Photos and Report

Bruce Hopkins and Craig Parker photo by Peter Fallon.

Guests included Craig Parker (Haldir), David Weatherley (Barliman Butterbur), Ben Wootten (Senior Designer at Weta), Sarah McLeod (Rosie), Bruce Hopkins (Gamling) and John Noble (Denethor). Brad Dourif had to cancel his appearance due to filming commitments.

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Photos courtesy of Peter Fallon.

Photos courtesy of Rebecca Richards:

Photos courtesy of Cristiana/Darkangelita Web Master for No.1 Parker Place. She has many more photos at her site and a report.
Keep checking back at both this site and Bruce's Official site. I add photos when I get them.

An interview by Demosthenes with Craig at TORN's Site, complete with a couple of sound bites.

A couple of friends of mine, Stripe and Feral, went to Best of Both Worlds and give this wonderful report. They are fans of Kevin Sorbo and run the Official Australian Kevin Sorbo Fan Club(approved by Kevin). Kevin Sorbo played the lead role of Hercules in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and plays Capt. Dylan Hunt in Andromeda.

        Best Of Both World Lord Of The Rings Convention
        Canberra Australia September 2003
        By Feral

The guest list was impressive and included Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton), John Noble (Denethor) David Weatherley (Barliman Butterbur - proprietor of the Prancing Pony) Ben Wooten (Conceptual designer for Weta Workshop) and of course Bruce Hopkins and Craig Parker (Gamling and Haldir)

With about 250 people, it was a fair size gathering, a few in costume ranging from an elf to an Elvin princess in full velvet gown but most just came to join in the fellowship, none were disappointed. Excitement built as the time for Bruce and Craig to appear on stage, the room buzzed and everyone took their seats.

The first thing you notice about Bruce is his long legs and that big grin. Bruce came on stage first and held the audience from the moment he walked onto stage with thunderous applause. He began with getting everyone on their feet and clapping their hands on their thighs like horses riding across the plains of Rohan, then stomping their feet and slapping their thighs together, the then yelling ‘Charge’. It totally relaxed everyone and set the mood for Bruce’s’ first on stage appearance for the weekend.

He was kind enough to treat us to a quick-change show before he began to talk about his LOTR experience, which gave the appreciative crowd plenty of photo opportunities.
He quick changed into 5 T-shirts (one after the other) that had been given to him during his time on set. First the was a T-shirt from the Rohan Riding Academy, then came Minas Tirith High School, The Isengard Swim Team, and T-shirt with a dancing knight that said ‘Why doesn’t Gamling dance anymore' and last but not least, LOTR- Gambling dept (with the B crossed Out). The fashion show was very much appreciated with a small story accompanying every shirt.

After our unexpected fashion show, Bruce opened the floor to questions and they came thick and fast. His humor and his dance skills we both in evidence as he pirouetted across the stage for us before answering yet another question.

He told us that his first audition for LOTR in 1998 was very generic and the call came through some time later that yes, he had a small role, approx 6 days shooting all told. But as history and Bruce tell us, his role of Gamling became over 60 days of filming mostly at Helms Deep.
Bruce even admitted he had read the ‘Hobbit’ not read ‘LOTR’ before being cast but once he was cast, he read it and loved it.

When asked what were the highs and lows of filming LOTR Bruce was quite definite. The best was learning to ride a horse. The hardest, well there wasn’t one. He was so impressed with everyone on the set. Everyone of them raised the bar on how good a performance they could produce from the costume dept, to makeup, the actors, the directors, even the weapons craftsmen and the caterers, they all strove to be better that they had ever been, give a better performance, it was awesome to be a part of.
The only incident he could recall was during one filming sequence on of the actors (Bernard Hill) asked him to check his ear after a shoot. He lifted the fella’s hair up and blood was flowing freely around his ear from a small wound. Apparently during the battle one of the Urukai sword had ricocheted off Bruce’s sword and nicked Bernard’s ear. A few stitches and he was back on set. It only went to strengthen just how everyone felt about working on LOTR.

He spoke of the beautiful scenery he had to work in, the heaviness and intricate details of his costume and as well as those he worked with and around, the long night shoots and the friendships he made on set.

Bruce was of course asked by the one or two {blush} Hercules fans in the audience to tell us about his days on the set of Hercules. For him his time with Pacific Renaissance on Hercules and Xena were a real learning curve. He remembers those days fondly and mentioned that all together he was in 5 Hercules episodes, 4 Xena and 1 Young Hercules but also said to check with the bloody fantastic girls on his official site ~www.bruce-hopkins.com~, his only officially sanctioned website, they knew more about him than he did.

He went on to tell his spellbound and captive audience that his work on the three ‘Lawless’ movies as Andy was a buzz, working with Kevin Smith was a dream. He was as close to perfect a mate as a human could be. Andy and his idiosyncrasies were a fun ride.

After a short break a very anxious crowd took their seats long before they had to. Craig was coming.

Craig was one of the more popular guests of the weekend and there are no guesses why.

Craig’s (supposed) 45 minutes was so full of laughter and cheekiness that there is no real place to begin. He was so full of smiles and flicked from topic to question and back again so fast with lots of good humor and boyish grins. His quick wit, well known to those who have seen him perform in roles other than LOTR, was very obvious from the moment he to took the stage. He was warm, generous and kind in both his patience and his wonderful answers to everyone’s numerous questions.

He began by telling us the torture involved with the appearance of his Haldir character in LOTR. He spent up to three hours at a time sitting in the makeup chair. His beautiful wig made of human hair was put together strand by strand, his own hair slicked back and gelled under a stocking cap. Pure Torture and such a good look. Then came the taped face-lifts and the ears perfectly done, and once on, it was hard to tell where his ended and the fake ears began. And yes, He speaks a little elvish, very little. Had he read the books before he started filming. Once long ago in school he tried but they were too descriptive to intense and he came to know the story of LOTR through the movies that were made over the following few years. Of course once he was cast, he read LOTR all over again.

This was one of the biggest things Craig had ever been involved in and probably ever will be, as for the rumors that Haldir will make an appearance in the last of the LOTR trilogy? Well he told us that he couldn’t tell us as there were spies everywhere, (he pointed to the air conditioning ducts), but that going to see the next movie would answer all our questions.

He mentioned the Battle at Helms Deep. He hasn’t done such active fight work for a long time and it took its toll. There was a month of fighting in the cold temperatures of winter, fighting guys who are over 6 and half feet tall. He also mentioned at one stage, as Haldir he was standing in front of a line of elves, all male models over 6 foot nine and just gorgeous. He mentioned that he had to be taller. So doing what all good actors do with limited resources at short notice, they duct tapes blocks to his feet. Now its hard enough to walk like an elf, to almost glide, with grace and style, but to do it with long robes over uneven ground, and look good on camera, its even harder than you can imagine. He lost count of the times he stumbled and fell before the blocks gave way and he almost twisted his ankle. Okay so the story may not be that funny, but told with Craig’s wit and style, the body language and the gestures, he had us in fits of laughter as we relived the memories with him.

One brave fan asked what Craig’s thoughts were, regarding the touching moment between Haldir and Aragon, when Aragon embraced him at Helms Deep. Craig immediately slipped into improv mode and told us a wonderful story. Not once on the quest did we see Aragon bathe, well did we? He walked and sweated, battled and sweated.. more sweat dripping, he walked and rode sweated and ran, even more sweat. He fell down a cliff, sweated some more and then rode some more, why do you think Haldir was reluctant to hug him back, hmm? {bg} The audience went wild.

At one stage he was told that the company making the ‘action figures’ for LOTR had publicly announced that there would be no Haldir figure. Poor Craig’s face dropped with disappointment. It was then pointed out that several online petitions had changed the manufacturers point of view and there was now a Haldir figure. Another fan up the back held up the box with his figure in it and Craig was off the stage and heading for her. He told us he had never seen his figure and was just so excited until he remembered what he use to do to his action figures. He wouldn’t elaborate further except to laugh wickedly.

He went on to tell us a little about ‘Scared Scriptless' and those horrid bowling style shirts, which he told us were the result of a four day migraine that was actually not a migraine. Again the cheeky smile broke through.

He ended his time with us with one special little piece of wisdom for all the ‘would be’ actors in the audience. 'Film makes you money, TV makes you famous, and theatre makes you good.'

Photos courtesy of Stripe and are copyright to the Official Australian Kevin Sorbo Fan Club.

The sites listed below have some wonderful photos of Craig and Bruce Hopkins at the Best of Both Worlds 19 convention held in Canberra, Australia Sept. 20 - 21, 2003.

If you have photos from that con and would like to share them here,You can e-mail me at:jmsstyxnyes@jmsstyxnyes.com and I will provide proper credit and a link back to your site if have one.

If you have photos of Bruce you would like to be considered for his official site, email me as I'll be posting some fan photos to his site, Bruce Hopkins Official Web Site.