He Was Just Too Young
Philippa Boyens marched down the hall and pushed open the door marked, “Do Not Disturb, Muse At Work!”
“Have you seen him?” she was asking even before she’d fully stepped into the room.
Fran was bent over a huge drafting table. On the table were torn out, photocopied, and blown up pages from chapters of the Lord of the Rings. Each page had dozens of scribbles all over the margins, and at that moment Fran was copying various notes unto a script draft.
She didn’t look up at Philippa’s outburst. “What, who?” she asked disinterestedly, shifting pages around, trying to make sense of midnight notes.
Fran finally looked up. Only one thing could cause Philippa’s voice to get this high.
“You mean… Aragorn?”
“Yes! God, Fran!”
“No, I haven’t. But I mean, I know what Stuart bloody Townsend looks like—”
Philippa had already reached her and had grabbed her by the arm. She began to drag her to the door.
“Whaaaa…! Watch the script! It’s got my notes—”
“Drop it, or lose it!”
Fran regained her balance and managed to walk – rather than being dragged – down the hall behind Philippa, who was walking as fast as Fran had ever seen.
“OK, you remember how hard we fought for Sean, right?” Philippa was talking very fast, walking even faster. Fran struggled to keep up. “Remember how the nutters at the studio fought us like mad? That he wasn’t a bloody American movie star?”
“OK. Remember why we fought for Sean?”
“…because when Boromir’s arc is complete Aragorn should want to have his babies?”
Philippa stopped abruptly. Fran slammed into her and was propelled a couple steps backwards.
“Now, look!” Philippa hissed. Fran followed the direction of Philippa’s pointing finger.
They were standing by the massive doors of the hanger set. At the moment, the set was decorated to look like Caras Galadon. There were soft white Christmas lights, mallorn trees, grass and soft focus lights everywhere, to simulate the Elvish haven.
On a foam boulder sat Sean Bean, as Boromir. As usual, he was laughing cordially at a bad joke one of the tingling female PAs was trying to tell. A few feet in front of where he sat Peter was standing by one of the main cameras, talking animatedly to the actor who was about to step into the scene.
It was Stuart Townsend, as Aragorn.
Discreetly, Fran leaned in for a closer look. Her jaw dropped. She pushed Philippa aside and walked slowly into the hanger. Philippa was right behind her.
When they reached the main camera they stopped and stared. They didn’t speak to each other at all, but their minds were long made up.
Peter finally finished giving his directions, and walked back behind the camera and called for action. The actors performed. He yelled, “Cut, let’s do it again” and everyone scrambled to reset.
“Peter,” Fran said calmly, placing her hand on his arm. He turned around and smiled at her.
“Hallo, love. What’re you two doing here? I thought you were trying to—”
Philippa leaned in. “Peter,” she whispered fiercely, “Come up with any goddamned excuse, but he's got to go.”
Quietly, but distinctly, Fran said, “Not. Slashable. AT ALL.”
Peter looked at them blankly. Then he looked out of the corner of his eyes at Stuart and Sean. Fran followed his gaze. Philippa didn’t even bother. Never again did she want to even think about just how wrong Stuart looked next to Sean.
Instead she said, “Richard has worked too freakin’ hard for it to go down like this.”
Peter turned and faced his actors. He sighed, then yelled, “Action!”
Two weeks later…
Peter had to get this stupid reporter off the phone. He had a movie to direct!
“Uh. Yea,” he said for the millionth time that week alone, “he was just too young."
Fran and Philippa stood behind the main camera and watched the new Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen.
“Hello. Sean,” Sean said, and smiled at him. Shyly he extended his hand.
Viggo Mortensen grinned and stepped up to Sean. He grasped his hand and then pulled him into an uncompromising hug. “We’re gonna have some fun working together!”