The Lord of the Rings will go down as one of the greatest book series of all time, one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time, and will be remembered by a legion of fans of all ages for a long time to come. Yet while it is clearly well known in the books and movie world it is also incredibly well known in the meme world. The “One does not simply” meme has become so viral that many argue it is the most popular meme of all time. Now it is time to learn the inside story of how that cinematic moment came about.
For those who don’t quite remember the scene, Boromir, played by Sean Bean is warning the others of how difficult the journey will be to get to Mordor. He pauses, looks down, and says with all the drama that is required “One does not simply walk into Mordor” while raising a pensive hand. This moment has been turned into a meme so many times that people are now afraid to say how difficult things are as they will likely become a version of it. Yet while it is incredibly famous, few people know a little secret about it.
The moment that Sean Bean pauses before delivering his most famous line is filled with drama and tension and plays perfectly in the movie. It is likely this moment of drama that creates the dramatic next line and caused the moment to become the incredible meme that it has. However, that moment of pause was not scripted.
It turns out that the script for that day had been changed and the actors and crew did not receive the updated script until the day of shooting. This meant that no one had time to learn off their lines and that they had to do many takes to ensure all the script was properly captured. For this particular moment, Sean Bean knew that the shot taking place was only of his upper body, so he had his script stuck to his leg so that he could read lines whenever required. Right before this line is delivered he looks down to read what he needs to say and then delivers the most iconic moment in the movie.
This was revealed recently as during the coronavirus lockdown the entire cast of Lord of the Rings decided to host a zoom call. They talked about their lives since the movie and one actor asked Sean Bean to reenact the moment. He was happy to do so and afterward, Peter Jackson told this interesting anecdote. It is amazing how powerful cinema can be that we fail to realize that an actor is actually reading his line during a scene. It is also likely a reflection of the acting talents of Sean Bean.
Sean Bean has acted in a lot of movies and has died 23 times across movies and TV. Some of his most famous roles have ended in death even when the character seemed too important to face the ax. The most obvious example is a certain HBO show about dragons that we won’t spoil by naming (that was pretty vague of us right?). Sean Bean has since come out and said that he will no longer accept roles where he is killed as he is tired of always being the one to die. It has gotten so bad that Sean Bean is now referred to as a walking spoiler as if you see him on screen, you know he will perish soon.
One of his most famous deaths is of course at the end of The Lord of the Rings first movie. At least he survived long enough to tell the hobbits that it would not be simple to walk to Mordor.