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  Pippin in Lord of the Rings
Updated 12 December 2002, 19.12
Pippin
Billy Boyd, who plays Pippin in Lord of the Rings, came into our hotseat studio for a chat.

  Click here to see behind the scenes pix of Billy and Lizo

Lizo gave him a good grilling with your questions.

If you missed the live version, catch up on their chat by clicking on the link below, or scroll down for the full transcript.

Watch webchatWatch video webchat

  Don't have RealPlayer? Click here to download it for free


Click on the questions to read what Billy had to say

  • If you had to change anything about Pippin what would it be?
  • I heard that you and the other hobbits played some game called "tig" on the set?
  • How were the hobbits made to look so small in the films?
  • What's your favourite line that you say as Pippin and why?
  • Have you read all the books and also how did you get the role of Pippin?
  • What are the ups and downs of being a hobbit?
  • Did you ever feel as if you really were in Middle-earth because the sets looked so realistic and the locations looked fantastic?
  • What was it like the first time you saw yourself on screen as Pippin?
  • How did you actually prepare for getting into the role of being a hobbit?
  • Were some of the scenes in The Lord of the Rings as life threatening as they were described in the newspapers?
  • Which part would you want to play if you weren't playing Pippin?
  • Which other actors did you look up to and respect the most while you were making these three films?
  • How much did you get to enjoy the amazing landscapes of New Zealand and who else in the fellowship did you get close to apart from Dom?
  • What was the best part of filming in New Zealand and would you want to go back there?
  • Did you keep any props from the set of The Lord of the Rings?
  • How many hours did you spend working a day and how many did you spend messing around?
  • What else can we expect from The Return of the King?
  • What's it like seeing merchandise with your face on it?
  • Did you miss home when you were making the trilogy?
  • Who's your best friend or who do you feel closest to after filming and why?
  • How do you feel about being named the number one most eligible man by scotsman.com, beating out Prince William?
  • Is it hard moving around to all the premieres all over the place?
  • I've heard that you've been writing a script with Dominic Monaghan and I was wondering what it's about and when you're going to finish it?
  • What are your plans for Christmas and New Year?
  • What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
  • What's your worst habit?
  • What's your all-time favourite movie?


    Eleanor, 12, Bath
    If you had to change anything about Pippin what would it be?

    Billy Boyd: I feel so close to Pippin that I wouldn't really like to change anything. And the things that I would want to change, through the story of the Rings he does change them anyway.

    You could say that sometimes he is in such a bubble with his own life that he doesn't see how what he does affects other people.

    But he notices that through the story anyway and he stops doing that - things like touching the skeleton and then it goes down the well and then what happens to Gandalf after that but he realises that and then he kind of grows up during The Two Towers and by The Return of the King I think he has sort of learned from that.

    Lizo: Can you give us any hints about what you're doing in Return of the King?

    Billy Boyd: Well you know I think you'll see the hobbit, Pippin, as a bit of a knight, a bit of a hero - a warrior hobbit.


    Aaron, 15, Bristol
    Billy, I heard that you and the other hobbits played some game called "tig" on the set, what's that all about?

    Billy Boyd: Me and Dom, Dom plays Merry, to pass time we would just play stupid games.

    Then one day we made up this game called tig - you know just passing the time and Elijah saw us do it, Elijah Wood who plays Frodo, and he says: "What are you doing?" And we said: "Oh it's an old British game called tig." And Orlando saw us do it and then Sean Astin and they sort of joined in and we made up this game on the spot where you could tig and then double tig - tag.

    And as Elijah was joining in he would say: "Double tag." And we'd say: "You can't double tag a tig. You have to tig tig a double tag." He's like what? And we played it for hours and we forgot to tell him it was a joke.

    So a couple of months later he says: "Why do we never play tig anymore?" And we're like: "Oh, ah we actually made that up Elijah, that wasn't really a game."

    Lizo: When you were talking there you did mention one name that will have made thousands of people out there suddenly swoon and that name was Orlando. So you've just got to tell us what was it like working with somebody that's become such a heartthrob?

    Billy Boyd: Yeah I mean it's great. He's just a very cool guy, he's just a laid back lovely guy and we all hung out together. Yeah he's just a nice person.

    I saw him a couple of weeks ago, he's making a film over in America at the moment, so we met up and managed to get some breakfast and he seems to be happy and well.


    Rosemary, 15, Enfield
    How were the hobbits made to look so small in the films?

    Billy Boyd: They used a lot of different techniques which I think works to great effect.

    But it's not all done with blue screens, it's not as though we were standing in front of a blue screen every time there was a scale shot.

    Sometimes it would be as simple as the hobbits would be on their knees and that was enough to sell the idea that they were smaller.

    There's also a thing called force perspective, that they've been using in movies for years, and in force perspective what happens is because a camera is a two dimensional thing that if someone's closer to the camera they look bigger.

    So they would have Ian McKellen close to the camera and have me further away and it just looks as if he's 11 foot and I'm 3 foot.

    But what they did on Lord of the Rings, which had never been done before was force perspective could only ever be done if the camera was standing still but not anymore.

    It was invented now that they had a camera that could move, but because the camera moves the actual set has to move as well.


    Fern, 13, Southampton
    What's your favourite line that you say as Pippin and why?

    Billy Boyd: I think in the Fellowship I love when the fellowship was formed and when they say that you guys will be the fellowship of the Ring and Pippin says: "Where are we going?"

    It kind of sums up Pippin in that moment. He knows his friends are going somewhere and he knows it's probably dangerous but there's no way he could let his friends go and not go and try and help them in some way.

    Lizo: How many breakfasts do hobbits have?

    Billy Boyd: Two breakfasts, couple of lunches, a few dinners and maybe a supper.

    Lizo: And how do you manage to keep looking so slim?

    Billy Boyd: Well hobbits run around to try and destroy rings quite a lot.


    Meera and Hannah, 12, Ruislip
    Have you read all the books and also how did you get the role of Pippin?

    Billy Boyd: Well I got the role basically just by auditioning. I just met Peter Jackson, the director, and we played a couple of the scenes and he directed them and he asked me if I wanted to do it and of course I said yes.

    And I didn't actually read the book until he offered me the part and I read it over here before going to New Zealand to make the movie.

    And since then I've read it probably six or seven times, yeah I'm a bit of Lord of the Rings geek now.


    Sevanne, 12, Edmonton
    What are the ups and downs of being a hobbit?

    Billy Boyd: The ups are they're wonderful characters to play because they're so honest, they're such honest creatures.

    It's almost like playing a human being but without all the cynicism and the negativity. A hobbit, if he's happy, will laugh, if he's sad he'll cry.

    There's something really nice about being an actor and being allowed to do that, it just feels really free.


    Natalie, Cheltenham
    Did you ever feel as if you really were in Middle-earth because the sets looked so realistic and the locations looked fantastic?

    Billy Boyd: Yeah one moment that really springs to mind is when we leave Moria and we're all outside after Gandalf has fallen with the Balrog and that set or that location we had to be helicoptered to the top of a mountain in the South Island of New Zealand and it was absolutely beautiful and it felt like no one had ever been there before.

    There was only a few people allowed up there because of the environment and you weren't allowed to take a lot of cameras and stuff.

    So it was just the eight guys of the fellowship that were left, a cameraman, Pete Jackson, some sound and we were sitting there having lunch and I was looking around and thinking - this is mad, it feels like I'm here with Frodo - and they'd stopped being Elijah and they'd stopped being Viggo and it felt like I was actually in the fellowship.

    Everyone was tired and we were on top of this beautiful mountain and I thought this feels so real. It was absolutely amazing.


    Caoimhe, 12, Dublin
    What was it like the first time you saw yourself on screen as Pippin?

    Billy Boyd: It's always weird to see yourself as a character the first time, you feel a bit sort of - too close to it to be able to watch it.

    So even watching The Two Towers for the first time I was a bit kind of - you remember the day that you filmed something, you think - oh that's the day I had a cold, I remember that I wasn't feeling too good, oh my sister arrived in New Zealand that day, I remember that.

    And so you feel a bit too close and it's only a few months later that once the buzz has kind of dissipated that I can actually watch it and actually enjoy or kind of watch it as a whole film.


    Nam, Derbyshire
    How did you actually prepare for getting into the role of being a hobbit?

    Billy Boyd: We did a lot of different things. We arrived in New Zealand about two months before we started filming and we learned how to sword fence and canoe and were training trying to get fit for this mammoth shoot.

    And during that time we'd also go into Pete Jackson's house and the four hobbits would sit along with Pete and we'd talk about who we thought the hobbits were and how we were going to play them, why are they different from humans and which role did all the hobbits have to play.

    And during that we kind of really got our head round who these hobbits were. So by the time we actually started filming we felt like we really knew them.


    Fiona, Dunbar Scotland
    Were some of the scenes in The Lord of the Rings as life-threatening as they were described in the newspapers?

    Billy Boyd: I don't know about life threatening, I mean a few people got injured.

    Scenes in The Two Towers, myself and Dom, Merry and Pippin, are taken prisoner by the Uruk-hai at the end of the first movie in fact.

    So in the second movie we are tied up as we're taken prisoner and there was a lot of scenes with galloping horses passing four foot from your head and big sword fencing, big action sequences, and when you're tied up and getting that done it's pretty scary.

    Because even though these horses are really well trained they're still animals and at any point you're thinking I'm going to have my head stamped on. But luckily it never happened.


    Luke, 11, Waltham Cross
    Which part would you want to play if you weren't playing Pippin?

    Billy Boyd: I was thinking of Gandalf. I don't know - there's so many great characters - Gollum would be fantastic, Sam is just a beautiful character I think.


    Nick, 14, Minnesota
    Which other actors did you look up to and respect the most while you were making these three films?

    Billy Boyd: Oh god the actors on these movies are fantastic, I mean actors who I never imagined I'd ever get to work with like Ian McKellen and Ian Holm - I've just thought have been fantastic my whole life.

    And then I've got so much respect for all of the actors in this - Elijah's an amazing actor and Dom - I've met someone who I'd like to work with again - me and Don really know each other's kind of comedy and rhythms. They were all so fantastic.


    Lara, 16, Molesey
    How much did you get to enjoy the amazing landscapes of New Zealand and who else in the fellowship did you get close to apart from Dom?

    Billy Boyd: Like I say the landscapes were incredible. That story when we were on top of that mountain - beautiful.

    And there was just so much of that. Where we filmed Shire, which is in the North Island, a place called Hamilton, I think it's called and they planted that Shire two years before we started filming, it wasn't like a set, so they planted it so that it would be overgrown and look real.

    It's absolutely incredible isn't it, normally in a film they're building it the day before you get there, they planted those vegetables and stuff so that it was real, they were actually growing there.

    And it was huge you know you couldn't see the end of it. Things like that were just amazing. And New Zealand's such an amazing looking place anyway.

    I think that's one of the reasons that it was made there and one of the reasons it was the best country for it, is you could be on top of a mountain in the morning and then take a helicopter and be in a forest and then you could be in rapids heading down a river. Everything's so close to each other.


    Liza, 16, New Zealand
    What was the best part of filming in New Zealand and would you want to go back there now you've finished the movie?

    Billy Boyd: As I say travelling around New Zealand was amazing. I think we all grew to love it incredibly much.

    And the city we were staying in, Wellington, is one of my favourite cities in the world, it just feels so artistic and great restaurants and it's small enough that you can walk round it.

    You can get a surf in about 10 minutes in the car so it wasn't too far away. And I'll definitely go back. I'm hoping to make it back for the premiere of The Two Towers. So hopefully I'll be over there end of next week if we can work it out.


    Emily, 15, Guildford
    Did you keep any props from the set of The Lord of the Rings?

    Billy Boyd: I really wanted my sword.

    Lizo: They wouldn't let you keep your sword?

    Billy Boyd: No, they said that they had to keep it until they were definitely finished with it. But I did steal some ears. What I'd truly like is my scarf - you know Pippin always wears a scarf, I got very close to that scarf.


    Becky, 7, Bristol
    How many hours did you spend working a day and how many did you spend messing around?

    Billy Boyd: If you're thinking about being an actor you have to work very long hours and people don't believe it.

    Working in a movie means, especially one like this where you've got prosthetics, like the feet and the ears, we normally started about five in the morning - we were picked up - and about three hours later we'd have our feet on, hair on, ears, make up and then we would work probably for about another 10 or 11 hours.

    So you're doing like a 14 hour day. And then it takes another hour to get the feet off, get the wig off and then you've probably got enough time to grab some dinner and then it's time for bed.


    Fiona, 13, Bracknell
    What else can we expect from The Return of the King?

    Billy Boyd: I think The Return of the King scriptwise as I read it, not only the script but also as a book, was my favourite because you know the characters by that time and every,one of the characters that you've got to know - all the fellowship and other characters as well by that time, Gollum, people like that - they've all got their role to play.

    So you watch all these characters that you've grown to love or hate, people like Sauron, and they've all got their part to play and I think it's a really beautiful script and I think it'll be the biggest, most epic, of the movies as well.

    Lizo: Now tell us was it difficult when you were making this movie to be one day doing something from the Fellowship, the next day doing something from Return of the King, the next day something from The Two Towers, didn't that just really make your head ache?

    Billy Boyd: Well it isn't as bad as you would think actually because, as I said, we were there a couple of months before we started filming, so we knew the characters very well and we knew the story very well and then we started filming in order, for about the first three months maybe, before we had to make a jump of anything.

    So we filmed all the Shire and we filmed being chased by the black riders - that was scary, it was scary doing it as well.

    So it was quite a while before we made a jump and then when you made the jump you've just got to say well by this time I've done that stupid thing in Moria, so I'm a bit more mature, and you've just got to pick where you think you are and then fill in that graph as you go on.


    Rees, Leeds
    What's it like seeing merchandise with your face on it?

    Billy Boyd: Yeah very strange but it almost seems as though it's not me, it feels as though it's someone else.

    I feel as though it's like a friend of mine or something. Maybe because it's always Pippin, I don't know but somehow it doesn't seem as though it's me. It sounds weird but it's true.


    Kimberley, 14, Ipswich
    Did you miss home when you were making the trilogy?

    Billy Boyd: Yeah I did. Not that much, I mean my sister came over and visited and stayed for a while and then I had friends who came over and kept me company and I felt like I was part of this family making this movie.

    And, as I said, I loved New Zealand, so I really didn't have time to get homesick.


    Hannah and Stephanie, 15 and 14, Barry
    We came to the premiere just to see you and we weren't disappointed. Who's your best friend or who do you feel closest to after filming and why? We love you!

    Billy Boyd: Thank you very much that's very kind. I suppose - I mean I'm so close to a lot of the guys and I see them all the time. Alan and B.J. who came to the thing last night, Dom and Elijah and Sean and Orlando.


    Yui, New Jersey, USA
    How do you feel about being named the number one most eligible man by scotsman.com, beating out Prince William in the process?

    Billy Boyd: It's things like that are kind of weird you know, I mean it's fun, it's really fun but I don't know - I don't think of myself as anything like that.

    Well I think of myself as eligible and I think of myself as a man but I don't know if I'm number one.


    Megan
    Is it hard moving around to all the premieres all over the place?

    Billy Boyd: It is a bit because you know how tiring being on a plane is, it's an air thing - there's something about flying. Yeah it's really tiring but I really want to support these movies so I go wherever I can make it.


    Katie, 12, Knutsford
    I've heard that you've been writing a script with Dominic Monaghan and I was wondering what it's about and when you're going to finish it?

    Billy Boyd: We have actually finished the script. We've done three drafts and we're happy with it now. So hopefully we'll get to make that quite soon. We've been talking to a few people who are keen to make it with us.


    Gayle, Aukland
    What are your plans for Christmas and New Year?

    Billy Boyd: I haven't got huge plans for Christmas yet, probably just figure out something to do with my family.

    And New Year I'm actually going to hook up with some of the guys - Dom and Elijah.


    Claire, 14, Canada
    What advice would you give to aspiring actors?

    Billy Boyd: What would I say? I don't know. Read as much as you can. Read plays and enjoy doing it.


    Danika, Australia
    What's your worst habit?

    Billy Boyd: My worst habit is whistling while I sleep.


    Jenny, 15, Stockport
    What's your all time favourite movie?

    Billy Boyd: I read somewhere that somebody said, some director, he was asked to name his top three movies and they stopped him when he got to 250. It's too hard to say - Gregory's Girl, Godfather.



  • More InfoBORDER=0
    TV/FilmALL our Two Towers interviews
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    ChatOur hotseat chat with Merry
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