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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
TORn Exclusive: an interview with Stephen Hunter/Bombur

News from Bree

Oct 31 2010, 10:43pm

Post #1 of 19 (2313 views)
TORn Exclusive: an interview with Stephen Hunter/Bombur Can't Post

He's a Tolkien fan with a talent for comedy - so what better Hobbit role could there be for Stephen Hunter than food-loving, clumsy and loveable Bombur? I recently had the good fortune of catching a few minutes of Stephen's time to ask him about his first reactions to being cast in a major role in the upcoming, two-film adaptation of "The Hobbit."

"The Hobbit is my first job in fantasy - in fact this is my first big-budget film," he says. "In most of the TV commercials I've done I've been the comedic relief. I'm only assuming that with Bombur there may be some comedy. Being cast in The Hobbit is really exciting and really an honour. I auditioned for the original Lord of the Rings way back when I signed with my agent in New Zealand. When I saw the films I thought, 'Man, I so want to do The Hobbit'. "I'm just going to throw everything I've got into it. If I don't come out the other end absolutely exhausted then I haven't done my job."

Stephen is a Kiwi who had a career in radio on both sides of the microphone before opting for acting, where he has worked in commercials and voice-overs and on New Zealand and Australian TV shows. He first read The Hobbit as a kid, then cracked open The Lord of the Rings in his late 20s - it took him a year to read it but he fell in love with Tolkien's world.

"I just love how real it is - it's got its own history. I did history in New Zealand as a kid - the Manchurian wars, the US social welfare system - but we should have done Tolkien! It would have been just as relevant because there are some great themes to his writings, drawn from his life experiences and his thoughts on war. It's amazing how he came up with his own world."

When Stephen steps into that world he will join 12 others who will be working under Dwarven facial prosthetics which, as John Rhys Davies (Gimli) can attest, can prove difficult.

"Obviously, working through prosthetics will be a challenge but looking at some of the other guys that are cast as well, they're looking for a bit of depth in the actors - they still want to be able to get as much out of us as possible. That's going to be interesting. For any role, even a Dwarf and especially a character role, the way that I approach it is to work out ways of personalising it so that on camera it looks real and not acted - trying to find the truthful performance."

"Personally I see Gimli as a really good term of reference, but I'll have to work out my own story and what I'm doing with Bombur and the challenges he has. I want to do my own thing. Bombur's not a small Dwarf - but I've never been a small man myself! - so there's the physical challenges that come with the role. I did ask, 'Does this mean I can start eating pies now?' I love a good pie! I'm about to go to the gym now actually, but you've got to have balance."

Stephen is particularly looking forward to working with such a large ensemble cast for a long period of time.

"I really like being part of a team; as a voice artist you're on your own a bit whereas I can see this is very collaborative. Watching the behind the scenes stuff from the Rings DVDs, the vibe was really good. That's what attracted me to really chase this role - I wanted to be part of that family. It's going to be pretty surreal, working with these incredibly talented and well known actors. It's going to be great, but daunting, stepping up there with people who are so accomplished in what they do. But, I'm really looking forward to doing what I love to do at a very high level."

Also joining Stephen on the journey to The Lonely Mountain are fellow Kiwis Mark Hadlow (Dori), Peter Hableton (Gloin) and John Callen (Oin). "I'm excited to get to work with them," says Stephen. "Mark Hadlow is incredible. I'm familiar with Peter Hambleton, and Kiwis would know John Callen's voice anywhere because he's the god of the voiceover world."

It's been nine years since The Fellowship of the Ring hit cinema screens around the world, kicking off a trilogy of films that earned billions of dollars, won several Oscars and Baftas (and numerous other awards), and turned actors such as Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan and Miranda Otto into household names.

Is Stephen ready for the immense attention that's coming his way?

"I guess I'm still living in the realm of being a voice artist and TV actor, and we're just about to have a family shortly - within a week - so there's a lot happening which is going to be a nice grounding experience to go with all the madness," he says. "Just stepping into that unknown, I'll just be me and try to be humble and really enjoy the experience. I'm really excited though - I've been like a kid at Christmas time, and that feeling will probably continue. It's going to be hard work but I'm totally up for it!"


Superuser / Moderator

Nov 1 2010, 4:40am

Post #2 of 19 (1548 views)
Great interview, Ataahua. Welcome to the fold and best of luck, Stephen! [In reply to] Can't Post

Stephen, you sound like a perfect fit for Bombur: a well-balanced mix of a Tolkien fan/LOTR Movie fan/comedic actor.

I hope you're ready to steal some scenes! You'll have some great opportunities to do just that, as well as some fighting (what little Bombur actually does Wink) and some somber acting moments as well. We're looking forward to seeing you on the big screen in 2012/13!!

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(This post was edited by Altaira on Nov 1 2010, 4:41am)

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Nov 1 2010, 4:47am

Post #3 of 19 (1534 views)
Inside as outside, just the right [In reply to] Can't Post

feel for Bombur!...
Very nice interview, thanks, Altaira!

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Nov 1 2010, 5:05am

Post #4 of 19 (1503 views)
Great interview - thank you // [In reply to] Can't Post


Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea

Nov 1 2010, 5:09am

Post #5 of 19 (1551 views)
A Tolkien fan, hmm? Maybe he lurks on TORn [In reply to] Can't Post


Definitely sounds wonderful for Bombur! Cannot wait to see him in action!

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Grey Havens

Nov 1 2010, 5:35am

Post #6 of 19 (1550 views)
Things keep getting better and better! [In reply to] Can't Post

This was a great interview. I'm really looking forward to seeing his performance, and how he and the other cast members will form a new family in the behind the scenes documentaries.Smile


Nov 1 2010, 5:48am

Post #7 of 19 (1513 views)
Thanks for the interview [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you so much for bringing us this interview. I also will look forward to seeing Stephen as Bombur Smile

Superuser / Moderator

Nov 1 2010, 6:02am

Post #8 of 19 (1545 views)
This is the bit that got me: [In reply to] Can't Post

Watching the behind the scenes stuff from the Rings DVDs, the vibe was really good. That's what attracted me to really chase this role - I wanted to be part of that family.

He gets the 'family' element of the cast and crew of these films, and he's jazzed - as both an actor and as a Tolkien fan - to be part of The Hobbit. I think he'll be a *fantastic* Bombur.

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Tol Eressea

Nov 1 2010, 6:04am

Post #9 of 19 (1496 views)
That bit makes me quite envious of him :) // [In reply to] Can't Post


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Nov 1 2010, 6:06am

Post #10 of 19 (1506 views)
Ataahua - Well done! [In reply to] Can't Post

Your time and talent are much appreciated.

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Forum Admin / Moderator

Nov 1 2010, 6:06am

Post #11 of 19 (1500 views)
Great interview... [In reply to] Can't Post

... thanks Ataahua. It's so comforting to know that PJ's choosing actors not just based on their looks and acting caliber but also on the attitude they'll be bringing to the set. What a lovely soul to have as Bombur. A very sweet guy... and so humble! Smile

Forum Admin / Moderator

Nov 1 2010, 8:40am

Post #12 of 19 (1463 views)
Great interview, and I'm sure Stephen will be a fine Bombur! Thanks, both. // [In reply to] Can't Post


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Nov 1 2010, 8:54am

Post #13 of 19 (1475 views)
This guy sounds perfect. Good interview. // [In reply to] Can't Post


The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


Nov 1 2010, 9:36am

Post #14 of 19 (1492 views)
He sounds really nice, and just right // [In reply to] Can't Post


Tol Eressea

Nov 1 2010, 1:43pm

Post #15 of 19 (1424 views)
It's good to know [In reply to] Can't Post

that Stephen is a Tolkien fan, and he does sound pretty enthusiastic about the part. I hope he's prepared to eat plenty of pies though, as he doesn't look quite as... rotund as I imagined Bombur to be. Smile

PJ chose well. I don't think we've had anyone not pleased about this casting. (Good interview, by the way!)


Nov 1 2010, 1:54pm

Post #16 of 19 (1442 views)
Thank you so much for this amazing interview! [In reply to] Can't Post

I am so excited to see him as BomburSmile He is so sweet, humble, and enthusiastic - a perfect fit! I really enjoyed reading this, and love that he's a Tolkien fan willing to work as hard as possible to bring a heart and soul (and some jolly laughs) to Bombur!


Nov 1 2010, 2:00pm

Post #17 of 19 (1434 views)
He has quite a round face... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and can always wear padding! Wink

Tol Eressea

Nov 1 2010, 3:41pm

Post #18 of 19 (1395 views)
Good interview Ataahua! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm very excited about the casting so far, it's unexpected and fresh so it adds more "zing" to the "what's PJ going to do?" factor of The Hobbit.

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Tim: There are some who call me... Tim?


Nov 1 2010, 8:07pm

Post #19 of 19 (1379 views)
Same here [In reply to] Can't Post

We know PJ cast a collaborative family for LOTR, so it's nice that Stephen has gotten that bit right off the bat. He sounds like he's going to be perfect for Bombur and for this Company of Dwarves.

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