Movie Feature

Being The Bard: Interview with Luke Evans

By Zaki Jufri in New ZealandMovies - 07 November 2013 12:00 AM | Updated 08 November 2013

Being The Bard: Interview with Luke Evans

Luke Evans is Bard The Bowman in 'The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug'. Photo: Warner Bros.

He might have been a seasoned actor on the London stage and even played the Greek god Zeus in 2011’s swords-and-sandals action-fest ‘Immortals’, but 34-year-old Luke Evans still cannot get past how he is probably playing the most iconic role of his career in the sequel to ‘The Hobbit’. 

The delight in his face was evident when a studio executive announced, “Luke Evans as Bard The Bowman”, as the actor, dressed in character, stepped in for his interview.

The actor had just finished shooting a scene with Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin Oakenshield, for the upcoming ‘The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’, and he took time off his busy production schedule to speak with inSing at the Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand.

“I just thought that this was going to be a really exciting thing’," he told inSing as he recalled the moment he was offered the role in Peter Jackson’s second instalment to ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy.

The movie, which opens in cinemas in Singapore on 12 December, follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he continues his journey of helping a band of Dwarves reclaim their lost kingdom of Erebor in The Lonely Mountain. 

Read also ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ – A trip worth taking

Accompanied by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and 13 Dwarves led by Armitage, Bilbo’s epic quest takes him to the Mirkwood forest where they encounter dangerous Wood-elves and the people of Lake-town before reaching Lonely Mountain.  

WHO’S BARD?

One of the iconic characters from the JRR Tolkien novel, Bard The Bowman is a master archer who meets Bilbo and company, and learns of their mission to reclaim their homeland from Smaug the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). 

Evans plays the only other human character in the movie, and he relished the thought of acting alongside some of his favourite actors.

Evans is set to take on two more iconic roles next year in ‘Dracula Untold’ and the reboot of ‘The Crow’. Photo: AFP

“I didn't really think that there were Dwarves, Elves and Orcs. I just looked at it and went, ‘Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Stephen Fry,’ and I looked at all the people I would be working with, all the actors that I've respected, admired and looked forward to the experience,” Evans recalled.

The very first scene he shot was with Sir Ian McKellen himself.

Read also: Grey’s anatomy: Interview with Sir Ian McKellen

“It's just a weird thing, isn't it, when you've seen it (the ‘Rings’ trilogy) and all of a sudden, you're actually on set and Gandalf is looking at you with the white eyes and Ian is sort of brilliant,” he said excitedly.

The Welsh actor has been making the transition from stage to film. 

Apart from ‘Immortals’, Evans has starred in ‘Clash of The Titans’ and ‘The Three Musketeers’ (2011), as well as playing a psychopath antihero in slasher flick ‘No One Lives’ last year and the main villain in this year’s ‘Fast and Furious 6’.

He is also set to take on two more iconic roles next year in ‘Dracula Untold’ and the reboot of ‘The Crow’, last played by Brandon Lee.

‘Desolation of Smaug’ will be Bard’s first appearance in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy and he plays a pivotal role in the finale, ‘There And Back Again’, which will be released in 2014.

Luke Evans
Evans as Zeus in 'Immortals'

HIS DISTINCTIVE ACCENT 

Being the first actor to play the character on the big screen, it meant that there was room for interpretation for him.

"I had a chat with (co-screenwriter and producer) Philippa Boyens on the phone the night before my audition, and she said, 'We want you to go in and do it in your Welsh accent,'" Evans said.

"And I was like, 'Really? I've never done a Welsh accent ever in anything'. Even though it's my accent, most people want to stamp it out. And she said, 'No, we like it. We really like it'."

This will be the first time that Evans will be speaking in his native Welsh accent in his film career and that decision had an effect on the casting for the rest of the residents of Lake-town: Bard’s ancestors come from the city of Dale that was destroyed by Smaug, and filmmakers made every Lake-town resident have the same ancestry as Bard.

Evans said: “Dale will always be Wales to me, which is a really nice thing. That's probably the biggest stamp that I've put on this character.”

EYE-OPENER 

As expected, Evans has much praise for director Jackson: “He has the knack to make you feel very comfortable, very confident in what you're doing. But he's also able to come on set and just completely strip it to pieces and you still feel like you know what you're doing.

“He manages to capture, in one scene, 10 times more ideas than I naturally would have just been able to produce on my own. 

“He'll watch me do a scene and then he will come on and just give me a couple of ideas and he opens five or six doors in my imagination of where that story could have gone or where this conversation could go.” 

A LEGO CHARACTER

In the ‘Rings’ trilogy, Viggo Mortensen became a fan favourite as a result of his turn as Aragorn.

Evans is likely this movie’s version of Aragorn, and he is prepared for the ensuing fan worship that comes.

“I might have a Lego character and go to ComicCon,” he mused.

“Most of the time, you do films and they can be big films, but you are rarely aware of the fan base that comes with it. And with this film, you can't get away from it.

“We're desperately waiting to see the film, so I can't imagine what the fans are like.” 

'The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies' opens 18 December 

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The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
  • The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

    (2014)
  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Genre
    Adventure, Fantasy
  • Language
    Eng
  • (6 Reviews)