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Stephen Fry Discusses “The Hobbit” and Peter Jackson

Stephen Fry sat down with the folks at Digital Spy to talk about “The Hobbit” and director Peter Jackson’s enjoyment of the grotesque. He “had a fantastic time” filming in Wellington in August, calling it a “beautiful city, a lovely place to work.” Fry will travel back to New Zealand in February, and though he is looking forward to it, he must be curious about what Jackson has in store for him next.

“Most of the characters in ‘The Hobbit’ are dwarves, who are wonderfully funny and active,” he said. “And there are the silvery elven characters like Orlando [Bloom], who of course are so elegant and beautiful. And there’s Bard the Bowman who is handsome and strong. And obviously there’s Ian McKellen who is wise and marvelous.” Fry’s character, The Master of Laketown, however, “is an opportunity for sheer grossness.”

Peter Jackson made sure to make his character as repulsive as possible. “He had me eating testicles… gross appetites. I mustn’t give too much away, but I’ve got a bald cap and then on top of that a really bad comb-over wig and this wispy mustache and wispy beard and horrible blotchy skin and disgusting fingernails.” And in this case, you can judge a book by its cover. He goes on to describe his character as “generally speaking a really unappetizing piece of work. And a coward to boot and very, very greedy.”

But for all that, Stephen Fry claims he “had a fun time doing it.” It must be because of Jackson’s amiable demeanor on set. “The atmosphere on any Peter Jackson set, as any actor will tell you, is wonderful because he’s a kind, and a funny, and a gentle man. For all his extraordinary power in the business, given the success he’s had, he’s modest and humble and very easy to work for.”

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