- On the Usefulness of Patience
- On the Atmosphere at the HobbitCon
- Actors’ Q&A Panels
- A Couple of Words on the MOC: Mark Ferguson
- Luke Evans (Bard)
- John Bell (Bain)
- Sylvester McCoy (Radagast)
- Lawrence Makoare (Bolg)
- Ken Stott & Graham McTavish (Balin & Dwalin)
- Adam Brown, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Stephen Hunter (Ori, Nori, Dori, Bombur)
- John Callen & Peter Hambleton (Oin & Gloin)
- Jeffrey Thomas (Thror)
- William Kircher (Bifur)
- Final Words
- Photo Gallery, Part 1: Atmosphere & Cosplay
- Photo Gallery, Part 2: The Actors
- Photo Gallery, Part 3: Even More Actors
Actors’ Q&A Panels
A Couple of Words on the MOC: Mark Ferguson
Mark Ferguson, who attained eternal fame as Gil-Galad in the Lord of the Rings prologue (“8 seconds? I wish!”) had once again returned to HobbitCon in order to be an ingenious MOC. And truly, what Mark does when he hosts the Opening and Closing ceremony or moderates the Q&A panels, is really high quality. Seemingly effortless, Ferguson brings the whole audience to ecstasy with just a single movement of his eyebrows and delivers quotes which are remembered by fans for years.
This time Ferguson managed to astonish just about everybody, getting on the stage on Saturday wearing… something reminiscent of a mustache. At the opening he revealed that the German nickname for such a mustache is the “Pornobalken” (the Germans use this word, meaning a “porno bar”, to describe Tom Selleck-like mustache worn by 70s porn actors). Thankfully, the dwarves had a spontaneous “hairdresser” sketch in their comedy show. They quickly produced a razor from behind the stage, and the porno mustache of Ferguson quickly became history, whereas the HobbitCon had acquired a new myth.
If there is an actor who was really in tune with the established bunch of dwarves, that is Bard the Bowman aka Luke Evans. In spite of his growing fame and being busy (he was not only the most high-profile star of HobbitCon, but also the most expensive one: the autograph price was 85 euro!) the Welsh actor proved to be a really humble, down-to-earth guy. Not only was he eager to answer all the fans’ questions, but he also often got to demonstrate his beautiful singing voice. Being an experienced musical star in London West End, Evans performed several songs spontaneously, much to the joy of the audience. As it turned out, he was looking forward to his next part of Gaston in the movie version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. As he told the audience about it, you could feel how excited he was, having grown up with this Disney classic.
As it turned out, Evans never has been to a convention before!
— This is my first convention ever! I don’t mean the publicity conventions where you get to present an upcoming project. I’ve been to ComicCon and so on. I am talking about conventions on a movie which has already come out. I have been specifically waiting for the last movie to come out to be able to talk about everything. I hate it when I can’t talk about scenes from a movie which hasn’t come out yet. I have been invited before, but I deliberately decided not to come until now.
Evans told the audience that he loves to put his father into the movies he is acting in. He also was in “The Hobbit”:
— My dad was lucky. He had a red blanket in Laketown. And all the other refugees had brown ones. So he is in there, and easy to spot!
When Evans was filming „Fast & Furious 6“, he was continuously harassed by colleagues who wanted him to recommend them to Peter Jackson:
— You know who wants to work with PJ? Vin Diesel! At the set of Fast & Furious 6 he asked me constantly to mention him to Peter Jackson.
The actor is well aware of his resemblance with Orlando Bloom:
— Yeah, depending on my facial hair I do look like him. When we were filming “Three Musketeers” in Germany, I looked a lot like Orlando in that movie. I was once leaving the set and there was a bunch of girls screaming at me: “Orlandooooo!”. I smiled and waved at them. What can you do, they want to see Orlando, I give them Orlando!
We asked Luke a question about scenes which he liked but that did not make it into the movie (and if they probably will be in the Extended edition). He answered:
— From what we shot and what wasn’t in the movie… there was a nice family scene, when they bring in wounded Kili. And my smallest daughter, Tilda, looks at me like „how can you throw them out?“ And my son Bain just looks at me. And I just rush out!
The process of auditioning for the role of Bard was also quite interesting.
— I was shooting in New Orleans, where I played a psychopath. I got a call, but they wanted me to fly to NZ for auditions. And I could not do it, because I was shooting. But they were very nice people and allowed me to send in an audition tape. They were especially interested in my Welsh accent. So I scored that part, but couldn’t really think about it as I had still to play this psychopath in New Orleans for weeks. And I didn’t get to see the script until I landed on New Zealand soil.
Bard’s Welsh dialect did in fact have many repercussions:
— It was a gift I thought I’d never gonna get. But it had consequences. My three children had to learn Welsh, and it’s not easy to master. The filmmakers decided that the people of Dale talk Welsh, so there was a rush to find all those Welsh-speaking New Zealanders to play Laketowners!
There was a question about which scene was most fun to shoot and which one he’d like never to do again:
— I shot my first scene four years ago, I was jumping at house roofs in burning Laketown. That was so much fun! And Pete usually tries out all the stunt scenes to see if they’re doable. I remember him jumping on rooftops with his cup of tea, and coming down, all dirty, tea spilled: “Okay.”
About a scene I’d like to never do again… that was also there. I jump over a great two meter chasm, with this giant bow and quiver on my back. I slide down the roof, holding with my knuckles on the tiles and hanging over the fire below. And all Peter said was: “Do it again, but don’t blink.”
Luke told an amazing story on how he gets recognized in the streets:
— I was in the middle of nowhere, a Spanish desert. I went into a little village, looking for a toilet. There was nobody in the streets. I walked past an old church where two young boys were sitting. They look at me, their mouths come open, and one of them says «¿Bardo?»
During Evans’ second panel there was a surprise for the audience. John Bell who played Bard’s son Bain, suddenly came on stage and the panel continued with both of them. Evans even depicted the scene of Smaug’s slaying!
This very scene turned out to be controversial not only among fans but among filmmakers as well. One fan thought that Bard was behaving irresponsibly. Evans replied to her:
— You are on the same side with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. They both hated it, because they are both mothers. PJ loved it though. Thing is, Bard was thinking that they are both going to die. And he wanted to share this moment with his son who risked his life, jumped off the rescue boat, brought him the Black Arrow…
Evans also revealed who was the greatest practical joker on set:
— Sir Ian McKellen is very naughty. He is a professional, but our shooting days can get very long and he always tries to make others laugh. We were shooting a scene with Lee Pace where we are negotiating with the dwarves. And McKellen just raised his robes and started dancing the cancan! Ask Lee Pace, he was there!
On the actor’s profession and on what young actors should do:
— I noticed long ago that there is no logic in who becomes successful. I have many friends, very talented actors who are struggling. I think, if you’re a struggling actor, you got to do something. If you don’t have a job, you read a book about acting, read a script, go to a theatre. Once I spent a year without a job, and I had 3 jobs, including being a night watchman. The best of these jobs was getting a band with my friends and performing Tom Jones hits in pubs.
Evans’ overall impression of the HobbitCon was:
— I kissed a few people,
I got kissed by a few people,
I got a lot of hugs,
I am a good, professional hugger.
The youngest representative of the cast was the 17-year old John Bell who was partying like there was no tomorrow. Night parties at the bar and dancing conga lines with young female Thranduils from Holland was very exciting for John. What also helped is that you only need to be 16 to buy beer in Germany. Still, John was behaving very well and was very charming and nice.
Mark Ferguson: John, how old are you, 17? Is this [HobbitCon] the best experience in your life?
John Bell: Definitely, the longest!
Jed Brophy: That’s too much information!
John Bell: Yes, I was in Doctor Who! I won this part in the Blue Peter contest.
Mark Ferguson: And who was Doctor Who?
John Bell: David Tennant, the best Doctor ever! (cheering in the audience) There were so many great actors in that episode, John Barrowman, Derek Jacobi — it was amazing!
Bell also told how he got his role in «The Hobbit»:
— I found out I got the role at my grandpa’s 70th birthday. He always was a big fan of my acting career, and he was the first one I ever told about «The Hobbit».
And when I got into the Stone Street studio, Peter Jackson just went by and didn’t recognize me. Last time he saw me was when I was auditioning, and at that time I was 13. I went up to him and said: «You cast me for your movie».
Shooting in Laketown was pretty easy for John:
The key scene for the third film has proved to be rather complicated to shoot:
Luke Evans: For the key scene at the tower, Peter wanted to create a certain emotion. So he put up big speakers and started playing music over them to help us feel that emotion. John really had tears in his eyes!
John Bell: For my first day of filming, that was pretty hard work!