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Call that heralded an unexpected journey for Hungerford actor

Tanya Haji

A HUNGERFORD actor has described his role in the blockbuster film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as an experience he would never be able to explain. Adam Brown originally auditioned for the role of Bilbo Baggins (the part played by Martin Freeman), but was cast as Ori, one of the film’s main dwarfs. In the Peter Jackson film adaptation of J.RR. Tolkien’s fantasy novel, Ori and the other dwarfs are accompanied by Bilbo Baggins on their quest to the Lonely Mountain. Brown, aged 32, went to John O’Gaunt Community Technology College, Hungerford, and studied Performing Arts at Middlesex University but is best known to West Berkshire audiences for his work with comedy partner Clare Plested. Plested and Brown also have been regulars in pantomimes at the Corn Exchange and it was while he was undertaking a press call for panto in Newbury that Brown got the call from his agent that would change his life. He said: “It was unexpected and random. “Thousands of people auditioned and I was one of the chosen ones. Ten days later, in early January 2011, he was in New Zealand on set alongside such big hitters as Sir Ian McKellen, James Nesbitt and Martin Freeman, taking part in his first film role. The first two months of the 18 months in Wellington were spent in “dwarf bootcamp”, where he and the other dwarfs had to take part in horseriding, sword fighting and dialect lessons. Brown said: “A lot of it was training to become a dwarf – learning to walk and to use a weapon like one. That was a great way of bonding – it made us like a troop. By then it was just like a boy Scout group on holiday – we were mucking around in a trailer park.” Although he was initially nervous, Brown said that he was made to feel very welcome on the set by the celebrity cast, crew and director Peter Jackson. “The cast were so lovely and took me under their wing. My first day on set the crew gave me a round of applause. The friendships I made there are forever.” He said that it took about four hours for make-up and prosthetics to be applied every morning to give him his dwarf characteristics, including a bigger nose, a bigger forehead and a beard made of yak hair. “It was itchy and uncomfortable – especially when it was hot. The sweat you used to build up under the prosthetics. The feeling of taking off the make-up never got boring but you got used to being made up.” Brown described his part in the film that broke box office records on its opening weekend as “a gift”. “It feels really strange because we were in Wellington for such a long time, it felt like we were doing a Kiwi film. You don’t realise the whole world was waiting for this movie. “I’ve seen it five times now – I think that’s enough.” The actor will start working on the next two Hobbit films in May and June and he revealed that he would also shortly start work again with Clare Plested.

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