The Scotsman Online
October 1, 2001

The Hobbit From Cranhill
Susan Mansfield

Ten years ago, Billy Boyd was working for a Glasgow publisher, manning a pony-binder as it slapped covers on to paperbacks. Among them was Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Although he often read the books he bound, he never attempted the great trilogy. It just wasn’t tea-break reading.

As an apprentice bookbinder from the east end of Glasgow, he wasn’t to know that he would go on to secure a major part in the film version. Boyd plays Pippin, one of four hobbits in what is easily the most ambitious movie project of the decade so far. All three parts of the trilogy have now been filmed, and will be released over the next three years, starting in December with The Fellowship of the Ring.

Right now, Boyd is in the calm before the storm. Nursing a big cup of coffee - his second of the morning - he sits in the Traverse theatre bar in Edinburgh, talking about his current play like any jobbing actor. He’s in that strange limbo-land where the film is made, but the dizzying media round has yet to begin. Anticipation is reaching boiling point over the trilogy. Websites have been tracking its progress for years. Rumour has it people have been buying cinema tickets just to see the trailer.

That could put a lot of pressure on the actors. Boyd laughs . "Once I came home, I had a few waves of anxiety," he says. "But when we were there [on location in New Zealand], it wasn’t a problem. It was as if we were all in a Lord of the Rings family. We felt we were here to make this thing, and just tried to make it the best that we could.

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