|Interview by Rob Schwartz
WHO?MAG: Samwise Gamgee was the loyal companion throughout the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Explain what it was like playing this critical role?
SEAN ASTIN: It was an incredible opportunity to be able to focus on the ideas of bravery and loyalty, decency and goodness, and to try to find those qualities in myself and bring them to the forefront and realize the character Tolkien has written.
WHO?MAG: Sean Astin: actor, director, poet, and now author. What else do you plan to accomplish?
SEAN ASTIN: Hopefully fatherhoods in there. Producing. I would like to get some graduate degrees in my time and continue to travel the world. I also would like to be a politician someday.
WHO?MAG: What inspired you to write your memoirs?
SEAN ASTIN: I just new there was an opportunity and the audience was out there because to the success of Lord of the Rings and I had a lot to say. I also have more to say, so hopefully the relationship that I am developing with the audience who has purchased the book will allow for me to keep expressing myself.
WHO?MAG: Your new book “There and Back Again, an Actor’s Tale” was written to help inspire upcoming entertainers. What is the number one thing actors need to “Get Recognized!”
SEAN ASTIN: I would have to say there are two things and that’s talent and persistence. And maybe a third thing, a little bit of luck.
WHO?MAG: Due to budget cuts and school downsizing, usually acting and music programs are the first on the chopping block. What other avenues can an upcoming entertainer take to get the education they need?
SEAN ASTIN: There is nothing stopping people from getting together and putting on a play themselves. Finding a constructive, healthy, safe, and economical space to work in is not an easy trick sometimes, but with enough determination, a space can be found and use can be made of it by people of talent. People with a mind to use their life to try to create value for themselves and others and who are interested in learning how to express themselves in the dramatic arts, so I encourage them to continue to do so.
WHO?MAG: You come from an extremely talented family. Both of your parents are famous actors, your wife has directed independent films with you, and even your daughter is in LOTR. What impact does family life have on your work?
SEAN ASTIN: I suppose that who you are is a function of how you function in your family to a large extent. Hopefully whatever it is I am able to bring to my work is an outgrowth for the love that I have for my family and the way we all look at the hard times and experiences we have for each other and try to work through them together.
WHO?MAG: You’ve played a drug addict, a football player, a Goonie, and a hobbit, amongst others. How do you get into character?
SA: It’s really good to do research. Clothed are important. Costume is critical. Just try to drive my imagination into what I think the character will be thinking and feeling. It’s important not to over think things also.
WHO?MAG: What steps can an independent director take to accomplish their goals?
SEAN ASTIN: Keep writing screenplays and directing plays. They can get workshops and they can get access to equipment. It’s getting less and less expensive now to get high quality equipment. Continue to develop an original style and setting. Reading is also very good. You can’t read and you can’t watch enough to prepare yourself for the moments when the opportunities present themselves. You need to navigate those opportunities in a way that will allow the best part of your talent to shine through.
WHO?MAG: What impact does Sean Astin want to leave on the world?
SEAN ASTIN: Something big and something good. I want to use my life to the fullest to create enough value on the planet that is humanly possible through my work as an actor, but also as my activisms in philanthropy and political work and my family. I want to keep working to find creative ways to help other people and continue to learn how to express myself and figure myself out more.
WHO?MAG: Now that the trilogy is over, where will we find you next?
SEAN ASTIN: In May, I’ll be on television in Hercules for NBC playing Linus the poet, sort of Hercules’s sidekick. If people go to www.seanastin.com, they can see a whole list of independent films that I have been making over the last year or two.