WELLINGTON – One crisp morning, I met a drained looking dragon at a small Wellington bistro for breakfast.
Smaug is forty seven but following the fifteen month Hobbit shoot seems older. He slumps in his chair and orders a white chocolate mocha.
Now that you’ve seen the completed film, how does it match up with your experiences?
It isn’t strictly speaking a biopic. I mean they glossed over my years singing in the Liverpool club circuit. In the original script, they showed my short stint as opening act for popular prog rockers Genesis, which was handled pretty well, we filmed a section of it and then, poof! it was gone. That’s the industry though.
You’ve been quite public about your anger at having your voice replaced by Benedict Cumberbatch in the movie. Do you think this attitude will make future directors wary of hiring you?
Look, I told Peter Jackson to his face it was bullshit! [Jackson maintains that Smaug’s Liverpudlian accent was ‘out of place’ in Middle Earth- Exec] but when you’ve had the constant stream of rejections I’ve had, you get used to it. I missed out on Dragonheart with Dennis Quaid back in the day, and that one hurt. I didn’t even get a call back for Game of Thrones, and even with this I had to audition about four times.
Really? you had to audition to play your own part?
Surprised? Yup, it came down to me and Gary Busey in the end. I had to sit outside the room listening to him doing an impression of me! In the end my physicality only just swung it. Busey’s good, I’ll give him that, but he’s too unpredictable and aggressive and ironically his breath is too flammable.
So what’s next? surely with your profile now there must be some offers coming in?
There’s been some discussion about a cameo in the new Cher movie, the Aquaman one [Click Here for more on that story] but it’s got a lot of underwater stuff and I’m mulling it over. Me and her go waaaay back and it’s… well, it’s complicated.
What would be your dream project?
I’m kinda sick of the movie industry at the moment.
I would’ve thought you’d be thicker skinned by now.
Very f*cking funny. maybe TV? what’s that HBO show? GIRLS, yeah, I’d like to have a go at something edgy like that. It’s filmed in New York right?
Maybe not then, I caused a some damage there when I auditioned for Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla…another disappointment. What the… ? I can’t believe this shit. This interview is over.
At first, I thought he was offended by my line of questioning but then I realized the waitress had brought him a white chocolate latte and his day had been ruined.
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