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Sean Astin Transcript from CBS -The Early Show – Monday, January 12, 2004

Interviewer: Harry Smith

Harry Smith begins: In less than a month the final installment of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy The Return of the King has already taken in over three quarters of a BILLION dollars worldwide.

[Film clip from ROTK “I’m not sending him away”, the heated conversation between Frodo and Sam concerning Gollum playing in the background as Harry continues to talk]

Sean Astin is getting Oscar talk for his emotional performance as Sam the Hobbit who must help Mr. Frodo played by Elijah Wood carry the Ring to Mt. Doom and save Middle Earth.

[ROTK Clip showing only: Sam & Frodo “share the load” scene in which Frodo starts to distrust Sam. Clip ends with Sam saying “I don’t want to keep it!”]

Harry: WOW!

[We see Sean dressed in a very nice suit and tie, lavendar shirt—he looks great!]

Harry: Sean Astin is with us, good morning. It’s so good to see you again.

Sean: Good morning. Thank you, thanks for having me.

Harry [excitedly ahhs]: For people, cause there are, what seven or eight people in American who have not seen the movie yet apparently or in the world this whole, this whole story this third installment is about this ring. You’ve gotta get the ring back to Mount Doom and turn it and throw it into this eternal fire, right, so that it’s gone forever?

Sean: Yeah, well for six years we’ve been trying it’s been getting closer and closer and closer and now we’re within site of this volcano we’re we uh and it’s somehow the closer you get to it the more intense the obstacles become as you . . .

Harry: [Very spirited tone and lots of body language] And Elijah Wood is really the keeper of this ring and you are his best pal and THERE he turns his trust away from you [he uses the hand sign of pushing away].

Sean: Yeah, yeah it’s like all friendships you know there’s, there come moments of truth when you when there’s doubt and uh he’s you know for Sam, I don’t, Sam just is confused by it and for me as the actor [Harry interjects: You as Sam] my character Sam is just confused by the fact that all of a sudden I’ve sort of fallen out of favor or and I know that it’s not because of anything that I have done because of Gollum sort of polluting his mind and because of this [Harry interjects: creepy guy] this evil Gollum is uh is Andy Serkis and is one of the great literary characters. [More of the ROTK clip shown from the beginning of the interview in the background with Gollum saying “I wouldn’t hurt a fly”, with Sam and Frodo] But Elijah Wood you know he’s had this ring and Frodo’s had the ring and the, the evil has seeped into his consciousness and he’s, he’s not himself.

Harry: It’s so difficult that you literally have to put him on your back and carry him to the top of this mountain.

Sean: Yeah.

Harry: It is amazing. Let me tell you what uh Rolling Stone says about your performance in this third movie, that “you are the MVP. Astin plays Sam with tenderness that is unique and unforgettable.” [Sean slowly moves his face to a humble smile and a gracious snort]
My own interjection here: Don’t be shy Sean, you deserve it! THE FANS LOVE YOU AND LOVE SAM!

Harry: What is it like to get that kind of adulation?

Sean: Um (timidly), well, we were at the New York Film Critics uh dinner last night and a couple of serious film critics came up and just wanted to, wanted to tell me how moved they were by the performance and there was real honesty and there wasn’t like, you know, there were . . .

Harry interjects: so nobody’s blowing smoke at you?

Sean: Well, no, there’s smoke blowing too. [both Harry and Sean giggling] But ah ah [Sean readjusts himself in his chair] which is fine as well, which is fine as well, but, no, you know what it just, um, it feels great, it feels, I mean I’ve been on so many talk shows it just feels like America has basically just said you know it’s okay, you know, WELCOME.

Harry [agreeing]: Yeah, Yeah.

Sean: So it feels gratifying. [ROTK Clip showingin background of Sam giving the last of his water to Frodo and saying “I don’t think there will be a return trip home”’]

Harry: People are talking about an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for you, do you want that? [Sean gushing a bit with a giggle]

Sean: Ummm.

Harry: Or do you dare not want it?

Sean: No. Yeah, yeah you want it. Of course. I mean my Mom won an Oscar when she was a kid. [Harry interjects: Patty Duke] Patty Duke and for Helen Keller and I was nominated when I was uh 23 for my short film and my Dad was nominated in the same category, so like we’re sort of Oscar people, we’re academy people, but, but I think for the right reasons.

Harry: Yeah.

Sean: But um.

Harry: Has your Mom seen you in this movie?

Sean: She has and she …

Harry: What does she say?

Sean: She talked to me like an actor, she talked to me like an actor for the first time since I was eight years old. [Harry laughs loudly with a breathful laugh] You know what I mean she, she wanted to talk about craft, she was and what moved her and what was honest and it was instead of the just the usual kind of pride and the knowing you know. Look she wanted to uh she was, she was SO excited, so. But the Oscar talk thing is a double-edged sword. I mean as a, I look at myself as a journeyman kind of working class actor. I mean that’s how I feel. And my agents and the town now are excited about getting on the phone and because the response they get on the other end of the phone when they’re talking about. It was for years you know. . . Here’s a guy, “oh we love Sean”, but now they want to talk about it. So. [Harry reaches over to shake Sean’s hand, says congratulations—Sean acknowledges with a “Yeah”]

The Early Show music is beginning to play to go to commercial break..

Sean: So, that makes it kinda, makes it meaningful to me.

Harry: We’ll be right back. This is the early show on CBS.