Lords of the Things: ‘Hobbits’ return to New Zealand for insect quest – Calgary Herald

Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan revisit Hobbiton in this week’s episode of Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.


Billy Boyd calls them “animals that most people would try to avoid.”

The Scottish actor is talking about his Lord of the Rings pal Dominic Monaghan’s television show Wild Things, a nature program that finds the actor travelling the world in search of insects. Boyd, who played Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took opposite Monaghan’s Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck, joins his fellow hobbit in New Zealand for this week’s episode.

It’s fun to imagine what actors do together during their time off. But, in this case, the pair’s extracurricular activities seem less than glamorous.

They trod through caves looking for glow worms. They poke around cow manure to study the habits of dung beetles. And — spoiler alert — for the climax, they track down one of the largest insects on earth, the elusive Giant Wetapunga. (They can reach up to 10 centimetres and weigh 70 grams).

“It bit me,” says Boyd, on the phone from Los Angeles. “I knew it. As soon he passed it to me I thought ‘Dom’s been handling this for 10 minutes and it’s fine. As soon as he gives it to me, I bet it bites me.’ And it did.”

Monaghan assured his friend that the bite was merely the insect’s way of testing what it was she was climbing around on, even if she did draw blood.

Boyd isn’t complaining. While he may not share Monaghan’s obsessive interest in insects, he is a big fan of Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan and was keen to appear in the show. And travelling to New Zealand — Monaghan lives in Los Angeles while Boyd lives in Scotland — was perfect for the two actors, allowing them to revisit the breathtaking vistas that Peter Jackson made use of in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Along with their bug pursuits, Boyd and Monaghan visit Hobbiton and tour the Shire.

“To go back to Hobbiton, back in the Shire, having drinks in the bar,” Boyd says. “It was wonderful. It was such a perfect trip.”

Boyd, of course, is often asked to reminisce about his most famous role. Last weekend, he was in town for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, joining fellow Lord of the Rings alumni Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Craig Parker (Haldir the Elf) and Sadwyn Brophy (Eldarion) for a panel discussion.

“As an actor, if you’re lucky enough to have done something that people remember and people love, you’ve done all right,” says Boyd. “And to do those films is almost the ultimate of that. We’ve done something that nobody had never done before. We had a real fellowship doing it. And with the love and passion that people have for those films, I can’t see myself ever getting tired talking about it.”

Boyd and Monaghan remained friends after the trilogy was shot. They hope to start production of a film they wrote together, which Boyd describes as a road movie.

“It’s sort of like the old Bob Hope, Bing Crosby Road To movies,” he says. “It’s got that vibe. It’s got music. It’s got us fighting over a girl.”

Boyd says he wasn’t surprised when Monaghan began his series, which airs on OLN.

“If we were filming out in some forest or something and had a tea break, he would be under a tree trying to find things,” Boyd says. “That was his meditation. To walk around nature and find these things. For quite a few years, he had talked about doing a TV show that would be a spotlight on animals that most people would try to avoid.”

Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan airs Tuesday on OLN. (and BBC America)

Source: The Calgary Herald


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