Sean Astin Tries On Rings - Sci Fi Wire

Sean Astin.
Sean Astin, who plays Sam Gamgee in Peter Jackson's upcoming Lord of the Rings films, told SCI FI Wire that he learned "so much" about the acting craft as a result of his participation in the big-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy. "I learned a lot about my voice, about my body," said Astin, who put on 30 pounds to portray the Hobbit gardener who joins Frodo (Elijah Wood) and the other members of the fellowship on the treacherous journey to Mt. Doom to destroy the Ring. "One of an actor's most important tools is his body. I learned what I'm capable of doing with and to my body, in terms of weight loss and weight gain, and I spent six weeks [working] with two dialect coaches."

Astin's genre credits include The Goonies; the "Snap Ending" episode of Perversions of Science, which he also directed; and Harrison Bergeron. He spent 16 months shooting Rings in New Zealand. "I got to study with Bob Anderson, the world-famous swordmaster," said the actor, son of Addams Family star John Astin, who worked with Jackson on The Frighteners. "So I got to learn a little bit of sword technique. The catalogue of what I learned as an actor is so huge that I could fill books with it."

Astin added, "I studied very briefly with [acting coach] Stella Adler, and she used to say, 'It's the actor's job to tell the truth onstage.' And here we are making a fantasy. I think I learned how to tell the truth in an incredibly dynamic setting, in ways that would be very challenging to tell the truth, because of sleep deprivation or fear or other things. I [also] learned what the modern actor is faced with in this digital age." The first Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring, opens nationwide on Dec. 19.

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