James Nesbitt, who will play Bofur in “The Hobbit” films, turns 47 today! James, or Jimmy, as he’s known to friends, was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland and initially aspired to follow in the steps of his father and three sisters by becoming a teacher. After a mentor encouraged him to participate in the local theatre, he discontinued his French degree at Belfast University to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
James has starred in a number of successful television shows, including “Cold Feet,” “Jekyll,” and “Monroe.” You may recognize him from his role as the pig farmer, Pig Finn, in “Waking Ned Devine,” or as the Northern Ireland activist, Ivan Cooper, in “Bloody Sunday.” If you can’t wait to see him in “The Hobbit,” check out the upcoming Shakespearean screen-adaptation of “Coriolanus,” in which he plays the malcontented Sicinius.
Even though acting turned out to be the profitable choice for him, he has tried to remain levelheaded and modest. “The biggest danger is that you begin to believe the hype about yourself,” James said. “Thank God that doesn’t happen to me anymore. You can get too used to the pampered life – ‘Can you draw breath for me because I’m too important to do it for myself?’ I’m very lucky to have a mother and a wife who would kill me if I ever behaved like that. I never forget that I’m extremely fortunate. Sometimes I can’t believe I do this for a living and have to pinch myself. It’s not as if I’m going down a mine every morning, is it?”
James is involved with a number of charities, including WAVE and UNICEF, and in 2012, he was appointed as the Chancellor of the University of Ulster. He was the first Chancellor born in Northern Ireland.
In “The Hobbit,” James will play Bofur, who is brother to Bombur, played by Stephen Turner, and cousin to Bifur, played by William Kircher. If the films follow the book, he will play the clarinet during “The Unexpected Party.”