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So is your character mostly swordplay, or is it archery, too?
I do archery, but for the most part I have two daggers, and I wield my daggers, and they're effective [laughs].
How much training did you have to do for that?
I had to do quite a bit of training, and generally, I find stunts a lot of fun, and I don't struggle too much with them, 'cause I'm a really physical person. But once you put an actual skill into it… Like now I have to be able to spin knives and shit, while I'm in the middle of a fight, and I find that incredibly difficult. Because it is not instinctive, and I always have just led by instinct in anything physical, and sort of just got by on the skill. Like when I was a soccer player, I was really gritty, and I could take girls twice my size down, and that was great, but dribble the ball? Eh. So it's a struggle being an Elf who has really got all this flourish and is extremely elegant.
So you had to learn Elvish for this role?
So is there an Elvish equivalent to, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains?"
No, there's no-- There is for me, because anything that I've said so far becomes that for me. 'Cause I've just memorized my lines. I haven't sat down and memorized the language of Elvish, and anyone who does that is crazy!
So you and Orlando Bloom can't have banter?
No! We can barely get our lines out. Both of us will get up to the Elvish line, and you can see us go [makes nervous panting sound] And then we'll say it, and then we'll be like, "Phew!" And then we go on with the English.
I'm curious, often when you get the script, it looks a certain way. Then you get on set, things change. How have things adjusted during the filming process? Is this one of these productions where you're getting pages under your door? Or it's been pretty much...
Have you asked this question before?
I've asked it on many different productions, but not this one.
Let me be the first to tell you about this production. Pretty much, there's new pages every day. There's a new schedule every day. And for the most part, my biggest scenes, I have been given the night before, often at seven o'clock. And I have two pages of RP [Received Pronunciation] and Elvish to memorize, and I am just spinning out. I am completely like-- You start to go, "I'm going to be horrible, and they're going to hate me! I'm supposed to be great, and I'm going to be horrible", because I'm used to a little bit more prep time and lead time than that. But I think the logistics have worked out such that originally, it was Guillermo del Toro who was supposed to be doing this film, and then at the very last minute, it switched back over to Pete [Jackson] and Fran [Walsh] and Philippa [Boyens'] hands. And I think at that point, the momentum of the film was already there, and they really wanted them to just start shooting, and I don't think they had a lot of lead time. And then the other thing that happens is, I think Philippa and Fran, who do most of the writing, and then Peter gives it a once-over and gives his notes and they go back to the drawing board. The three of them have a style of writing which is that they get an idea of what they want in their minds, and then they search for the person. And once they find the person who's going to play that role, they want that person to have a huge effect and influence on how the role is developed. So they'll watch what I do when I'm on camera, and then they'll go, "Oh, I know..." And then it triggers ideas in their mind and it solidifies the characters in their mind. And therefore, they write accordingly which, for an actor, is both hugely generous and complimentary. You don't often get that. Often, you have a very distinct thing that they want you to do, and you have to find a way to put yourself into that box or into that mold. And they're doing the opposite, they're making the character fit into the mold of what the actor's bringing to that table, which is a great luxury. It just means that we have to work really hard, because we are getting pages at the last minute most of the time.
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