A BIG thank you to Diamond for sending this transcript to us!
[During the beginning of the show, Regis pronounced Sean’s name ‘Austin’]
Regis Philbin: Alright, he stars in the blockbuster trilogy that was once again proven to be another epic hit in its third and final installment just gangbusters (?) box-office. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King hit the theaters with a big, big bang and here’s the star of the show, Sean Astin!
[Huge cheering as Sean Astin walks out, shakes hands with RP and hugs Kelly Ripa and waves]
Sean Astin: You can call me Astin (?)…
RP: You know, I remember when you came when you came here for ‘Rudy’!
[SA: yeah] I said the Sean “Austin”
SA: You can call me Austin, and you don’t have to say anything. Watching you…Donald Trump and I were watching you read the theology about pet heaven [audience laughs] and I was like ‘I believe! I believe!’ [Audience laughs] So, you can call me anything you want but, Kelly keeps you straight so
RP: Oh yeah, she’s right on top. So anyway, you look nice and lean and trim
Kelly Ripa: Yeah, very fit!
SA: Well, you know, there has to be life beyond beyond Samwise for me.
RP: Yeah, well you got a new role now so you’re in training for that one, right?
SA: Yeah, uh well I finished that one, [RP: Oh you finished it?] yeah I survived it which is good. Yeah, it’s with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. “50 First Dates” it’s called. I play a guy who uh who swears he’s sort of a muscle building phenomenon, he’s not really a muscle building phenomenon. But…but he swears that he is.
RP: Are you in competition with Adam for the girl?
SA: No, she’s my sister. [SA and KR laugh]
RP: You dare let your sister go out with Adam Sandler?
SA: Um well that is an issue that’s at stake in the picture. So, yeah, yeah.
RP: Adam has seemed to develop like uh…a repertory group there.
SA: I want in.
KR: Will you be part of that you think?
SA: I hope so. I hope so. We were just talking about um…I was talking to my wife because there’s a press junket in Hawaii in two weeks, and this is for me, personally, the most extraordinary time of my my life and career…um, professionally, just because of of the success of the films and the way the critics are talking about it and stuff, so, there’s so many incredible opportunities. And I said to my wife should I should I got to Hawaii or should I do this or should I do that. She said “Adam is so blood loyal to people that he he hires he puts you in his movies when you’re up or when you’re down and you’re up right now. But when you’re down go to Hawaii.”
KR: Right, sure.
RP: You take Kelly’s advice because I thought it was excellent advice, you know, they signed this cast up for for three movies,[SA: Hmm] nobody knew how big they were going to be and now they’re like the biggest box office hit of all time. And her advice was to go in and ask for more money.
SA: Yup. Yup.
RP: Which is what she did around here. [Audience, SA and KR laugh]
KR: Not yet, young Regis, not yet!
SA: This is what I said to Kelly when I came in this morning, I said we have a new house thanks to you.
RP: Oh, no kidding?
SA: And I meant it because there was a moment when uh…when we were talking to New Line about uh about. you know, acknowledging our the work and everything. And the aftermath of the huge success of the pictures and um…and I remember Kelly saying “Don’t you let them tell you–” so
KR: I was sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.
SA: I know but New Line…I we’re very grateful to New Line, they were they acknowledged us we’re happy, we’re grateful.
RP: They bought you a new house?
SA: Well, they uh…they gave me more money and with that money we bought the house.
KR: So what happens is what they’re doing you know…when youre going out there and your shooting this this…trilogy…these three movies…you have, say, a budget. You don’t know. You suspect, you think, you’re not sure of the impact it will have world wide. So this movie, I think, far exceeded anyone’s greatest and wildest dreams so now it’s time to pay the cast what it deserves.
SA: Well…it’s not just…well listen, you’re gonna have Donald Trump out here, he can tell you about the sort of mechanics of grizzly negotiations and how things happen, but uh…Nicole Kaylor (?) she works for New Line is back there [he points back stage] and she was like “Don’t let them just talk about money, tell them that…the New York Film Critics you know, they acknowledged the picture and Peter got a Directors Guild nomination and talk about the uh that stuff”. But the economics of the picture are uh are extraordinary. I think it’s made over…I think its made somewhere near $800 million world wide in three weeks.
KR: But so many people do say it’s the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen. It’s the move beautiful movie they’ve ever seen.
SA: Yeah, well…you know what; because money wasn’t the point for the filmmakers…They really invested their passion for for story into the movie so…
RP: Well, when we come back we’ll talk; we’ll show you a clip from the new one.
[Back from commercials]
RP: Well, some people are saying that this is the best movie of all time. But can it be better then “Rudy”?
SA: Well, Rudy was short and Hobbits are short.
KR: But people are very fanatical about the I mean the books and the movies and everything.
SA: But I get so many presents We go to do question and answer periods after the picture and people give me gifts. You know, buttons from the 60s when they were hippies and “Frodo Lives” buttons, and artwork and poetry and songs and… It’s unbelievable. It’s the it’s the kind of literature and it’s the kind of movie that actually inspires people to do their own work. I mean, “Star Wars” was inspired by the books, you know so…Led Zepplin.
RP: But you what is really a hit, people begin naming their own children after the characters. I haven’t heard one person name their kid Frodo. [SA and audience laugh].
SA: Not to get back to the pet theme, but I know a lot of dogs named Frodo. Who I’m sure will go to heaven, right? [Everyone laughs]
RP: Now um, your oldest daughter has a cameo in the role, huh?
SA: Yeah. She has a moment, she has a moment in the end yeah she plays my Hobbit daughter. [KR and some audience members “aww”] Yeah, she’s immortalized in that at three years old, at the last shot of the last scene of the last picture.
RP: Isn’t that nice? You’ll always have that film to look at.
SA: And now we have the baby, so I keep telling her the baby looks so much like her, when the baby gets older, when Elizabeth is older we’ll just tell her it was her. [Audience laughs]
KR: That’s a great idea! No sibling rivalry.
RP: You know, Sean, when I met you, you were not married. How long have you been married?
SA: We were married…I was married. I got married before…a year…no, a few months before Rudy…7-11, July eleventh 19–
RP: But I interviewed you before that.
SA: Oh yeah, for Toy Soldiers, yeah I’m sorry, you’re right.
RP: So you’ve been married for what ten years?
SA: Ten or eleven years, yeah.
RP: No kidding? How’s it going?
SA: She’s great. She hasn’t left me yet. [Audience and KR laugh] Honey, if you’re up and you’re watching don’t leave me yet.
RP: Did she go over with you to New Zealand because that’s a long time.
SA: Yeah, she and Alexandra were with me every step of the way. That was the best…for me, that was the best part about making the movies, ’cause as a father and a husband you want to feel like you’re doing your job and and…and giving them a life that’s meaningful, and giving Alexandra the opportunity to fly in helicopters and meet incredible people.
RP: The experience. Should we play a little clip?
KR: Yeah, Sure!
RP: Well now here we go, [audience claps] Sam and Frodo on their journey to return the Ring. Take a look at this from the Lord of the Rings
[Clip is show of Frodo drinking the last of what’s left of Samwise’s water; Frodo says “There’ll be none left for the return journey.” Sam responds “I don’t think there’ll be a return journey, Mr. Frodo.” Ends with Sam offering his hand and pulling Frodo up]
[applause and cheers from audience]
RP: It’s in theaters right now!
KR: Frodo and Sam are my favorite on screen couple.
RP: They’re always together. Anyways congratulations, thank you very much!
SA: Thank you.