Cast & Crew
Billy Boyd

Cast & Crew
Elijah Wood

Cast & Crew
Sean Connery

The Scotsman
July 29, 1999

Billy Boyd Goes Tolkien
Gareth McLean

Tell Billy Boyd he is about to become more famous than he ever imagined and he sniggers incredulously a before a look of what might be concern - or even impending doom - fleets across his face. "Ach, you don't know whether anything you do will be successful," he shrugs. "Maybe these films will just pass the world by."

Maybe. But a new The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, supposedly starring Elijah Wood, Al Pacino and/or Sean Connery and perhaps Kate Winslet doesn't exactly sound like a straight-to-video effort. Still, if that happens, hardly anyone will see Boyd as Pippin, compadre to Frodo Baggins and the rest of JRR Tolkien's creations, in the epic fantasy saga which is to be directed by the acclaimed Peter Jackson.

Ask anyone in Scotland's acting community about Billy Boyd and within the first ten minutes of professional admiration and affect-ionate praise they have for him, they will repeat the adage that he is the only Scottish actor who is never resting. Boyd smiles widely and says, without a hint of smugness: "It's a terrible thing to admit but there's only been once when I didn't know what my next job was when I finished a job. I've been really lucky because I'm doing things I want to do - and right across the spectrum too."

And he means right across the spectrum. Boyd's done panto, worked on many an Edinburgh Festival show (including last year's award-winning Kill The Old, Torture Their Young and this year's The Speculator by David Greig), he was an evacuee in Britannia Rules, a lighting designer in Channel 4's theatre satire Coming Soon and once played Blythe Duff's autistic cousin in Taggart. "I like playing characters that are slightly off-centre rather than the romantic lead." Well, you don't get quirkier than a hobbit. But quiz him on the Lord of the Rings casting rumours and Glasgow-born Boyd giggles: "The thought of doing a scene with Al Pacino - how do you go about that? Tell him he was good in The Godfather first? I don't know how it's going to go but if there's a read-through and I'm sitting round a table with Al Pacino or Sean Connery or whoever, what's that going to be like? When I found out I had it, I got all excited but then it just becomes part of your life; you can't hold onto that kind of buzz forever, especially when you're doing the Hoovering or whatever. But then somebody phones and says something like Al Pacino's going to be in it and you think: 'Oh, this is quite strange'."

Strange is good though, Boyd concedes. Whatever, he'll have time to get used to it when rehearsals begin in New Zealand in September. Goodbye Glasgow, hello Gandalf.