|The Hobbit Interviews: Stephen Hunter On Bombur|
'He just hits whatever gets in the road...'
Should there ever be a Dwarvish MasterChef, Bombur would be the one flambéing things and sweating nervously while Gregg and John pick over his lembas cheesecake and petty-dwarf consommé. He’s the chef in Thorin’s company, as well as a fearsome fighter and a source of much comic relief, stemming, says New Zealander Stephen Hunter, from the fact that “he’s a bit clumsy”. Orcs better run for cover, Bombur coming...
Tell us about Bombur...
It’s quite surprising how similar a lot of our characters are to ourselves. I mean Bombur, he obviously eats a lot and he’s a big character, but there’s a whole lot of other things that come along with him as well. He’s the chef and fond of his family – he’s very close with Bofur and Bifur - and I cooking in real life and love food. I cooked a feast for the boys on one of the early weekends. This little BBQ for all the other dwarves.
You seem like a tight unit.
The relationships I’ve formed with the guys off set is the real basis to what we’re doing on set, because we’ve become really close and I can see how some of the personalities are shining through in the characters and vice versa – which is a credit to Peter and Fran (screenwriter/ producer Walsh) and Phil (screenwriter/ producer Boyens) for their casting.
Did you know you were up to play Bombur beforehand?
Not really, though I had a sneaking suspicion that Bombur could be the role I’d got. It certainly crossed my mind but not consciously. I’m based in Sydney, so I flew to Auckland for the audition and then three months later got a phone call from my agent telling me I’d been cast as Bombur. It was insane. I knew there was a lot of comical things about him and physical comedy, too.
What stage was the production at when you auditioned? Was it Peter directing at that point?
No, it wasn’t official. Reading between the lines, you could presume that that would be the case but no-one really knew. There were auditions and then the process was stopped for a bit, and then they started auditioning other characters. Even after we got the call for the job there were a lot of things up in the air, which thankfully have all got sorted and here we are.
Have you got your head around the fact that you’re going to be doing this for a year, if not longer?
Not really. You know you’re going to be here for a long time and my family has moved over and it’s exciting, but once the movie is released... well, I’ve never been exposed to any of that before. But I enjoy the whole Middle-earth story, and Tolkien, and I know people are very passionate about it. If that makes people happy, then doing the conventions is going to be exciting.
Tell us more about Bombur. He is kind of the clown in a class of clowns.
I don’t think he means to be. That comes down to the physical side of him – just him walking or doing things, and the fact that he’s immense and he is so passionate about food. That just makes him comical. He’s a bit clumsy. There are a few surprises that will come up as well.
|"Do we think small? No, we just roll."|
He has very distinctive look.
Pete, Fran and Phil had a really clear view of what Bom was going to look like. The first time I saw it, it was quite a shock, but it was good, because he was so different to the others. You knew he wouldn’t get lost in the rest of the thirteen. I mean, Bom will never get lost because he’s so big, but I really liked the idea of having a distinctive beard and hair.
Does he have a distinctive fighting method?
He’s a very good fighter. I mean, Bofur, Bifur and Bofur are more scrappers, not your traditional style – we’d grab anything, tree-trunks or a big ladle or whatever you can fight with. He’s not too technical, doesn’t really move, just hits whatever gets in the road.
The Hobbit’s tone is slightly different from Lord Of The Rings, isn’t it?
The storyline’s a lot simpler. The dwarves give you so much scope to explore. I mean, you had Gimli [in Lord Of The Rings] but it didn’t really get into the world of dwarves. So it’s going to be exciting for people to see what life is like as a dwarf, because there’s so much variation.
What is the dwarf state of mind?
I guess going to Lonely Mountain means different things for all of us. I mean our guys (Bofur, Bifur, Bombur ) are more scrappers, we’re not from the line of Durin, so we’re maybe in it for the money, or we need the money to look after our family – so it’s not so much about the royal thing.
Do you think small?
No, we just roll.
Interview by Ian Nathan