|The Hobbit film series character|
|Created by||Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh|
|Portrayed by||Evangeline Lilly|
|Aliases||Daughter of Mirkwood
(Tauriel translated into English)
Tauriel is a fictional character from Peter Jackson's feature film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. The character does not appear in the original book, but was created by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh as an expansion of material adapted from the book, and first appears in the second film in that trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, to be released December 13, 2013. She is a Woodland Elf whose name means "Daughter of Mirkwood", and is the head of the Mirkwood Elven guard. She is played by actress Evangeline Lilly.
The character does not appear in the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, released in 2012. She first appears in the second part of the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, to be released December 13, 2013. Prior to the decision to have three films instead of two, Tauriel was described as having a more substantial role in what was then the final film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which had been planned for release in 2013, but was finalized as the third part of the trilogy, to be released in December 2014.
Conception and casting
In 1937 J. R. R. Tolkien published the fantasy novel The Hobbit, whose plot centers on a group consisting of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves who go in search of a treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug. During the course of their travels, they enter the black forest of Mirkwood, where they find themselves in the dungeons of the Silvan Elves. During the climactic Battle of Five Armies at the end of the story, the dwarves, men and elves band together to fight an army of goblins and wargs.
Although the character Tauriel does not appear in this story, she was created to be the head of the Elven guard by Peter Jackson and his wife and producing partner Fran Walsh, in order to expand the world of the elves of Mirkwood Forest, and to bring another female to the cast, which is otherwise dominated by males. The character is a Silvan Elf, which means she is of a much lower order than the elves that had previously been seen in The Lord of the Rings film series, and holds a lower social status than characters like Arwen, Galadriel, Elrond, and Legolas. A Woodland Elf, her name has been translated as "Daughter of Mirkwood".
In June 2011 Peter Jackson announced on his Facebook page that actress Evangeline Lilly, who was known for her portrayal of Kate Austen in the ABC drama Lost, was cast in the role. Lilly, who had been a fan of Tolkien's books since she was 13, expressed some trepidation at the reaction of Tolkien purists to a character that does not appear in Tolkien's written works, but stated that creating the character for the adaptation was justified: "I believe she is authentic, because Tolkien refers to The Woodland Elves, he just doesn't talk about who they are specifically… [Peter and Fran] know that world so well. They’re not going to create a character that is not true to Tolkien's world." Nonetheless, following the June 12, 2013 release of the first trailer for the film, many fans took to social media to express dissatisfaction with the creation of a character that did not originate in the original book, though writer Clem Bastow opined that the criticism in question was sexist and misogynistic, as it focused on Tauriel's gender.
As head of the Elven guard, Lilly says of Tauriel, "She’s slightly reckless and totally ruthless and doesn't hesitate to kill." Lilly also describes Tauriel as a nonconformist, explaining that as a result of her relative youth among Elves, she is brash and impulsive, tending to rebel against the established social order of the Elves. Lilly explains, "She's only 600 years old, she's just a baby. So she's a bit more impulsive, and she's a bit more immature. I think she's more easily romanticized by a lot of things." However, she also has a "softer side", and her character arc includes a love story. Though she and Legolas first met as children, and their relationship is significant, her character's romance is not with him. Lilly has revealed, however, that Legolas' father, the Elven king Thranduil, is fond of Tauriel, and "sees something very special in her".
In addition to the red wig she wore to effect Tauriel's knee-length red hair, Lilly, when given a choice of wearing small, medium or large prosthetic ears, chose the large ones, which are three times the size of the prosthetics Orlando Bloom wore as Legolas, though Lilly believed that the length of her hair would distract attention from the ears. In terms of costuming, unlike previous female Elves who were noblewomen that wore complex formal gowns, Tauriel is a border guard and soldier, and therefore wears more pragmatic Elven military garb. The character is proficient in a variety of weapons, but mainly wields a bow and two daggers, weapons that are also used by the character Legolas, who also appears with her in The Hobbit films. Lilly employed a stunt coach for action scenes, though the wirework for the character was performed by a stunt double, despite Lilly's request to do that work herself, on account of her experience doing her own stunts on Lost. Lilly also employed a language coach in order to effect the Elvish language.
Filming of Tauriel's scenes began in September 2011 in New Zealand, and was expected to last a year. Lilly stated that she enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the set, and the familiar experience of filming with a male-dominated cast, which was reminiscent of her work on Lost and The Hurt Locker, but noted that the experience of having had her first child in May 2011 made aspects of filming the fighting scenes more strenuous than expected, commenting, "Recovering from labor is like recovering from a full-body injury, and I didn't realize to what extent that was true until I started training for elf fighting. My hips don't move like they used to move, my back doesn't move like it used to move, my shoulders are sore every day. But it's fun."
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- Tauriel at the Internet Movie Database
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