Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis, Bruce Hopkins, Sala Baker and John Rhys-Davies answer questions at Collectormania 2003

Just incase you don’t have enough Collectormania reports yet 😉 – Here is a fuller account of the pre movie (FoTR) screening chat that took place on Saturday – as close as we can recall it – though Irascian’s great report already covers most of it

Q: Billy ,will you sing The Drinking Song for us?

Billy Boyd (BB): I can’t remember the words – it was four years ago! You sing it – and I’ll join in (rendition of Hey Ho … by everyone with Billy joining in on the last line only *s*)

Q: What is your favourite line for your character?

Andy Serkis (AS) (in Gollum voice) Muuuuuuuuuuuuuurdererrr!!!

Sala Baker (SB): I’ll spoil things for you now – I don’t actually do Sauron’s voice

BB: I think the one line that sums up Pippin’s character in the movie “Where are we going?”

Q: (BY Andy Serkis) I’ve got a question …how many of you have watched FoTR more than 5 times? (show of hands) …question keeps going up to “100 times” with still hands being raised ..

AS: And how many of you with your hands up have actually got lives?!!

Q: (to cast) And how many times have you watched it?

(general consensus around 7 times each)

Q: Billy, what did you enjoy most about filming?

BB: Andy Serkis and Sala Baker! (should be noted at this stage JRD and Bruce had not joined them) – but in some ways that’s true – it was the friends you made, a different experience you know – an experience that will stay with all of us the rest of our lives.

Q: Billy, can you tell us about making the SEE DVD Commentary? Did you enjoy making it? – and shouts of – Were you really naked?!!

BB: I was naked There were women there There was drink Make an awwwwww out of that!

(in comment to the fact that he’d been getting many an awwwwww! response to previous replies)

No – it was a riot! We had such a fun day. I don’t know if everybody knows this, but everybody wasn’t there on the commentary – because it sounds like that I think. The four hobbits were together – but it was a real real laugh – trying to hold in the laughter ..from something Dom had said – a riot.

Q: Are you doing the same for Two Towers?

BB: We’ve already done it!

AS: I did mine with Elijah and Sean.

BB: I did mine with Dom

SB: I didn’t do one

Audience (awwww!)

Q: Andy, can you show us how you do your Gollum voice?

AS: Well everyone kind of knows roughly what it was based on, don’t they?

Audience call-out: Tolkien!

AS: Tolkien? ! ….. I was actually working on my voice condition (trying to perfect method causing minimum pain to throat) and my cat Biz(?) came into the kitchen and …(tells story of fur balls and demonstrates how that turns into “Gollum! Gollum!”


John Rhys-Davies (JRD): All I can say is – never share the same photograph with Billy Boyd! The photograph is with Treebeard – and Billy Boyd gets to write his damn name all over it …and I get my own back by writing something like “Billy gets a free ride again!”

Q: Billy, are you still close to the other hobbits?

BB: Ummm …yeah. We see each other all the time – I saw Dom 2 days ago and whenever I’m in America I try to catch up with Sean and Elijah.

Audience call-out: Is he back then?

BB: Dom?…. is he back in London? Spivs?

BB: He’s just finished Spivs. He’s doing another film now …err called …ummm… Terminator (since he can’t or wont tell!) … or something!

Q: Does the song called Sweat mean anything to any of you?

BB – Oh gawd! ….I was in a film a while back (Julie and the Cadillacs) and …well We’ve all got to pay the rent!

Q: If you could play any other character in the movies, apart from your own, what would it be?

BB: (to JRD) – well you play most of the characters!

JRD: Oh I guess I would probably play ..Legolas!

Q: Billy are you coming to RingCon in Germany this year?

BB: I don’t know – probably not this year.

Q: (to JRD about how he coped with having fresh prosthetics applied to his damaged skin)

JRD: Well you get to the point where there’s no skin left …and where it’s applied it just starts to dissolve.

Audience: Awwwww!

Bruce Hopkins (BH): Now that WAS worth an awwww!

Q: (to Bruce about how it was to work with horses)

BH: It was good – you know, not having been a horse rider. Gamling kind of evolved. I turned up for a few days shooting and they said we like what is happening here and we’ll teach you some more stuff and they hadn’t actually asked me – Do you ride?!! So they sent me off for a few days riding school before we started shooting some more. I was galloping through forests with Karl Urban and it was great.

Q: Were you happy with the Oscars?

BH: General opinions about the fact that Part Three will gain the awards …

JRD: Well there sure as hell wont be a Part 4!

BH: I was in LA for the first time this year around the awards ceremony and you kind of get the impression that they like to see their own films do well.

Q: What are your future plans?

BB: I’m going to go and eat some chicken!

SB: I’m going with him

JRD: I’ll probably end up with the feathers!

Q: I’ve been watching the behind the scenes commentary on the Extended DVD – where did Dom and you get the inspiration for your handshake?

BB: Like most things between Dom and I it isn’t in fact a real thing – there is no handshake – we just made it up! If somebody asked me to do it now, I wouldn’t know how to.

Q: When you were doing the actual audio (ie ADR) for the characters, and you weren’t actually playing the role – how did you actually get into the character?

BH: You’ve got a screen. It was a real joy for me – I don’t know what it was like for you guys: you’ve probably done a lot more work in films – but Peter Jackson has a cinema that he had built, and you put your cans on and you’re looking at yourself up on the screen – it’s sort of like watching yourself here – and you lip-synch – and it’s pretty big – it’s there and you get a sense of what that memory was, filming that moment.

Q: Is it hard to get back into it?

AS: (speaks for a bit on how the animators helped with the Gollum ADR process) Every single line in both the films was recorded maybe a year, or two years after the scenes were shot. Not a lot of the original sound could be used in the shots – because of things like wind machines.

Q: (To JRD) How difficult was it to voice two characters

JRD: Well there are DIFFERENT characters. – (went on to say something along the lines of the advantage of not having to be talking to yourself …using different voices – then started to mimic Gollum/Smeagol argument looking over at Andy)

JRD *eggs Andy on* – “c’mon Andy!”

Andy *puts on booming accent* “And this is my Gimli voice!” (very good 😉 )

Q: Andy – would you like to have played Jar Jar Binks

AS: No! I was quite happy playing Gollum.

Q: What’s the worst thing you’ve had to do for a movie?

(Billy answers about wearing the hobbit feet)

(Bruce says something about having to chain smoke in a short film – when he is a non-smoker in real life)

Q: On the set of LoTR you did a lot of extreme sports – which was your favourite?

JRD: Speaking as someone who’s brought back FIIIIVE boats to England…mine surely wasn’t bungee-jumping!

BB: Mine was surfing

JRD: Any guys here? Girls in the room can switch off – put clothes together while I talk to the men – I have the record as the World’s worst fisherman! In New Zealand the fish laughed so much at me they actually committed seppuku!

Q: Did you get any props from the set?

JRD: Well the hobbits were really good at stealing things!

AS: Well I’ve just got back from NZ, and Orlando was finishing his last set for LoTR …and it was quite emotional and Peter presented him with his Legolas Bow.

Q: What about the rest of you?

BB: Well we can’t really because we haven’t finished yet?

Q: When you are going back ?

BB: I think we are going back at the end of May

JRD: ..May…June? …July?

SB: 14th May (for himself)

Q: Billy, when filming the firework scene did you really wet yourself?

BB: I did NOT wet myself!! …..(then after much laughter) …oh OK I did pee myself!

Q: There’s been rumours that Peter Jackson will direct The Hobbit, is that true?

Many shrugs

BH: Well King Kong is looming for him now so that will keep him busy.

Q: Is there anything you wish your character could have done in the movie, that they did in the book?

JRD: Oh dozens of things!

BB: I’d have liked to have done the bath scene!

BH: The scene where Gamling transforms into Legolas!

JRD: …the early DEATH of Legolas!

Q: Was it hard working on your knees all the time?

JRD: Do you mean before getting the job, or after?!!

B: It’s funny because the Hobbits and John could do scenes together – because height wise it’s correct – because dwarves are slightly taller than hobbits . So when we did scenes together it was fine but as soon as someone else popped in .. urghhh – on your knees! …or do some blue-screen.. Or do something …

AS: (interrupts) – Oh my heart bleeds!

Q: what’s the best thing about NZ?

JRD: The whole experience – they are awfully nice people

(Bruce and Sala start congratulating each other)

They have a “can-do” culture. (expands along the lines of if there’s a problem having to fix it – being on their own – having to make, having to manufacture etc – true of the Maori culture…)

BH: there’s a phrase in NZ called the “No 8 Wire” – it’s a wire used to mend fencing in farming. But basically if anything needs fixing you “stick on some No 8 wire” …and that’s probably a phrase that sums up what John is talking about.

JRD: Basically it’s a lovely. lovely country. The standard of living in NZ is actually, I think, quite low. The standard of about the lower middle-classes in London in the 1970s. But the QUALITY of life is completely unparalleled – everyone should go there.

Q: Are we going to enjoy the third part of the trilogy as much as we‘ve enjoyed the first two?

JRD: Take a big handkerchief!

AS: Peter has said it’s going to be the best film and John is always saying you’ve got to raise your expectations and that’s true.

JRD: My bet is on an Academy Award nomination for at least Sean Astin . There will be other nominees of course but I hotly predict ….get your early money on now! An Academy Award nomination for at least Sean Astin!!

Q: How did you get into acting?

JRD: Well my degree is in English – which is what you do if you’re no good at Maths and lousy at learning languages. – I’m an actor by default.

BB: I went to drama school.

BH: I was a dancer – suddenly discovered I was going to be a Dad – with one of the other dancers – We didn’t want to be in a touring dance company, touring around a lot – so I got a role in a musical and then got offered a job as an actor.

AS: (along lines of went to college to do art ….had to take a second subject so took Film Studies – so he could do set design then fell into the acting side of productions)

SB: From being a stuntman.

Q: Billy, are you planning to be more theatre?

BB: I’m thinking about doing something, maybe in August.

Q: Will you put the details on your website?

BB: Yeah I will do.

Q: What’s the most stupid question you’ve ever been asked?

BB: Billy – We were doing a press interview, for the junket, I think – and she asked me “What part do you play in the movie?” – and this was for Two Towers. And I said “Pippin” and she went “oh right, will you be playing that in the second one?” …..“No…I was thinking about being Frodo in the next one”!!

AS: I got asked, again in the press junket – “so, did you actually have to go to NZ to do it?” What did she think – I stayed at home and just went *insert guttural noise here* down the telephone?!

JRD: My favourite one was when we did an interview at the Cannes Film Festival – they put us in groups and so I ended up with Viggo and Sean Bean and the lovely Sophie from Television France was the interviewer – and she was very blasé ..and very beautiful – VERY beautiful – and she looked at Viggo and at me and she said “Well personally, I’m a woman and there’s not much for women in this movie. Then she looks at Viggo and says Noooooo….and looks at me and …Nooooo – then she looks at Sean and says “Ahhhh! Sean – tell me …now, as a woman, tell me – how you would seduce me” ..I’ve never seen Sean look so embarrassed in all my life. And Viggo and I were going Yeah!!! Go on!!!