Berkshire born, Adam Brown's Hobbit journey has taken him from one shire to another. "I was doing panto in Newbury when I got the phone call," he tells Empire of his casting as Ori, the youngling of the dwarves' company. "This whole thing has just really flipped my world upside down." A mere 17 in dwarf years and packing only a slingshot, his character will be leaning on older brothers Nori and Dori for support during the adventure ahead. After all, wargs, goblins and a ferocious dragon lie in wait, and you don't have to deal with them at the Newbury Corn Exchange.
Tell us about Ori...
Ori is the youngest, so he’s kind of the baby and his brothers are Dori and Nori. He looks up to Nori a lot, and Nori’s a bit of a rebel, while Dori’s the “stay at home and look after yourself” one. The concept is that Dori’s come to bring me back home, but we end up going on this adventure with Bilbo. What Philippa (Boyens) and Fran (Walsh) were saying, “We’d like him to be a fish out of water.” He really shouldn’t be on this journey. I loved the fact that all the guys have got huge weapons and I’ve got a little, tiny slingshot.
If you’re a baby dwarf, how old does that make you?
In dwarf years, about 17. Fili and Kili would be about 25. Underneath his jacket, I’ve got a little knitted cardigan and knitted mittens and a tiny pocketknife. As a first movie, The Hobbit is not a bad place to start.
How did it come about?
I’ve got a theater company back in London, and I’ve been touring with that for about ten years and writing my own stuff. I just got a phone call from my agent saying “A-ha, I’ve got an audition for you,” and I was going, “Really? Do I have to?” because I was in the middle of a production. Then he said, “It’s for The Hobbit!” And I went, “Please, not another touring show…” And he’s getting really infuriated, “You’re not going round schools, it’s The Hobbit, GO for the audition”. I actually read for Martin’s ( Freeman) role – this was when Martin was not going to be able to do it because of his Sherlock contract – and it went really well, but I didn’t really think it would happen. When I got the phone call I was doing panto in Newbury...
You were doing panto?
In Newbury... And I got a phone call saying, “You’ve got The Hobbit,” and I just couldn’t believe it. This whole thing has just really flipped my world upside down. It was just really odd to be in a room with Ian McKellen sharing cucumber sandwiches.
Do you think small?
Even for a dwarf, I am small!