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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Stephen Fry has 'never read The Hobbit'
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Shagrat
Gondor

Jun 15 2013, 6:17pm

Post #1 of 38 (1400 views)
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Stephen Fry has 'never read The Hobbit' Can't Post

I have to say I'm very shocked by this. His approach of reading just the bits involving his character also surprises me somewhat:

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a490430/desolation-of-smaug-star-stephen-fry-ive-never-read-the-hobbit.html


(This post was edited by Shagrat on Jun 15 2013, 6:17pm)


demnation
Rohan

Jun 15 2013, 6:43pm

Post #2 of 38 (867 views)
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Doesn't surprise me [In reply to] Can't Post

It has been my understanding that most actors tend to not be interested in reading source material regardless of any perceived quality. I'm thinking that some get the same feeling that students get towards required reading in school.

My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself- J.R.R. Tolkien


ShireHorse
Rohan

Jun 15 2013, 6:44pm

Post #3 of 38 (859 views)
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Although I must admit [In reply to] Can't Post

that it's always delightful and satisfying when you discover that an actor is a Tolkien nerd like Richard Armitage, I don't think Sir Ian had read LotR or even knew anything about it before or during filming. He just went from the script he was given and did a marvellous job, I must admit.

I also think that many of the actors in TH know very little about Tolkien and perhaps have not read the book because of the blank expression on their faces whenever the book is discussed in interviews and their ignorance when a question about the book is asked..


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jun 15 2013, 6:56pm

Post #4 of 38 (790 views)
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I'm not sure why you find this shocking... [In reply to] Can't Post

By this point we have learned that there are hundreds of actors (at least) who have been cast in major roles in film adaptations and who have never read the original source material. It isn't remotely unusual.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 15 2013, 6:59pm

Post #5 of 38 (824 views)
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I don't believe that is correct [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding is that while Sir Ian had not read LOTR before being cast, he read it avidly, and made several suggestions based on his reading. One example that I can think of is that he suggested that it was important that Sam take Frodo's hand when he sees him awake in Rivendell, and that therefore that was added to the script.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Runk Snusgrop
Rivendell


Jun 15 2013, 7:07pm

Post #6 of 38 (758 views)
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Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Not suprised at all. If I know Fry as well as I think I do, he probably went straight to Oscar Wilde the day he learned to read. He doesn't strike me as someone who's ever read childrens' books, even as a child.



trqn13
Bree


Jun 15 2013, 7:11pm

Post #7 of 38 (754 views)
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doesn't shock me [In reply to] Can't Post

imagine Peter Jackson took a similar approach to the hobbit too,, read a few bits and invent the rest

"Give me your name, Horse Master, and I shall give you mine"


dubulous
Rohan

Jun 15 2013, 7:12pm

Post #8 of 38 (782 views)
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That's what I remember reading as well. [In reply to] Can't Post

He hadn't read the book before he was cast, but he definitely read it later in preparation for the role.

I think it was the same for many, though not all, of the LOTR cast. They came in not having read the book but read either before or during the filming. I remember a similar quote from Cate Blanchett (re:LotR) that she hadn't read the book when she got the role but had "subsequently read it, of course".

But different actors have different ways of preparing for roles. Especially if you only have a small role, you can probably get away with playing the character even without reading the book. I am a little surprised that Stephen Fry of all people hasn't already read the Hobbit ages ago, long before this role even, because I have this impression of him as a man who reads a great deal, but maybe fantasy just isn't his cup of tea. It isn't for everyone.


demnation
Rohan

Jun 15 2013, 7:12pm

Post #9 of 38 (772 views)
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I think it's harder for actors already familiar with the source material [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm trying to imagine how difficult it is for Richard Armitage, who has to contend with his own, vivid image of what's in the book and what is in the script that is given to him. Personally, It doesn't really matter to me what any of the actors think of the source material-positive or negative or if they haven't even read it-so long as they do a good job. And so far, the acting is the one thing I have zero complaints about in these films. (LOTR included)

Btw, it is my understanding that Sir Ian became quite a fan of the book and even made small suggestions that the script writers had forgotten about. ( ah, somebody beat me to this!)

My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself- J.R.R. Tolkien

(This post was edited by demnation on Jun 15 2013, 7:18pm)


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Jun 15 2013, 7:18pm

Post #10 of 38 (771 views)
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Same with Freeman [In reply to] Can't Post

He did not read the Hobbit until he was preparing for the role and has no interest in reading LOTR although he has seen and liked the films. It doesn't shock me at all and I don't have a problem with it.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jun 15 2013, 7:25pm

Post #11 of 38 (710 views)
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yes [In reply to] Can't Post

darling, he could read the hobbit in his sleep he probably knows the story just by looking at the cover.

i trust him exsplicitly , i thinkits almost more shocking that pj read the lotr when he was younger and didnt think much of it.

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro

(This post was edited by jimmyfenn on Jun 15 2013, 7:30pm)


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Jun 15 2013, 7:27pm

Post #12 of 38 (708 views)
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I think [In reply to] Can't Post

you might be on to something. Sly


It disappoints me when i hear actors say these things, but if the performance is what it should be, thats all we can ask, really.

Vous commencez à m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Shagrat
Gondor

Jun 15 2013, 7:45pm

Post #13 of 38 (686 views)
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To clarify [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course I'm well aware many actors in these films haven't read the book. But Fry is a different case given his intellect and interest in literature. I'm a least surprised he didn't read the book when on the plane. I would have thought he'd have appreciated it.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 7:47pm

Post #14 of 38 (712 views)
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Given what Peter is doing [In reply to] Can't Post

it is probably a good thing Mr. Fry ha not read the book.

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Magpie
Immortal


Jun 15 2013, 7:47pm

Post #15 of 38 (701 views)
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well, Oscar Wilde wrote children's books... [In reply to] Can't Post

and Fry read (for audio book) Wilde's collection of story tales so I guess he has read children's stories.
http://www.stephenfry.com/...ildes-short-stories/

Fry also hosted a children's tv show and narrated many children's stories.


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Runk Snusgrop
Rivendell


Jun 15 2013, 7:54pm

Post #16 of 38 (673 views)
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Touché! [In reply to] Can't Post

You know what I meant thouh. Wink



ShireHorse
Rohan

Jun 15 2013, 8:09pm

Post #17 of 38 (681 views)
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Remarks [In reply to] Can't Post

On another point, I read The Hobbit with a class of 12 year olds after I had read and fallen in love with LotR in my teens. I was disappointed and, as an English teacher, saw many, many flaws in Tolkien's work. After numerous readings and discussions with pupils, I have come to enjoy and appreciate it BUT only because I have made excuses for Tolkien, coming up with reasons as to why he did the things he did, in the same way as I have learned to love PJ's films after trying to understand the reasons behind his decisions. Neither writer nor film-maker is perfect and it does Tolkien no favours treating him as a god and PJ as a blight upon this impossible perfection.


(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jun 15 2013, 10:20pm)


jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jun 15 2013, 8:21pm

Post #18 of 38 (658 views)
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also [In reply to] Can't Post

stephen fry narrated all of the harry potter audio books, which are fantastic.

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


demnation
Rohan

Jun 15 2013, 9:03pm

Post #19 of 38 (649 views)
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I find this very curious [In reply to] Can't Post

The making up excuses part, I mean. Can't something be flawed but be just fine the way it is? I mean, isn't every book, movie, etc. very flawed in it's own way? They are crafted by humans, after all, who are well known for being flawed. Three of my own favorite writers-Orwell, Austen and Tolkien-all wrote things that I consider to be very, very flawed, but I also think they are very, very good. I guess what I'm asking is if it's possible to accept something the way it is rather than making up excuses for it.

Sorry if I seem off-putting (and for drifting off topic) but I'm just trying to understand things from a different point of view.Wink

My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself- J.R.R. Tolkien


malickfan
Gondor


Jun 15 2013, 10:51pm

Post #20 of 38 (551 views)
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Completely Agree [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Can't something be flawed but be just fine the way it is?



I was just watching Die Hard with A Vegeance a dopey, seriously flawed action film, but I enjoyed it alot, becuase it does what it was intended to do-entertain me, if it were 'improved' in any way then it wouldn't be the same Die Hard, and then I might not be as entertained. A poor comparison I realise (never thought I mention Die Hard 3 on this forum) but I agree with your basic point.


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bborchar
Rohan


Jun 15 2013, 10:56pm

Post #21 of 38 (546 views)
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I don't see why it matters, truly... [In reply to] Can't Post

...as long as he can read the script :) It's not as if he has a huge part, anyway.


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malickfan
Gondor


Jun 15 2013, 11:16pm

Post #22 of 38 (549 views)
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Well Phillipa Boyens hasn' read The Silmarillion in 25 years, and I seem to Remeber Jackson admitting he hasn't read The LOTR the whole way through since his teenage years, it worked alright for them... [In reply to] Can't Post

Steven Fry, Martin Freeman, Aidan Turner, Billy Connoly, James Nesbitt...anyone noticing a pattern?

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Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Jun 15 2013, 11:17pm

Post #23 of 38 (533 views)
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For a second [In reply to] Can't Post

you made me wish i hadnt.

Vous commencez à m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Jun 15 2013, 11:26pm

Post #24 of 38 (519 views)
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Exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh my God. This film is going to be a failure!!! They haven't read the stories! Quick! Get the guards and throw them off the set!

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


malickfan
Gondor


Jun 15 2013, 11:28pm

Post #25 of 38 (528 views)
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It is kind of Ironic though [In reply to] Can't Post

Steven Fry is always the voice I hear in my head when I read the Hobbit (i.e it's him narrating the story)-you can't get more english than Fry...

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