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Hypable

Even the smartest Tolkien fan would be hard pressed to find Evangeline Lilly’s Hobbit character Tauriel in Middle Earth canon.

That’s because she’s brand new.

Peter Jackson and his team made a rare decision for the franchise when they created a female elf named Tauriel for The Hobbit series, whose second film The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters this Friday.

At a press event attended by Hypable, producer and co-writer Philippa Boyens said that the decision to create Tauriel came from the “lack” of female characters in The Hobbit. “Professor Tolkien actually wrote fantastic female characters, he just didn’t write one for The Hobbit,” she says.

Lilly, a Tolkien fan herself (“She’s not joking, she’s a huge fan,” Boyens told us), agreed with the need for a female role. “In Tolkien’s defense, he was writing in 1937. The world is a different place today, and I keep repeatedly telling people that in this day and age, to put nine hours of cinema entertainment in the theaters for young girls to go and watch, and not have one female character, is subliminally telling them, ‘You don’t count, you’re not important, and you’re not pivotal to story.’”

She feels Jackson and company made a smart decision. “I just think they were very brave and very right in saying we won’t do that to the young female audience. And not just the young female audience, but even a woman my own age, I think it’s time we stop making stories that are only about men, especially only about heroic men. I love that they made Tauriel a hero.”

Convincing Evangeline to take the role

hobbit-evangeline-lilly-tauriel-legolas-orlando-bloom

Although producers knew Lilly was a big fan of Middle Earth, they ran into a problem when they broke the news to her that they were creating a new character for her to portray.

“Because The Hobbit was my favorite book as a little girl, and the Silvan Elves were my favorite characters in the book, it would be a dream come true to play one, I agreed very quickly. And then they said to me, ‘Your character’s not in the book.’ And I took great pause as a great fan of Tolkien. I kind of gulped and went, ‘Whaaaat? Everyone’s going to hate me.’”

After Jackson and producers spoke to her about the need for a female lead, she was willing to agree but had one rule she needed them to commit to. “At that moment when [Boyens] said there was a love story, I agreed to the job under one condition. One condition. And they agreed to the condition, and it was in place for two years. The condition was: I will not be involved in a love triangle. (“It’s true,” Boyens confirms). Because any of you who are fans of Lost — I had it up to here with love triangles.”

“And sure enough, I come back for reshoots in 2012 and they go, ‘We’ve made a few adjustments to the love story.’”

The romantic plot line was developed after adding a third film to The Hobbit series. Plans originally called for two movies, but in July 2012 Jackson announced a third.

“That was a whoops moment,” Boyens admits of going back on their promise to Lilly. “But that was genuine – it wasn’t a triangle. What happened was, we saw it playing [on screen] – and that first look between Kili and Legolas, you know they have a kind of exchange of looks. It was so perfect that we were like -”

“We gotta go there,” Lilly replies.

Boyens argues that Legolas’ interest in Tauriel – and competing with Kili for her heart – aids a storyline in The Lord of the Rings. “It was interesting with Legolas because one of the things we were trying to do was… he hates dwarves in The Fellowship of the Ring. This is animosity that had to have come from somewhere. What was it about? We wanted to make it a little more emotion than just, ‘I don’t like them.’”

“And that played well,” Lilly admits.

  • Ultron

    I don’t have a problem with adding a female hero character, I definitely think there should be one in every story. I just don’t want her and Legolas getting half of the screen time trying to display their relationship :/

    • Amir

      Exactly. From the trailer’s it looks like both of them will take a HUGE part of the movie up when they weren’t even in the book. Please don’t make them have a relationship.

      • Ultron

        God I know. I think it’s like Legolas likes Tauriel but she doesn’t like him back or something. Idk.

      • Kate

        Yeah, I’d like her to be self-assured and independent – not needing a man. I’m just really hoping Kili doesn’t have a huge part to do with this. Not returned crush/flirtation, fine, but… >.< I just don't want them to mess much with a character actually in the novel – the only one of the three. (PJ created Tauriel, and Legolas is never mentioned in the book, though his presence is possible)

        • Zeph

          You can still be an awesome woman if you’re in love with a man. It’s obvious she doesn’t need one, but wants one.

        • FenrisWings

          I agree whole heartedly. Legolas is by far my favorite character in the whole LOTR series, and now in the hobbit. I dread love triangles in this. It’s so unnatural…she’s too much of a mary-sue for me to handle (as I’ve stated in other forums). She’s reckless yet is incredibly skilled, needs to have a love triangle….needs a ‘man’ to chase after her to get her on the right track…this is all just a terrible nightmare that I wish Peter Jackson ends. Girl power I am fine with, but not. the. love. triangle. I’ve had enough of that from those incredibly pathetic twilight novels that I’ve now seen people compare this movie to…

    • GinnyWeasley002

      Right with you! I think the idea of adding a female hero is really great (I don’t have a problem with how the book is, but I still think this is a great way to pull in more of a female audience). But I definitely don’t want their love triangle to be the main focus of the movie. Oh, please, NO. Honestly, I’d prefer zero love triangles.

      • Ultron

        Agreed! I’m very much interested to see her character (always love the female heroine) but I don’t want her screen to take up parts they could’ve had in the movie like the burning of lake town which I’m sure won’t happen till the next movie now that they’ve added all this extra stuff with the elves. I’m not completely opposed to this, I love middle-earth elves and I want to get to know Thranduil and them more but there’s a point where it could overwhelm the audience and take away from the actual story.

      • FenrisWings

        EXACTLY MY POINT. She’s an interesting character, but for PJ to feel the need to have a love triangle is just the most annoying and unwanted of thoughts that I could ever ask for. The forum debates on whether who loves who are going to start up soon…this is just a nightmare to come on Peter Jackson…what the HELL have you started >.<

    • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

      Thank you for saying this. It was my exact thought too. I really hope they didn’t bring Legolas back just for him to get a love interest. I hate it when characters in general are bought in for the sole purpose of being love interests as well.

      • Ultron

        To be honest, I feel like the main purpose in bringing him back was to draw a female audience in rather than for accuracy even though he would technically be there. So hopefully this “love triangle” isn’t extremely unbearable to watch and make me want to gouge my eyes out. Hopefully it’s not cheesy either.

    • byxan

      Seen the movie. Take a deep breath: the relationship between the two of then is not a major part. It seems like a much bigger deal in the trailer than it acltualy turned out to be.

      • Ultron

        Phew! Thanks for that confirmation!

      • sanch

        plus i think it is platonic love.. like eowyn and aragorn .. or deep affection.. it can relaly play out in the final scenes of the third movie .. where both may die.. i have a feeling tauriel will also die

      • Flannigan

        Actually, this is wrong. I went into the movie thinking it was going to be a small part. It’s not. It drags on and on and on.

    • http://www.eigakanthemovietheater.blogspot.com Jenny Leigh

      Don’t worry, it doesn’t!

  • becky

    Ehhh… I’m okay with them adding a character in, but I don’t think they should’ve added in a love story. The Hobbit doesn’t have romance and it doesn’t NEED romance.

    They talk about including a female role to show young girls they are important to the story, but then when they add in a female character of course she’s just there as the required love interest.

    • GinnyWeasley002

      Exactly! If they want to show young girls that they are important, why are they even bothering adding a female lead that’s in the middle of a love triangle? It’s completely contradictory. They’re saying (as the majority of movies do) that girls can only be in a story if they’re in love with someone or vice versa. I hate that mindset. :(

      • Truthspeaker

        You only do matter there <3

  • Steph

    I absolutely loved the book but I think Peter Jackson is absolutely on the right track with casting more strong female characters that DON’T need a man to be ‘successful’. Many female characters in movies are either misrepresented, objectified and portrayed as needy and it really irritates me. On the positive side I’m thinking the romance will bring some hope and humour to make the film accessible and relatable too :)

  • Amalia

    I think it’s kind of hypocritical to add a female character because “girls need a hero to look up to”, and then just make her the focus of a love story. Feels like they’re cementing exactly the kind of misogynistic ideas that Tolkien had: Basically, a female character is required to have a love story to be relevant.
    Bilbo and most of the dwarves are allowed to be heroes without love interests. Why couldn’t Tauriel be as well?
    Also, it kind of annoys me that they feel compelled to reduce Legolas’s hatred of dwarves to simple jealousy. The elves and the dwarves are cultural opposites, and their mutual dislike is a part of Middle Earth’s history. That is why the friendship between Legolas and Gimli is so significant, imo.

    • String Bean

      Huh, I can’t say I ever got the impression that all girls needed a
      romance from Tolkien himself. Eowyn has a crush, sure, but she’s very
      well established as a key player in her own right. If anything, she and
      Faramir both lose relevance after they fall in love (maybe because love
      makes them less interesting, more likely because they were out of the
      fight by that time). And Galadriel might have been married, but her
      husband barely gets a mention; she’s the one running the show, both in
      governing her land and determining the fate of the Ring. Sure, there
      are fewer female characters in general, but considering it’s a war story
      written in a medieval setting, that seems more like realism than
      misogyny.

      The movies, though, tend to tweak (read: add massive
      amounts to) the love stories, so I’ll grant you that. I’m a purist, but
      I think Jackson bought into his own hype too much for this trilogy; he
      started thinking he was what was good about the movies, not the source
      material, so he felt free to change it as he pleased. I’m a girl and I
      know I’d've preferred Tauriel to be left out altogether because The
      Hobbit is so dang good on its own.

      Oh, and I’m with you 100% on
      the dwarf/elf front. Reducing that whole storyline to jealousy instead
      of the really rich and well-thought out worldbuilding Tolkien had is
      just stupid.

      • Amalia

        I somehow forgot about Galadriel – she really is a powerful player.
        As for Eowyn, I think I took her story rather personally when I read it as a young girl, and I still find it rather upsetting. Yes, she is a well established character, but I would have preferred her ending to be a bit less domestic and more heroic. There is no lack of male characters getting stories entirely without love interests, after all.
        However, you make a good point about Faramir – he is one of my favorite characters, and he doesn’t get much recognition at the end either.
        I’m a purist when it comes to LOTR – couldn’t bring myself to watch more than half of the Fellowship – so I really understand your feelings about Peter Jackson :)

        • String Bean

          Ah, see I had the opposite reaction to Eowyn as a girl; I wanted to do medicine, so I liked where she ended up and was impressed that Tolkien was ahead of his time and let the women be, essentially, doctors.

          Beyond that, though, I think Tolkien giving her a peaceful ending was part of a larger point he was making about wanting to fight vs. being willing to when the time came. I mean, Eowyn was originally pure warrior–wanting glory, death in battle, and all that nonsense–sort of like Boromir had been in the first book, while Faramir and Aragorn were held up as better people because they preferred wisdom and beauty and such over war. Looking at how things turned out, with Eowyn changed and Boromir dead, I’d say Tolkien was trying to emphasize how much better it was to build instead of fight, regardless of gender.

          If anything, I’d say the closest Tolkien came to using gender against E. was that it was Faramir, her love interest, who taught her that. Which you could read as condescending, I guess, or as an inversion of stereotypes; usually it’s the virtuous girl who pulls the guy back from his self-destructive warpath, not the other way around. But then, I have a soft spot for Eowyn and Faramir (they’re one of my only favorite couples to make it through a story alive), so I tend to interpret things in the best possible light. :)

          • Amalia

            That’s a really interesting way to look at it. I’ll keep it in mind when I re-read next time – maybe I’ll come to see Eowyn in a different light.

          • String Bean

            And hey, even if you don’t, it’s an excuse to re-read the series!

          • May

            And remember, one of the important signs of Aragorn’s royalty was his ability as a healer. There are also other powerful male characters who are healers in the books (such as Elrond), so I never really saw Eowyn becoming a healer as sexist or misogynistic.

        • Ultron

          Really? I consider fellowship to be the most faithful of the trilogy o.o

          • Amalia

            I couldn’t say, as I haven’t watched the rest of them at all. I know lots of people love the movies, but I just couldn’t handle more than half of the first one. They seem much too Hollywoodized for me. For some reason I could deal with the first Hobbit movie better – I think I’m not quite as emotionally attached to the source material in this case.

      • fantasywind

        If talking about book then there is old woman Ioreth the healer of Minas Tirith who uses half forgotten lore saying which gives eureka moment to Gandalf :) (representing wisdom and practical down to earth attitude, with nice quirk of talktativness :), then we have Lobelia Sackville-Bagins who starts out as ambitious, greedy and mean person, then she genuinely becomes more pleasant towards the end (she even attacked one of the ruffians that started the occupation of the Shire with AN UMBRELLA and gets thrown to jail for her trouble, afters she is released the hobbit crowds applaud her, as old Cotton said ,,she showed more spirit than most” :):):):).

        • fantasywind

          Also talking about female characters, there is story Mariner’s Wife in Unfinished Tales, worth checking, one of the characters is Queen Erendis of Numenor and her husband Aldarion (actually the story shows how their relationship started and their later marital problems are big theme in there).

    • Zeph

      I didn’t feel that Tauriel needed the love story to be relevant. She was badass, amazing in combat, a skilled healer, and kind on top of everything else. The love story was an added bonus. If you think that she was “reduced” to just a love story then I don’t think you and I were watching the same movie.

      • Amalia

        Actually, I haven’t seen the movie yet. I was basing my comment entirely on this interview post – I guess I didn’t make that very clear. If you’re right about Tauriel, that makes me happy.
        However, I was also trying to make the point that there are lots of male characters wholly without love stories, and often when a girl is added, she also gets a love story element.

    • guyinthehat

      I think you mean sexist ideas. Misogyny is the hatred of women and I never got the impression from any of Tolkien’s works that he hated women. There was a level of sexism in his books (given the time they were written) but never hatred.

      I’m not disagreeing with you, because after seeing the film myself I found it rather upsetting that Tauriel is the focus of a love triangle. I will note that she’s still a good character and the love triangle doesn’t take center stage for most of her screen time.

  • I’m Not Kidding

    SPOILERS…………..

    THEY’VE MADE HER THE CENTER OF A LOVE TRIANGLE BETWEEN LEGOLAS AND THE DWARF KILI (THE HOT ONE).

  • Cefri

    Nice adding a female character but as most of the comments I didn’t like the idea of romance, it’s unnecessary. I think Kili and the other dwarfs are focus in their job in Tolkien’s original story and if they want to add new characters or bring back (Legolas) is cool but don’t modify the original story that much if Tolkien didn’t add any romance was because he didn’t want one.

  • rh1127

    Oh, this is the first I heard there was a “love story.” I’ve seen the trailers, but was hoping they were merely playing up something that’s not much more than subtext in the film just to draw more people to theaters. I’m fine with adding a heroine, though I can’t say I ever as a female child felt limited by sex as to what characters I could look up to. Creating her and adding a love angle is frankly a bit insulting. We’ve got a female character now, better dial up the sexual tension! Jesus. Not everything needs a love story. I don’t even want to see it now. I’ve defended the idea of a Hobbit trilogy for a long time because I thought Jackson must have something up his sleeve to bring more of Tolkien’s material to life that he wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. I’d have been happier with one film and nothing from the appendices instead of this.

    • robo

      Dont be irritated ;-) the love triangle doesnt really take much of a film… Kust came from cinema and i am totally mind blown.. It would be shame if you hadnt seen it :-)

      • rh1127

        That’s such a relief!! Still would rather it not be there at all, but if it’s such a small thing then the rest will probably make up for it.

        • sanch

          it is strong affection and fondness by kili nothing more

  • JrrT

    Disgusting blasphemy.

  • Zeph

    I think it’s silly to speak for all women (or girls as the article says) to say that if there aren’t any major females it makes us feel like we don’t matter. I watch a movie/read a book/play a game to be entertained. I don’t feel I need ‘grrl power’ shoved down my throat.

  • sanch

    i so want this love between kili and tauriel to be a platonic one … deep affection .. and then both kili and tauriel will die int eh battle of five armies .. legolas also may have genuine feelings for tauriel.. bt tauriel kind of feels kind towards kili

  • E schweinzer

    I am excited and saddened to see this movie over the Christmas holidays…I liked the first one and the second installment sounds like a fun adventure as well..but I see the movies and the book as two separate things altogether ….I am saddened because I loved the book when I was a child and my daughter has started reading the book herself but the movies are geared for older people not children as intended as she has no interest at all. It was meant to be a simple adventure nothing more. Watching the movies for the book and all should be fine

  • FenrisWings

    omfg I hate mary-sues and I’d HATE for a great character like Legolas to suddenly have a ‘past love interest’ for fangirls to talk about in LOTR…what a nightmare….I can already hear the love-sick fans debating over who Tauriel will love more (Kili or Legolas). It feels as though this movie isn’t even about the struggle to regain Erabor, or anything anymore…I’ve already begun to see comments of people comparing this to Twilight. The fact that she has to have a love interest, has an be an amazing fighter and have moments of stupidity at the same time get’s annoying. She seems like an OK character, but the love triangle…oh dear god please no. >.< I liked that Legolas was in this movie, but like people said, if PJ really did bring him as a love interest in his messed up love triangle, then all I can say is What.The.F. -_-

  • abs1

    Yes, we should rewrite all the classics to better fit modern Hollywood’s concerns about key audiences. When they remake The Old Man and the Sea, they should include a quirky teenage girl, a street smart skater kid and a 30-something hipster couple expecting their first baby. The lack of hipster couples in The Desolation of Smaug ruined it for me.

    • Jaedon Granger

      Classics? It’s a children’s book from the 30′s where most of the characters are given no lines, no personalities, and no story arcs of their own. You want to read a classic, read Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. The movie version of that book starring Audrey Hepburn completely changed the tone of the story by making the lead male a love interest to Audrey’s character rather than just a gay friend of hers.

      • abs1

        The Hobbit isn’t a classic? Because what? Because it’s a “Children’s Book”? From the 1930s? Or because you don’t like the way Tolkien wrote it? In what universe does that in any way change literary history, except the one where your personal preferences define what is and isn’t considered a ‘classic’?

      • fantasywind

        Ironically certain characters have more nuanced personalities in book than in movie: Thranduil was made one dimensional villain in DoS (probably to make room for Tauriel and portray her as oh so much better than him blabla!!!). MovieThorin was a bit exaggerated and overly…rash with charge first think later attitude, I noticed more wittiness and cratiness in book Thorin (with the same amount of bravado, courage, battle readiness adn leader skills with addition of beign actually nice for the most of the time, listening to advice of others, especially Gandalf). Some dwarves have little dialogue in book but still have it (even the one that was made mute in movie due to axe in head nonsense) that doesn’t mean that their basic traits are not visible, or that their deeds speak for themselves (Dori the strongest dwarf, a bit grumbling but vry decent fellow the book material tells us, and he was always helpful to Bilbo).

  • Flannigan

    Ha. Seriously though, lady your character is going to die. Hopefully soon within the start of the third movie.

    • Jaedon Granger

      Sorry to burst your bubble, kiddo, but she’s in a lot of the movie and even plays a big part in the battle of 5 armies.

  • amandaliel

    I just hate her and why she is in the movie and…ok she is in the movie but why kili love her??? I prefer her with legolas she just NOT match with kili and can I ask something kili and fili will die?

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