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.