Evangeline Lilly, best known for her role as Kate on ABC’s Lost, hasn’t done a whole lot since the hit series went off the air. Her followup is set to hit theaters next month but she’s already stepping out onto shaky ground with her next job – the newly created elf Tauriel in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. The actress herself is quite concerned how she’ll be perceived by fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic.
“I am very concerned to this day that people will watch the film and I’ll be the black mark on the film. I know how adamant the purists are and I’m one of them,” the actress told SFX. Lily will play a character named Tauriel in the films, an elf that Tolkien did not create.
“When the original came out in theatres, I swore up and down that I would not see them because I thought it was sacrilege that anyone would adapt Tolkien’s work. I didn’t think anyone would justify films by making them as good as they should be. Then my entire family when I was visiting went to see the movie and so I relented and went. We were all fans of the books and we were all blown away! It was a little piece of magic what Peter Jackson accomplished because it was truly a homage to the books rather than an offense,” she said.
Lilly told the magazine she’s been a fan of the literary tale since she was thirteen. “That said, upon reading The Hobbit again, as an adult, I can see why additional characters were needed to round out the story as an adaptation – especially female characters,” she said, “The Hobbit didn’t include female characters at all and was a very linear story, a book for children, really. What Peter, Fran (Walsh) and Philippa (Boyens) have done is all in perfect keeping with Tolkien’s world, while adding a third dimension to an otherwise very two-dimensional story.”
The actress is currently in New Zealand filming and will be for at least a year. “For a lot of actors, being that tied down would be problematic for their careers because they wouldn’t have the freedom to take any other part in the meantime. For me it’s perfect because I want to have time to spend with my family and relax and focus on my writing. This role gives me a framework within which to do that because I’m not working all the time but I’m working enough.”
With most roles there is a certain amount of training that goes on and for Lily, The Hobbit quite unlike her past experiences. “With every film, you have to educate yourself on the material and it’s often things you don’t know a lot about. Right now I’m studying Elvish and having conversations with people about learning how to be an archer, a swordsperson and how to fight like an elf instead of a gritty convict.”
The actress can next be seen starring opposite Hugh Jackman in Real Steel. The first half of Jackson’s Hobbit films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, hits theaters in 2012.