I <3 Philippa Boyens.
But when it comes to Tolkien's resoundingly misogynistic portrait of the film's insatiable spider-monster Shelob, Boyens recalls taking the piss. "She was one of our favorite characters, actually," she says. "Fran and I loved Shelob. She's overweight, she can't get through the tunnel the way she used to. Men flee from her. She's got hairy legs. She really is the focus of this abject male gaze—this hairy creature that lives in the tunnel. The way Gollum says 'tunnel' makes it sound like the rudest thing ever! You know, it's the most terrifying thing for men. We did have a bit of fun with it."