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Wednesday 18th December, 2002 - 1019 GMT
The Bernard Hill interview
Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill as King Theoden
Bernard Hill stars in the blockbuster Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers as Theoden, King of Rohan and talks to BBC Suffolk about his career and life in the north of the county.
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Lord of the Rings has been hailed as a once in a generation epic of trilogy to change the course of cinema. Is that how you see it? Do you believe all that hype?

Yes, I subscribe to that very much. I don’t think there’d be many film production companies brave enough like Newline to do a big project like this containing three films.

The initial outlay was quite phenomenal really and obviously the gamble was that the first one had to work to make all the money back because if the first film didn’t work then people wouldn’t go and see the second or the third, so a lot was hanging on the first film.

It’s very unusual - perhaps unheard of - to do a trilogy like that back to back.

Yes, it’s never been done before. Obviously with the Star Wars project, the concept was to do six to begin with, but they only ever did them one at a time. And there was a long time between the first and the second one, something like two years I think.

With such a classic book, you really had to treat it as one project. And it just made complete sense to do all three at once.

Is it a book that you were familiar with? Did you know the Lord of the Rings?

I've got a copy of it from 1977 for my birthday that I used as my reference.

I can’t own up to having read it all, it is a bit of a heavy read, but I read the second and third books when I heard that we were going to do this.

The first book kind of twists and turns so much, it’s much more whimsical than the other two. I thought I’ll read the script and get some background from the script for (film) one, but as far as my character was concerned there’s not really that much info in one at all.

Tell us about your character.

I play Theoden, King of Rohan.

When they come across him in his castle, he’s under the influence of Wormtongue who’s in the pay of Saruman who's been poisoning Theoden. Theoden is possessed by Saruman who’s Sauron's underlord, by that time arch enemy of Gandalf because they’re kind of equal wizards.

In film one there was a wonderful battle scene, a classic confrontation between two wizards, it’s just breathtaking that sequence.

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Is it possible to get DVD or tape of The Boys from The Black Stuff. Bill,St.Louis Mo USA
e.g. Tom, Ipswich

A truly remarkable actor, I love watching his films! Quite sexy as well!!
Lacey, Dallas USA

I love these films and have seen them countless times. Bernard hill is just the most amamzing person and actor ever.
Jenny, Barnes

Bernard rocks, wish I was back in suffolk.
David, Utah USA

I THINK THE FILM WAS MINT IV,E WATCHES 3 TIMES
JENNY,ROCHDALE

never knew we had a superstar living so close by
Tom, Ipswich

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