Not sure how I missed this first time round (possibly because of the fuss over the international cinema hookup and a quick visit to Wellington), but this is an insightful and at-times hilarious interview with several of the dwarven actors from the cast of The Hobbit, including Jed Brophy, Graham McTavish, Dean O’Gorman and William Kircher. Be sure to follow the link at the bottom to read the full transcript. It’s long, but worth it.
Or as Fairfax puts it: At one point we had one interview with an everchanging cast of dwarves. The following is the edited transcript – amusing, informative, long (very long) and occasionally anarchic.
JED BROPHY. My name is Jed Brophy and I play Nori the Dwarf. In The Hobbit. Which is a film. And a book. And possibly a TV series. And a radio play. Yeah.
QUESTION. How would you sum up your Hobbit experience so far? What has it been like?
JED BROPHY. It’s been amazing and exhausting. But mainly amazing.
QUESTION. So you have worked on nearly all of Peter’s films?
JED BROPHY. Yeah, I played a hardcore zombie in Braindead way back in the day in 1991, and then the boarder in Heavenly Creatures who seduces Mel Lynskey’s character, puts her off men for life. We’ve done Lord of the Rings, all three movies, and then got to work on King Kong and did a bit of work on Tintin as a mocap actor. So yeah, I’ve been very lucky to be included in a lot of his projects. It’s been a good run for me.
QUESTION. And he just rang up and asked you, “Want to be a dwarf?”
JED BROPHY. It was really interesting. I had got to do pre-vis on the mocap stage. So we were doing lots of working as a dwarf. They shot it as an animated feature to have a look at how they were going to progress the story and look at the script. I thought I was going to be possibly playing Orcs and maybe Goblins, similar roles that I did on Lord of the Rings. So it definitely went out of the box to be cast as a dwarf. I didn’t see myself physically in that role, but given the fat suits and the boots and the beards, they can do a lot.
QUESTION. What’s the progression been like, from all the way back then, as compared to now?
JED BROPHY. Yeah, look, I think that Peter hasn’t changed his process of filmmaking an awful lot. He is a visionary. People say he’s a genius. He is. He’s a visionary, he has the vision in his head, he surrounds himself with people who are all at the top of their game who share a similar vision, and he’s always been very, very careful to make the movie that he wants to make. He never shies away from making people work really hard to get that. Yeah, I don’t see a lot of difference in the way that he works, from the very first time.
QUESTION. How long did it take before you were comfortable to have lunch in the beard?
JED BROPHY. It’s never really comfortable to have lunch. I eat a lot of the yak hair. I’m pretty sure I’ve got fur balls. It’s just one of those things where you just have to get used to holding it down to [eat]. I don’t have morning tea once the mustache is on. It becomes impossible because it kind of hangs in there and you end up just eating yourself, which is not the most enjoyable thing, really.
QUESTION. Seeing as you’ve worked with Jackson on the previous ones, how’s the makeup changed for you? Is it much better now?
JED BROPHY. Yeah, the old days of foam latex. The foam latex is difficult in that once it gets dry, you can see the edges and it’s very hard for people doing the paint work. They have to continuously recheck and repaint and keep it moist. But with the silicon, with the translucency, it looks a lot more like skin. It’s a lot lighter to wear, you don’t sweat quite as much in it, and it looks fantastic.
I’ve had people come up to me not knowing which is my face and which is the prosthetics, which you can take as a [good or bad] thing. Obviously my nose is a lot smaller than this in real life. But yeah, it’s always a buzz that people can’t quite tell.