Today, fans of The Hobbit were able to pick up a copy of Peter Jackson's film adaptation on DVD and Blu-Ray. To commerate the event, Geek To Me was given this exclusive interview with actor Jimmy Nesbitt. If you saw the film, Nesbitt plays Bofur, the singing dwarf. In this interview, he talks about being a member of the cast, working with Peter Jackson, and being a part of the phenomenom which is The Hobbit. In the video above, Nesbitt describes the massive production that practically took over New Zealand! After the interview, catch up with me at the bottom of the post for a chance to win a FREE COPY of The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey on Blu-Ray!:
Northern Irish actor Jimmy Nesbitt is known for his roles on TV series Cold Feet, Murphy’s Law and Jekyll and has starred in films as diverse as Waking Ned, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Match Point and Occupation. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from director Peter Jackson, Nesbitt plays Bofur, a member of the dwarf company who boasts a love of music and a fine singing voice. He delights in good food and good company and is unfailingly optimistic. Along with his brother Bombur and his cousin Bifur, Bofur joined the Quest to the Lonely Mountain partly to seek his fortune – and partly because he was told the beer was free…
What was your initial reaction to being asked to play Bofur?
Jimmy Nesbitt: They came to me with Bofur about three years ago now. There wasn’t really a script at the time. It was a leap of faith for Peter to cast us but it was also a leap of faith for
us to go into it, committing for 18 months to a story for which there was no script. But I always knew he was a warm character. I knew that he was a childlike, funny, optimistic and romantic character and I could see that he could be a character of significance, because he is appealing and kids like him.
Were you very aware of Peter and his crew making the video diaries that will feature on the Blu-Ray and DVD release?
JM: Oh, yeah. Some days you just said to them, ‘Go away!’ No, seriously, they never invaded your privacy if you didn’t want them to, because some days were seriously tough and very hard. It was a very happy film set but there were gruelling days. But what is noticeable is that Peter is such a fan and he knows how important these things are for fans. By inhabiting Middle-earth, he’s in so many people’s lives and it’s a generous act to open all that up to people, to show them how things are made. I love that about Peter. It shows him in such a wonderful and very truthful light. Here’s this guy who is like the kid and the fan who got to make the movie and he wants everyone else to enjoy it.
Did you grow up reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings?
JM: I read The Hobbit after I got my part. I watched The Lord of the Rings then, as well. It just wasn’t my genre. You’re talking to a guy who hasn’t seen a Star Wars movie, any of them! That’s pretty astonishing, so it was quite interesting for me to come to The Hobbit quite late in life and also slightly terrifying, thinking, ‘This is the world I am working in now?’ I love the story now, though. I was a child who read a lot but sci-fi and fantasy were not really on my radar, not at all. The closest I got was a [1970s TV] programme called The Tomorrow People. I was into sport and I read Salinger and Dickens a lot as a kid.
What are your memories of arriving at the start of production — it’s a much larger enterprise that the majority of films?
JM: Oh yeah, you’re right. You arrive at Stone Street Studios in Wellington and I think there are six stages and there are hundreds and hundreds of people milling around, building, painting, designing, glass-blowing, leather-beating. There are animals and livestock everywhere. It’s a whole world in itself. And when you wander onto the sets the detail is so exquisite and so epic. We did very little CGI. My mother-in-law came out at the beginning and we took her down to the set of Bag End and she was blown away. You really know that you are in another world. It did feel like going to battle, although not aggressively, and I think actually Tolkien was quite affected by WWII and seeing all those young men go off to fight. The scale felt epic.
How important was the dwarf ‘boot camp’, held during the build up to shooting, for creating a sense of camaraderie?
JM: It was great. We had about 10 weeks of horse-riding, stunt training, fighting, movement, the lot. You need quite a lot of mental stamina but also a huge amount of physical stamina for the job, because you’re carrying such an enormous amount of weight and you have to be focussed at all times. So we built up a lot of that and also it was important because as you say we were building a sense of camaraderie, not only as 13 dwarves going on an adventure with a hobbit and a wizard, but also as a group of actors. That paved the way for a great shoot.
Did you enjoy the physical side of the shoot?
JM: I did. I have always kept fit. Though they do make a decent bottle of wine in New Zealand so it is a balance! I got very fit though and I loved the discipline of it. There’s no hiding from it. If you hid you’d suffer. I also loved the horse riding. Learning to ride a horse in the mountains outside Wellington is just mind-blowing. It is a great job.
How long did the make-up take to apply?
JM: The make-up took about three hours. The prosthetics took about an hour and 20 minutes and the hair and make-up took an hour and the costume about half an hour and that’s as quick as it got. It was tough.
Bofur is not known for his fighting skills…
JM: Bofur, Bombur and Bifur are simpler dwarves. We’re slightly cruder. We don’t have the sophistication or the angry motivation that some of the other dwarves have. Our weapons are cruder but we’d know how to handle ourselves. This glass here [he picks up a glass] would be broken a long time ago. It was interesting playing a dwarf, too. There would be different sets. There would be a set for Gandalf where things would be normal sized and then there would be another set where the same things were twice the size. So we had a child’s perspective. In fact, at the beginning in New Zealand, I would walk around the house with my daughter Mary, who was eight at the time, at her level just to have that perspective.
Have you become a hero now in the eyes of some younger kids?
JM: Not with my own kids, they just think I’m a buffoon anyway. I think I’m the coolest dad in the world but they just think that I’m an embarrassment. But my friends’ kids they just go all dewy-eyed and are just, ‘I can’t believe it!’ And that’s what I love about Peter. He is able to take The Hobbit and translate that wonderful world off the page and to speak to children and also the child in all of us.
Special thanks to MGM/Warner Bros./New Line for providing the video and interview!
Not only did the good folks of MGM/Warner Bros./New Line provide me with this exclusive interview, but also a copy of The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey to give away to one lucky Geek To Me reader!
To qualify, all you have to do is comment below and tell me who your favorite character is in the entirety of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Middle Earth." If you are unable to comment, send me an e-mail (redeyegeek[at]gmail.com) with your answer, along with your name and address. Everyone who answers will be entered into a random drawing for a copy of The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey Combo Pack. For more information on the combo pack, click HERE.
Drawing to take place on Tuesday, March 26th. Winner to be notified via e-mail or Facebook messaging. One entry per person. All decisions are final. Redeye is not a sponsor of this contest and not liable for any damages or loss of prize.