James Nesbitt gives an interview to Catriona Wightman, TV Reporter and Simon Reynolds, Movies Editor
It’s been a turbulent few years for The Hobbit (director changes, studio implosions, Peter Jackson’s hospital visits), but any day now the long-awaited Lord Of The Rings prequel will go in front of cameras in New Zealand. James Nesbitt, who can soon be seen in medical drama Monroe, will be one of many recognisable faces in the cast as dwarf Bofur. We got on the phone to James to chat about his ‘dwarf training’, group bonding and immersing himself in J.R.R. Toklien’s Middle Earth.
You’re over in New Zealand filming The Hobbit at the moment – how’s that going?
“Good. We haven’t actually started filming yet. We got here quite early – we were always going to spend a number of weeks mainly kind of getting fit because it’s a huge project and will involve a lot of stamina and stuff. And also getting used to the different types of work we’ll be doing.”
How’s Peter Jackson doing after his surgery?
“Peter got a bit ill but he’s well and on the mend now so we start in a few weeks. It’s been a fantastic experience. Obviously it’s very sad here at the moment with the earthquake in Christchurch. It’s been very keenly felt all over the islands. But Kiwis are a tight-knit group and everyone’s offering a lot of support. But yes, it’s terribly beautiful. It’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s great for me just to be involved in something this epic and to have the opportunity to work with all these great people. It really is something I’m very grateful for.”
You said before you were having dwarf training – what’s that been like?
“Yeah, it’s good! I mean, we’re all playing dwarves – we’re playing Tolkien dwarves, Bilbo Baggins goes on this journey with 13 dwarves, so it’s great. We’re just really doing different things.”
What have they been making you do?
“We’re doing lots of horse riding and stunts and stuff. We’re basically playing! It’s a very good way to earn a living, it’s great. They’re working us hard I have to say! But they’re very down to earth. It has such a feeling of being a little company, it just happens to be a little company of thousands of people! But everyone is enjoying it. Every day’s a little treat.”
Who is the best and worst at the stunts, horseriding and so on?
“Richard Armitage is very good at the old horse riding because of course he did it in Robin Hood, so he’s very good at that. Of course he’s playing our leader, so it’s right that he’s good at that. Aidan Turner and Rob Kazinsky, they’re fit young men. But we’re all shapes and all sizes and we all have our own skills.”
Were you a fantasy film fan before you joined The Hobbit?
“No I wasn’t really, to tell you the truth. But obviously coming out to do this now I’ve immersed myself in it a bit. It’s funny – as a company, we watched the three films together, so we were in the cinema all together. It’s a very exciting prospect to be watching those and thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to be in something like that’. It is a chance to be a kid again.”
The Hobbit movies are due for release in December 2012 and December 2013.