When dwarves get together, it’s always a bit of a raucous time (just ask Bilbo), and the panel on Friday at 1PM in Centennial II–III (Hyatt) was no different. From the outset of the panel, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, and Dean O’Gorman joked, laughed, and poked fun at each other, seeming to enjoy themselves on the panel as much as we were enjoying them.
The moderator opened the questioning by asking each of the guests what it was like seeing some of their scenes in the completed movie. O’Gorman talked about how emotional he became on seeing Fili’s death scene. He noted that he felt a little odd crying at his own death scene, but he was genuinely getting emotional—though he also said that he “cries at pretty much everything.”
Hunter added that most emotional scene to film was probably saying goodbye to Bilbo. O’Gorman also talked about another scene where Bilbo was leaving where the dwarves gave Martin Freeman a group hug on one take of that scene. They did note that Freeman probably didn’t enjoy that as much as they did, saying he was likely to shove them away, tell them to f*ck off, and then give them the finger. Hunter mentioned that he’d never met anyone with as big of a potty mouth as Freeman.
One question was about what the most cumbersome prop was for each of them to carry, and O’Gorman immediately answered Aiden Turner. The audience laughed, but O’Gorman was at least partly serious. Fili had to carry Kili (played by Turner) around quite a bit. But O’Gorman noted, “He’s my brother; he ain’t heavy.” The audience groaned.
Hunter said that the armor was particularly cumbersome for him, as well as the heavy prosthetics he had to wear. It would take 45 minutes just to remove all of the prosthetics when he was done at the end of the day. Also, the prosthetics would just soak up water. “It took four guys to pick me up out of the water after the river scene,” Hunter said.
Hambleton said that carrying the shoulder packs up the mountain where they confronted the stone giants was particularly cumbersome for him. O’Gorman also commented about the costumes and prosthetics soaking up the rain during that scene. Hunter added that it was particularly hard for Aiden and Dean to smolder when they were all wet.
The stories from the set came steadily and easily with each question either from the moderator or the audience. One thing that was abundantly clear was how close they all were. Each of them had a “dwarven ring” made. Hunter was wearing his and described what was on each ring and inscribed inside them. They chose the rings as something to bond them together, like the Lord of the Rings cast each getting the same tattoo.
With all of the talent assembled in one movie, one of the questions was about whether they were ever in awe of the other actors. All three of them said they absolutely were but were having to play it cool. Hunter talked about filming the first scene in Bilbo’s house and finding himself sitting across from Freeman and Richard Armitage and then suddenly Sir Ian McKellan walks in. And he just had to sit there for a moment and think, “Yes, this is happening.” Hambleton added an anecdote about sitting around at McKellan’s pub and finding himself discussing Shakespeare with Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Ian Holm.
When the time for the panel was up, the audience clearly wasn’t ready to let them go yet. The good news is that there are several more opportunities to see these guests as well as other guests from Middle-earth the rest of the weekend.