James Nesbitt spoke to the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio this morning. The actor joined the show live via telephone from Wellington, where he and his family have currently relocated as he works on the eagerly-awaited follow-up to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit. Due to the time difference, the star spoke to the DJ in his pyjamas (blue and white check, for all those wondering), but he was awake enough to discuss his roles on The Hobbit and in upcoming TV drama Monroe.
Nesbitt is cast as a dwarf, Bofur, in Peter Jackson’s upcoming film, and told Christian O’ Connell what he had been getting up to: “We haven’t started filming, we got here mid-January and we were supposed to rehearse, doing lots of horse-riding and framing and stunts and all that, but then Peter got ill, he had a perforated ulcer, so filming was delayed for a few weeks. Filming starts in about three weeks and I start in a month, but it’s been great, so I’ve had lots of time off.
“We’ve been here for training, because I’m going to be here for a year so the amount of work and the work we’ll be getting up to means we all have to be fit, you know, and a few of us are getting on a bit, so we’ve been training and horse-riding and doing stunts and all that kind of thing, and then we start.”
The actor will star alongside a host of English and Irish actors including Martin Freeman, Ian Turner, Richard Armitage and Robert Kazinsky as well as the big names reprising their roles from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Inevitably, with the production taking place in New Zealand, the impact of the earthquake in the Canterbury region has been felt. And Nesbitt experienced one of this year’s 60,000 lesser earthquakes in Wellington yesterday, but the country’s focus remains on Christchurch:
“There was one last night, yeah. I thought it was just wind actually, to tell you the truth… I think the earthquakes have been terrible in Christchurch, it’s very sad, and it’s been felt very keenly emotionally all over the islands because they’re a very tight group of people, the Kiwis, so its been awful, but people are getting on with things and trying to lend as much support as possible.”
James Nesbitt will next be seen on our screens in Monroe, which begins on ITV on Thursday 10th March. The drama centres on a neurosurgeon (Nesbitt) at the peak of his professional career whose personal life begins to fall apart. Written by Peter Bowker, who wrote the Nesbitt-starring Occupation, after his own personal experiences brought him face-to-face with the profession, it was the intelligent writing thatattracted the actor to the lead role: “It was just a great opportunity, but the writing is always the thing that would attract me to it, and his (Bowker’s) is the best.
“His daughter, when she was four, got a brain tumour, and she was cured, it was all fine and she was fixed by this amazing neurosurgeon, and Pete became very interested in the notion of handing over his daughter, this very fragile little girl, to someone who would open up her head and hopefully take out this awful thing. He became fascinated by the work that neurosurgeons do, you know, they delve into the very thing that contains our humanity and everything really, and they try and fix it.”
With St. Patrick’s Day coming just a week after the TV drama begins, Absolute Radio asked the Irishman what he would be doing on the day: “Well I’m not filming (The Hobbit) yet, I’m rehearsing, so I might not be rehearsing much that day.” So more time off for the actor, but will he be able to find a celebratory pint of Guinness in Wellington?
“Yeah, I could find that in the Arctic.”