It was never Adam’s intention to become a film actor, quite happily enjoying his comedy and theatre work, but interestingly his own fate seemed to mirror that of Bilbo with a somewhat unexpected journey of his own, onto the silver screen. The Hobbit has been extended to three feature length films, drawing upon The Silmarillion and having some artistic license with the Hobbit itself. As a film it’s absolutely fantastic, but as a faithful conversion of the well loved classic, many are of the opinion that it strays too far. It’s quite something to see Adam Brown’s portrayal of Ori though, especially since you know his fate in Lord of the Rings (Remember that scene in Lord of the Rings in Moria where the Fellowship find the journal of Balin’s last stand against the Orcs? The Book Of Mazarbul. Well it was Ori who scribed those last immortal words “We cannot get out…We hear drums, drums in the deep, they are coming”). So personally, I found that it was quite a poignant performance from Adam.
We managed to catch up with “Ori” at the Collectormania event at Milton Keynes, and asked him a little bit about what it was like getting that phone call saying he had gotten a role in The Hobbit…
It’s quite an interesting story about how you got the role as you were rehearsing a play of comedy sketches with your comedy partner at the time. Apparently your agent called saying, ‘I’ve got an audition for The Hobbit for you’, and you mistakenly thought it was a play he was talking about, and he said, ‘No no no, it’s not a bloody show, it’s the movie, it’s Peter Jackson’s movie, so go along to the audition’. Where were you when you got that call confirming you had the role?
(Laughs) Yes, all true! But when I got the call, I was driving, well actually, I wasn’t driving, my friend was driving. We were on the “North Circular”, it was wet and windy, and then I was told that I had been offered the role of Ori, and yes, it was incredible. I asked to be dropped off at the nearest pub, and I sat in there and had a Scotch, and I never drink Scotch! (laughs)
And you called your family right way?
I did but my phone battery had died, so I was going around the pub asking people if they had a charger for my phone (laughs) telling them that I needed to call my mum as I was going to be in The Hobbit! (laughs).
When you got that call though, did you have a feeling that you had the role already?
I had no idea really. I did the audition, I came out and thought “oh that went well, I didn’t feel like an idiot” which is always a bonus! (laughs). And then I didn’t hear from them for about 8 weeks, so it had gone out of my mind, and then I got that phone call saying that Peter had loved the audition, and that he had written the part for me, and created the role of Ori around it.
Brilliant! And what was it like working with Sir Ian McKellan?
Absolutely fantastic, he was such fun to work with.
The “Slave Mo-cap” scenes with him must have been difficult, but how hard in general was it working with green screen scenes?
Not that difficult, I did a lot of theatre with no real budget / money and having to imagine things, so it was very similar! The only difference being of course, that you’re not in a black theatre on a stage doing it but in a studio. So yes, very little difference there.
Do you think that that stagecraft, with the likes of the RSC and Lamda is why British actors are so successful?
Possibly, I don’t really know. I don’t know the formula but I wish that I did! Certainly it must help.
You’ve done far more stage work then film work, but now, which do you prefer?
Yes, they are both very different in some aspects, but I see the love for the theatre and it will always be up there for me, but I’ve also got a real taste for working in films too. So I love both! Sorry (laughs).
On the film front I guess you’ve had to learn a few more skills for your role? Obviously not sword fighting!
(laughs) No, not sword fighting! Not really a strong point for Ori. But I did have to learn horse riding, and I wasn’t the best horse rider (laughs), and erm, I’m not sure I’m a great horse rider now (laughs), but that was never Ori’s way. I did some fight training and some general fitness training too. It was something that I’m not quite used too! “The Gym” was a foreign phrase, and now, it’s still a foreign phrase (laughs), but I am familiar with it.
And current projects?
Well, there’s lovely sweet film that won Best Comedy at the Chicago Film Festival, which is called Minimus. It’s basically a take on Gladiator, in which Russell was Maximus, well in this I play, Minimus. A very weedy nerdy gladiator. And next year, I’m not sure.
Given that Ori was his first screen role, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Adam in more films, and wish him well. A big thank you to Adam for giving up his time to chat with us, and another thank you to the awesome crew of Showmasters.