Jed Brophy Visits the Prancing Pony 5/30/04

The following is a compiled transcript of a Q & A that was posted at the LOTRfanclub's Prancing Pony Board when Jed Brophy generously allowed us to submit questions for him to answer.  This Q & A was arranged by Lithilien Quicksilver.
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Jed Brophy as Sharku and Snaga
Jed Brophy ('Snaga', 'Nazgul' and 'Sharku')
Visits the Prancing Pony Board of the Official LOTR Fanclub

May 30th, 2004

Q1: Queen of Gondor asked: In the 14th issue of the LOTR Fan Club magazine, you said you had worked with Peter Jackson before LOTR. What is it like to work with him? Does he put lots of stress on so it is perfect? Is he fun to work with?

Jed: He is one of the few directors you completely trust to get the best result so it takes a lot of the pressure and worry. He is a great deal of fun to work with because I think peter genuinely loves his job, and so do most of the people around him.

Q2. Gideon asked: Having worked with PJ before, did that make you more confident about working on LOTR? Did you know what to expect / have an inkling of what Peter would ask of you?

Jed: I think every actor feels a certain amount of anxiety before undertaking a film role, but peter has always managed to make me relax.He never made me feel as if I didn't know what I was doing. I know from experience that He does like you to bring some kind of performance for him to work with but that he also can have a very clear notion of each characters parameters so yes in that way i knew what to expect.

Q3. fellowshipfan asked: When you are watching the LOTR do you think 'Whoa, that's me?!' or can you forget about the fact that behind all that it's you?

Jed: I get that feeling watching anything I've done so yeah a wee bit, but the magnitude of the films catch me up every time i see them. I get more of a buzz recognizing other folk I know. You get used to seeing yourself as a prosthetics character so it's no shock really.

Q4. Gideon asked: How much time and effort went into the fight scene with Viggo? In the LOTR magazine, you stated that you enjoyed it very much as the level of professionalism and fun was high, but what actually went into the fight in terms of choreography, preparation and problem-solving?

Jed: Around 5-6 days if i recall. There are always a lot of technical problems to solve when trying to create fast moving action on an animal that isn't there or is static, and then combining weapons and fight choreography, and we had all those going as well as cold weather and then all the background action as well. Viggo myself and the stunt coordinator and the director of photography, mapped out where the camera would be in relation to the action and then Viggo and I talked through a logical sequence of blows blocks and retaliations which would coincide with the animals supposed movements, and also where the dramatic beats would be. i.e where Aragorn comes off the Warg, how he gets on all those things combined to create a step by step sequence. Viggo would say "If I head butt you what would you do back and we would work the fight up in this way. So yeah making complex and technical look natural and simple.

Q5. Gideon again: What are your fondest memories of being part of the team?

Jed: being part of the horse department for all its Drama was still a highlight in my career, as it combined my love of horse , films and the grand landscapes of New Zealand. Those horse battle scenes are i think some of the best days of my life. Also having my family so involved. Seeing them on screen makes me tear up every time.

Q6. Gideon once more: Of all the characters you played (in LOTR), which was your favorite?

Jed: Crazy as it may sound, being one of the Black Riders, full on action. But loved working with Viggo too so tough call. Snaga was the most fun as a character.

Q7. Gideon’s final question: Do you hope to be involved in King Kong?

Jed: I would hope love to be involved. Anything that peter and Co are doing i would love to be a part of.

Q8. DoctorGamgee wanted to know: The orcs required a great deal of prosthetics to bring them to the screen. Do you find that leaving your own face in the make-up trailer (so to speak) allows you to access parts of your personality that usually lie dormant (at least we hope!)?

Jed: I've always been able to access the darker side of my nature. Sure the mask helps because the aspects of the physical changes spur you to make decisions about how you will play the character.

Q9. DoctorGamgee again: When you are playing more 'real' characters (especially those who are 'good guys'), do you find that prosthetics which are more involved than hair or beards help or hinder the search for truth in a performance?

Jed: Beards are a pain as they usually needed to be glued on as i had to be clean shaven for the prosthetics. Anything which changes your appearance has that double edged problem of helping but also halting a truthful performance. So the truth of a character needs to come from in you.

Q10. DrG once more: If the Fan Club dream becomes a reality, and 'The Hobbit' directed by Peter Jackson gets a green light, what role would you prefer: a goblin, one of the 12 dwarves, or perhaps one of the Beornings? And does the amount of prosthetics affect your decision?

Jed: Ideally i would just like to be involved but for sure it would be good to be a human occasionally. What work there would be for me wouldn't be my decision.

Q11. Primula asked: You mention in the fanclub magazine article that your youngest son got to work with Liv and Viggo. What part did he play?

Jed: Sadwyn played the part of Eldarion Aragorn and Arwen’s future son. He's thankfully pretty unaffected by It all, although would love to go and live with Viggo in the states I think. He’s a very lucky little boy.

Q12. Lith was curious: How was Sadwyn selected for the role of Eldarion? Many have commented upon his uncanny resemblance to Liv, speculating that Arwen’s and Aragorn's son would indeed very likely have looked like this (given the actors who portrayed them). Was this resemblance a factor in his selection?

Jed: He's actually blond, and i see the likeness to both the Actors but I believe he just nailed the Audition and indeed the performance.

Q13. Prim asked: Of all of the people you worked with in the filming of LOTR, which ones come to mind as those you would eagerly want to work with again, and in what capacity?

Jed: Viggo obviously as an actor it would be great to work with him on another film. Dreams are free. Anything that either Peter or Richard or fran or any of the myriad of talent from LOTR I'd work with again at the drop of a hat.

Q14. Prim again: Do you feel you have picked up much technical knowledge as a part of the acting? Do you have any desire to follow through on that, to try filming, editing, directing, makeup, etc. yourself?

Jed: I've directed and written and produced my own short and am collaborating at present on a feature film so yeah soon I hope to do all of these.

Q15. Primula once more: Do you have any "blooper" memories (family friendly, of course!) that you would be willing to share?

Jed: Yeah my teeth for Sharku were so big that speaking in them reduced the crew to hysterics, the words sounding like. "Tha tha tha tha, tha tha tha da tha"

Q16. Prim’s last question: Do you find as time goes on that the cast and crew are still interested in keeping touch or collaborating on projects, or have they pretty much moved on to other events?

Jed: No we keep in touch and of course we would like to work together. It is convincing the people with the money to part with it for a project. The will to work together is always there when you have had a great time doing something together.

Q17. Éowyn of Ithilien wanted to know: Did you do the voice of Sharku? ("He took a little tumble off the cliff..." Great line.) While Gwallgofdy asked: How did you get your voice to sound so wonderfully horrible during the Sharku death scene?

Jed: We had black blood in my mouth for that scene and it was very cold so the voice is a mixture of those elements and acting "Dying" You kinda pretend you are Gargling blood.

Q18. m4sure asked: You played such a diverse range of characters in all the 3 movies...did you ever get confused & mix the roles up a little?

Jed: No you see they all look different.

Q19. m4sure’s next question: You said that once you were made up in looked & felt evil. Did you ever scare any of the cast members...if so who?

Jed: No you had to go all out to scare this crew. By the end everyone was unscarable.

Q20. m4’s last: If you had a chance to do LOTR again...what character would you like to be & why?

Jed: Well obviously Aragorn, but then I don't believe I could do the part justice. Viggo is Aragorn. Any attempt now would be so measured against that portrayal.

Q21. Celedor asked: Did you know that your dialogue (as Snaga) would be looped by Andy Serkis, and what did you think of his voice for your character?

Jed: Yeah i was unfortunately not in the UK when they post sunk that scene. He did a great job. But I have to say the original I did was not that different. He did a great me.

Thanks again for your time, Jed, and for lending your talent to help make LOTR the stunning cinematic journey it has been. The fans will never forget nor lose their love and loyalty toward all those who have made our dreams come true. ~ Lith

Responses and thanks from the fans:

Bregalad: Thanks! It was interesting about the part his son played. I hadn't known that.

Mathom : Thanks - That was great!

Queen of Gondor: Yep! Thanks soooooo much, Jed! It's so awesome that you answered these for us! (((((Jed)))))  My question was answered! The answers were so cool to read!! Thanks!

m4sure: Will have to send you the movie of Jed I got at C5 one of these days...very funny.

Primula:  This is wonderful - thank you so much, Jed (and Lith too!)

Tinidril: Oh my goodness! Your son was *perfect* as Eldarion! Thanks for taking the time to answer! =) 

sarahstitcher: Ditto! I thought he was perfect. Thanks, Jed, for the time, this was great!

Old Toby: Great interview! Thanks Lith and Jed! I wondered who that was that played Eldarion. Terrific!

Evermind: Hey, thanks for organising all this Lith, it's so great to read! :-)

Frodo Baggins: Thank you so much!! You have one of the most beautiful boys I have ever seen. I loved him!

fellowshipfan: Thanks Jed!! It is wonderfully kind of you to do this for us!

KingundertheMountain: Thanks Jed!!  A wonderful read.

Lothithil:  Thanks, Jed! This was a wonderful and interesting interview!

m4sure:  Thanx so much (((JED))) for answering my questions!...and a BIG thanx again for allowing me to film you at Collectormania5...eating that sticky iced bun of yours! Thanx again for being such a lovely man!

Vaires:  Those were great questions. I enjoyed reading his answer's.

Gideon: HUGE thanx to Jed for answering our questions and Lith for organising the interview.