TV Watch: TNS' Off the Record with Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Andy Serkis
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From “West of the Moon”

Off the Record Transcript
(TSN, Nov. 21)

(shots from ROTK trailer)

MICHAEL LANDSBERG (host): The wait is over. We have got that man. That’s Andy Serkis who plays Gollum; as well, Billy Boyd and Elijah Wood from Lord of the Rings. It’s the Lord of the Rings special with Ty Pennington from Trading Spaces, so bring it on.

(clip from TTT – Gollum’s split personality)

ML: Now I was a sports geek, so my childhood was filled with Sports
Illustrated and baseball cards, right. But the kids today are all about Frodo, Gollum and Pippin, so I say, “May the Force be with you” (holds hands up in Vulcan sign from Star Trek)

(everyone laughs)


EW: Um…

ML: You know, how cool is this show? I’ve said for a long time, the
greatest job in television is sitting in this chair because of the guys you get to meet, and let’s meet them right now. Frodo from Lord of the Rings, numbers 1, 2, and 3. Number three is going to be released on what day?

ELIJAH WOOD: December 17th.

ML: Elijah Wood.

EW: Hello, sir.

ML: Thank you so much for being on the show today.

EW: Thank you, thank you.

ML: How cool is this? Look who’s here. Billy Boyd, you are Pippin from the Lord of the Rings. You’ve had a wonderful career, you’ve done many things, and you know what? I love the fact that you’re sitting here as well.

BILLY BOYD: Hey, thanks very much.

ML: And Andy Serkis. You know, I’m just blown away by the character that you play. The talent that you have. Gollum is an unbelieveable
character, and I’m just so thrilled that you’re sitting here. Good to
see you.

ANDY SERKIS: Good to see you too.

ML: You were Gollum, not Dobbie, right?

AS: No, I played Gollum (in Gollum voice).

ML: Thank you for joining us. I guess phlegm really helps with that, right?

AS: Every morning.

EW: Phlegm every morning. He gargles phlegm.

ML: And Ty Pennington. Who could we put in this chair that would fit
with these guys? And the answer is Ty Pennington. We’ve got 100 people standing out there. Half are here to see those guys, and half are here to see you.

TY PENNINGTON: It’s going to be wild.

ML: A huge hit, Trading Spaces. It’s great to welcome you to the show.

TP: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

EW: We should do a Lord of the Rings edition of Trading Spaces. It would be awesome, and then it would really tie it together.

TP: Trading rings!

EW: Trading rings!

ML: Or trading cheques.

TP: Yes!

(EW laughs)

TP: That would be interesting.

ML: All right, let’s go. It’s all about the fans. They have made Lord of the Rings a cultural phenomenom. They have made Trading Spaces a
massive, big frigging hit in North America. Without the fans everybody is probably teaching art history, something like that?

EW: Right.

ML: And yet fan is short for “fanatic” and we all know they can go too far, and that strangers determine how much privacy you can have. Is that acceptable?

TP: Well, I think there’s definitely a line that becomes unacceptable. I mean, we… the show that I’m on has gotten hugely popular out of nowhere. So we have people set up in the cul-de-sacs where we’re working, you know, with tents, and they bring the families with sandwiches and the whole nine yards. And they’ll actually come up and actually steal pieces of wood and stuff like that as collector’s items, which is all good.

EW: Wow.

TP: But sometimes kids get too close to the table saw, if you know what I’m saying, and things start flying towards kids. So it all depends, but that’s a different aspect of it. So yeah, I would say there’s a point where it’s kind of strange.

EW: Yeah, for us, I mean, people have been fans of the books ever since they were written in the 50’s, so we had a fan base before these movies came out, and so our fans are even in some ways even more fanatical than your typical movie fans would be, because they’re all so… most of them are fans of the books as well, wouldn’t you say?

AS: Yeah.

TP: Yeah, they’re taking treks over to New Zealand now, just to see
where they filmed.

EW: Absolutely.

TP: There’s actually a little tourist colony going on over there because of that.

EW: I mean, I’ve never had any encounters with them that I think has
gone too far, personally, but you know, there is sort of a fine line
between being a fan of something and being overly fanatical. Have you
ever seen the movie Trekkies?

ML: Yeah, absolutely.

EW: The documentary. It’s fascinating. It’s all about Star Trek fans,
and … it’s mental.

ML: Did you not collect Star Wars figures when you were a kid?

EW: I did, yeah, absolutely. Huge Star Wars fan.

ML: How weird is it for you that you collect these figures when you were a kid, and now kids are collecting you?

EW: (laughs) It’s great. I’m such a nerd, I love all that stuff, so…

ML: Oh, you’re not a nerd, come on.

EW: I am. I’m a complete geek, I love all that stuff.

TP: He’s got William Shatner hanging off his rear view mirror.

BB: He really is. He’s a total geek.

EW: In the truest sense of the word.

BB: I mean, we’re in video games now. It’s amazing to be able to play
yourself in a video game. It’s just incredible.

ML: (to BB) So if I push the X button right now, I’d get your right arm to go up?

BB: Uh, yeah. (lifts arm)

ML: (to Andy) And if I push the Y, can I get you to make that sound again?

AS: Murrrrrderer. I’ll tell you what, there is actually a Gollum porn
site out there… yeah there is, honestly, I swear.

TP: Wow.

ML: There’s no doubt, he’s hot.

AS: Absolutely. I mean, there’s a lot of people who find Gollum very, very attractive. Viggo Mortensen fans… I mean, Gollum has got this serious fan base, which is dedicated to what they’d like to do with him.

EW: Screw the Paris Hilton sex tapes, let’s see the Gollum sex tapes!

ML: I don’t want to insult you, but I’m going with the Paris Hilton. All right, we were talking about the dark side, which is clearly there. There’s the Kobe Bryant situation and Michael Jackson. Yesterday Michael Jackson became the biggest story in the world. We’re not talking Bush in the UK or North Korea, we’re talking Michael Jackson. Jermaine Jackson, his brother, freaked out on the media for their focus. Listen to what he had to say.

(clip of Jermaine Jackson)

EW: Wow.

ML: Now we saw that with the Kobe Bryant trial or situation for sure, but no one really from the family spoke out. You heard what Jermaine Jackson had to say regarding his brother and this celebrity attack that he has felt. Do you buy that?

BB: Um, I think it’s difficult, you know? This is a really difficult situation because it’s a very serious, serious charge, you know? And I think it becomes most difficult if what happens on TV and in the press affects what’s happening in the courtroom. You know, everyone’s innocent until proven guilty.

EW: That’s the scariest thing.

BB: But we can’t let the media affect things like this. And when it overlaps like that, that’s when it becomes wrong.

EW: The media does tend to drive public opinion as well, and it can actually influence public opinion, which, then, you’re right, which then affects the trial…

BB: And the jury’s there, and they’ve been reading it and watching it on TV…

TP: But the media… the whole point of the media too, it can work for it and against it. I mean, who knows? I mean, sometimes people use these things just to like promote an album or a CD at the same time. I mean they could be completely false allegations too, and they could completely ruin their career at the same time, so sometimes they don’t…

ML: Two different situations, though. I mean, Kobe hasn’t lost a lot of sponsorship.

EW: That’s right.

ML: He has lost some. Michael Jackson’s not getting played. If you look around Canada, there’s a lot of radio stations that are dropping him.

EW: I read that this morning in the paper. They were saying they were dropping him.

ML: What’s the better way to approach it? The approach with Kobe, which is more kind of innocent until proven guilty, let’s wait and see, or Michael Jackson, which is don’t play him now?

EW: Well, the man is not a child molester until he’s proven guilty, so let’s treat it like he’s innocent. You know, accusing someone of child molestation is a huge thing, and to brand him before he’s had a chance to defend himself is really unfair. And I think the media is jumping all over him. With Jackson it’s a touchy thing as well, because he’s a bit of a media freak, so people want to jump on him anyway.

ML: A bit? A bit?

TP: But I mean, at the same time you really can’t… I mean, it’s not good publicity. He should not have the interview in the house, hanging out…

ML: Just to confirm, you’re Ty Pennington, Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood?

ALL: Right.

ML: How cool is my job? Oh my gosh!

(all laugh)

Okay, one of the freakiest success stories in pop culture has got to be Smoking Gun. Do you guys know Smoking Gun, the website?

EW: I do. It’s fantastic.

ML: They’ve got a website that people go to every day, and even a show on court television. And you know people will be flocking there today, because the Michael Jackson mug shot is terrifying. My question is, who lights up the police studios? These people make a living being photogenic! Man, somebody’s publicist has got to be in big trouble. These are awful! Who does the lighting?

(mug shots of Jackson, Marilyn Manson and Nick Nolte)

Let us know on our website. We’ll be back with more.

(clip from Trading Spaces)

EW: Isn’t that beautiful, Ty?

ML: That belt is pretty low.

TP: It’s bringing a tear to my eye. It’s beautiful.

ML: All right, I’ve got to ask you guys a question. Andy Kaufman, Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett, Freddy Adu, all became household names because they were on Letterman. Freddy Adu, we put that guy on the list? He is a classic child prodigy. He’ll be playing for DC United in the MLS. He’s a millionaire. Man, there’s a lot more to come. All of it before he’s going to be old enough to drive.

EW: Awesome.

ML: The league says they want him to stay as a kid. Is that possible or even desirable, given what he does for a living?

TP: Well, I mean, obviously he’s going to be playing in a pros league, so I don’t know how long he’s going to be able to stay a kid physically or mentally.

EW: He’s going to be playing with adults in an adult world. I mean, I started acting when I was 8 years old. I grew up kind of fast, and you know…

ML: But the adults you were with, some of them at least wanted to help you. I’m sure some of them wanted to bury your career…

EW: That’s true, it wasn’t a competitive sport.

ML: But this is different. He’s playing against guys who want to victimize him and use the fact that he’s 14 years old against him.

EW: Oh, of course.

ML: (to BB) You’ve watched a little soccer in your day, I imagine?

BB: Yeah, and I mean, it can get really aggressive and kind of verbally aggressive as well.

TP: Nasty is what it can get.

BB: Yeah, it can get really nasty, and I don’t know… 14’s a bit young to be playing …

AS: But it sounds like he’s able to deal with it on the pitch… I suppose what we’re talking about is kinf of emotionally, is how he copes with it psychologically …

TP: But that’s what happened to Kobe too, though. It’s like Kobe became this prodigy. But if you look at it, it’s like he’s just been raised to become this superstar athlete, and that’s all he’s been programmed to do.

EW: You could say that of Tiger Woods as well.

TP: Well, he’s probably got more social skills than Kobe does…

EW: Right.

TP: Because Kobe just hasn’t been out there, like hanging out, really meeting people. He’s been focusing on his career.

EW: Right.

TP: I don’t know what his background is, but at 14, to be thrown into it, it’s pretty early.

EW: It’s a lot responsibility for a 14 year-old to handle. Not to mention in terms of the media. In terms of the media, it’s a novelty as well, so people are going to jump on that. He’s going to get criticism because he’s only 14, that’s the thing that’s really scary.

BB: Over here, is there a line? Do you have to be 13? Surely there has to be a line where you say… you can’t have a 9 year-old playing pro soccer.

ML: Well, it was never really an issue, but now it’s an issue in almost every sport. You have a female golfer who’s 13, Michelle Wie, who is now going to play in a PGA event; you had Tiger Woods, who was exceptionally young; LeBron James. The limit is being pushed in every direction, so there’s a new precedent that’s being set all the time.

EW: It’s time to start thinking about, you know, age limits and regulations.

ML: But here’s the toughest thing…

TP: At 14 I was just stoked to make varsity!

ML: You played soccer, right?

TP: I was stoked to make the varsity team, man, as a freshman.

AS: Apart from the physical demands, it is the environment we’re talking about more. I mean, it’s like… you’re around people, you’re subjected you know, to elder people’s opinions, their lifestyles, etc, you know, I don’t see any difference between entertainment and sport.

EW: Not at all, no.

ML: If you played against a kid… did you play football, growing up?

AS: Yeah.

ML: If you played against a kid professionally… he’s 14, you’re 22, could you actually play against him the same way that you would play against an adult and try to exploit the fact that he’s a kid?

AS: But they’re so much taller these days.

(all laugh)

ML: I don’t know if that’s scientifically true.

EW: If physically there’s no difference, you’d just sort of play as you normally would, right?

TP: But the question is, who’s more intimidated? Is the 14 year-old more intimidated about playing the adult, or is the adult more intimidated about playing the 14 year-old?

ML: I think the adult, because the adult doesn’t want to get beat by the 14 year-old.

TP: No, you don’t. There you go.

ML: You’ve got two kids, right? I think you and I are the only ones with kids on this set. Let me ask you this. What do you teach your kid when your kid starts to play sports? How old’s your oldest? Five years old?

AS: Five, yeah.

ML: Right. So when your kid starts to play football, you’re going to teach him about fair play, that winning really doesn’t count for everything, it’s okay to try and lose. If you’re the coach of a football team, that’s the last thing you want your people to think.

AS: I find it really difficult, but they are so young… you’re encouraging all those other things at home, so it is difficult to say go out there and kill him!

TP: I think losing’s a great thing for your psyche, though. I mean, if you grew up on a team… like I played soccer… and there are a lot of kids that grow up in a better part of town, that all grow up with a certain amount of kids, and they all play together, and they all get really good together, and that’s how you build a really good team. But if you grow up and you’re always used to winning, because you’re playing on the boys’ club team… or you’re used to losing, I think your personality actually gains from it, because when you finally do win, it’s a bigger deal. So I mean… I don’t know what that has to do with anything, but I’m glad I brought that up.

ML: It was a hell of a story, and you were going to work that story in no matter what, weren’t you?

TP: I guess.

ML: You came in with an agenda.

EW: With all that attention, he is sort of set to win, isn’t he? Failure is sort of not an option at this point.

TP: No, and if it is, it could really…

EW: That could be even more damaging, you know.

BB: At least emotionally, have two years to train with the team and work his way up and get to know them…

ML: When you talk about football, I believe it. For some reason, your accent…

BB: Yeah?

ML: Every single thing you say about football makes sense to me. Ty sounds like he’s full of crap, because guys without an accent…

TP: It’s because I play “soccer”!

BB: Exactly. He even calls it football now.

TP: What’s going to happen to these guys is… three years in America and he’s warmed up, somebody else is going to come get him.

BB: Yeah, Manchester United will help out.

ML: We’ve got to go to break. (to EW) We’re talking about kids and doing it when you were really young… we’ve got your first acting job. We’ll take a look.

BB: All right!

(clip from Paula Abdul video – EW as young angst-ridden executive,
breaks pencil)


ML: We were online the other day, checking out stuff for stories, and we came across this on the Adbusters site. Adbusters are creating their own shoes – the “unswoosher” – as an ironic protest against Nike, of course. And they can do that because they don’t belong to the system. But what about when you do belong to the system? What then? Adbusters is preaching to the converted. But a celebrity has a much broader audience. Should you criticize people who don’t use that platform?

EW: I don’t know if you should criticize them. I mean, I think, you know, Adbusters has obviously set themselves up in that position, to make those kind of criticisms and to be politically incorrect and make those judgements. But I think actors obviously have a greater audience and more criticism is on them if they want to make political statements. But I think that we should be allowed to say what we want to say within reason, you know.

BB: I think that as individuals… you know, we’re doing a job, we’re all doing a job, it just happens that our job is seen by, you know, the world.

ML: In your case, billions.

BB: Yeah, yeah. And it’s up to you, I think, if you want to say, I want to be a private person and just do the job. You know, like John Lennon. He said, well, I’m going to be on every newspaper, every radio show, every TV show, so I may as well do something good. So I’m going to go to bed and say, look, this is for peace.

TP: Well, just from my own experiences, like you know, being on this show where we’re actually building things, using woods, that kind of a thing… you know, I built this bed on one of the shows, that I actually used Brazilian cherry on. I built a huge bed, and then I got tons of emails and people calling me, asking me where can I find that wood, and then I’m thinking to myself, my god, I’ve turned the world on to the Brazilian rainforest, so I immediately said, you know, MDF is good, let’s go back to plywood, so now I try and actually use…

EW: Wow.

TP: So there is, depending on what you promote subconsciously, you don’t even know what you’re doing until you realize that that many people have seen what you’re using…

EW: There is a responsibility to a certain degree…

BB: Which we’ve kind of taken on with the Lord of the Rings thing, is we’re trying to get some forests planted, with people, called the Future Forests, where hopefully you’ll be able to go in and buy a tree for the forest, and you’ll get a scroll, you know, and if a billion people buy a scroll, you know, we’ll get a forest out there.

EW: There’s that many trees saved.

AS: I think sometimes there are expectations because of our profile with Lord of the Rings… I mean, you get asked loads of varying questions, loads, and you’re expected to come up with an answer and therefore have a stance or a very strong political idea of every situation, every item. And it’s like… sometimes you really haven’t formulated that, and you find yourself really far down the track, I mean, you’ve committed yourself to an idea. I think sometimes, I think people in celebrity positions should allowed to have the right to remain quiet, but then focus on things where they really want to put their energy. I mean, I’m part of a charity which is dealing with leukemia in children in war-torn countries. I’ve kind of now chosen to really…

ML: But if you chose nothing, would it be reasonable to criticize you, because you are passing up an opportunity that not many people on the planet have.

AS: Yeah, absolutely. Like, at the Oscars this year, I’ll tell you something that happened at the Oscars this year. Obviously the war in Iraq had just started about three days beforehand. There were a million protestors kind of down where the red carpet was going to be. And people were saying use our voice, use our voice, use our voice. And I found that really, really moving and important to do so, and so hence on the red carpet I made a stance against the war. And I think you should.

ML: I think the question is not what you’re going to do, but do something, which is the point. I mean, (to TP) you saw the power that you had just using a certain kind of wood, and now people are using it.

(clip of email addressed to TP)


ML: We’re here with the guys from Lord of the Rings, Ty Pennington from Trading Spaces. You know, when this show works well, you get people to look at who individuals are. They see you performing and doing what you do, and when it doesn’t work well – we won’t talk about that – but today it worked really well. It was an amazing experience. Ty, you were a great guest. I know you’re a big sports fan, and thanks for playing along today.

TP: Thank you for having me.

ML: Tell me first of all about the book, Ty’s Tricks.

TP: Well, basically I make crap craptastic, and I pretty much built a champagne house on a beer budget, and it shows you…

ML: And it’s your house, right?

TP: It is. It shows you my house, and also a bunch of things you can do yourself, which is really amazing. It’s really easy and pretty cool.

ML: This is a great gift. Christmas and Hannukah season coming up.

TP: And don’t forget Kwaanza.

EW: That’s right. Don’t forget Kwaanza.


ML: I never forget that.

EW: I actually did a Kwaanza one year with my friends. It was good.

ML: Also the television show, which we see in Canada.

TP: Also the show on ABC coming out on December 3rd, right after The Bachelorette. But instead of just dealing with one room, we actually… this is a wonderful thing. A family has a sick daughter, and they spent a lot of their money trying to save the kid. We pretty much give them a house in seven days. We built a house in seven days, which isn’t actually easy to do, guys.

EW: Oh my god.

ML: Jimmy Carter-like.

EW: A house in seven days…

ML: And you’re making a public appearance at Home Depot… (they discuss this for a bit) Okay, let’s talk about Lord of the Rings. First of all, when is it released?

EW: December 17th. It’s coming out very soon. We’re very excited.

ML: And it is the Return of the King. This is the completion of the trilogy, right?

EW: That’s right. It all comes together.

ML: (to BB) And you guys actually… you’ve done some re-shooting, but you completed principal shooting when?

BB: Oh, like three years ago.

(EW laughs)

BB: Yeah, it’s weird.

ML: I won’t ask you any details about the movie, because you probably don’t remember.

BB: Yeah, well, we went back this year to do some reshoots, and it was great to get back to New Zealand and do some extra scenes and stuff.

ML: (to EW) The problem is that you were like 11 years old when you shot the first stuff, right?

EW: Yeah, which is weird. And I grew up.

ML: No facial hair then, and now you’ve got it. And you’re exercising that right very nicely.

EW: Thank you, sir.

ML: (to AS) Now, how did you… are you a voice-over guy?

AS: No, just a regular actor.

ML: So how did you get the role of Gollum?

AS: Well, I got a call from my agent saying they’re doing the Lord of the Rings down in New Zealand, and…

ML: Let me hear some Gollum.

AS: Okay. So they said, do you want to do this voice for an animated character? And I started working on it, and I watched my cats, and you know when they get fur trapped in their throats?

TP: A little hairball action.

AS: And their whole bodies… (mimes retching) and that became “gollum, gollum” and that was the start of it really.

TP: That’s awesome.

(EW pats AS on the shoulder)

ML: Can you do something for me? I start every show by saying the words “bring it on.” Can you look in that camera over there and say “bring it on”?

AS: (in Gollum voice) Bring it on, precioussss.

ML: I think we can work that in. Guys, I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings. Everyone’s going to see the movie. But I’ve got to say I’m a huge fan of Trading Spaces. But most of all, of you individuals. Thanks for joining us here.

EW: Thank you. No problem.