And you convinced yet that Dominic Monaghan is one terrific actor?
The Englishman, of course, became internationally famous as the lovable hobbit Merry Brandybuck in the Lord of the Rings movies.
A year after the last of those movies, he topped that with a break-out performance as the heroin-addicted musician Charlie Pace on Lost.
Then last year, he shook things up yet again with a turn as the mysterious and menacing Dr. Simon Campos on Flash Forward.
If you’re not convinced yet what a terrific, versatile actor he is, what in the world is it going to take?
Since Dominic is so often featured in genre-themed projects, we were eager to talk to him one-on-one. At a recent press event, along with several other reporters, we finally got a chance:
Question: Do you have theories about your character on Flash Forward? How much do you yourself know?
DM: I know some things. I know his motivation, I know where he’s going, where he’s headed. Then there’s other things that I don’t know.
I feel like if Simon doesn’t know, then I — Dom — doesn’t want to know. If Simon knows, then I want to know. So those are the questions that I’m asking [producers] David [Goyer] and Jessika [Goyer] in the writers’ room.
Q: Do you pay attention to what the fans say about you?
DM: Some stuff. I’ve been [to some sites] a couple of times and read a couple of things, what people think about the character and the show. I don’t tend to dive into too much, I don’t want to get too dangerous.
But I’m online, and I search around, and I go to forums.
Q: Do you ever see conspiracies on the online boards and think, “Oh, wow, you’re so wrong.”
DM: Or you’re so right! I saw a lot of stuff with Lost, and I saw a lot with Flash Forward where I think, “Wow, these guys are on it. These guys know what’s going on! These guys sound like they’re in the writers’ room, because they’re predicting things that are actually happening.”
Q: Between Lord of the Rings, Lost, and now Flash Forward, you seem to be doing a lot of fantasy and science fiction. Is that something you personally enjoy, or is that just a coincidence?
DM: I don’t necessarily know if it’s purely coincidental. I became an actor because of Star Wars. I watched Han Solo when I was seven or eight, and I thought, “That’s what I want to do.”
I have a large collection of fantasy in my film library, from Dark Star to Dark Crystal to Star Wars to Star Trek to 2001. Lots of sci-fi.
But I probably have more comedy, [more] America gangster movies than anything else.
It’s just good projects more than anything else. If you look at those three things, I don’t necessarily see the link being fan-based, ComicCon wet dreams. It’s more that they’re good projects. Lord of the Rings was a great script, Lost was a great project, Flash Forward was a great project.
I go where there’s good writing and a great chance to do something new.
Q: You mentioned Star Wars, which reminds me of Mark Hamill and the problems he had breaking away from the role that made him so famous. You made such an indelible impression in Lord of the Rings. Were you ever worried about being typecast?
DM: Yeah, and I had a year or so where I wasn’t working and felt as if I in danger of being locked into those movies and never get out of them again. I got very lucky with Lost. That was a very adorable character to play, and I think the audience very quickly leapfrogged with me from the character I played in Lord of the Rings to Charlie.
You’ve got work out your challenges in your job and set your mind on that goal. I know I can act, I know that I’m capable of acting, so really that as a challenge isn’t as complicated for me as navigating my way through the pigeonholes that people want to put me in.
I stopped worrying [too much] about learning my lines or being present on the set or giving a good performance, and I started concentrating my thoughts on how do I navigate my way through this business when I don’t look necessarily look like Paul Newman and I’m not built like Hugh Jackman. How do I do that?
Q: Was there anything you turned down?
A: Sure! I turned down a lot of pixie-like, elf-like [characters], guys who live under toadstools and bridges. And I turned down a lot of adorable best-friends-to-the-lead-guy, who’s just kind of a nice guy. I was like, “I don’t wanna do that.”
I still hold back. When I was younger, roles I played were much more comedic-based. I love comedy, and that’s something I ultimately I want to do. But I said to my agent going into my career in America, “I don’t want to do comedy until I’ve proven that I can do drama to a large audience.” Because then when I do comedy, they’ll say, “Oh, yeah, but he is a dramatic actor.” If you just do comedy, then you’re going to have a very hard time breaking into drama.
Q: Did you have to convince the producers of Flash Forward you could do “dark”?
DM: No, I don’t think so. They’re big fans of Lost. I think they saw something in Charlie that was dark enough. He had some dark moments. He can be a bad-ass when he feels like that.
I think David and Jessica wanted that. They were like, “We watch the show and we watched Charlie, and we liked it was he’s f***ing bad and not nice. And we want you to play that character all the time. So if you’ll let us, that’s what we want to write.”
I was like, yeah, that’s what I need now.
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