Film Critic Matt Taylor is enamoured with Annihilation, the second directorial effort from Alex Garland, and Netflix's latest exclusiveWritten by Redbrick Film on 20th March 2018
Interview: Adam Brown
The Hobbit star Adam Brown on big budgets, boot camps and his newfound acting buddies
The Hobbit star Adam Brown on big budgets, boot camps and his newfound acting buddies.
[columns num="2"]How did you get into acting?
I got into acting the way most people do, at school. I wanted to be liked so I tried to be funny, and it just carried on until I felt I couldn’t really stop. I went to drama school and founded my own theatre company, and then The Hobbit came along and changed everything.
What was the biggest difference in working on a feature film?
The biggest difference was the huge budget! I came from the theatre where if we didn’t have a prop we would make it up, and then suddenly I’m working on these amazing sets alongside the best actors in the world, like Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, who I grew up watching.[/columns]
“He talks as though you’re making these films in his garage when you have this massive budget
How was it working with them?
It was such a strange world to be a part of, and not something that I ever imagined I would experience. They were excellent though, they really helped me and took me under their wing, and told me that there’s no film like the The Hobbit so don’t expect it to always be like this. Martin and Ian in particular were brilliant, we became good friends.
Peter Jackson said he was looking forward to seeing you perform on screen. What was it like working with such a well-known director?
It never became normal really, you’re standing there talking to him but you’re always conscious that he’s a multimillionaire with this empire in New Zealand. He is really normal for a multimillionaire. He talks as though you’re making these films in his garage when you have this massive budget. I’m just amazed that he’s picked little old me to be in them.
How much research did you do?
I had The Hobbit read to me at primary school. I remember the bit in the middle with Gollum and Bilbo but I couldn’t remember the dwarves. When I got the part, I had no idea how big the role was, whether it just meant ‘third villager from the left’ or something bigger. I researched the Tolkien world but it’s a big world with loads of detail. I watched some documentaries on Lord of the Rings. Once I got the script I pretty much took the character from that, and I chatted to Pete and Philippa [Boyens, screenwriter] about what they wanted.
[columns num="2"]How would you describe your character Ori?
He’s the baby of the group. He’s young and naive, and while the others are these big, butch, axe- wielding dwarves, he’s the new recruit, this nerdy geek who feels he shouldn’t really be there.
There were a lot of you working together. What was the atmosphere in the group like?
I’m used to working with one other actor on stage in the theatre company, so to have thirteen lads together was a big change. I loved it, we were like naughty schoolboys really! We’ve stayed in touch and we’ve been emailing back and forth. I’m really looking forward to seeing them all again when we promote the next film.
What do you make of all the press attention?
Did you feel the legacy of the previous films created extra pressure on the production?
Yes there was added pressure, but you’ve got these two trilogies that stand alone, and the Hobbit films are very comedic, much less dark than the Lord of the Rings films. The dwarves are very comic. The pressure doesn’t really lie on me, it’s more on Pete, whereas I’m just his puppet, because there are a lot of people who have been waiting for this film for a long time.
What tricks did they use to make you look like dwarves?
It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors, and they are masters of it. They used oversized clothes, and a big set; when we’re in Bagend, the set is really big and all the props are bigger. The detail in the film is amazing. If we’re in a scene with Ian, a lot of it is to do with him; nine times out of ten he’s standing on a box. You don’t really see that, it’s a lot of clever little tricks.
That must have been surreal.
It’s funny, I was talking to Richard Armitage about it. We play these warriors, the characters are tough warriors, and then when we watch it on playback we look at ourselves and think ‘We look tiny!’
What was the hair and make-up process like?
I was relatively lucky because I didn’t have too much. I had prosthetics on my nose and forehead, and they strapped a beard onto me every day. You’d get there at 4:30am or 5am and then only be ready to film at 9am. It was like a full day’s work before the morning even began!
Did you have to do many stunts?
Yes, when we first arrived we had to do a dwarf boot camp, with stunt training, weapon training and horse riding. My stunt double Dave Muzzeral was brilliant. He was this fantastic fifty two year old guy who made me look like Indiana Jones.
Are you planning on making more films?
I’d love to do more films. I’ll definitely work with Claire, my writing partner, again but she’s just had a baby. At the moment we’re both having a break and having our own little adventures. [/columns]
The Hobbit is out now on DVD!
Any opinion on The Hobbit? Overrated? Or does it live up to the legacy? Comment below!
What's your favourite thing about Adam Brown? His puppy-dog eyes? Comment!