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Q&A: 'The Hobbit' star Dean O'Gorman on Boston Comic Con, his character's mustache

Posted by Glenn Yoder  August 2, 2013 05:45 PM

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(AP Photo/Warner Bros.)

Dean O'Gorman (left) as Fili and Aidan Turner as Kili in a scene from 2012's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

As Boston Comic Con prepares for a flood of costumed fans eager to meet movie stars at Seaport World Trade this Saturday and Sunday, one such star -- "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" actor Dean O'Gorman -- chatted with us about the intense prosthetic mustache he wears in the film, why Boston reminds him of his native New Zealand, and how it feels seeing teenage German girls dressed up as his dwarf character Fili.

Q. I know you're probably jet-lagged from flying in from New Zealand today at 6 a.m., but this is your first visit to Boston. What’s on the agenda outside of Comic Con?
A. At first, just a little look around. I want to see the city. ["The Hobbit" costar] Aidan Turner is arriving in the next hour, so we'll probably go out and get a beer and then tomorrow we have the convention. I didn't realize Boston was so easy to get around. In my head, I imagined Boston being this really sprawling city. It's such a famous city, historic, I've always known about it, but then to be here, I walked around it today and I couldn't believe it. It's like being back in [New Zealand capital] Wellington.

Q. What's it like to be a "Hobbit" actor at these conventions? Do you get approached by a lot of intense J.R.R. Tolkien fans?
A. I never did a convention before I did "The Hobbit." I didn't really know what to expect from it. Initially, it can be a surreal experience when you meet someone who's dressed up as your character you played in the film. To be honest, I really enjoy the chance to meet the fans because I've found with "The Hobbit," the fans are all really lovely and enthusiastic. They ask all kinds of questions. A lot of them really want to find out about what it was like filming it, what it was like working with [director] Peter Jackson, what was my favorite scene or funniest moment. They want to find out personally what the experience was like. Thankfully, I don't get asked too many Tolkien-esque questions because, to be honest, I'm a little slow on the ground with my knowledge of that.

Q. Speaking of fans dressing up as Fili, your character has a gnarly, braided mustache in the film that I'm going to assume is prosthetic. Did you ever consider growing the real thing?
A. You know what, man, I really wish. If I had known that I had this job two years before shooting, I would have grown it. I would have loved to have my own mustache because I used one of those stick-on ones and it just kept falling off into my mouth in moments of drama or action. But it is a pretty good mo', I mean that's a good couple years of growing, I'd think. What's strange is that when I went to Germany this year, there were a lot of people dressed up as our characters and a lot of them were teenage girls, which was surprising. I didn't think a teenage girl would want to dress up as a dwarf but they looked pretty good, actually.

Q. What did "The Hobbit" do for your career as an actor from outside the US? Are you being approached for more Hollywood roles?
A. It is interesting making that movie in New Zealand, because when we're shooting it until the premiere, none of us and me especially, didn't have any idea of just how many people would end up seeing the movie or hearing about it. So in a way, being in New Zealand shields you from some of that attention that maybe I'd have seen if I'd been overseas. But yeah, things do change after the movie: overseas representation, agents become interested, and the possibility of overseas work opens up. Living in New Zealand, that's something that you'd like to do as an actor but very rarely do you get an opportunity to get such a good springboard as "The Hobbit" to help you get international work. There's still two more ["Hobbit" sequels] to go, so I don't really know what to expect there. I'll be heading out to Los Angeles in a month or so, I've got some meetings, so I guess we’ll see what comes of things.

Interview was condensed and edited.

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