The Canadian actor talks about “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”
If you saw the new trailer for “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” last week, you were probably struck by the epic scale of the highly anticipated television series, a vast prequel saga to “The Lord of the Rings.” Rings” by JRR Tolkien. and “The Hobbit”.
But it was actually the show’s most intimate attributes that drew actor Dylan Smith to the project.
Smith, a Canadian actor currently based in Australia, wasn’t even sure what he was auditioning for when he tried out for the eventually revealed role as Largo Brandyfoot, such was the secrecy surrounding the show. But “it was clear that the key aspects were being a father, which I had just become; to be a husband, which I am, and (to be) willing to show your love for life, for family… So that was kind of a universally human audition.
That’s not to say Smith, known for TV series like “Into the Badlands” and “I Am the Night,” wasn’t impressed with the ambition of “The Rings of Power,” which debuts on September 2 on Prime Video.
“It translated from the first chart read,” Smith said in a Zoom interview. “We arrived and there were microphones on each actor’s table. There were two powerful cameras. The showrunners stood up and gave these exquisite speeches about ‘This is the Beginning of Our Journey’…
“And you just knew you were taking on something that meant so much to so many people around the world.”
“The Rings of Power” made what Variety described as “its biggest splash yet” last week at Comic-Con in San Diego, where the new trailer was unveiled and a panel of more than two dozens of actors and creatives, including Smith, was chaired. by superfan Stephen Colbert.
It is said to be the most expensive television series ever made, with a reported budget of $465 million (US).
It is set thousands of years before the events of the bestselling ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ books and movies, “and will take viewers back to a time when great powers were forged, kingdoms grew glorious and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung on the slenderest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever sprang from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover the whole world in darkness.” , according to Amazon.
All of this action means a massive ensemble cast. Smith, who was born in Montreal, is the only Canadian onscreen, which isn’t unusual considering he often works outside of Canada.
Smith’s father is Oscar-nominated director John N. Smith, his mother is Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Cynthia Scott, and his brother, Bruce Smith, is a screenwriter, though conversations around the family dinner table are more likely to revolve around politics than show business.
“Somebody asked me, was the Oscar on display? It was like, are you crazy? We couldn’t even find the box it was hidden in. Now we asked him to keep it out of the way, but she stuck a Santa Claus puppet on it,” Smith said of her mother.
So it was never certain he would join the family business – he planned to be a hockey player until injuries cut short that career path – but see ‘Needles and Opium’ by Robert Lepage in Burlington, Vt., “opened me up to this.”
Smith began in theater, studying at the University of Toronto and the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England, while joining the inaugural season of Soulpepper.
“I still think I would love to do more acting, but I definitely feel more comfortable on a film set than anywhere else in my life, maybe other than my three-year-old son,” he said. -he declares.
He wishes there were more Canadian actors in “The Rings of Power”. “I don’t think I’m an exceptional Canadian. I just think I was a Canadian positioned in the right frame to get access to the show. But I’m very proud to be a Canadian from a group of Canadian actors.
Smith said he was also proud of the cast as a whole, including actors who play his wife and children.
Largo and his family are harfoots, prehistoric hobbits: “people who were displaced from the last great war…refugees whose sole purpose in life is to survive. And we do this by constantly being on the move in defined migration patterns and making sure no one even knows we exist,” Smith said.
Largo is husband to Marigold (Sara Zwangobani) and father of two daughters, including Nori (Markella Kavenagh), “a key character on the show coming of age… And my character goes through the thing that every parent goes through from, on from a hand, meaning, “Go take the world by the horns, be whatever you want to be”, and at the same time trying to protect her from the very real danger that lies out there, especially to our people. It is therefore a very human story and parental relationship, and very nicely told.
Smith was able to take his real family with him to New Zealand, where “The Rings of Power” filmed on location for over a year and a half. He called the scale of the production “astonishing”, especially the detail that went into the costumes and props.
Harfoots, for example, have carts in which they travel and hide, each made of cane that was grown and woven by a man living in the South Island of New Zealand. “And he designed a (different) weaving pattern for every family in the harfoot community… when you see that detail, not to mention the condition of the equipment, the cranes, the drones, whatever – but for me, the detail was what made it epic.
Smith comes to “The Rings of Power” as a fan and participant.
“The original three movies were a big influence on me,” so being on the show was exciting, he said.
“There is no bigger Tolkien fan than the two creators of our show,” he added, referring to Patrick McKay and John D. Payne. “So I think there’s a lot of love in doing it and we plan to release it. And I think the disagreements and the debates (among fans) will just be wonderful fodder and a wonderful testament to the work of Tolkien.
“I’m absolutely behind how Amazon and our showrunners decided to make this show, and where they took this story to the Second Age.”