Talking with Billy Boyd, Jedi Hobbit

Everyone knows Billy Boyd from his role as Peregrin “Pippin” Took in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, but few people know that he really wanted to be a Jedi rather than a Hobbit.

Billy Boyd made an appearance at Dragon Con last month, and I happened to be on hand to talk to him about Star Wars. He couldn’t quite remember the first time he’d seen A New Hope (he was nine when it was released in the US), but he remembers the Star Wars saga as the thing that made him want to get into acting in the first place.

Setting the scene, Boyd took me back to 1983, his voice full of wonder, “I was in Butlin’s, which is like a holiday camp in Britain where you can kind of go with your family and whatever they pay, kind of everything’s free, they have rides and all that and you can just go on them because you’re in Butlin’s, so the cinema was free and the third movie was out and I would just go and see it every day.”

His story sounds fairly typical for us Star Wars fans, but he goes one further. “I tried to get my mum to go in, but I’d just go in and sit myself if nobody wanted to see it because I loved it so much.”

A New Hope, though, was something that seems to have simply appeared in his brain as it had for many of us. “Obviously I saw it, but I just can’t remember. I think I’ve been quoted as saying I didn’t want to be an actor, I wanted to be a Jedi, which is actually true. I liked the idea that you could pretend to be something, especially something that is quite good now because, as you say, it’s all with us. People with powers and go and fight dragons and all of that, I love all that.”

From that free cinema in the UK and his repeated viewings of Return of the Jedi, Billy Boyd went on to hone his acting and love of movies into a key part of the Lord of the Rings saga.

With new Star Wars movies on the horizon, maybe one day he’ll be able to fulfill his dream of being a Jedi. In the meantime, you can follow Billy on Twitter (via his band, Beecake.)

Bryan Young is an author, a filmmakerjournalist, and the editor in chief of BigShinyRobot.com! He’s also the co-host of the Star Wars podcast, Full of Sith.

You can also follow him on Twitter.

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