The Hobbit: Evangeline Lilly Fears Her Character Will Be "Black Mark on the Film"
09.19.11 by BJSprecher
As highly acclaimed and phenomenally successful as Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is — a combined total of nearly $3 billion in worldwide ticket sales and an incredible 17 Academy Awards — there are still those die-hard fans of the original J.R.R. Tolkien works that blast Jackson and for not only having the audacity to adapt Tolkien's books, but to change the canon by adding and removing characters with numerous plot divergences. In a recent interview to promote Real Steel, Evangeline Lilly admitted to being one of those fans who initially thought it was "sacrilege" for Jackson to adapt Tolkien's work. She also admitted that she is "very concerned" that fans will consider her the "black mark" on the two-part prequel to the LOTR trilogy, The Hobbit, because her character, Tauriel the Woodland Elf, doesn't exist in Tolkien's world.
When the original came out in theatres, I swore up and down that I would not see them because I thought it was sacrilege that anyone would adapt Tolkien's work. I didn't think anyone would justify films by making them as good as they should be. Then my entire family when I was visiting went to see the movie and so I relented and went. We were all fans of the books and we were all blown away! It was a little piece of magic what Peter Jackson accomplished because it was truly a homage to the books rather than an offense.
Lilly said that even though purists like herself may not approve of her new character sharing screen time with Tolkien classics like Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), and Elrond (Hugo Weaving), she said that additions needed to be added to "round out the story" with some female characters.
I am very concerned to this day that people will watch the film and I'll be the black mark on the film. I know how adamant the purists are and I'm one of them! That said, upon reading The Hobbit again, as an adult, I can see why additional characters were needed to round out the story as an adaptation — especially female characters! The Hobbit didn't include female characters at all and was a very linear story, a book for children, really. What Peter, Fran (Walsh) and Philippa (Boyens) have done is all in perfect keeping with Tolkien's world, while adding a third dimension to an otherwise very two-dimensional story.
Lilly went on to say that, even though The Hobbit is currently in production more than 4,600 miles from her home in Hawaii, the role of Tauriel allows her to be "in and out" of New Zealand, giving her the flexibility to write and spend time with her family.
It worked out well. For a lot of actors, being that tied down would be problematic for their careers because they wouldn't have the freedom to take any other part in the meantime. For me it's perfect because I want to have time to spend with my family and relax and focus on my writing. This role gives me a framework within which to do that because I'm not working all the time but I'm working enough. When you're not working at all, you get lost in space and time and don't accomplish anything. It's a flexible work environment and I don't have to be estranged from my family.
The first chapter in the two-part prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, doesn't open until December 2012, but you can see Lilly on the big screen opposite Hugh Jackman and "Atom" the fighting robot when Real Steel opens on October 7.