TODAY   |  December 05, 2012

‘The Hobbit’ actor:  We filmed for 278 days

Actor Richard Armitage, who plays a dwarf in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” chats with Kathie Lee and Hoda about his role in the fantasy film and his early ties to the beloved story.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> if you were a fan of lord of the rings and who wasn't, you can't wait for the next film.

>> the hob bit an unex-spended journey, returns to earth. and the leader of the dwarfs wants to reclaim his homeland for his people.

>> good for him.

>> take a look-see.

>> what is going on?

>> you are being hunted.

>> i like you. down the hatch.

>> how is that?

>> i just broke my teeth.

>> so happy you're here. thank you for being here.

>> thank you.

>> so you are 6'2" at least, you seemed when you stood?

>> yes, yes, about 6'2" 1/2.

>> leader of the dwarfs.

>> an interesting casting call .

>> the phone call was very, very confusion. i walked around my living room with bent niece and hunched, thinking what is it going to do? but then, of course, you realize that peter jackson is a digital genius and he will do all the work and i just focus on the script and the scene they gave me and went and met him.

>> so everything -- can you explain a little bit how that's done, cgi? work a lot in front of a green screen , right?

>> in order to make us smaller, they make us look bigger because if you shrink a person, they tend to look like a child h you want to just fix that warrior. so we have a muscle seat underneath and big boots .

>> odd brush with the hobbit when you were just a little boy , didn't you? a long, long time ago.

>> did an equally high-profile production of "the hobbit" alex theater in birmingham. i was 13.

>> not alabama. i can land.

>> i was 13, i got paid 15 pounds a week. goal lum was made out of paper. the dragon -- didn't have money for a dragon, so he was a red light and a puff of smoke.

>> that's why we love theater.

>> and i was an elf.

>> an elf?

>> spinning around in circles, eating grapes, trying to tempt the dwarfs into the forest.

>> your first falling in love with the magic of act, your first role?

>> when i trace it back and look at the way i read that book, i feel like it really developed my imagination. and actually, the imagine nation is a thing that carries you through and makes -- the reason i became an actor because i had a vivid imagination. realize that

>> full circle story that is. amazing.

>> people have seen the trilogy you the hobbit is the prequel to that?

>> yes.

>> what do they need to know in case they haven't seen the other three?

>> absolutely nothing. i felt like the trilogy was like blood vessels that feed the hobbit so there's oxygen kind of flowing between the two ideas and there are cast members from both films that kind of appear together. so for those people that don't know the trilogy, it is a new experience. for those that do there are recognizable faces.

>> were you in new zealand for 18 months,as is peter's habit, shoots all three of the films?

>> 278 films days.

>> are you kidding?

>> that's enough for sort of four movies really.

>> next time you get a dwarf script i bet you're just going to say been there, done that?

>> yeah. what that's all about thank you.

>> do do you have next?

>> wrapped on a movie called requests black sky," we shot in detroit, a disaster movie about a tornado, all found footage, it was really interesting experience. jim cameron's prodigy, steve quail that shot t.

>> what do you play in that?

>> a school teacher who loses his son in the storm and has to go in search of him. a delight to meet you. a little afraid, thought they fine english actor type. what's he going to have in common with us?

>> nothing.

>> wine.

>> so nice to meet you. all the best.

>> can i just say as well, we recently lost eileen moron, who was one of the executive producers at we are the, lost her battle with ovarian cancer on monday, like to send my personal condolences to her family for myself and the cast members .

>> thank you.

>> thanks.

>> i am nee love with him.

>> me, too.

>> the hob bit an unexpected journey , opens in theaters december