Thanks to Kenneth for the note on this article!
IGN Interviews Dominic Monaghan
filmforce.ign.com – December 16, 2003
It’s that time of year again.
You know the one I’m talking about.
Come on… You know.
Okay, fine, I’ll tell you. This is the time of year when we cart out the big guns and deliver some of our massive in-depth interviews with castmembers from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. We’ve done Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, and Billy Boyd.
This week it’s Meriadoc himself, Dominic Monaghan. Next week is a surprise.
So until then, I hope you enjoy our interview with Dom. I’m sure Viggo Mortensen won’t.
Dom’s got a few projects to be on the lookout for (including that buddy flick with Billy Boyd), but the next one coming up is an independent film titled Shooting Livien.
DOMINIC MONAGHAN: Yeah…
IGNFF: Were your parents stationed there, or…
MONAGHAN: My parents are kind of like hippies, you know? They enjoy traveling and being in new places and stuff, so they moved to Germany. My dad’s a teacher and my mom’s a nurse. It just worked, luckily enough, and they speak German, so we lived out there. It was good. We moved every three years.
IGNFF: And you spent a fair amount of time in Germany, right?
MONAGHAN: Yeah, 11 years.
IGNFF: Culturally, what was Germany like at that time for a kid your age?
MONAGHAN: I was only a little boy, and I was born there and then left when I was 11, so I really don’t know an awful lot about it… But German food was kind of tasty, and it was a lot hotter than England in the summer and a lot colder than England in the winter, so we had a lot of snow and sledding and snowball fights, and stuff like that.
IGNFF: You also got a very clear sense of seasons…
MONAGHAN: Yeah, which you don’t really get in England as much. I really liked German food. And it’s very clean… It’s a very clean country. They kind of get rid of the waste really well… the garbage. They recycle and are very environmentally aware, which is something I’ve held onto, and keeps me conscious of how much waste I cause in L.A., so I try to recycle and I try to get involved with environmental companies – which I’m sure came from the fact of living in Germany where they’re so proficient at getting rid of their waste and so conscious of the fact that it’s an important thing to do.
IGNFF: Growing up, would you visit England, or was it not until you moved back that you got your first sense of it?
MONAGHAN: No, we came back every year to see my grandparents and my cousins. When my brother and I were young – and we’re still now – we were very close with our cousins on both sides of the family, so every year we would come over and get really excited that we were going to hang out with our cousins for Christmas and New Year, and see our grandparents. So once, maybe twice a year we’d come back to England.
IGNFF: How much of a difference was it going to school in Germany versus going to school in the UK?
MONAGHAN: Not a huge amount of difference. The good thing for me was that I knew when I moved back to England that if I made friends, I was going to be friends with them for a longer amount of time than just three years. I used to get quite upset that I’d make friends with a guy or a girl and then within the space of three years we’d move and go and live somewhere else, and you’d have to say goodbye to that person. So I was really excited about the fact that I could now form some really close friendships and that they’d be my friends for a longer amount of time. In terms of schooling, it’s probably about the same, you know? They’re both on a pretty high quality standard of education, I think.
IGNFF: If I remember correctly, you were a pretty good student, right?
MONAGHAN: Yeah, I was kinda good. I was kinda like… I got good grades… I tended to get A’s and B’s in my grades. I was a straight-A student in Drama and German and Geography, and things like that. And athletics. But I was kind of like the cheeky kid in school. Nothing too malicious… Nothing too nasty… I never really got into too many fights, but I was the practical joker – I’d put drawing pins on teacher’s seats and squirt water pistols at people, and invisible ink…
IGNFF: So you knew where to draw the line so you wouldn’t get in too much trouble…
MONAGHAN: Yeah, because my dad was a teacher – not at that school, but his brother was a teacher at that school, so my uncle worked at the main secondary school that I went to when I got back, so I couldn’t fool around too much. But I would steal sticking-sects from the science lab and put them in girl’s handbags – just kind of foolin’ around… Tomfoolery… I never got into that much trouble. I got sent to the headmaster for a few things, but I think more than anything my teachers kind of knew that I was more mischievous than malicious.
IGNFF: And what were your creative interests at that time?
MONAGHAN: I think when I was younger I was a lot more manic. Now I’ve kind of calmed down a little bit, but as a kid I was always the entertainer at family parties. I’d always be the kid up singing and dancing and telling jokes and fooling around, and high energy. I must have been a nightmare for my parents. Moving back to England, I started doing more plays at school. I played the Artful Dodger in Oliver!, and Bugsy Malone… I played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. I started to get bitten by the bug a little more seriously. I was then buying books about acting… I was buying a lot of plays, I was buying a lot of screenplays from movies, and acting them out in my bedroom. Just starting to feel it a little bit more. And in my extra-curricular time, I’d be writing plays, or I’d be thinking ideas, or I’d be fantasizing about if I could play Indiana Jones or I could play Han Solo. I started to get involved with youth theater outside of school. The main thing for me every year was the school play, and I very quickly realized that there was no one else in the whole school that was as enthusiastic about doing plays, or as invested in them, you know? I was good at football – you guys call it soccer… I was good at soccer, but I wasn’t the best. I was good at geography, but I wasn’t the best. With drama, it was just a thing that I knew I could do.
IGNFF: Something you could personalize a bit more?
MONAGHAN: Yeah. I could do it and I wasn’t scared. I think a lot of young kids at school are very conscious of trying to keep credibility in case they kind of stand out in a crowd and get bullied by trying to stay cool and stuff. And my whole thing, all the way through school, was I was just a goof… I didn’t care. I loved making myself look stupid, I loved fooling around, I loved putting on different voices, and acting up. I used to do impressions of all my teachers at school and certain kids in my classes. The thing that I personally thought was being cool was messing around and goofing off. Whereas I think a lot of kids my age try to stay under the radar by just being quiet and being not someone who stood out. But all I ever wanted to do all the way through school was to be an individual and just stand out…
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