The Evening Post
November 11, 1999
Hobbits Finally Speak
Out -- But What About the Accent?
The hobbits will have hairy feet, big eyes, and sparkly
faces--but just what accent they will use in The Lord of the Rings movies is still under
Management of the Miramar-based $360 million project finally
allowed two of its hobbits to be interviewed yesterday--although Frodo, played by star
Elijah Wood, is still a no-no.
The post was allowed to talk to Billy Boyd, who plays Frodo's
pal Pippin, and Dominic Monaghan, who plays Merry, during a break in filming. The two are
the first actors to speak to the media since filming began under security in Wellington
But no photographs were allowed, as they were still dressed
as the hairy-footed hobbits described in JRR Tolkien's classic trilogy.
Boyd, 31, from Glasgow, and Monaghan, 22, from Manchester,
are virtually unknown in New Zealand, although they have appeared in overseas feature
films and TV series. As companions to the hobbis Frodo and Sam, in the movies they'll be
chased by Black Riders, kidnapped by Orcs and meet giant tree creatures called Ents.
Monaghan said they had to wear prosthetics as well as makeup
and costumes to look like hobbits. Both were 1.6m tall, but special effects would make
them look smaller.
"We all have big eyes, are cheeky looking, and we have
kind of sparkly faces," he said.
Being a hobbit was physically demanding. They all had to
train, including sessions at the gym. "We are all eating well. Everyone is very
concerned about our diet and vitamins because we are working 11 or 12 hour days, getting
six hours of sleep and then up again at five in the morning," Monaghan said.
Boyd said he hadn't acted on a film with so many special
effects. "Some of the stuff they can do is quite incredible. That's been great fun;
Pippin wouldn't speak with a Scottish accent, but Boyd was
coy on what accent the hobbits would use--something Tolkien fans were keen to find out.
They were being trained to pronounce the archaic words correctly. "A lot of work has
gone into that. You'll have to wait and see," he said.
Monaghan said they spent a lot of time with Wood. "We're
best friends now. We all have to work so closely and it's a long time in hair and makeup
every day. We all hang around each other and keep each other sane."
Despite being unknown, after three months in Wellington
people were asking for autographs and taking photographs. "That generally bounces off
if you're hanging around with Elijah and they they look at and go, 'Who are you?' and I go
'I'm no on.' I lap all that up, it's good fun," Monaghan said. People notice the
accent and say 'What are you doing over here?' I say 'I'm working in a job for a year or
so'. If they keep asking, I say 'I'm on this Lord of the Rings film'. Then you get shrieks
and hollers. I tend to just keep it quiet. The less people know, the more it will be when
it comes out."
Monaghan read The Lord of the Rins when he was 13. Boyd said
he still hadn't done so.
Meanwhile, Conservation Minister Nick Smith said today that
consent had been given for filming on several areas of public conservation land in the
South Island. Filming could occur over the next couple of months in the Fiordland, the Te
Anau area, the Wakatipu basin near town adn the Mt Own area near Murchison.