Lord of the Rings
star Billy Boyd
exchanged his hobbit feet for sea legs when he climbed aboard Peter Weir
's high-seas epic, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
, which arrives on DVD April 20. While the Scottish actor wasn't initially enamored of the ocean, by the time filming ended, he discovered that a sailor's life might just be for him.
TV Guide Online: Did you realize that between Master and Commander and The Lord of the Rings, you were up for 21 Oscars this year?
Billy Boyd: Yeah, I like to say that I won 13 Oscars that night — I'm sure that breaks some record. (Laughs) It was a very special night, although the more awards that Return of the King won, the more I got kind of jumpy about it. I didn't want everyone else to win and then find out that Peter Jackson had been passed over. Any other year but this one and Master and Commander would have done amazingly well. I actually saw Peter Weir right after the ceremony and he said, "It was a massacre in there!"
TVGO: Why did you decide to do another historical epic so soon after Rings?
Boyd: I couldn't pass up the chance to work with Weir. I'm a huge fan of Gallipoli, Dead Poets Society and The Truman Show, and when I heard he wanted me to be in one of his movies, I decided that it was something I didn't mind giving up a year for. He's a very intelligent man and a lovely director.
TVGO: What kind of training did you have to go through for the part?
Boyd: We trained every day for a couple of weeks. We'd do a half day of sailing school and then maybe a quarter day of fencing or tying knots. Before I did this film, I had no interest in sailing. I didn't even know how a sailing ship could go anywhere the wind wasn't going. If the wind is blowing north to south, how can you go west? It made no sense to me. The great thing about being an actor is that you get to learn this stuff from the best people in the world. It was like going to the best university in the world for sailing.
TVGO: On the DVD, some of the actors reveal that there was a class system instituted on the set. How did that work exactly?
Boyd: Every person wore a different shirt. Blue signified officers and red stood for marines. And light blue meant midshipmen that weren't quite officers yet. I wore white because I was a sailor, although since my character was a coxswain, he was held in high regard. So I was arguing my case that I should have a different color shirt, or at least an off-white one. (Laughs) I think it really did help though. It seems strange to us now, but class was very important on those ships. They were almost like a mini-England. The officers were kind of the royal family and it just worked down from there.
TVGO: What was your favorite seafaring task?
Boyd: I really enjoyed being on the helm. Sometimes, I would stay on the helm all day. If we had finished filming a scene and wanted to go a couple of miles down the coast, the captain would come up and give me orders. By the end, I could take the ship in and out of port!
TVGO: So have you grown addicted to epics or are you desperately hoping to do a smaller film next?
Boyd: It depends on the script and the character, unless someone like Peter Weir or Peter Jackson comes along. Right now I'm just reading scripts and there are a couple I've put my name to and I'll hopefully be doing them this year. And because of Pippin's song in Return of the King, I've been offered lots of singing stuff. I love to sing; it used to be my career before I started acting. There are a lot of good musicals out there that I'd love to do.
TVGO: Is it true that you'll be the voice of Chucky's son in the upcoming Seed of Chucky?
Boyd: That is true. I just finished recording my dialogue for that. It was a lot of fun. The director, Don Mancini, was a great guy and showed me some drawings of what my character is going to look like. I think people will be in for a few shocks...
TVGO: Finally, an obligatory Lord of the Rings question. Can you spill any details about what's going to be on the extended-edition DVD that's due out in November?
Boyd: Dominic [Monaghan, who played Merry] and I just finished recording our commentary for the extended edition and there's lots of extra stuff. A lot of my footage actually made it into the theatrical version, but there were a couple of scenes I'm glad are included in this cut. There's a scene with Pippin and Faramir that I feel helps explain their relationship. Fans will be very happy with the DVD. Some of the extra scenes they put on there are just fantastic.