Actor and musician Billy Boyd was in St. Louis this weekend attending Wizard World Comic Con, where on Saturday he featured in a panel discussing his career. Predominantly known for playing the hobbit Pippin in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the very funny Boyd fielded questions from fans about that franchise, the songs he wrote and sang for both that series and the final “Hobbit” film, and acting in general.
Interestedly, Boyd revealed that he was a massive fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” growing up, but that he never got into “The Lord of the Rings” until he was cast as Pippin. At that point he finally read the books, saying, “Because I knew I was playing Pippin it came out as a story about Pippin as far as I could see.”
When asked about his favorite scene in the trilogy, Boyd said, “I could pick a different one every day to be honest. I really like Weathertop…because Viggo [Mortensen, who plays Aragorn] had just arrived and that was his first scene…and we got to be warrior hobbits. That was a lot of fun to do.”
Another fan asked Boyd if he suffered any mishaps on the set of “The Lord of the Rings”, to which he replied, “I was pretty good actually. I hurt quite a lot of people but I didn’t get hurt myself. I was practicing my sword fighting one time and one of the stunt guys was behind me—I didn’t know this—moving rocks…and I stuck the knife right in his head. Luckily he has an enormous hard head. I broke my pinky, but I did that surfing. In the Mines of Moria, if you ever rewatch ‘Lord of the Rings’…I had a pinky splint on. The Weta [a prop and special effects company based in New Zealand who worked on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hobbit’ movies, and who also had a special booth set up at Wizard World St. Louis this year] made me a pinky splint that looks like my pinky. If you notice in the Mines of Moria I’ve always got my right hand in my cloak.”
Boyd, who fronts a band called Beecake, had a lot to say about the two songs he performed for both trilogies: “The Edge of Night”, which Pippin sings in “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, and “The Last Goodbye”, which plays over the end credits of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”. Boyd said that the idea for having him sing a song in “Return of the King” came when he was out at karaoke with some of the crew, including writer Philippa Boyens, “and she said it would be good if we got a song for this. We went to Howard Shore and he was going to write the song, and then the schedule changed and they had to film it very soon and they asked if I could write the song. So I wrote this tune. And then we filmed it. The sound wasn’t right, so we had to rerecord it, and we rerecorded it at Abbey Road.”
A fan commented that “The Last Goodbye” would have been a great song to close out “Return of the King”, to which Boyd replied, “We [him and Peter Jackson, the director of both trilogies] thought a lot about this. Because kind of like ‘Star Wars’ there were two ways to watch the movies. Pete is very happy there will be a generation who will watch ‘The Hobbit’ going into ‘Lord of the Rings’. There were discussions of shooting ‘The Last Goodbye’ then but I think we thought after all thi time we had to say goodbye to all the people who watched it. I went there thinking we were writing a song for ‘The Hobbit’ film, and I watched the film, and that was the overriding thought. And the more we talked about it, we thought no it’s not the end of ‘The Hobbit’ film, it’s the end of all ‘The Hobbit’ films. And then we thought it’s the end of this whole adventure. And we have to say thank you to all the people who watched the movies. And as we talked to Pete about this…just having one of the Fellowship voices taking it out was enough.”
Soon after “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy ended, Boyd was cast in the 2003 naval adventure “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”. He shared a story about living in a house in Baja, California while filming, during which time many of his “Lord of the Rings” costars, including Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom, came and stayed with him. “It took over five months to film that movie,” Boyd said. “Out on that tall ship sailing the seas—brilliant, I loved it.”
Toward the end of the panel Boyd was asked how taking on a role in such a huge, and now iconic, franchise changed his career. He said, “I suppose it does in some ways and in others it doesn’t. It’s so hard to see before that moment what would it have been like before it happened. You just kind of have to do your part and make your choices. It’s kind of weird. The main thing is don’t give up. You just see people who work for many years who get the part and it’s the right part for them at the right time and they just keep working away. And if they have interest to do other things and just keep that thing going it will probably happen.”
For information on more Wizard World events, visit their website.
For more info, feel free to email me. For updates on my latest articles, click the subscribe button at the top of this page. You can also follow me on the following websites: