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Nature Fights Back in ‘Two Towers’

Director Peter Jackson characterized Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien as “very much anti-control, anti-systems—which partly feeds into his themes about the environment.”

The role of the Ents—and Treebeard, their leader—in the trilogy’s second installment is giving the film’s actors a springboard to discuss the environment, and forests in particular. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
At a press junket in New York, several of the actors highlighted the theme of nature in “Towers.” 
“There’s a great message that comes through even more in this movie than in the first, which is the threat on nature,” said Elijah Wood, 21, who plays Frodo Baggins. “When Treebeard and the Ents realize that their forests have been chopped down to help in the effort of Saruman (a traitorous wizard) to enact his, essentially, genocide on the Rohan people, they fight back.” 
“In this beautiful way, they realize that Earth is being threatened too, and we’re going to finally fight back,” said Wood. “That’s a great moment—nature fighting back. Very powerful.” 
Audiences meet Treebeard when hobbits Merry and Pippin encounter him in the Fangorn Forest. They strike up a conversation, and Treebeard tells them that no one much cares for the woods anymore. 
“There was a time when Saruman would walk in my woods,” says Treebeard. “But now he has a mind of metal and wheels. He has no mind for growing things.” 
Director Peter Jackson characterized Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien as “very much anti-control, anti-systems—which partly feeds into his themes about the environment.” 
“He hated factories. He hated the way that factories enslaved people,” Jackson said. “There wasn’t just the spoiling of nature and the spoiling of the landscape and the countryside with these chimneys and furnaces and factories. It was the way that the factory enslaves the human being. It imprisons you.” 
Given Tolkien’s opinions, the appearance of Treebeard and the Ents isn’t surprising. 
Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd play hobbits Merry and Pippin, respectively. They spend the majority of their screen time in “Towers” with Treebeard. 
“The tree theme in the second movie—I think it’s great that so many people will get to see this movie, hopefully, and it will bring back the topics of what we’re doing with the rain forests,” said Boyd, 34, from Glasgow, Scotland. 
Monaghan, 26, from Manchester, England, said: “I was talking to a friend of mine before coming out here, from L.A., who’s involved with Greenpeace, who was telling me that the size of 11 soccer pitches (fields) a day of rain forests are destroyed that don’t come back. This is basically a ticking clock. The forests are the lungs of the world, and when we can’t breathe, there’s not going to be anything left.” 
Monaghan added that he has been involved with Greenpeace in Los Angeles and another organization called Future Forests. 
Future Forests was “quite keen in bringing ‘Lord of the Rings’ into being a carbon-neutral film, which means that the amount of carbon that it takes to film ‘Lord of the Rings,’ we will then plant trees around the world,” he said. “There’s been a big project set up to plant forests in all the continents of the world and call them names from the movie.” 
“This is something that is going through New Line (the company behind “Lord of the Rings”) at the moment, which, fingers crossed, will work out if all the things fall into place,” said Monaghan.  
Boyd added, “I think it’s quite ironic in this movie that it’s a tree who helps humankind, and it might be nice if we could go and help the tree.” 
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director for EthicsDaily.com. 
Visit the movie’s official Web site at http://www.lordoftherings.net.