Read the original interview here: Lord of the Rings’ Merry Brandybuck Communes with Nature – TVFirstLook
German-born Brit actor Dominic Monaghan has landed some pretty incredible Hollywood gigs, like playing Charlie Pace for six seasons on ABC’s Lost and standing out among a slew of actors and CGI effects as Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Despite those enormous successes, Dominic manages to remain humble, charming and decidedly his own person. Which includes a burgeoning artistic photography career and traveling to exotic lands in search of even more exotic creatures.
His real-life interests have spawned the small-screen gem Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan (Tuesday, 10pm on BBC America). Dominic spoke with TVFirstLook about the show’s second season, hanging out in Australia with Rings‘ Billy Boyd and saving an elephant – and then nearly getting killed by it.
TVFirstLook: OK, how did you get interested in nature and, well, wild things?
Dominic Monaghan: I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in nature.
The fun thing about being interested in nature is that it’s everywhere. It’s all around you. There’s no opportunity to say, “Well, I don’t have time to do that right now.” It was in my garden, my bedroom and on my TV.
As I got older, I started traveling with that in mind, in an adventurous way. I went to places to look for animals in places where other people don’t go. My interest in animals would dictate where I went.
Then, I got this opportunity to pitch this as an idea for a TV show.
TVFirstLook: What is the process of turning your interest in nature into a TV show?
Dominic: It comes from passion. It starts with the animals that I am passionate about and the countries that I am passionate about. In pre-production, I probably deliver 10 or 15 ideas. Then, the production team delivers about 10 to 15 ideas.
From that, we come up with a final 10 or 12 ideas.They are always subject to change, like if there’s a scarcity of animals or there are complications with visas we’re applying for or there’s difficulty communicating with local guides.
We flesh out the episode with other cool things about the country or other animals in the area. If there are, then it’s a go.
TVFirstLook: The production sounds grueling with you and your team traveling around the world.
Dominic: Yeah, it’s definitely hard work. We’re in a territory for about a week. We are always moving. We never rest. We’re up at sunrise and we finish at sunset. We stay at some weird places. We’re hiking up hills all day or jumping in oceans.
It’s something I love doing, but it is exhausting. I come back about 10 pounds lighter.
TVFirstLook: You incorporate Lord or the Rings a bit into this season, right?
Dominic: Yeah, I go to New Zealand with Billy Boyd, who I was in Lord of the Rings with. We go back to the country where we were lucky enough to be involved with making Lord of the Rings.
We travel around the country looking at places where we filmed. At the same time, we are looking for the world’s biggest insects.
It was really fun going back there with Billy because we got to live that experience again.
TVFirstLook: OK, last thing. You saved an elephant while making season two, is that right?
Dominic: In the first episode, we tag along with a veterinarian surgeon. He saves an elephant who was shot in the leg. We are able to get up close to this incredible animal. From there, it woke up and tried to kill us. Which was good because it showed that his leg was working.