As we get closer to the release of the highly anticipated, and highly secretive, release of Prime Video's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power from Amazon Studios, more information from the Second Age of Middle-earth's history is being revealed (expanding from J.R.R. Tolkien’s work), now from Canadian actor Dylan Smith, who we will see as a kind of “prehistoric Hobbit” on September 2.
“I play a character named Largo Brandyfoot, who is a Harfoot, which is in essence a prehistoric Hobbit, you might say, because the story takes place thousands of years before what the stories are that we have come to know through the films,” Dylan Smith told Yahoo Canada. “I'm a devoted father to my two daughters,..a devoted husband to my wife Marigold [Sara Zwangobani].”
“I'm dealing with my oldest amazing daughter Nori [Markella Kavenagh], sort of a young woman coming-of-age, she's got her own ideas about the way…we as a society should be, about the way she should live, and I'm quite an encouraging, mischievous father who is very much in favour of my daughter's whimsies and her authenticity. I think I deeply admire my daughter, for her authenticity, for her courage, for the fact that she believes we should strive for more, and always working through that conflict of empowering my daughter to go off in the world and at the same time, try to protect her from the potential evils that lay out there.”
Speaking about the Harfoot in particular, Smith explained that with very little written about this early concept of the Hobbits we saw in the previous Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, and read about in the books, this was an opportunity for “invention,” while still “under very strict Tolkien supervision.”
“We're a refugee people who have been on the move ever since the last great war when we were sort of stripped from our homeland and because of that experience, we're a people who are absolutely primarily concerned with their survival, and to survive, we believe we both have to keep moving and stay completely hidden from the world, and that's quite absolute,” Smith explained.
“We as a family and then we as a people are always seen together, that was very exciting to me because some of…our scenes involve eight, ten people all talking at once and having an opinion about everybody.”
Dylan Smith defends, praises 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' showrunners
When news of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power broke, some were surprised to see Patrick McKay and JD Payne as showrunners, with some mention of their relatively limited experience, compared to what many were expecting for the individuals to take on such a beloved story realm.
But Dylan Smith is quick to shut down any of those concerns, highlighting that McKay and Payne are the perfect pair to create this story set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books.
“I am interested in sort of what experience actually means when it comes to this, I think it is such a specific world for such a devoted fan base that the most important thing you need is to have the most devoted fans to help this writing,” Smith said. “I think you couldn't have two more devoted fans…than the two showrunners, they are devoted, one of them speaks fluent Elvish.”
“The Tolkien estate has supervised the creation of the show with a fine tooth comb, representatives from the Tolkien estate have been in the writers room from day one. I think there's an absolute devotion to getting this right.”
Smith himself was incredibly impressed with what he saw on the page, describing it as a “spine-tingling sensation.”
“The first thing we got was two episodes and we didn't get it until we got to New Zealand, and when we read it, it was a spine-tingling sensation, the first two episodes were mighty, you felt like somebody really had the reins of a grand story and I was utterly blown away from the first Zoom meeting I had with [McKay and Payne] to find out where they envisioned the character going,” Smith said.
“Before I even accepted the offer, I was utterly blown away by their knowledge, their humour, their wisdom, and then when we got to the first table read…I was completely gobsmacked by the talent in the room.”
Moving further into what we can expect in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power seres, Smith teased that every episode will feel like it's own feature film
“Every episode is a feature film and I think it's the right format because…I think what's so appealing about this material is it does take us back to myth, there's nothing low stakes,” Smith said. “Everything is a matter of life or death, everything is about love, family, hubris, ego, power. How far into the darkness will you go to protect the things and the people you love?”
“It taps deep into our experience as human beings in the way that Greek theatre was a religious experience because it was an essential part of the society, I think this genre takes us to something greater than ourselves and we are in times that are testing our resilience, and our choices, and our values because there are matters of life and death going on.”
As J.R.R. Tolkien fans wait with bated breath for next month's premiere, we're certainly at the edge of our seats to learn about Sauron's rise to power in this ambitious new story.