Tribute's Bonnie Laufer chats with a couple of Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Dominic Monaghan (Merry).

B.L. It's pretty overwhelming, this Lord of the Rings thing!
D.M. Yeah, that's for sure.

B.L What's it like almost two years after having shot the films, to still be talking about it?
D.M. It's very liberating I find! It would be different if the movies had come out in one year, but it's staggered so it feels like we should be talking about them. Actually it's weird bescause I feel like I'm losing my memory a little bit. We've had to remind each other what actually goes on in the second movie. It's also kind of fun to see what other people have done because in The Two Towers we separate so we didn't get to see what Elijah and Sean and Viggo did, so it's good to see it.

B.L. So what are Pippin and Merry up to in The Two Towers?
B.B. At the end of The Fellowship the Uruk-Hai capture them, thinking that they might have the ring. So Merry and Pippin kind of start feeling a little bit comfortable with the fellowship that you know, Aragon and all those guys are going to look after them. They felt like they weren't there to make decisions, they are kind of like pieces of luggage. So, in The Two Towers they are sort of left to their own devices and have to make their own paths and they mature a lot and they have to find a way to escape and help their friends Frodo and Sam. So mostly you see Merry and Pippin mature quite a bit.

B.L. This film is a lot darker, but we see more of the human element and the relationships really form. How did you guys develop your bond and get closer? What was the difference working on one, two and three?
D.M. We really didn't look at it like that; we saw it as one movie. It would be kind of confusing to separate the movies into three parts, so we approached it in terms of one big long story. In terms of becoming close, it was really a very easy natural thing. We spent about six or seven weeks of rehearsal just hanging out with each other, talking through the script and sword fighting, and horse riding, kayaking and surfing of course. It was a very intentional thing by Pete (director Peter Jackson) to try and get the boys to hang out with each other and have some fun. Billy and I realized quite early on that we had the same sense of humor and the same ideas about what turned us on in movies and what we found funny and what we found interesting. We have tried to collaborate with each other since then and we enjoy spending time with each other because there is an unwritten bond between us, which is nice.

B.L. It must have been odd after you guys spent so much time together and then you wrap the shoot and go your own ways. How have you stayed friends?
D.M. We had like Christmas apart and then we both went on a surfing trip on the east coast of America for a few weeks.
B.B. As soon as we finished shooting we went off surfing with Orlando Bloom. We see each other all the time to be honest.
B.L. Speaking of Orlando, what's that guy really like?
D. M. He's cool, man! He is so great. He is hanging out in L.A. right now making a movie but we keep in touch. He's a good boy, that Orlando.

B.L. So was it really more the three of you that got on best? Because obviously some people get on better than others.
D.M. There really weren't too many cliques taking place. The people who worked together the most usually hung out. After the end of the first movie we didn't really see Orlando that much because we didn't do many scenes together. For that matter, we didn't see much of Elijah, or Sean or Ian McKellan or Viggo, but every weekend we'd get together and have dinner or surf or something. We had a great support system. It just so happens that when you are working with someone in the day and then hang out with them at night, of course you are going to become closer because we spend so much time with each other. Everyone really got one well from the youngest guy in the cast who was Elijah to Ian McKellan who came out and partied with us. There was no division.

B.L. How has life changed for you guys since all of this hype over The Lord of The Rings?
B.B. Not in any kind of major way. We get recognized a lot more than we used to but in a very positive good way. People are very well mannered and normally just want to talk about the movie and are excited by it and are very positive. Of course your work has kind of opened up to a wider audience and it opens up some doors to do some other work with people who you respect. But other than that, things haven't really changed in a deep way. My friends are still my friends and family is still family.
D.M. Dogs are still your dogs?
B.B. Yeah...
D.M. Cats are still cats?
B.B. No, cats are monkeys now.
D.M. Are the monkeys nice?
B.B. No ... crazy talk! It's wild.
D.M. I guess you choose what you want to change in your life and I think that Billy and I were pretty happy with our lives before we did Lord of The Rings. I'm a big fan of trying to keep it like that. Like Billy said, we all have the same friends and still do the same things, the difference is that we are travelling a bit more and living in different countries but we are still trying to keep to what is important and real and good.