‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ production designer Ramsey Avery on finding the ‘DNA’ of Tolkien [Exclusive Video Interview]

“The key element really was to find what that DNA of Tolkien is. There’s definitely 80 years of art going back to Tolkien himself through imagery that’s really striking and graphic and wonderful. And of course, the Peter Jackson movies. Everybody has a very strong idea of what the world looks like based on those,” explains “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” production designer Ramsey Avery. We talked to him as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV production design panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“The Rings of Power” takes place thousands of years before the events of Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, but it features a few familiar characters, like Elves Galadriel (played by Morfydd Clark in the series and Cate Blanchett in the film) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo on TV, Hugo Weaving on film). Galadriel senses a threat looming, but struggles to convince her prospective allies to take the threat seriously.

Avery and his team set out “to find that through line that could honor all of the artwork” from decades of “Lord of the Rings” lore. He also got a mandate from the showrunners: “It had to be real. They did not want to do green screen sets.” So they built “an entire village.” And they used “five acres of a back lot to do the Numenorian wharf and the town and be able to redress that and to make it into multiple things.”

Numenor alone was a substantial undertaking, since it had never been dramatized on screen before. “It’s very important that in the overarching of the storytelling, that the humans of Numenor really resent the Elves … So we had to actually start with the idea of what was the Elvish version of Numenor 2,000 years ago and work our way up through multiple histories.” So “The Rings of Power” demanded that Avery be a production designer and a historian all wrapped into one.

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