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We’re a Hard Hobbit to Break from New Zealand TV Guide, January 16, 2002
posted by Druzzilla at the Orlando Bloom Fan Board

They say that they have fallen in love with New Zealand but have they really? Antony Philips puts the hobbits to the test.

How much do they young stars of The Lord of the Rings love New Zealand? Well for starters they want to buy themselves a home here. But it would be even better if we would grant them residency. Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan – who played the hobbits Frodo, Pippen and Merry – told the TV Guide they were smitten with the country after spending 16 months here filming Peter Jackson’s epic $650 million trilogy, the first part of which is playing now.

“We’re working to try and get residency here to buy a place between us so we can come back when we want” says impish Billy Boyd. “We love this place!” he stresses in his thick Glaswegian accent. Elijah Wood chimes in: “You guys might be stuck with hobbits, I’m sorry”.

No need to apologize, Elijah. The hundreds of screaming teenage girls at the Wellington premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring would just die if they knew he actually wanted to come and live amongst them. And there’d be no shortage of offers of accommodation while the guys get settled.

Wood said the experience of living and working here for such a long time on the movies of JRR Tolkien’s books was a once and a lifetime opportunity. “I don’t think anything can prepare you for coming to New Zealand … to live here and to bring probably one of the greatest books of the 20th Century to the screen, it was incredible”. Even more incredible, according to Boyd, was the fact that such and epic project got made in the first place. “Because Peter Jackson did it, it got done. But how he got through it, I have no idea. The energy it took….when you think he was up first thing in the morning, working all day, then looking at rushes! He worked so hard for such a long time. He did this for, like, four years”. Wood: “The scope of his mind to keep all that together and not just physically lose everything, it’s truly amazing”.

The twenty-something actors portrayed key characters within JRR Tolkien’s fellowship. They formed a close bond off the set with English heart-throb Orlando Bloom (who plays the elf Legolas). It was Bloom who convinced Wood, Boyd and Monaghan to take up surfing with him. “We started going on surf trips to Castle Point and it got to be, like, any free time we’d phone the surf report and find out what was happening”. Bloom was 22 when he came to New Zealand to work on Rings. It was his first major movie role. “I hardly knew anything about New Zealand but the opportunity to come and live away and work on this project like this doesn’t happen very often”.

The experience was almost surreal he said. “That’s way we got the tattoos (Bloom and the hobbits have the letter nine tattooed on their bodies in Tolkien’s Elvish). “I wanted something to carry away with me, to make it real”. “I love coming back to New Zealand – it’s nice and relaxed and mellow. It feels like I’m at home, it really does feel like coming home. It’s a bit freaky. I’m talking about – with the hobbits – maybe clubbing together to buy a place here and have it as a timeshare place for us so that we can come at different times of the year”.

Movie fans who have been blown away by the first installment of the Rings trilogy should prepare themselves for bigger and better, says Bloom. “There’s more drama, there’s more action, it gets bigger and better. I remember Peter saying to me the first movie is going to be the hardest one to break because we have to introduce everyone – you know, what is a hobbit, what is an elf – but the second and third is going to be all about just running with it. So hold on for the ride”.

Are the hobbits Kiwi enough to get NZ residency? TV Guide puts Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd to the test.

1. What is paua?
Monaghan: Paua is a shell. I’m actually wearing a paua ring. In America it’s called abalone. (Correct)

2. Name Wellington’s Super 12 rugby team and it’s most famous player.
Wood: The All Blacks (Wrong)
Monaghan: The Hurricanes and Jonah Lomu (Correct)

3. Name the body of water between the North and South Islands?
Boyd: Cook Strait (Correct)

4. What is a jelly tip?
Monaghan: Are they ice creams with the things on the top?
Wood: Yes
Boyd: Yes (Correct)

5. What is a jandal?
Boyd: Rubber flip-flops (Correct)

Verdict: Messers Monaghan and Boyd can stay. Mr Wood must reapply after reading the NZ Rugby Year Book.