were training. We had Trent Bray who’s a really accomplished swimmer that taught us to properly swim, I think, which was pretty amazing. Dive instructors. We learned to free dive, to spend a bunch of time underwater, which was a grueling, difficult, challenging process, but the payoff was, hopefully, it’ll show in the show because we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did without that training. What else? I think that’s the water stuff. I mean, we did a lot of stunt training and fight training, which all bled into the work we do on the raft. I will say actually, Morfydd was much more balanced than me on the raft. On the waves I’d fall over quite a lot and fall through the cracks in the raft.
CLARK: But neither of us ever actually fell off, which I can’t believe.
VICKERS: Touch wood, but not that we’re going back on it.
CLARK: One of the DOPs fell off their paddleboard into the-
VICKERS: Oh yeah, that was funny.
CLARK: So not everyone came away unscathed.
VICKERS: Lots of hazards out there.