Deleece x writes: Hi tornsibs – There was no TORN Radio segment this week, but a big treat instead – Sohaib talks with Sean Astin at Icon Long Island last week. There were a few little technical hitches, but I think we have the transcript is intact.
Sohaib: And we’re back on Fictional frontiers with Sohaib, we’re out at the Icon 2009 Long Island and I know a lot of our Lord of the Rings fans, and that should be everyone on our show definitely, is very excited because; one Sean Astin is here to talk to us for a couple of minutes and he’s a little bit pressed for time, which is understandable, given what he’s accomplished, and when you think of friendship and loyalty I don’t think of any other character other than Samwise Gamgee … and I think …
Sean: Well, Thank-you!
Sohaib: For the character to be on the page, but its a whole other thing to be able to take that character, breathe life into that character, and make the concept of friendship truly believable – Sean congratulations on that, I never had the chance to obviously tell you that before … welcome to Fictional Frontiers.
Sean:Well, now I’m like intimidated and scared, I want to go back and fix everything .. but umm, for that introduction. But no, the reason we have short time is because I had a big breakfast. (Sohaib laughs) … which is sort of a Hobbit trait actually (laughs)… Only kidding.
Thank you! It’s good to be here. I go to these conventions, I have fun, I interact with the fans, most of the time it’s on a very light heartening talk, you know I’m reminded of the seriousness of the emotions that people have connected with the characters and the story and the ideas that Tolkien put forward, so thanks for the good words and as always as I’ve said eight million times, and I’ll say a hundred million more as long as I live, it was a privilege to be part of it.
Sohaib: Not that you’re going to say it, but you obviously should have been nominated for an Oscar for that film – but in any event – I’m sure you’ve been asked so many questions about the relationship between Frodo and Sam, but the one question I had is: The platonic relationship between Frodo and Sam – because I think what amazed me was that (modernity in a sense) that people don’t have relationships in the same form or fashion – people don’t really understand the relationship that two males figures could have as friends, and you were able to bring that to life on the screen with Elijah (obviously) – Talk about the challenges involved with that because in this syndical age of the MTV generation believed it and bought it, and there might have been snickering her and there, but you were able to turn that into a relationship that people could understand throughout the world, regardless of where they’re from, because to a lot of cultures that’s a very, very normal activity and you can have a close platonic relationship, a brotherhood, without it being (you know) something other than that.
Sean:Well I think if you’re making a movie, anytime you get a group of guys together, and there are a lot of women making movies as well and actresses and you know, obviously it’s a very diverse community, but you know there are a lot of times when it’s a bunch of guys together and it gets really raunchy and that’s one of the things that makes it fun – it doesn’t have to be Lord of the Rings or something special like that, it any movie I’ve ever been with, you have this kind of ‘get out of jail free card’ kind of common sense and polite discourse, and you just start cursing and being rancid and nonsensical and that all makes for a good film making memories (laughter)
But, you know the character, the story there is actually based in a military tradition – what Tolkien was doing – and the Batmen where characterized by British men who were assigned to officers to look after them – to take care of their daily needs so they could go about the business of focussing on strategy and war planning and stuff and waging. And the fraternity that exists between comrades in arms is one that is legendary, and for good reason. You know I was anchored in that world in my mind and heart through most of it. And the Hobbits are such a ‘gay’ – in the non homosexual way – at least, you know primarily probably – but umm, who’s to say – they didn’t have Proposition Eight in the Shire that I know of but, so we’ll never really know – but no, you know they’re such a gay light happy people that they would forever in the books be bursting into tears and embracing each other and this kind of thing, so kind of silly jocularity related to … (Technical gap) … commitment, but I always saw it as a platonic friendship and one based on a type of military ethic.
Sohaib: Last question before we head out – Given the election results (and I don’t want to get into politics at all) but given the election results from last year, there was a (at least in my opinion this is a editorial on my part) but I thought was a very dark time in our country – there’s a sense of hope now even with things going on in the economy, I know you’re very politically active – How do you feel that your work on Lord of the Rings is sort of akin to that in a sense that even at the end of the films that there was a sadness of the departure, but there was a sense of hope as well. Do you seem to be finding any parallels there, and what do you see on the future horizon? Because I know you are and were very politically active.
Sean:Umm, thank-you for 3 good – I wish I had more time but – 3 good questions, very insightful, provocative interesting questions, so thank-you for that.
You know, 911 happened a few months before the first Lord of the Rings premiered and I think one of the great speeches I get to deliver in the trilogy is at the end of The Two Towers, which is ‘there’s some good left in this world Mr Frodo and it’s worth fighting for’, and I think that that was kind of a justice included as a direct response, a kind of an artistic response from Peter and Fran to a new global fear, a new global reality we were dealing with. So you know, I think the reason that Tolkien really was adamant that it was not a direct allegory or metaphor for Hitler and the Second World War – that it was applicable to all times, and I think it’s true and continues to be true, and I think that there are so many aspects of international relations that have been – that are being – recalibrated now, and I think it’s not helpful anymore to characterize in simplistic terms this age as a Dark Age this is – maybe it will in a few years – but at the moment I think that Lord of the Rings can be meaningful to folks in terms of understanding now, for example this G8 Summit, you’ve got lots of different cultures coming together and trying to find common ground because we all need to, and I think Lord of the Rings can reinforce some of the importance of trying to figure out how to do that well. You look at the Council of Elrond and that kind of thing, that’s to me a direct resonant kind of theme in the books that’s important. (Sean is being hurried here by someone) – OK, she’s going to scream at me and start beating me. (laughs)
Sohaib: Well, Sean, it’s been fantastic – keep hope alive, as they say – and the Lord of the Rings will keep a lot of people’s hopes alive knowing that there can be a rising sun and that there’s hope in the future, and that things are going to turn out for the best.
Sean:No question about it – everybody knows it.
Sohaib: Thanks Sean – take care.
Sean:Take care – goodbye.