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Hobbits bonding and feeling at home in NZ

; Quelle: Southland Times

The four hobbits were somewhere near Queenstown yesterday, waiting to film their next scene in the Peter Jackson trilogy Lord of the Rings.

Secrecy and security prevented a face-to-face interview, but they were prepared to talk to The Southland Times about the growing bond between them, and about becoming Kiwis.

"Well it's slowly seeping into my blood," Elijah (Frodo Baggins) Wood said in his heavy Californian accent.

Wood said he was sitting in fellow hobbit Billy (Pippin) Boyd's trailer along with Sean (Sma) Astin and Dominic (Merry) Monaghan, wearing their hairy hobby feet, robes over their costumes and watching a movie.

After a year of filming together, the four actors were inseparable, Monaghan said.

They spent up to 14 hours a day on the movie set, went on holiday together in Thailand and Australia, spent time off together at weekends and had all started surfing.

Wood had a house in Wellington, which he now considered home, while Astin's wife and three-year-old daughter were also living in New Zealand.

Astin joked his daughter was bilingual: she spoke American and Kiwi.

Although filming at times seemed a blur, Astin said he was still having a ball.

"Every other day you're in a helicopter to the top of some amazing mountain."

Wood said the role of Frodo had become second nature.

"Initially I was less comfortable.

Now Frodo has been in so many different situations . . . the world of the Middle Earth has become innately familiar," he said.

The foursome were scheduled to head back to Wellington early next week, but the intense filming regime won't end until Christmas.

Wood said he expected to be back in New Zealand next year for "reshoots." After that, he was sure he would come back just to visit. "I feel like a local. I've made good friends." Queenstowners might catch a glimpse of the actors during the next few nights. Astin was especially interested in dinner.

"Thank God we're in Queenstown, it has great restaurants," Astin said.


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