Actor/comedian Billy Connolly doesn’t strike me as the type of person who parrot out generic answers to questions about his latest projects (as opposed to, say, Liam Neeson talking about the “character development” in Battleship). My notion appears to be correct, because in an interview with New York magazine he openly admits that he isn’t a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing even though he is appearing in The Hobbit movie series in the key role as the dwarf lord Dain Ironfoot.
But not only does Connolly confess his dislike for Tolkien’s writing, he even says he generally dislikes people who are fans of Middle-Earth. He says, “I’ve never read The Hobbit. Never. Never read Lord of the Rings. I could never read Tolkien. I always found him unreadable … I didn’t read [the books], and I normally don’t like people who have! The people who love it, they’re kind of scary. They talk all this gobbledygook and they think of it as the Holy Grail.”
In fact, he reveals that despite knowing very little about the source material he has a pretty good strategy when dealing with rabid Tolkien fans, explaining, “Usually I just make stuff up because I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
Though he obviously won’t be writing a forward to one of Tolkien’s novels anytime soon, Connolly does express appreciation for the overall story and the script, co-written by director Peter Jackson. He says, “I mean, the scripts are brilliant, very good. But I always disagree with people who think the movie should be like the book. A movie’s a movie, and the book’s a book.”
Regardless of his feelings on Tolkien, Connolly will have to talk about the films for at least the next year and a half: the first of the three Hobbit films will be released this December, with the other two to follow in December 2013 and July 2014.