Lord of the Rings Star Sean Astin Recalls Getting a "Brutal" Criticism From Director Peter Jackson

Over the course of his career, filmmaker Peter Jackson has delivered audiences a number of compelling and imaginative experiences, from early genre efforts like Bad Taste and Dead Alive to blockbusters like King Kong or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, often letting the camerawork tell a film's story. Actor Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings films, recently recalled that, despite Jackson often being quiet on set and allowing the material to dictate the work of the performers, one specific scene saw him breaking from that hands-off approach to deliver a piece of advice to Astin that the actor felt was "brutal" in comparison to his typical feedback.

"The most painful thing Peter Jackson ever said to me … you know, he's a man of few words. He's a very, very stoic guy," Astin recalled to CinemaBlend. "He can be performative when he wants to, or needs to. He can act things out, and he's very eloquent and so forth. But on a day-to-day basis, Peter Jackson is basically like a quiet guy. He sort of lets the work do the talking, and his direction was always very minimal. Mostly his direction would be, 'Let's do it again.' … But he came up to me at one point and he looked at me and he said, 'I just didn't believe that.'"

Astin continued, "Oh, my God, he might as well have -- it was like a Mortal Kombat death blow. It was like he ripped my hair off of my body, and my spine came out with … [But] it was, it was true. It was true that I was not invested, that I was out of it. I was out of the character. I was out of the mood. I was out of ... I just wasn't there."

Of the many beloved characters in the franchise, Samwise is easily a fan favorite, with Astin admitting that, despite Jackson's advice possibly sounding harsh, it was advice the performer needed to hear.

"It was brutal. And he didn't mean it to be brutal. He meant it to land," the actor admitted. "He didn't mean for it to be brutal, but it was a perfect piece of direction. And he was absolutely right. And it made me be better. It made me focus harder."

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The Lord of the Rings trilogy is hitting 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on December 1st. Amazon Studios is currently filming a Lord of the Rings TV series, set hundreds of years before the events of that trilogy.

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