| Director of photography Andrew Lesnie, ACS, who won an Academy Award and earned an ASC Award nomination for his work on the trilogy?s first chapter, The Fellowship of the Ring (see AC Dec. ?01), says the visual arc that director Peter Jackson and he conceived for the trilogy entails a slow shift toward grittier, darker and dirtier images. Accordingly, much of the action in each narrative thread of The Two Towers occurs against the backdrop of aggressive and dramatic landscapes. “There?s certainly less of the nicer places, such as The Shire, Lothl?rien or Rivendell, in The Two Towers,“ Lesnie confirms.
Lesnie describes the visual scheme of The Two Towers as “hardened reality.“ He explains, “For The Fellowship of the Ring, I was very conscious of modeling with light, applying a black-and-white philosophy in using the tonal scale to create separation, rather than [doing so] through color. For The Two Towers, I decided that the light should be less controlled. I was able to follow the travails of each group and decide what was appropriate for the mood at any particular moment. Middle-Earth is descending into a very dark time, and the characters are battling to find light at the end of the tunnel, so the film needed to be more realistic and aggressive than The Fellowship of the Ring. The overall feel is less magical, and the story has become fractured and splintered.“