One of the stars of Sir Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is going on an unexpected journey a decade after he last left New Zealand.
Billy Boyd, who played Pippin the Hobbit in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, will appear at the Armageddon comics, fantasy and science fiction expo in Auckland next month nearly ten years since he left the country following the world premiere of the last film in Wellington in 2003.
''I can't believe it but I haven't actually been back to New Zealand since the Return of the King premiere,'' Boyd said from his home in Scotland.
''Most of the boys have been back, we've all had plans to get back as a group, you know, Dom (Monaghan) and Elijah (Wood), but the timing has never worked for me.''
Boyd hopes to arrive a few days ahead of the October 25-28 event at ASB Showgrounds and said would be something of a homecoming.
''I am going to try and spend much time as I can . . . but I am certainly going to have a look around the Northern Island.''
''Hobbiton will definitely be one of the trips . . . After the first films they set fire to Hobbiton, it will be lovely to go back there again. Mt Ruapehu I really enjoyed as well. It's, beautiful eh, what's that erm famous surf spot near Hamilton? Raglan? The last time I was there I split my face open. It was the day before the first ever shot of the four hobbits together for Vanity Fair magazine and I split my face open with a surfboard . . . I'll try not to repeat that.''
Before his return Boyd is appearing at Shakepeare's's Globe Theatre, London, in MacBeth as Banquo the Scottish nobleman . . . and he's not suspicious about uttering the play's name.
''The reason why you are not supposed to say it so it really doesn't bother me. You're only not supposed to say it because it was a really successful play at the time, if you were in the theatre doing another show and heard people saying Macbeth you figured your show was about to be taken off and MacBeth about to be put on. That's the only reason you were not supposed to say it.
''We're doing that until October and then I'm going to do another stage show, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy playing in cities in Scotland. It's with the original cast the first time Hitch Hikers was done on radio . . . I'm the voice of the book, the guide, the thing in the universe with the most knowledge will have a Scottish accent or a Kiwi accent.''
Boyd said he enjoyed the convention circuit, and meeting the fans.
''It can be like a stand up, or this is the facts this is what happened. To be in a room where everyone is on the same page . . . it's always a fun thing. I'm sure people will be talking about their memories of it. People will be saying 'I remember you guys'. I can't wait to get there and see what it's like.
''There was a time when we were up Whakapapa and it felt like a place where human beings hadn't been for thousands of years. We were only allowed the cast maybe two cameramen, one sound, one makeup, one wardrobe . . . when we were up there having lunch there was no one around. It was like the fellowship, this is like there's Aragorn, there's Boromir and the Hobbits and it just felt like we were actually doing it and we were on this adventure.''
After so long away, Boyd will return to New Zealand in November with the other half of his The Lord of the Rings double act Dominic Monaghan who played Merry the Hobbit.
''Dom's got this really fun show about animals called Wild Things with Dom Monaghan and I'm going to come back to New Zealand to do an episode and we're going to find a weta so after not being there for a few years I'm going twice in a month!''
Unsurprisingly he'd like to come back, again, for a role in the Doctor Who episode Sir Peter said he'd like to direct.
''Can you imagine if PJ directed DW it would be amazing, incredible, it's not overblowing it . . . off the top of my head I would think it would be First World War with some crazy aliens in it. I would like to see it, I'd love to see it, I'd like to be a bomber pilot in it.''
''I am genuinely looking forward to coming back to NZ, all the friends I made in NZ, I can't believe I haven't been back.''