July 12, 2001
Use of Little People
I agree with Jim W. that it would be a mistake to purposely
fill the hobbit roles with little people--but for a somewhat different reason. As he
points out, they're often used as comic relief and "...people wouldn't take them
seriously..." I'm glad the LotR movies aren't expanding the stereotype.
There are little people who are wonderful actors, and can fill roles that don't depend on
height (it becomes part of the character, of course, so becomes part of the role, but it's
not essential to the character). I'd rather see actors cast for acting abilities
regardless of height--whichever way that breaks. Saying, "Okay, we've got to
find 'midgets' to fill these roles," strikes me as just one more way to use
people--meaning "use" not in a good sense.
I don't have the picture of Bag End that RingGirl mentions, but I do have Tolkien's
drawing of Bilbo in the "Barrels out of Bounds" episode, and he seems to me to
be regularly proportioned (he's probably thinner than when he was at home!). One
problem with the larger heads, etc., as used in the animated movies, is that it tends to
make them look like children. Guess I'd rather have a few (hopefully not too noticeable)
discrepancies between the main actors and the doubles than have people who don't know the
books leaving the theater thinking, "Oh, those cute little hobbits."