Billy Connolly Speaks On Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ – “I’m Covered In Armour, It’s Like I’m Wearing A Volkswagen”
On the promotional campaign for Pixar’s ‘Brave,’ the ever hilarious Billy Connolly spoke briefly about his work on Peter Jackson’s two-part movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit.’ In the two films, Connolly plays Dain Ironfoot, the great Dwarf warrior and cousin of Richard Armitage’s Thorin Oakenshield. Commenting on what it feels like becoming a Dwarf, Connolly revealed, “It was brilliant, it still is brilliant, I’m in the middle of it. It’s only a cameo role, I’m hardly in it… I’m covered in armour, it’s like I’m wearing a Volkswagen! I don’t know how I’m supposed to fight with all this stuff.”
The legendary comedian and actor humorously provided some details about his involvement with the film and his history with J.R.R. Tolkien’s source material, “My manager said, “You’ve got an offer for this ‘Hobbit’ thing, would you fancy it?” I said, “Oooohhhhh.” It was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done because they sent me a page of dialogue and I wasn’t on it. I thought, “What do they think I’m gonna get from this?” I think it was to show me the kind of language that was being used. Then I got there to New Zealand and they gave me a script that I wasn’t in. And Peter Jackson said, “Have you read ‘The Hobbit’? And I said, “No.” I said, “Not only that, but I don’t like people who have.” (Laughs) He thought it was funny, I had to explain that when I was a young hippy guy, there was two distinct camps, there was the blues and bluegrass brigade, who liked American music and goodtime. And then there was them, with the glasses and the Tolkien. I thought, “Give me a break.” I never liked them, so I made it my business to never read Tolkien in case I became one of them. And then I got offered the part (laughs).”
The two Hobbit films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ which Jackson and his film-making team brought to the big screen in the fantastic blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar-winning ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.’ ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is set for a December 14th, 2012 release date. ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ will arrive in cinemas December 13th, 2013. Reprising their roles from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies are Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast includes the likes of Martin Freeman, who’s taking on the central role of Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Connolly, and Aidan Turner. Check out the synopsis for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ below.
The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.
Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.
Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
Under Jackson’s direction, both movies are being shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand. The screenplays for THE HOBBIT films are by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham. The executive producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer. THE HOBBIT films are productions of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast also includes Richard Armitage, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Billy Connolly, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.
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