Merry and Pippin almost shared a nude scene in The Lord of the Rings movies
The Lord of the Rings is, among other things, a beautiful portrait of male friendship. In both J.R.R. Tolkien's original novels and Peter Jackson's live-action film adaptations, the story abounds with moments of powerful emotional intimacy between characters like Frodo and Sam, or Legolas and Gimli, or Merry and Pippin.
Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, who played the hobbits Merry and Pippin in Jackson's films, stopped by The Late Show on Tuesday night to chop it up with known Tolkien superfan Stephen Colbert. After singing a rousing rendition of the hobbit drinking song "The Green Dragon" together, Monaghan and Boyd revealed to Colbert that there had been a possibility of even more intimacy between Merry and Pippin. In fact, they almost shared a nude scene together.
After the two actors had been having a bit of fun on set with "gags" and pranks, they were approached by co-screenwriter Philippa Boyens, who said she had a new scene for them to shoot.
"She said, 'Oh, it's a new scene, we're filming next week with the Ents, with Treebeard," Boyd said. "'So when Merry and Pippin are up Treebeard, he gets afraid and shakes his branches, which makes you guys fall.' This has all been printed in the script. 'It makes you guys fall and as you hit all the branches on the way down, by the time you hit the ground, you're naked.' And Merry turns to Pippin and says, 'it's cold, isn't it?' and Pippin says, 'hold me, Merry.'"
An unsettled Boyd called Monaghan to discuss the scene, but found that the Merry actor was surprisingly interested.
"I was kind of into it, because I have a really fantastic ass, and I thought now this is the time to get it out," Monaghan said.
This story is particularly funny given the online petition that has been signed by over 48,000 people begging Amazon Studios to keep nudity out of the upcoming The Lord of the Rings TV show. In order to disprove this petition's point, Colbert invoked another nude scene involving hobbits – this one from Tolkien's actual books.
After reading the scene (taken from the much-maligned Tom Bombadil chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring), Colbert said, "so I don't want to hear it from any of the prudes who don't think they shouldn't be any nudity in The Lord of the Rings."
Watch the full clip above, and remember you can always revisit EW's 2014 cover shoot of Colbert dressed as Lord of the Rings characters.