An unexpected journey

How Rings of Power’s female stars became the Ladies of the Rings

In a behind-the-scenes video, the five female leads of Amazon’s LOTR prequel reveal how they made it to Middle-earth.

In the three-thousand and eighteenth year of the Third Age, Elrond assembled a council in Rivendell to decide the fate of the One Ring. And in the summer of 2022, Inverse assembled a council of our own.

Earlier this month, five female stars of Amazon’s billion-dollar fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, came together to discuss the highly anticipated prequel series in a roundtable interview with Karen Han. The full story, which you can read on Inverse, reveals everything from the intense secrecy around the show (some cast members flew to New Zealand not knowing who they were playing), the experience of diving deep into Tolkien lore, and the importance of spotlighting a diverse and female-forward cast within Middle-earth.

“The women on the show have such agency,” Nazanin Boniadi (who plays the human healer, Bronwyn) tells Inverse. “They’re not serving the storylines of the men around them.”

In between shots for Inverse’s exclusive cover story, we sat down with the five cast members to ask a few behind-the-scenes questions about their unexpected journey into the world of The Lord of the Rings. You can watch the full video below — and read on for a few highlights.

For Sophia Nomvete, who plays the dwarven leader Princess Dissa, Rings of Power has been a rocket-ship ride. When she officially got the job, she got the call laying in bed “post-C-section with a baby that was four days old.”

“I was in a complete haze and daze while my personal life and my career skyrocketed into the stars,” Nomvete says. The actress adds that it didn’t feel completely real until she suited up as Dissa, which included wearing heavy golden boots and a glorious wig (“we named her Gloria”).

For other cast members, getting the initial call was transformative — not that anyone would know.

“I got the call, and it was the most internal celebration because I couldn’t say anything,” says Markella Kavenagh, who plays the harfoot Nori in Rings of Power.

Sophia Nomvete (Dissa) on the set of The Rings of Power.Amazon Studios

Taking on a role in the Lord of the Rings franchise also had some distinct challenges. For Morfydd Clark, who plays a younger version of the elf Galadriel (played by Cate Blanchette in Peter Jackson’s movies), getting into character wasn’t always easy.

“Lots of actors find rehearsing slightly embarrassing,” Clark says, “and that’s definitely the case when you’re pretending to be 1,000 years old and magical and have pointy ears, and you’re just in your gym clothes.”

Then again, being on The Rings of Power’s stunning set in full costume and makeup was difficult in its own way, too.

“One of the things that surprised me while filming is just how scary the orcs are, even though you know they’re not real,” Clark says. “The prosthetics are so wonderful, it’s really frightening filming with them when you’ve got those orcs coming at you. And then they’re equally unfrightening when they’re drinking a smoothie in between takes.”

Morfydd Clark as the legendary elf Galadriel.Amazon Studios

Yet despite the challenges they faced both on and off set, the cast and crew of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power have much to be proud of. They’ve created a sweeping new fantasy show with the potential to become an all-time classic alongside the Lord of the Rings movies or Game of Thrones. And that has as much to do with the groundwork laid by author J.R.R. Tolkien as it does the mighty team assembled by Amazon to bring his world to life again.

“We have the fearsome infrastructure of Tolkien,” says Sophia Nomvete, “but, of course, we have us. We have creators. We have scholars. We have people who have not necessarily been introduced to the text in such an intense way before. So we sat around the table, and we got to work.”

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern on Amazon Prime Video.

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