Fans may be divided on The Hobbit, but they’re united in their love for Lord of the Rings even 10 years after that trilogy came to a close. If you have any doubt that the love was still there, then you should have been in Room 718B on Saturday afternoon for the standing room only crowd for Sean Astin and Billy Boyd. Fire regulations were definitely pushed to the breaking point, and the Q&A was delayed as more and more people crowded around the back of the room to relive the glory days with two of the Fellowship.
“Most people in this room know more about Lord of the Rings than I ever will,” Astin said about the book that inspired the movie. Many fans were curious just how much J.R.R. Tolkien the actors had read before, during and after their work on the movie.
“I did take [the book] on holiday, but I dropped it in the pool,” said Boyd who did end up reading, finishing and understanding the book. “I skipped the songs though, to be honest,” he added.
Another fan asked if there was another book that the actors would like to appear in the adaptation of. “Funny you should ask,” said Astin, who’s about to start a Slated campaign to crowd-source funding for an adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel, Number the Stars. Astin and his wife have been developing the project for eight years.
“He had a very good answer, didn’t he?” quipped Boyd.
Boyd was asked about a passion project of his, the sci-fi comedy Space Milkshake, and the actor said he enjoyed the experience of making the Saskatchewan-based production. “We were just making stuff up,” like a gag involving an astronaut who goes commando under his space suit because it’s hot in there, “and the director said, ‘Yeah, let’s do that!” explained Boyd.
The unexpected though happened at one point, when Astin was asked to sing “O Canada,” which he did with some help from the predominately Canadian crowd. “It’s well run most of the time, present municipality excluded,” he added referencing Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
If Astin’s become well acquainted with Toronto politics it’s because he’s currently working in the city on the upcoming Guillermo del Toro co-created vampire drama The Strain. After fighting not just the undead, but the unseasonable cold, Astin came to the con more or less directly from the set.
“I was killing vampires all night, finished at 6:30 am, and went to get a coffee,” and then he showed the crowd what the barista wrote on the cup, “Goonies never say die!”
That one Goonies reference aside, it was Lord of the Rings talked that ruled us all.
One fan asked about the experience of shooting the chase with the Nazgûl in Fellowship of the Ring, the one where the Hobbits are chased all the way to the Bucklebury Ferry.
“There were a lot of feet,” said Boyd, referring to the number of rubber Hobbit appendages that the actors went through while filming the scene.
“The horse fell off the dock,” recalled Astin.
“Is that code for something?” asked Boyd.
“Yeah, it’s a drug thing,” replied Astin sarcastically.
But in all seriousness Astin recalled a time when one of the stuntmen playing a Nazgûl went off the dock on his horse. “He had to punch the horse in the mouth [to calm it down],” said Astin.
“And the horse punched back,” added Boyd.
As for future trips to Middle Earth, Astin was honest about the chances. “I could only read eight pages of The Silmarillion before my head exploded,” said Astin, but he reminded fans that moving on and saying goodbye to things is part of life. “Don’t be afraid to resolve things in your life,” he added.
Goonies may never say die, but we can’t be Hobbits forever, I guess.