Let’s talk about some of your other projects. The third installment of ‘The Hobbit’ is coming later this year. Are you a big Tolkien fan?
You said before ‘Desolation of Smaug’ came out that you were apprehensive about how people might receive your character because she isn’t part of the original canon. Looking back at that now, how do you feel about the reactions from fans?
I don’t know if I’m just living in a bubble, or with my head in the sand, but I have experienced mostly only positive reactions to Tauriel. I have heard the tiniest grumblings from the odd troll online, but for the most part she was really well received and people were really glad to have some feminine energy in the films. It’s nine hours of entertainment; it’s kind of tough to watch hairy, short men for all that time. I also think that she added an element of the feminine spirit, which is humanity and compassion, that I think was a little bit needed.
That story, that book as we all know, is one children’s story. It’s not an extremely sophisticated story, and it doesn’t have a ton of layers – nor does it have a ton of character development. So when you start developing out those characters, you start to have to elaborate on their motivations, and the motivation of 90% of the characters in that book is greed, selfishness, pride.
Revenge! There’s so few good and true intentions in those male characters. I think it was a little bit of an emotional relief and release to watch those films and suddenly hear somebody say, “We just have to do what’s right.”
And what can we expect from her in ‘Battle of the Five Armies’?
Everything with everyone’s storyline in the third film is going to boil to a head. Things get very intense. It’s going to be the darkest out of the three films, and I think it’s the one that will resemble most the original Lord of the Rings films. Of course, it’s entitled the Battle of the Five Armies, so there’s a big, epic battle, and it’s good and evil coming to a head as it always is in Tolkien’s storybooks.
And it’s no different for Tauriel. What’s great is you’ll get the answer to the big romantic question. Does she love an elf, does she love a dwarf, does she not love either one of them? Ultimately Tauriel, at the bottom of it all, is a hero. She starts out as a hero, and she ends as a hero. I think she has a great story.
Intriguing. But speaking of that love triangle, there was also a little apprehension on your part about that?
Oh there was more than a little apprehension.
How are you feeling about it now?
Before I agreed to take the role, it was the only stipulation I laid down: no love triangles. I did one for six years, I am done. And there wasn’t. In the original script, there wasn’t. In the original shooting, there wasn’t. We shot for a year and there was no love triangle. And then we came back for reshoots, and this little surprise was dropped in our laps.
“The relationship between Tauriel and these male characters is a bit too ambiguous, and it’s a bit confusing, and we’re not really understanding what’s what. We need to make it a little clearer and a little bit more obvious for our audience, and therefore we’re going to turn something that was subtle, and delicate, and beautiful into a bit more of an obvious love triangle.” I just went, “No!” But I actually didn’t drop to my knees and cry, I actually understood. Because when we were filming, I was getting frustrated, because I was feeling like it was not clear.
I knew as an audience member, it was just going to be annoying. They’re just going to be annoyed with these characters because it’s not clear – it’s not clear what is her relationship to Legolas, and what is her relationship to Kili, and what is this all about? If it’s confusing, it’s really obnoxious. Love triangles get a bit obnoxious even if they’re clear, but when they’re not, it’s even more obnoxious, so I understood why they had to do it.
And you’re feeling okay about it now?
Yeah, I’m feeling fine about it. I don’t think it’s the most shining part of the film, and I don’t think it’s necessarily – I’m going to get lynched for saying this – but it’s not totally Tolkien. I know he has written love triangles in some of the later works that he wrote. In the end, it is what it is. I don’t focus too much on it because it’s a tiny part of the story. And it’s a tiny part of her story.
Okay, and I have to ask: you’re rumoured to be playing the female lead in ‘Ant-Man?’
I can’t say anything.
But you’re staying at Comic-Con through Sunday?
Yeah. I’ll be here four days, and then I go off to do Hobbit ADR for Battle of the Five Armies.
Have you seen the final ‘The Hobbit’ film yet?
No, I’ll see parts of it – probably all of my parts because Peter Jackson notoriously ADRs almost everything. I’ll get to see the majority of all of my work on Monday and Tuesday when I’ll be doing ADR. Then I wait, and I don’t see the completed film until I’m sitting at the theatre at the premiere. I like that movie going experience, when you go with people who are excited to see it, and they’re laughing, and clapping, and gasping.
When you’re watching the screener that they show the actors so that they can talk to the press, you’re in the room with a bunch of people who are extremely self-conscious, and terrified of whether or not they did a good job, all watching themselves for the first time and it is very tense. It’s not fun. I don’t go to those screenings, I wait until the premiere and then you’re there with people who love it and are excited. It’s way more relaxed.
So you spend months answering questions about-
A film I’ve never seen! Yeah! But I’m a good bluffer, that’s what I do for a living.
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ will be released on December 17, 2014
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