Most people know that filming for the Lord of the Rings franchise took place in New Zealand, widely known for its pristine natural landscape that seems almost closer to fantasy than reality. People even pay for Lord of the Rings tourism to see for themselves. So yes… everyone knows about the mountains. Fewer people know about the un-detonated explosives. Viggo Mortensen definitely didn’t when he rode his horse straight into them.-
Image via Vulture.com
The Return of the King definitely has its life-and-death moments, but one of them was a lot realer than anyone would have liked. Shooting for Aragon’s impassioned speech outside the Black Gates of Mordor took place in the Rangipo desert… where New Zealand had once conducted military training. Since the area was riddled with un-detonated explosives, directors established a ‘safe location’ away from the bombs. Sounds safe, right? It was— until an improvising Mortensen rode into the minefield during the famous scene.
Watch it again for extra stress (as if you needed more).
Director Peter Jackson, apparently, thought for sure that Mortensen would die. Ian Nathan writes in his upcoming book Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson and the Making of Middle Earth: “Having found their perfect Aragorn, they were going to watch him get blown up by an unexploded New Zealand bomb.”
Featured image via maxim.com