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Lord of the Rings: Viggo Mortensen's injury (no, not that one) that impacted shooting

No, this is not about the toe

Cropped poster featuring Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Image credit: Embracer

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Most Lord of the Rings fans know the story about Viggo Mortensen breaking his toe in a scene when filming The Two Towers. It's such an oft-told tale, that it's become a bit of a meme. But there was another injury that Mortensen sustained during his time filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy that is less known - Mortensen got a black eye while surfing.

This little nugget of a story came up during the Hobbits panel at the recent LA Comic Con. "Viggo had a pretty massive injury off set," Elijah Wood shrared with a rapt audience of fans. "He went surfing the day before we were shooting the cave troll sequence, knocked his face with his board - it came out of the water and hit him in the face - [and] got a black eye! Then he walks on the set in full Aragorn costume with a giant black eye."

"His face looked like hamburger," Sean Astin chimed in about his co-cast member's injury. The surfing incident led to some changes to the filming of The Fellowship of the Ring too, according to Billy Boyd. "There's a few moments in Moria where they only shoot Aragorn from profile because you can't shoot the other side because of his eye," Boyd shared.

As for how director Peter Jackson responded to this unexpected speed bump in the long road of filming his iconic trilogy, Sean Astin was there on the scene. Astin shared, "I got to see Peter Jackson walking towards the edge of the - it was just a sort of warehouse, and Viggo had not presented himself yet, and he comes in and the two men meet, and Peter inspects him for a little bit. You don't know what the reaction is going to be, you know, compassion, anger, fear. 'You're ruining my movie,' whatever it is. [Jackson] just looks at him and goes, 'Excellent' and walks out."

Now you've got another anecdote to regale your friends with during your annual rewatch of Lord of the Rings.


Whether you're Shirefolk, Elven, Dwarven, or something else, there's a good reason to love Lord of the Rings. We do! With that in mind, we have a dragon's horde of goodies for you from a Lord of the Rings reading guide, a Lord of the Rings watch guide, details on the upcoming animated film Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim, a full the Lord of the Rings reunion panel you can watch, how the OG Hobbit actors stay in touch every day on a groupchat, and the true message of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, according to Gimli himself - John Rhys-Davies.

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About the Author
Tiffany Babb avatar

Tiffany Babb

Deputy Editor

Tiffany Babb is Popverse's deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast. Tiffany likes stories that understand genre conventions (whether they play into them or against them), and she cries very easily at the movies— but rarely at the moments that are meant to be tearjerkers.
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