Sean Astin explains why Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood roasted him

Photo by Danny Peterson.

Sean Astin is recounting the hard time he received from his colleagues while filming The Lord of the Rings trilogy in what sounds like some bouts of gentle roasting. But the jabs at Astin’s expense may have actually been for the sake of the filmmaking, it turns out.

During a recent Q&A panel he co-hosted with co-star Elijah Wood at Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Oregon, Astin joked that the film projects he likes best were the ones where he was “really skinny.” By that metric, he has great fondness for The Color of Magic miniseries from 2008 since he was “running all the time” back then. He joked that The Lord of the Rings “blew,” by comparison, since he had to put on weight to properly portray the role of Samwise Gamgee.

However, the weight Astin put on was apparently not enough to satisfy director Peter Jackson to the point that Jackson would openly discourage the actor from exercising and eating healthy.

Astin recounted one time in which he was photographed by a paparazzi leaving a gym in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, with one of the crew members of the film. When the photo made the front page of a prominent New Zealand newspaper, Astin said he returned to work the next day with Jackson examining the photo on a monitor. Jackson, according to Astin’s account, then told a crew member, “More loillies for Mr. Astin, please,” while shooting the actor a dirty look simply for exercising.

However, another instance of being roasted on the set was for the exact opposite reason than Jackson’s.

“The best was in the Osgiliath Ruins, when we get that great speech and Frodo is lost and we fall down the stairs, and he takes Sting and he’s out of his mind, he’s going to kill… he’s got the Sting at Sam’s throat,” Astin said, referencing a scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in which Wood’s Frodo, under the spell of the One Ring, takes his sword known as Sting to Astin’s throat at the climax of an altercation. You can find a clip of the scene below.

“The camera’s here and Elijah’s there and I’m like on my back, you know, and Peter’s like, ‘put [the sword] under his chin.’ And Elijah goes, ‘which one?’” Astin explained, as the fans that packed the ballroom in what may have been the most popular panel at the con burst into laughter.

In all fairness, Astin said he did not believe Wood was actually trying to hurt his feelings, but was genuinely asking Jackson where exactly he wanted him to place the blade, being the professional actor he was.

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