Good Morning Australia, with Bert Newton

Good Morning Australia, with Bert Newton

March 9th, 2004, source: Good Morning Australia

Craig Parker Interview

Good Morning Australia, with Bert Newton

Bert Newton- “The Lord Of The Rings” if you’ve ever heard of it, it’s just an amazing set of movies and one of the fine actors from New Zealand who plays “Haldir” in Lord Of The Rings, unfortunately he’s not in the third one because your character got killed off, but it’s wonderful to have Craig here for a number of reasons, apart from being a fine actor and being in one of the most famous of all movies, a movie that will, as long as we’re here on this planet, they will know of Lord Of The Rings, but also is a very, very popular star in a regular series in New Zealand. Pleasure to welcome to GMA, CRAIG PARKER. Welcome Craig, lovely to have you here”

Craig Parker- “Thank you very much, thank you”

Bert Newton- “Some New Zealand friends of mine, when they knew that you were coming on the show, they were running around with one leg in the air absolutely thrilled.”
Craig- “Yeah, that’s what we do in New Zealand. Yeah, it’s the hills.” Bert- “Well, well of course. Those sheep are fast aren’t they, they’ve gotta be able to run.”

(Craig moves forward laughing at the last comment them places his thumb in his mouth)

Bert- “Craig, were you dissappointed when you realised your character was not going to be in the third one, that you’re going to be killed off?”
Craig- “Yeah it was umm, I pushed in front of Peter Jackson one day in the lunch queues and you know pusshhkk (makes throat cut gesture with his hand), you’re out of there, you’re not supposed to do that. No, Phillipa and Fran two of the co-writers with Peter told me quite earlier on that they were thinking of writing this sort of death scene, but as an actor you always want a death scene you know, it’s the ‘Jesus Moment.'”

Bert – “With the series that you do, uh, Mercy Peak, which is one of the most watched shows in New Zealand, how did you manage to juggle with that?”
Craig – “There wasn’t much of a crossover really, most of the shooting with Rings happened before we started shooting Mercy Peak, so I think there was only about a 2 month crossover for me.”

Bert – “You must be a fair way ahead with Mercy Peak then?”
Craig – “We’ve finished shooting now, we’ve done 3 series which will play as 6 series on television.”

Bert – “Oh right.”
Craig – “So yeah it’s all pretty much wrapped, we finished September last year.”

Bert – “I’ve done a show on New Zealand TV, Craig, a talent quest… it was on at 6.30 on a Saturday night in New Zealand and I was beaten by about 15 points – by the Sheepdog Trials!”
Craig – (laughs) “You can’t mess with sheepdogs Bert.”

Bert – “What is the interest in watching Sheepdog Trials?”
Craig – “I don’t know if that show is still on, but it was the Holy Grail, you know, you put a sheepdog on a show, you had a top-rater. They’ve got Paul Holmes now, so he’s the New Zealand version of a sheepdog.” (laughs)

Bert – “Craig, with the gig coming of for Lord of the Rings, did you have to think a couple of times – apart, obviously, from the thrill and the fact it was going to be good for you – of the time you would have to allocate, because while you were doing that you couldn’t do much else?”
Craig – “I was fortunate, you know. They guys, the Fellowship, they were there – they spent 2 years of their life slogging away up hills and things. I would go down for a couple of weeks, play silly-buggers and then go home for a month or so. And the Helm’s Deep sequence, you know the Battle of Helm’s Deep – um, guys were shooting that for 3 months in winter, in a quarry, at night. So they would get up as the sun was going down, film all night and go to bed as the sun was coming up. So I would go down for a week and go ‘Ooo, isn’t this fun?’ and then go home, while they all quietly went mad.”

Bert – “Did you realise you were in a piece of movie – an artistic history?”
Craig – “I think we were all aware we were working on something quite wonderful. I think the books themselves were quite wonderful, and Peter’s vision for them was brilliant. We were sure of that. I don’t think anyone realised how huge they would be and the madness that would surround them. So, that’s been quite a ride.”

Bert – “Were you at the Oscars?”
Craig – “Yes, fantastic night.”

Bert – “Wonderful night.”
Craig – “It was magnificent, there was – it was terrifying, as we were up to 7, you know, 7 in a row! And then you had 8 coming up and um, particularly coming towards Peter’s Oscar, everyone was crossing everything that they could!”

Bert – “Because it broke some records, didn’t it?”
Craig – “Oh yes, fantastic, 11 from 11! I think the Americans were a bit peeved by it.” (does silly US accent) ‘It’s our Oscars! And we won nothing!’ But we had the best time and everyone was so RIDICULOUSLY overexcited.”

Bert – “Did you get the chance to meet Billy Crystal?”
Craig – “Uh, no, never met him.”

Bert – “I thought he did a super job.”
Craig – “Yeah, fantastic.”

Bert – “That wonderful line where ‘every New Zealander has been thanked…'”
Craig – (laughs) “Which is true though, you know! Australia is a big country, New Zealand we’re smaller than Tasmania, so EVERYONE is involved in these films somehow or other, or has a brother or a cousin or a sister who worked on it. So we feel very proud, like it is our own little movie.”

Bert – “Now I didn’t know until the other day, I was watching the history channel…”
Craig – “As you do.”
Bert – “Yes, as you do! And I didn’t realise that millions of years ago New Zealand was part of Australia and it kind of floated off.”
Craig – “Yes, we paddled off.” (makes paddling motions, grinning)
Bert – (mumbles something not funny)
Craig – (laughs politely)

Bert – “Really, so there you go. I wonder if eventually it might sort of – make its way back?”
Craig – “Yes…”
Bert – (does stupid voice) “Australia, stand by for the Sheepdog Trials!”
Craig – (laughs)

Bert – “The beaut news about Lord of the Rings is of course, the DVDs are released, the first and second ones are out now…” (waffles on about ROTK being out soon, stuffs up and corrects himself twice, finally getting it right and saying it’s out May 25th). “Thanks for your help there, Craig.”
Craig – (laughs) “Yes, 25th of May this year.”

Bert – “Now tell us about this convention you’re going to, I believe you’re quite a star at these conventions?”
Craig – “Well, Best of Both Worlds, in Canberra. I went this year to the last one… no, last year. I’m confusing myself now! They, um, I have done a couple now, and initially I was terrified of them, having seen ‘Galaxy Quest’ – brilliant film – but they’re actually these wonderful events where over the weekend, people who adore Tolkien…”

Bert – “And what happens at a Lord of the Rings convention?” (gets out sheet with details on it and reads).. “At the Chiffley on Northborne in Canberra?”
Craig – “The Chiffley on Northborne? Yeah, (smiles) it’s a whole lot of people – 500 people are coming this time. They’re all, you know, in love with the story of the films in some way. There’s a couple of guys from WETA coming over, who – conceptual designers – who’ll be doing workshops, they’ll be Question and Answer sessions, there’s talks, there’s lots of eating and drinking… (evil grin) Basically it’s like school camp for 3 days, so everyone gets together and misbehaves.”

Bert – “Well, it’s a terrific opportunity” – (plugs BOBW website) (plugs LOTR DVDs again) “… It’s been a pleasure…”
Craig – “Likewise.”
Bert – “.. to meet you and I hope you have a great convention and I hope you come back and see us sometime.”
Craig – “Thank-you.”
Bert – “Craig Parker, a thrill to have him with us today. And of course, part of something which will remain always in the history of entertainment. Must be a good feeling.”