Samwise Gamgee speaks
Last week, news broke that Amazon is in early talks with Warner Bros. and the J.R.R. Tolkien estate to develop a TV adaptation of the author’s beloved novels. Tolkien’s work was most famously brought to the big screen with Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy — and now, one of the original members of the Fellowship is weighing in on Amazon’s proposed series.
Sean Astin, who starred as Samwise Gamgee, stopped by EW Radio (SiriusXM 105) to talk about his role in season 2 of Stranger Things. There, he spoke for the first time on Amazon’s proposed LOTR series.
“I saw that the other day, and I thought that was intriguing,” Astin told host Kyle Anderson. “I’ve been saying for 15 years that maybe like 12 years after Lord of the Rings came out, that it would get remade. And people always said, ‘Oh no, it’ll never get remade! It’s a classic! They could never top it!’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’ll get remade. It’s a massive story! The characters are so beloved.’”
Anderson also asked Astin whether he’d be up for reprising his role as the brave, potato-loving Samwise Gamgee.
“I’m carrying the Samwise banner for the Peter Jackson version of Lord of the Rings,” Astin said. “When I saw the Amazon thing, that didn’t even occur to me. I just sort of thought, ‘What would it be like to see the next Sam there?’ I think it’s an intriguing idea [but] the devil’s in the details. How would they do it? How? Who?”
Astin added that he hoped Amazon would treat a possible Lord of the Rings series the same way Netflix treated Stranger Things — by stepping back and allowing the showrunners to deliver a good story.
“One of the great things about Netflix with Stranger Things is I’m sure they were giving script notes, but I never saw ’em,” he said. “The Duffers got to make their movie. And the same was true with New Line and Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. First of all, New Zealand’s far away. And there were times they asserted themselves, but in a core way, Peter was making Peter’s movie. So I don’t know. The challenge would be, could they find some team to do it that they could let to their thing, or are they going to squat on it? It’s hard to make a TV series like this by committee.”
It’s unclear whether the Amazon series would retell Tolkien’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy or focus on some other aspect of Middle-earth. In the meantime, Astin has his own ideas for what the series might look like — and which parts of Tolkien’s legendarium the show could explore.
“The Mines of Moria are referred to a lot in Lord of the Rings,” Astin added. “And I guess in the Hobbit trilogy, you spent a little time with them, but the culture of the dwarves in the mines… I would love to see like five hours of that.”
Listen to Astin’s full comments above.