When he was a guest on The Colbert Report, actor Martin Freeman said that receiving his LEGO Bilbo figure was one of the proudest days of his life. “On the last day of shooting, we were all given our own LEGO figures,” he said. “That was honestly one of the highlights for me–the fact that I’m LEGO.”
And lo and behold, what should appear the following day but photos of these proud achievements!
With a huge ensemble cast that includes thirteen dwarves, a number of whom are relatively unknown to worldwide audiences, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce you to some of the men who play the brave dwarves keeping Bilbo company.
Thorin Oakenshield – Richard Armitage
Probably the dwarf who needs the least introduction is Richard Armitage. With a fan following that call themselves the “Armitage Army,” he is well-known for his roles in North and South, Robin Hood, and Spooks. He was the only cast member to attend the Toronto premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey earlier this week, appearing in Union Station to unveil a special installation to promote the film.
As guest on The Marilyn Denis Show, Richard described the character of Thorin Oakenshield. “He is bequeathed a revenge quest by his grandfather and his father, so he kind of comes into the story with a bit of a burden on his shoulders,” he said. “And there was a danger of him being a cantankerous, bad-tempered dwarf, so we looked for humor in the character. But in terms of his leadership, I actually became inspired by Peter Jackson himself because he leads his team with such dignity and a kind of quiet authority, and people come back and work with him again and again. I really took that as something that I’d like to bring to Thorin. I didn’t want to command respect; I wanted to earn loyalty. So that’s really who he is.”
Fili – Dean O’Gorman
Having just celebrated his 36th birthday on December 1, Dean O’Gorman is set to become known to audiences worldwide as Fili, one of the youngest of the dwarves. He is older brother to Kili, who is played by Aidan Turner, and nephew to Thorin, played by Richard Armitage.
“That relationship triangle does offer a lot of content,” Dean said to the LA Times. “Especially the journey that Thorin goes on — Fili and Kili relate. They’re very much involved in Thorin’s journey, and that dynamic gets involved throughout the movie.” And being the older, more careful brother means “Fili has to keep an eye on Kili,” he said. “He’s younger and takes more risks.”
He laughs off comments about being one of the “hot dwarves,” saying “I think that’s pretty relative. I mean, we’re a company of dwarves. The bar’s not set very high.”
Bifur – William Kircher
Bifur, cousin to Bofur (James Nesbitt) and Bombur (Stephen Hunter), has undergone an interesting character development in the upcoming Hobbit films. The rusty orc axe that has been embedded into his forehead apparently prohibits normal speech. This is presumably a way to help audiences differentiate the individual dwarves.
William even had problems keeping everyone straight, though admittedly, it was the heavy prosthetics that threw him off. In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, he said, “Our looks are all so individual that remembering names wasn’t too much of an issue for me, although I did spend a few weeks getting Fili and Kili confused! The real trouble was actually recognising the other actors in make-up. It was a mindblowing experience at first because we looked outrageous with our new faces, but after a while, it became completely normal to associate these new faces with my fellow dwarf actors.”
He found John Rhys-Davies’ portrayal of Gimli in The Lord of the Rings as a good reference for dwarvish behavior. “I noted that he never lifted his head to look up at his fellow [tall] actors,” he said. “He just did it with his eyes. Maybe it was just because he couldn’t lift his head up with his helmet on, but for whatever the reason, it looked a lot stronger than raising his chin.”
Nori – Jed Brophy
Jed Brophy is no stranger to Peter Jackson films, having acted in Braindead, Heavenly Creatures, The Lord of the Rings films, and King Kong, though his role as Nori will arguably be the largest to date.
When the New Zealand Herald asked about his character’s temperament and how it compared to other famous dwarves like Grumpy, Dopey, and Sleepy, Jed suggested, “Dodgy or possibly Slippery … a distant cousin of those guys.” According to the official character description, Nori doesn’t always follow the letter of the law and may have joined Thorin’s quest to get out of “trouble with the dwarvish authorities.” Sounds like it would be wise to keep a tight hold on your purse around him. “Nobody ever quite knows what the quick-witted and wily Nori is up to, except that it’s guaranteed to be dodgy and quite possibly illegal. Despite rarely seeing eye-to-eye with his brothers Dori and Ori, he is nonetheless immensely loyal and will protect them by whatever means possible.”
Dori – Mark Hadlow
Mark Hadlow is not only a Kiwi and a dwarf; he took on the role of one of The Hobbit‘s infamous trolls, Bert. He is also an officer in the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve and has the distinction of having met Prince Charles on the royal’s recent visit to New Zealand.
He told Stuff.co.nz that his character Dori’s main motivation is looking after his two brothers, Nori (Jed Brophy) and Ori (Adam Brown). “I mollycoddled Ori, which has driven Adam mad, because I do it in real life. ‘What are you doing? Well, you can’t do that! You can’t stay out till three in the morning. Come back earlier.'”
Mark described working with the company of dwarves as “sensational.” He said, “The NZ dwarfs had a pretty good representation of some fine actors, many I have worked with, and you put those with the internationals, like Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Jimmy Nesbitt – I mean these actors are household names. You add Sir Ian McKellen, what a bunch of acting prowess you have then. We had plenty of room to move with our characters and most of the time everyone supported each other, as long as any ideas were moving the story, making it a team job.”
Ori – Adam Brown
It’s hard to believe that at this same time two years ago, Adam Brown was playing King Frog in a panto at the Newbury Corn Exchange. This year, he’s a LEGO figure and has seen his face on a billboard in Times Square.
He was whisked away to New Zealand for an 18-month shoot (this was before the series was extended from two films to three) and his first time on a film set. Not only that, but he told the Express about his run-ins with celebrity neighbors.
“It was like Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives,” said Adam, who had Orlando Bloom living one door over. “I was pegging out my washing and he said, ‘Hello mate, you not at work today?’ I was in a world of my own and screamed when I saw him and dropped all the pegs.”
The character of Ori is described as “polite and well-bred.” He’s the scribe of the group and a talented artist, who chronicles the journey with drawings and writings in his journal. And though he is “used to being bossed around by his older brother Dori […] occasionally he can surprise his fellow companions with his courage and determination.”
To see the full photoset, featuring more dwarves with their LEGO figures, as well as Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Ian McKellen as Gandalf, visit The Hobbit Facebook page.