Saturday, July 10, 2004

Tom Bombadil Interview

(A Note to Readers: I recently had the opportunity to speak to Tom Bombadil, the enigmatic Dionysian figure written about by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. Tom was gracious enough to agree to an interview about his (non-)involvement with the recent films by Peter Jackson, Entish health crises, and what he's been up to since the War of the Ring.)

MH: Tom Bombadil, thank you for talking with us.

TB: It's Tom's pleasure, Terry. Terry-tow, dairy-doe, Tom Bombadillo!

MH: My name isn't Terry.

TB: Sorry. I'm doing "Fresh Aire" later. Tom got confused.

MH: I see. Um. I forgot what I was going to ask.

TB: Ask away, dairy-day, Tom Bombadillo!

MH: Ha ha. So, I understand you did a screen test for Peter Jackson.

TB: That's true. I did the Judd Nelson monologue from "The Breakfast Club" for him. You know: "Fuck you! No, Dad, what about you?" Tom always thought that bit was genius. O.

MH: Could you relate to Judd Nelson's character?

TB: Well, Tom likes to wear earrings.

MH: Great. So, did Jackson give a reason for not casting you?

TB: He didn't talk to me. He talked to my agent, and he was pretty vague. He said Tom didn't mesh with the rest of the narrative, Tom was an enigma. But I think the real reason is that I wouldn't work with the Barrow-Wight. I told him that in the audition, because he was very enthusiastic about that sequence. But the Barrow-Wight and Tom haven't talked in ages. Tom doesn't want to get into it; it's basically a zoning dispute that's gotten out of hand. The homeowner's association took Tom's side, so that should be the end of it, right? Anyway, Tom told Jackson it was me or the Wight, and he chose the Wight. And then the Wight went off to work on a Swedish production of Beowulf, anyway, so he didn't have either one of us. Hussy-tuss, Mossy-mo, Tom Bombadillo.

MH: I don't remember any Wights in Beowulf.

TB: Sure, but nobody knows the difference, do they? That's what I was trying to tell Jackson--he could have casted any old ghoul, or even a grue, to replace the Wight. No one would have known. No one could tell that the Eye of Sauron was actually Lazy. It's called acting.

MH: Were you upset about not being in the films?

TB: Not upset, no. Tom was happy for Old Man Willow, because he made it in, for a cameo at least. He played a tree.

MH: Are you friends with Old Man Willow nowadays?

TB: We were never enemies, exactly. You know, he's a homeowner too, and property disputes get ugly. To tell you the truth, if those hobbits had trampled Tom's hydrangeas, Tom might have reacted in much the same way. Talladay, Earnie-hay, Tom Bombadillo.

MH: You know, you don't have to do that on my account.

TB: That's a relief.

MH: I understand that you did visit the set while they were filming the razing of Isengard. What did you think of the Ents?

TB: Well, they're nice guys. And I can understand the strain of losing a marriage. Goldberry and Tom, we've got something really special. But, you know, if she left me, I don't think I'd start starving myself.

MH: I'm sorry--are you implying that the Ents are suffering from eating disorders?

TB: Not all of them. Just the ones that Jackson cast, which is a sad comment on the state of filmmaking. But Tom's not one for blanket condemnations. Quickbeam, for example, it might just be his metabolism. But you should have seen Treebeard before the Entwives took off. We didn't call it obesity back in those days, but it wasn't pretty. And now he's swung back to the other extreme

MH: Are you saying that's why the Entwives disappeared?

TB: You'd have to ask them.

MH: No one knows where they are.

TB: Yeah, right.

MH: Could you elaborate?

TB: Tom really can't say. It's not Tom's place.

MH: OK. Well, I can't let you go without asking the question every fan of The Lord of the Rings wants to know; just who and what are you, exactly? Are you a god?

TB: Eldest, that's what I am. Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless--before the Dark Lord came--

MH: I hate to interrupt, but why is it that you sometimes refer to yourself in the third person?

TB: Eldest, you know. The rules of pronouns weren't around back then. Tom doesn't like rules very much.

MH: Well, Tom Bombadil, thank you for talking with us.

TB: Thanky-yo, Pleasure-poo, Tom Bombadillo!


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