At HobbitCon (full report here) I had the wonderful honour to interview the great Graham McTavish. He was so nice that I didn’t even have a reason to be starstruck. Enjoy!
ArchedCory: You are the first dwarf to enter Bag End. What would you say is Dwalin’s role in establishing the audience’s expectations for Tolkien’s dwarves?
Graham McTavish: Good question. For me it was certainly the most enjoyable moment in the whole making of the film that I had the privilege to be the first one to enter Bag End. It’s such an iconic building. But I think as far as Tolkien is concerned, and in the way we have done it, is that Dwalin is the most ferocious of all the dwarves, and if you had to choose one that you didn’t want to arrive at your door you’d probably choose Dwalin. And for Bilbo to open the door to such a figure I think really conveys that these are not the dwarves from Snow White. These are dwarves that eat all your food and then go to battle afterwards. So I think that’s why.
Which is your favourite weapon? The axes or the warhammer?
The axes or the warhammer. Well there are a few more weapons to come.
Also the knuckledusters, but the Elves took them away.
Yes, but there are some you haven’t seen yet. But I’d say the ones that you have seen…
Well, you can tell me your favourite of all of them.
No, no, I won’t do that. But the ones that you have seen, I loved the warhammer. I really did. The axes are fantastic but there was something about how you can spin a warhammer.
We also saw you doing archery training.
Yes, in the vlogs. So are we going to see Dwalin use a bow?
Well, you might. You have to wait and see. Yes, I can’t tell you that! (laughs)
We know that Dwalin has an unbending loyalty for Thorin. How far will that loyalty go when he falls under the gold sickness?
Well, again, you know the book. I can’t really say in terms of the film where that leads, but… Let’s put it this way: All the characters go on journeys. And Dwalin is no different. So that’s the best way I can answer to that question.
Let’s say if Thorin was crowned king, what would you say would be Dwalin’s place in his court?
Well, I think he’d be a trusted advisor and also a man that would stand with him in the event of any trouble. And he would probably be the first to meet that trouble. That’s the kind of character Dwalin is. He is this sort of “do things first and ask questions later” guy.
We all know that Thorin and Dwalin almost grew up like brothers. Do you think that Dwalin had some kind of role to teach Fili and Kili to fight?
Sure, I do! I think they’d have a very close relationship as they were growing up.
Like a father?
Yeah, he would have been a mentor to some degree. I think he would have seen a great deal of himself, particularly in Kili. I think he sees something of himself there.
Cause looking back to his youth I think that there is sort of… not an irresponsibility about Kili, but there is a sort of… He wants to do more than he is perhaps capable of at a certain point in his story. And I think that that’s the kind of thing that Dwalin would have remembered from his own youth.
We read in an earlier interview that maybe you were going to do a haka at the premiere of the third film. Do you have any news on that?
No news. We are definitely trying to get it done. We are talking to Philippa and Peter and Fran… The only difficulty is getting all this together for rehearsals. Cause you don’t want to do it half-cocked. So it may end up not all of us but just some of us that can do it. Particularly the Kiwi based actors I think would be able to come together and do something. But I think it would be wonderful.
Can you tell us anything about your upcoming movie “Plastic”?
Plastic? Oh, it’s completely different! It’s based on a true story. It’s based on a con that was perpetrated against a jeweller, an L.A. based jeweller. And they changed that to a Florida based jeweller. And I play that character. But he is conned out of a great deal of money with jewels. There are gunfights and running around, jets, so it couldn’t be any more different from the Hobbit.
So you are going to have an American accent in it?
(mocking, in American accent) Yeah, yeah, I’m an American as well.
That’s too bad actually. I love the Scottish.
Well thank you!
Thank you very much for the interview, Graham McTavish!