After Richard Armitage had finished speaking and had left the theatre to a rousing cheer and enthusiastic applause from the audience – the screening of The Hobbit was about to begin but, I decided to go outside and see if I could find someone to interview. I was delighted to meet up with Oscar Hillerstrom and he talked with me about the nights Q&A and some of Popcorn Taxi’s other Middle-Earth guests.
Deleece: And we are talking to: from Popcorn Taxi…
Oscar Hillerstrom: Oscar Hillerstrom
Deleece: And Oscar was one of the main people this evening that had Richard Armitage come to speak to us about The Hobbit. And Popcorn Taxi is renowned for their guest speakers, their presentations that they put on; How long have you been doing this?
Oscar Hillerstrom: Well I’ve been working full time for Popcorn Taxi for I guess almost 2 years, but I’ve been working on and off for them for their entire 14 year history.
Deleece: That’s amazing! So, how do you think tonight went?
Oscar Hillerstrom: Very well. It’s extraordinary to see, and it’s lovely to sell out such a very big room – and to have such intense and passionate fans but also well-read and well educated fans. It’s not just a whole bunch of ‘Oh my God – Richard will you kiss me’ fans but thoughtful interesting questions which Popcorn Taxi love for our audience to do so that’s what we saw tonight.
Deleece: And you found that Richard was very happy to do these sorts of things (Q&A)? Have you done anything before with Richard through Popcorn Taxi?
Oscar Hillerstrom: No, this is the first time we’ve worked with Richard. But, at the same time, I had a chat with him yesterday and I found him remarkably candid, very thoughtful, and a straight forward actor. It’s really interesting when you talk to him just as a normal human being how you see the qualities of Thorin onstage come through him. But, at the same time he’s just a regular guy who is very interested in the craft of acting, and that kind of thing really comes out on stage. I think he is fascinating. Especially for the fans who get to see a bit of stuff behind the scenes and obviously the interviews. But, when you’re on a Popcorn Taxi stage the curtains are let down – I guess ‘the pants’ in this particular aspect are also let down (laugh). You get to see something you don’t normally get to see – which is a normal human being discussing what they do for a living. And perhaps it takes a smidgeon of mystery out of it but at the same time it gives you so much more. And that for me is the real joy of it.
Deleece: That is a joy! The last time I was here (at Cremorne Orpheum Theatre) we were talking to Viggo Mortensen, a member of Lord of The Rings, and Popcorn Taxi was part of that were they?
Oscar Hillerstrom: I’ve certainly had a chat with Viggo a while ago myself with Popcorn Taxi. I think perhaps it was 3 or 4 years ago we spoke with Guillermo del Toro about Hellboy 2 when he was in – we hooked him up on the phone from Germany while we were in Sydney, but obviously at that time he was talking about The Hobbit, which was certainly one of his dream projects. And it’s interesting obviously now that to see this story come to life but, at the same time you can see perhaps elements of Guillermo’s DNA there still today. But also obviously the way that Peter Jackson has worked so hard for so long that you really can’t begrudge him any of the success, and certainly you can’t begrudge any of the actors any of their success.
Deleece: Yes, and it was at Popcorn Taxi when Guillermo was talking from Berlin Live that he broke the news that the very first script was finished – that they had actually finished the very first script of The Hobbit – now at that stage there was only a 2 part series, so Popcorn Taxi picked up a really nice World headline there (laughs)…
Oscar Hillerstrom: Yes. Well, I mean for us we’re not about the scoop. We’re not trying to get ‘the story’ and we don’t have our Fedora with a Press Hat. What we want to do is just have a chat and occasionally somebody will just relax and they will let it slip. And so if you’re in that audience of 200 or sometimes 600 people then you do get something a little bit special and I think tonight certainly there were a couple of moments where you could feel a real thrill echo through the audience. I certainly felt it myself when talking about Benedict Cumberbatch doing motion capture work – which I don’t think anyone has thought of before. And also the lost Love interest of Thorin Oakenshield which ended the night – which I think was absolutely wonderful and certainly most of the audience just ‘lost it’ which is a lot of fun.
Deleece: That was brilliant wasn’t it? Thank you so much for this interview! And all the best, and I’ll be at the next Popcorn Taxi Event as usual.
Oscar Hillerstrom: Thank-you so much. I really appreciate it.
Thank you to Deleece, Oscar Hillerstrom and Popcorn Taxis for sharing this wonderful night with us all.