Actor Christopher Lee ensured LOTR “back-stabbings” were accurately represented

christopher lee sas

And just how did Christopher Lee know that a man does not scream when he is stabbed in the back you might ask? Because he was an SAS Operator in WWII, seeing action in Africa and Sicily.

From Vintage News:

Christopher Lee was arguably one of the most memorable actors of the late 20th century and early 21st-century cinema. His career, which began in 1947 and ended with his death in 2015, included 259 film and TV credits. He was most often cast by directors who needed an actor who could flawlessly portray a cunning and mysterious villain: he portrayed Dracula many times, he appeared as the ruthless Francisco Scaramanga in the Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun and the eerie Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man. Also, fans of the Star Wars franchise remember him as the Sith Lord Count Dooku, and Tolkien lovers praise his portrayal of the evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

At one point during the filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the second installment of the acclaimed trilogy, the crew filmed the scene in which Saruman gets stabbed in the back by Grima Wormtongue. Although the scene didn’t end up in the theatrical release, it can be seen in the extended edition of the trilogy. During the filming of the scene, Jackson wanted Lee to scream after being stabbed in the back. However, Lee refused to scream; he told the director that he witnessed many men getting stabbed in the back and none of them ever screamed. According to the late actor, they merely sighed as air escaped their lungs. Peter Jackson listened to his feedback, and the scene was filmed without any screaming.

Who knew that the quintessential “Bad-Guy” was really a bona-fide Baddass?

(image via Wikimedia)


  1. From what is relayed here that seems to indicate a “back stabbing” would hit a lung,….but what about a back stab to the liver or kidney, or any other lethal area of the torso not including a lung? Are stabbings to those non-lung areas also “silent”?

    ….seems to me the pain of a kidney or liver stabbing would generate a vocal response, since those organ strikes are not immediate death causing. Fairly quick to be sure,…but not instantaneous.

    Also, why would a strike to a lung not cause a scream,……when since it’s not mentioned a lung stabbing from the front could? Makes no sense,……..

    Joe T
    Ti Rod Tactical

    1. You make some good points, though in fairness they are the biggest target. If you get the heart, sudden heart seizure causes gasps in my experience as an EMT. I don’t know if Spinal severance would knock out the vocal cords or prevent noise.

      I like this way 🙂

    2. If you stab someone in the kidney it’s painful enough they just gasp and faint, and bleed out in seconds.

  2. John F. MacMichael says:

    Another interesting factoid: Christopher Lee was the only actor in the LOTR movies who had actually met J.R.R. Tolkien. Lee read the books when they were first published in the 1950s and was a major fan. Ironically, the role he really wanted to play in the movies that of Gandalf but Peter Jackson thought he was too old for it.

  3. Art says:

    Lee may have been Ian Fleming’s inspiration for the James Bond character. They were distant cousins and Lee was Fleming’s first choice to portray Bond on screen.

    1. Omg I would have loved his interpretation of the character.

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Actor Christopher Lee ensured LOTR “back-stabbings” were accurately represented

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