December 2001

Q: how are you feeling now with the film coming up soon?

A: The feeling is good. I suppose you can only talk about what you
felt at the time and peopleís enthusiasm, which was superb. You have
these wonderful characters who can identify with and who carry you on
the journey. And thatís where the heart of the story is- in these
peopleís struggle. Hopefully that will come across and draw people to
see this film.

Q: You got yourself a ďFellowshipĒ tattoo after making the movie, I

A: Yeah, I was the last one to get it. [Shows it on the upper right
arm. There are strange looking hieroglyphs.]

Q: What does it mean?

A: Nine, because there are nine fellowships. Itís nine in Elvish.

Q: How did you get it?

A: Well, we all got together one night to celebrate and thought of
something we could remember this experience by and we came up with
this. I was always going to have it done, although everyone else
thought I would chicken out. But I did it when I was in New York
recently, to complete the circle.

Q: Who did you become best friends with?

A: I suppose Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn. I got along very
well with Viggo.

Q: Did you have any adventures while in New Zealand?

A: Yeah, Orlando Bloom [Legolas] and I got stuck in the middle of the
South Island. I didnít want to fly down there so we just drove and
Orlando was following me. We wanted to stop at every shop to get
Christmas presents and the weather was getting worse and worse all the
time. I tried to hurry him and I warned him about landslides. We almost
got there but then we came across a landslide so we had to turn back.
But there was another landslide and we were trapped between the two of
them. We were in the middle of nowhere but we managed to find this
wooden shack where we stayed for three or four days. It was just
torrential rain so, thanks to him, we had to be choppered out!

Q: Was that scary?
A: itís even worse than the planes! In the helicopter, I was gripping
his knee so hard that I nearly broke it. I got back into the chopper
when we went to shoot on the mountains and glaciers. Iíve always
loathed flying but Iím better now after flying to and from New Zealand
so many times.

Q: A lot of other exciting things must have happened in New Zealand.

A: the best thing was just traveling through from the North Island to
the South Island. We did it a second time, Viggo and I, and that time
we got through. It was just wonderful having the opportunity to drive
through this ancient forest land and mountains, to see shorelines, to
stop in little villages and to spend the night there and to carry on
the next day. It was a really magical time for me.

Q: Did your three children visit you on set much?

A: No. My kids were at school whenever I had a break so it was
difficult. But I went back to see them. I had a couple of breaks, six
weeks each, so I got to see them quite a bit.

Q: Do you children know the books or your character?

They know my character from the calendars and these little models that
have been created. They havenít read the books yet.

Q: Is this the first time youíve been made into a toy?

This is the first time Iíve been so many toys. Iíve been a Sharpe toy
[from the TV series Sharpe] and a doll but Iíve never been so many
different models, chess pieces, in so many different sizes. Itís quite

Q: What else, other than your kids, did you miss most from home?

A: Soccer!

Q: So the rugby in New Zealand wouldnít do?

A: I tried to go see the All Black but they were playing in Australia
then. Still, I met Jonah Lomu and got shoes from him that heíd signed
and I sent him a picture back. But I canít think of anywhere else Iíd
rather be than New Zealand if youíve got to spend a year of your life
doing a film somewhere. Iíd like to go back. Itís a beautiful country.
Iíd never been that far before. I didnít know what to expect. I just
thought theyíd have lots of sheepÖI didnít really get a first
impression, because I got off the plane at five oíclock in the morning
and went to my hotel room in Wellington. But it turned out to be great.
The people were supportive, very easy going. Itís a very peaceful
place. Maybe Iíll go back there for the premiere.

Q: The sets look amazing. Were you impressed?

A: Theyíre fantastic. Iread the book and you have that image in your
head but, when you see it for real, itís quite staggering.

Q: Did the experience of making the movie change you?

A: It did. we spent a year of our lives together, socializing,
accepting people from different backgrounds. We lived together as we
were doing the Fellowship, we would come together as a group to support
each other.

Q: How did you get the role?

A: I met Peter Jackson in London and we discussed the film and I read
for him. Then it seemed that I might not get the part Ė it drifted away
to someone else. Then it came back and so on, I was so overjoyed when I
finally got it.

Q: Were you a big tolkien fan prior to the movie?

A: I read the book 15 years ago when I didnít have a lot to do. I wasní
t working so I felt like reading a big fat book. It was quite a hard
read because you have to refer back so I left it for a while but, when
I finally got to the end, it left a big impression on me. Then years
went by and it came up again through this.

Q: Have you ever been to a Tolkein convention or would you like to go

A: No. I havenít but I probably will in the future. Apparently thereí
s a great deal of interest. There are lots of fans out there and the
good thing is that the fans who have seen anything about the film on
the internet have really liked it. Thatís a good sign. If the
connoisseurs of Tolkein really like it, hopefully the wider audience
will too.

Jenny Eward.
Source of this article : New Zealand's Woman's Weekly