Two Men set out for Real-Life Lord of the Rings Adventure.
The first of three films based on an adaptation of the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. Several actors from The Lord of the Rings will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood & Orlando Bloom. Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
The Hobbit is now being screened for the first time in theaters all over the country and taking millions of fans to Middle Earth to follow Bilbo Baggins on his adventure. Among these die hard Lord of the Rings fans are two hobbit lovers by the name of Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais. Kerry and Chris decided to take The LOTR adventure to the next level, and actually walk from the set of the Shire to Mt. Doom in a new web series called A Simple Walk Into Mordor. I spoke with these two about the grueling adventure that sets out to prove this monumental journey taken by Frodo and Sam can indeed be done.
MRR- OK well I am here talking to Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais who are two staff members of Rooster Teeth Productions (the producers of Red vs Blue, Immersion, and Achievement Hunter), and will do in six days what took Frodo and Sam three movies to complete. They will walk the 120+ mile journey across New Zealand from the filming location of Hobbiton to Mt. Doom in their web series called A Simple Walk Into Mordor.
Well how are you guys doing today?
Kerry/Chris- Much better than we were when we were doing this. How are you doing?
MRR- I’m good. When did you guys finish this?
Kerry/Chris- We got back the 25th of November. We arrived in New Zealand on Monday the 19th and left that Sunday.
MRR- It was a pretty long journey huh?
Kerry/Chris- It was. It ended up being a very, very long journey.
MRR- It’s a web series called A Simple Walk Into Mordor and I’ve seen the first episode, which just came out recently right?
Kerry/Chris- Yes, it just came out on Monday.
MRR- Are they going to be released through December?
Kerry/Chris- Pretty much in the next couple weeks. We have another one coming out this Friday (12-14-12) and then two more next week. We might do a follow-up thing sometime later.
MRR- Can you explain your journey a little but better to our audience?
Kerry- Basically we are both really big Lord of the Rings fans and the ultimate LOTR experience is to do what they did in the movie, which is to walk from the Shire to Mordor; but those area are fictional and it is impossible to do that. So we thought we would do the next best thing which is to walk from the sets. If there is any real world equivalent to these places it is where they were filmed.
The Hobbiton film set is the Shire. It looks like it, and it’s really incredible. And Mt. Doom is ominous and leering. It was kind of the ultimate Lord of the Rings fan experience.
MRR- I love those movies also and I think it would be cool to see all this stuff. I liked how they kept the Shire set preserved. Is that going to be preserved for a long time?
Kerry/Chris- I believe so. I was reading up on it and they started doing tours there, and the person who owns the farmland there is trying to keep it, and they want it to be around for awhile.
MRR- Especially through the next three or four years as these new movies come out.
MRR- Can you tell me who you guys are? There are tons of LOTR fans out there that are going to be like “who are these two guys that are doing this?”
Chris- We work at Rooster Teeth Productions which is an online web company. We produce online video content and probably our most well-known show is Red vs. Blue, but we do a ton of different shows like Achievement Hunter, Immersion, Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures, and RT Shorts.
We span over a lot of platforms we’ll do video game coding, we’ll do live action stuff, we’ll do full out 3D animation, and we’ll do 2D animation. Kerry and I are both staff members and we do a million different things with the company.
MRR- As I watched the first episode I noticed you guys definitely took your outfits very seriously. At what length did you two go to in order to get your costumes right? You had the sword, hobbit shoes, and a bunch of other stuff.
Kerry/Chris- Well we are traveling across the world, and we are doing this trip so we want to do it right. And by do it right we mean dress as hobbits, otherwise we’d just look stupid (laughs). Just two dudes walking around; that’s ridiculous. If we’re hobbits then it’s great (laughs).
MRR- Did you make the outfits or did you buy them?
Kerry/Chris- It was a combination. The cape was an official replica. The ring was an official replica. In terms of the rest of the costume we just wanted to look like true hobbits. We went to stores and bought things that looked “hobbity” and hemmed our pants up so they would be in between our knees and ankles. We got hiking boots and put child size hobbit feet on them because they don’t sell adult ones...I wonder why (laughs).
MRR- You guys looked pretty legit as hobbits. Was it hard to do all that stuff with that gear on?
Kerry- Yeah. I almost immediately ditched my costume which was a jacket and just wore the short I was wearing. Chris did a pretty good job at keeping his costume on for the trip. We didn’t change clothes or shower the entire time so the costumes are what we lived in for a week. By the end we looked pretty rough.
MRR- Well you did just walk 120 miles!
Kerry/Chris- One thing you don’t realize when your watching the movie is how bad people smell after a trip like that.
MRR- What adventures did you guys have? Did you act out any of the adventures from the book?
Kerry/Chris- Yeah. We definitely didn’t just want to walk along the road the whole time. We found mountain paths, and river trails, and obviously we cut across farm lands. We went for the closest experience that we could get to the actual movies. There were no other sets on the way, but we would stop and quote, and act out scenes, and smoke a hobbit pipe along the way, which was a horrible idea. Don’t ever smoke tobacco on a 20 plus mile hike.
MRR- Haha. They definitely don’t mention that in the films do they? Smoking pipes, eating fatty food, and walking hundreds of miles doesn’t really go together to well.
Kerry/Chris- I know. In the movies they are smoking and walking which is just ridiculous.
MRR- No Ringwraiths or Gollum coming at you on this trip huh?
Kerry/Chris- Haha, No.
MRR- Did you two have fun doing it at least?
Kerry/Chris- I describe as both one of the best experiences of my life and the worst experience of my life. It was an amazing experience, but it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and incredibly painful.
MRR- Well the terrain in New Zealand would for sure make it a little bit tougher.
Kerry/Chris- Especially elevation wise. The set of the Shire is much lower in elevation than the mountain is so the entire trip we mainly were going up hill.
MRR- You only took six days to do it in?
MRR- And you guys pulled it off right?
Kerry/Chris- Well you will have to watch and see what happens.
MRR- It seems like a fun series and the next one comes out this Friday, which is the date of the release of The Hobbit. When do the others come out?
Kerry/Chris- The plan is to have the whole journey up by the end of next week. We are trying to release two a week.
Kerry/Chris- As the show progresses we are really excited, and very quickly it gets more serious. The gravity of the entire thing kind of picks up.
MRR- Where can people go to see it?
Kerry/Chris- They can go to www.roosterteeth.com to see it. It’s also on Blip. They can just click on the link for A Simple Walk Into Mordor.
MRR- Well thanks for talking with me Chris and Kerry. I look forward to seeing where your adventure will take you. I think a lot of people would like to see this since The Hobbit is just about to come out and there is not a lot of movies where you can do something like this so congratulations and good luck with it.
Kerry/Chris- Thank you so much.