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The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens

Studio: New Line Cinema (released Dec. 17)

Screenplay: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens

Category: Adapted

Source material: This is the third installment of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Storyline: The third and final chapter of this highly popular fantasy adventure brings Frodo closer to his destination with the ring and Aragon closer to his destiny as the defender of Middle-earth.

About the script: The writers have done a remarkable job of not only doing justice to a saga previously considered to be impenetrable for the screen but have shaped the myriad story elements and numerous characters of Tolkien’s three-part tome into a lean and action-filled finale. “This was the one we loved the most,” says Boyens. “In the first two, we struggled to find a sense of completion. This one, we feel that we succeeded in bringing it all home. We did face some really specific problems, since there are multiple, multiple endings in the book. To give a sense of closure to this epic, Peter (Jackson) said that we’re not finishing one film, we’re closing out three.”

Biggest challenge: “The ending. When you delve into the story, you find out there’s a lot of endings. Making that work was hard, making sure you didn’t overstep the story. We tried to approach it in that the end is a critical part of the story, the ring is destroyed, but Frodo is destroyed also in the process. We didn’t want to leave it so it feels like we were starting up the whole story again.”

Breakthrough idea: “Because the story is so huge, we didn’t want the weight of the front to crush the end. The breakthrough came when we knew what needed to be in and what needed to be out. We dealt with the problem of where to put the Christopher Lee character (Saruman), which is done differently in the books.”

Favorite scene: “Anything to do with Gollum. I love him,” says Boyens. “He’s an extraordinary creature.”

Lines we love: Gollum, talking about Shelob the giant spider: “She’s always hungry. She only has filthy orcs to eat.” Smeagol: “And they don’t taste very nice, do they?”

Writers’ bio: Boyens is relatively new to screenwriting. She was a drama teacher in New Zealand and wrote pieces for her students to perform. Jackson, a good friend, asked her if she would like to give input for a “Lord of the Rings” adaptation. The rest is history. She has since collaborated on all three “Lord of the Rings” pictures. Boyens is working on a new version of “King Kong,” also with Jackson.

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