Maybe too good?
When rumors began to swirl almost immediately after “Return of the King” left the theaters that a “Hobbit” film was inevitable, I made a prediction: There is no way they can sell a film with 13 Gimli-faced dwarves.
“Mark my words,” I grumbled, “you are going to see HOT DWARVES in this movie. Think of the fan girls!!!”
And it seems I may be right.
When you look at the success of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, a good portion of it can definitely be attributed to die-hard Tolkien fans who unreservedly embraced Peter Jackson’s vision.
But an even more significant part of the audience was made up of people – let’s face it, women – who really liked the eye-candy. From Legolas to Aragorn to the adorable hobbits to the nameless elf who became an internet sensation: Figwit.
And let’s not forget Boromir, Faramir and Eomer fans.
But… not too many Gimli fans, are there? You won’t find a lot of Gimli websites or fan-fiction out there. There’s just not any ‘hotness’ quotient in our short lumpy bearded friend.
Sooooooooo… let’s take a close look at “The Hobbit,” shall we?
Sure, there’s Bilbo. And yes, Beorn and Bard have promise. But the ratio of Hot to Not isn’t great.
Now, there were loads of issues and drama that came with getting the film off the ground. It seemed as if it would never happen. But one of the key things the project had to recommend it was the insane success of the LOTR trilogy… which just had to guarantee similar audience appeal for “The Hobbit.” Right?
Except for those pesky dwarves.
If you’re a Hollywood studio honcho and are salivating at the chance to take a ride on the Tolkien juggernaut, I’ll bet you and your marketing and merchandising teams are taking a look at the character list and thinking…
“We need hot dwarves.”
“Lose the beards, lose the lumps. Hot dwarves, the hotter the better. We’ll get a wholesome, ‘aw-shucks’ Bilbo, some bad-boy sexy Men, and then AS MANY HOT ACTORS WE CAN FIND for the Dwarves.”
And so they did. One after another, each sexier than the last.
Here’s where the Tolkien purist in me has a heart attack. SEE?? I TOLD YOU!!! HOT DWARVES? HOT DWARVES?!?!?
This is wrong, right? It was bad enough when Frodo, Pippin and Merry popped up in LOTR looking like slender, pink-cheeked cherubs (Sorry Sean, you really looked like Sam to me) instead of Tolkien’s rotund, hairy-toed Weebles. Tolkien was doing somersaults in his grave.
Except… wellllll, Gimli was really short, lumpy and bearded. With Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner and James Nesbitt and Robert Kazinsky and Graham McTavish cast, I’m not sure I want any of them to look like real dwarves.
When it comes down to it, I’m a purist but I’m a red-blooded girl, too. Armitage alone would get me into the theater. But… put Richard in ‘Gimli’ prosthetics and, well, as superficial as it sounds that would not be as much fun. He’s a wonderful actor; I’m a huge fan of “Spooks.” But I want to SEE him and Aidan Turner and James Nesbitt and Robert Kazinsky and Graham McTavish, etc.
I reckon there are 10,000,000,000 other women in the world who would agree with me on this, and that, presumably, is what determines the film studio’s choice. I know I’m contradicting myself. Writing this I came to realize I believe: 1) HOT DWARVES are wrong, and 2) hiring gorgeous men and not letting them BE HOT is also wrong.
Right? I mean, wrong? Hmmm.
Back me up on this, ladies! Hot or not – which should it be?
Maegwen is a long time senior staffer and sometimes satirist. She can often be found in Barliman’s Chatroom and is our resident film grumpus.