Cheryl writes: The Calgary Sun printed an article on Billy Boyd’s brief visit to the city’s airport yesterday. He says some tantalizing stuff about The Return of the King.

Not even a minute passes before someone recognizes Billy Boyd.

A young boy whispers excitedly to his equally thrilled friends, who in turn run off to tell their classmates. And before you can say “Treebeard,” the Lord of the Rings actor is ambushed by more than a dozen pen-wielding pre-teens.

It’s become a common occurrence for the 34-year-old Scot – who plays the fun-loving hobbit Pippin – since the blockbuster success of the first two Lord of the Rings movies, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, directed by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson.

“The Lord of the Rings has become such a part of popular culture,” says Boyd, after taking care of his young fans’ photo and autograph requests.

“People love the movies and they just get excited when they see someone from them, no matter who it is. It’s always positive.”

Boyd was in town briefly yesterday and had the chance to check out the Calgary International Airport’s Spaceport science center, where he met his idolizing school group.

The actor is in Alberta to promote Sniper 470, a 20-minute short film in which he appears as an astronaut dealing with the loneliness and solitude of space.

The piece was screened last night at the Medicine Hat Film Festival and will be shown Saturday as part of an evening of Scottish short film at the Edmonton Film Festival.

The Glasgow-based actor hasn’t had much downtime lately and in May, he and the rest of the LOTR cast will head back to New Zealand to film pick-up shots for the trilogy’s last installment, The Return of the King.

Boyd has seen part of a rough cut of Return and says the new film is by far the best.

“I don’t think people have any idea – it’s incredible,” says Boyd, who still keeps in touch with his co-stars, including Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies.

“We’ve started with the best source material and then the script they wrote is probably the best screenplay I’ve ever read.”

“I was nearly in tears just reading the screenplay. It was so emotional.

On top of that, people already know the character and have been on journeys with all these guys. This is sort of the end of all those stories. It’s just got so much going for it before (Jackson) adds the special touches.”

Boyd was disappointed that Jackson was snubbed in the best director category at this year’s Academy Awards and says it would be a “travesty” if he is overlooked next year.

“What he has done, no director has ever done,” Boyd says emphatically.

“No one has made a trilogy like this. And not only that, to make it so successful critically and with the public. It’s a beautiful piece of art and I really do think it would be a travesty if he didn’t win an Oscar for it, as well as every other award going.”

While Boyd admits most people are only familiar with his furry-footed LOTR character, he says the film epic has opened doors in his career.

He will be seen next in director Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World with Russell Crowe in November.

As well, he and LOTR co-star Dominic Monaghan (Merry) have written a screenplay that has received some interest.

“I’ve had offers.”