March 14, 2000A
Star Around Town
Thanks to Sharon and Joram over at Ringbearer for this article.
(Note: these are just extracts. It`s an extremely long
article and very little of it is relevant)
"Young she was and yet not so. The braids of her dark
hair were touched by no frost, her white arms and clear face were flawless and smooth, and
the light of stars was in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; yet queenly she
looked, and thought and knowledge were in her glance, as of one who has known many things
that the years bring".
That is how JRR Tolkien describes Frodo Baggins`s first sight
of Arwen, daughter of Elrond, and here I am sitting right across a cafe table from her.
Or rather from Liv Tyler, who plays her in the film version
of Lord of the Rings, now being filmed in Wellington.
Of course, at this point, the fact that she is playing Arewen
is pretty much all that Liv Tyler is able to say publicly about Lord of the Rings, but I
can`t resist quoting that description because, whether watching her previous films or
seeing her here, now, it`s pretty much clear that Tolkien`s description could have been
written with her in mind.
But there is another fact about Arewn which is actually more
accurate about what`s happening in the cafe (though I only recall it afterwards). Arwen is
pretty handy with jewel work and right now Liv Tyler has taken control of my tape recorder
and is trying to get it to work. In a nightmare moment it`s chosen to break down despite
working fine when I checked it beforehand. It`s a neat moment because it encapsulates the
impression that Live Tyler makes: straughtforward and unassuming, happy to pitch in. Not
about to do the star turn. And, better yet, something does get the recorder working.
[bits about her youth, love of music, previous work]
On her Christmas break from Rings, she shot scenes for
Altman`s next film, Dr T and the Women, and says working with him has been liberating.
"Bob always casts me as the outcast," she laughs.
The Altman experience also points to an important facet of
Tyler`s career so far, in that she`s usually been part of very good ensemble casts.
"I think a lot of actors will do movies weher they`re
the big star. I`ve never felt the urge to do that. I`ve felt that I`m doing this because I
enjoy it and continue to be excited by it, and I`m learning from it. What better way to
learn than to work with really amazing directors and actors? I think that`s really how I
choose my projects."
Tyler volunteers one thing about The Lord of the Rings that
fits with this. "I`m particularly impressed with the acting. A lot of times when you
think of a genre of film that`[s going to be quite large and have a lot of special
effects, the acting can suffer because of that. But everyone`s doing such a brilliant job.
Peter Jackson is an amazing director -- you feel like he`s almost acting in the scenes
with you. He`s very present in there".
Of course, Rings is an extraordinarily long shoot. It`s had
Tyler in Wellington since September last year, and could keep her in town as late as
But despite being a long way from home, Tyler says she finds
Wellington an attractive place to be. "Oh, I`m really sensitive to my surroundings
and I`m just really blown away by how beautiful it is here every day. I thik it`s
incredibly amazing to be here at all. And it helps to be working hard because then you
don`t feel as homesick".
I mention to Tyler that when I`d told people I was going to
be interviewing her many of them seemed to have a Liv Tyler encounter story. The curious
thing was that they often didn`t realise it was her till just after she`d gone. Has she
become a figure around the town?
"People are incredibly friendly, so it`s hard to tell.
Sometimes I can tell on the weekends when I walk around, but I think everybody`s pretty
used to me by now.
"But it`s nice being here because I`ve been able to do
things that I wouldn`t normally get to do when I was at home just because I`d be
distracted or life would be too manic. I`ve been doing lots of watercolours and pastels
and doing lots of things that are really important to me -- to try and have fun, you