We caught up with Stephen Hunter and Jed Brophy during their time at Oz Comic Con to discuss their experiences playing dwarves and interacting with fans. We kicked off the interview discussing the legacy of The Hobbit films, and their impact on film history. “I hope that they stand the test of time like the Lord of the Rings ones do,”
Jed Brophy says. “Being shot in my country, and being shot by a friend of mine… I’m very proud of the fact that he actually took those on. I think it was always going to be difficult to make The Hobbit after Lord of the Rings had changed the fabric of fantasy forever in terms of the look and the feel.”
Despite the success of The Hobbit trilogy, Peter Jackson almost didn’t make them. The films were first helmed by director Guillermo Del Toro, and as Stephen Hunter explains, the tone would have been very different. “[They] would have been totally different films if Guillermo would have done them. I mean he would have done a spectacular job.” The pair also discuss the tonal differences between Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, with Stephen saying “It had a completely different feel. It was lighter. But you’ll always get comparisons.”
Check out the first half of the interview below.
Jed continues the interview with an impeccable Ian McKellen impersonation, discussing how cool the sets of The Hobbit were, and getting to see McKellen everyday on the set. “Everyday, Ian McKellen smoking… so naughty,” Jed says in a thick, British accent, replicating Ian McKellen’s own voice perfectly. Stephen laughs at what is clearly a well-practiced impression. The pair are amiable and discuss their friendship openly. “With all the dwarves, we catch up at these sort of things every now and then,” Stephen says, “I mean that was the best part about it, we made some lifelong friends”
The pair admit that it was hard to leave the set of The Hobbit, though the journey isn’t over yet. Stephen says, “It was hard to finish because it was the best job in the world and then it finished and that was it… It was like, what do I do now? Is it ever going to get as good as that?” Jed agrees, adding, “No-one prepares you for that, though.” Still to come, though, is the extended cut of the final Hobbit film. “We haven’t seen it,” Jed states. “I’ll buy it in the shop probably. That’s going to be exciting…” Stephen laughs. “I could always ask for a DVD.”
The pair have several favourite moments from the filming experience, with Jed explaining that their first day at the set of Bag End was his favourite. “There are two [moments],” he explains, “The first day at Bag End because we were in Bag End and that was like ‘wow, we’re here with Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, we’re on.’ We’ve got to bring these characters to life… and my second most memorable and fun moment was the day that we were in the… barrels… it was fun.” Stephen shares Jed’s enthusiasm. “That was just fun, we were just floating… “ he laughs, “Dwarves in barrels. That was fantastic…”
The pair also talks about their love of travelling around and listening to the fans’ stories. Jed says, “I love coming and meeting the fans and hearing their stories. We get a lot of people coming and saying ‘before Middle Earth, I really didn’t want to leave the house, and now I’ve met this whole online community… people who cosplay,’ and it’s been great. It’s nice to do something that actually makes people smile.”
Check out the rest of the interview below.