Luke Evans misses out on romance in Hobbit

BIG ROLE: Actor Luke Evans says his character Bard the Bowman has a big job ahead opf him in the third Hobbit movie, and is probably too busy for a spot of romance.
BIG ROLE: Actor Luke Evans says his character Bard the Bowman has a big job ahead opf him in the third Hobbit movie, and is probably too busy for a spot of romance.

As the stoic Bard the Bowman, Luke Evans admits he's playing Middle Earth's most eligible bachelor.

Just don't expect his romantic fortunes to improve in The Hobbit's third instalment - he's kind of busy.

"He's incredibly eligible," the Welsh actor sighs.

"But he becomes the leader of the human army, and he's got a big job ahead of him in the third one."

"But I do hope he finds a good woman."

As the gruff yet honourable Bard, Evans joined the franchise in last December's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug when Thorin Oakenshield's company of dwarves (and one Bilbo Baggins) ventured to the floating city of Laketown.

Evans largely shot scenes with his colleagues on the Laketown set, an enormous Dickensian-style Venice of wooden huts floating above murky waters.

For many reviewers, the grimy landscape was a welcome change from the usual lofty elvish digs.

"The set was humungous," Evan says. "It filled the King Kong stage in Wellington, which is the largest soundstage in the southern hemisphere."

"It was meant to look different - rickety and sinking."

For many Middle Earth fans, Peter Jackson's behind-the-scenes magic is just as captivating as Tolkien's writing, and is detailed in intimate DVD extras.

Ahead of the second film's DVD and Blu-Ray release on April 9, Evans says he was inspired to pursue a career in entertaining by similarly epic tales like Steven Spielberg's 1987 Empire of the Sun (starring another Welsh star, Christian Bale).

But with a background in musical theatre, Evans confesses he never really dreamt of being onscreen, yet has nevertheless found himself in big-budget productions such as Clash of the Titans, The Three Musketeers and a spin-off of The Lord of the Rings.

It's a career trajectory Evans says has been made possible by other "crossover" stars such as Hugh Jackman.

"I can only look at that man and admire his ability to do all the different forms of acting," he says.

"There are similarities, and I'm very happy there are."

Less glamorous than the West End were the pungent days he spent filming scenes that involved hiding the dwarves in barrels of fish.

So did he mind being director Peter Jackson's resident fishmonger?

"Oh yeah, it was very smelly," he recalls. "On the fish days there were not very nice aromas floating around."

Evans also recalls the production churning through about 60 tonnes of Epsom salts to give Laketown a wintry blanket of snow: "I was finding Epsom salts everywhere for like a month afterwards."

And with the hotly anticipated third Hobbit film wrapped ahead of its December release, it would be fair to assume Evans got to take home the Bard's Black Arrow, the only weapon known to be able to pierce Smaug's scaled hide.

"The Black Arrow is like two metres, it's about as tall as me," he laughs.

"So probably not a good one to try to get through Customs."

* The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 9.