The Hobbit: Burying the hatchet over Bifur

William Kircher in his role as Bifur. Photo / APN
William Kircher in his role as Bifur. Photo / APN

What's your actual height and did you lie about it to get the part?

My actual height is 3ft (90cm) but I told them I was taller because the dwarfs are 4ft or 5ft tall. In reality, I knew they could change my height with CGI [computer-generated imagery].

Was that a real beard? If so, how long did it take to grow?

Yes of course the beard was real and it only took 250 years to grow. Just kidding ... actually the beard was real but it first grew on a yak.

Did you have any initial problems remembering who was who in the company of dwarfs?

Our looks are all so individual that remembering names wasn't too much of an issue for me, although I did spend a few weeks getting Fili and Kili confused! The real trouble was actually recognising the other actors in make-up. It was a mindblowing experience at first because we looked outrageous with our new faces ... but after a while it became completely normal to associate these new faces with my fellow dwarf actors.

Had your guy instead been part of that other storybook dwarf team, what would your name have been?

A bit Dopey in the morning, Grumpy during the day and Sleepy at night.

The Fellowship of the Ring blokes went out and got tattoos. What was the dwarf bonding equivalent?

We had rings secretly forged in the fires of Mount Doom. In actual fact the rings were designed by Weta Workshop and forged by Jens Hansen. They are secretly engraved with a depiction of the journey.

Of the other actors in the Hobbit cast, were there any who made you slightly starstruck, and why?

I was completely starstruck with Ian McKellen because he is one of the best actors in the world and I thought he was magnificent in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I was a bit starstruck with Martin Freeman because I loved his work in The Office and believed his casting as Bilbo was a brilliant choice.

In figuring out how to act like a dwarf, was Gimli a good starting point?

John Rhys Davies was just great as Gimli. When I re-watched the LOTR trilogy before we started filming I noted that he never lifted his head to look up at his fellow [tall] actors ... he just did it with his eyes. Maybe it was just because he coudn't lift his head up with his helmet on ... but for whatever the reason it looked a lot stronger than raising his chin.

Presumably you will be immortalised as an action figure. Will you be giving them away as Christmas presents?

No ... I will be asking all my friends and family to buy them and give them to me as Christmas presents.

Who's who

Who: William Kircher from Wellington
Who plays: Bifur
Who? The dwarf with the remnants of an Orc axe in his head, which has already caused concern among the Tolkien faithful because that gag definitely wasn't in the book. In the movie, he's apparently the company's most unhinged and least conversational member.

- NZ Herald

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