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Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, stars of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, narrowly avoided a nude scene and a few tree branches while playing the endearing but ornery hobbits Merry and Pippin.
The two actors stopped by The Late Show Tuesday night to play some trivia with host, and LOTR superfan and expert, Stephen Colbert. While there, Colbert broached the backlash to reports that the Amazon Lord of the Rings series had hired an intimacy coordinator and may feature nudity.
That’s when Boyd recalled a nude scene that had been printed but was ultimately cut from the script of one of the films. “Here’s the thing. There was almost nudity in the movies — me and Dom,” Boyd said.
The “gag,” as Boyd called it, was written by Lord of the Rings writer and expert Philippa Boyens after the actors had been “winding people up and having a bit of fun themselves.”
“She wrote a scene that she said, ‘Oh, it’s a new scene, we’re filming next week with the Ents, with Treebeard,” Boyd said. “So when Merry and Peppin are up Treebeard, he gets afraid and shakes his branches, which makes you guys fall.”
“It makes you guys fall and as you hit all the branches on the way down, by the time you hit the ground, you’re naked,” Boyd continued to audience laughs.
As if viewers nearly getting an eyeful of the endearing but ornery hobbits Merry and Pippin wasn’t enough, Boyd said that the two also had lines to accompany their rather revealing fall. According to Boyd, Merry was supposed to turn to Pippin and acknowledge how “cold” it was, with Pippin responding, “Hold me, Merry.”
While Boyd was shocked by the scene, and even called up his co-star to address that the two were to be “naked,” Monaghan said that he was kind of into it for one reason.
“I have a really fantastic ass, and I thought that now’s the time to get it out,” the actor said.
After the two finished recounting the scene, Colbert went on to respond to critics of potential nudity in the Amazon series, which includes the more than 48,000 people that have signed a Change petition to “keep nudity out” of the upcoming show due to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Catholic faith and the Christian symbolism found in his novels.
“I want to point out something for the people out there who don’t think there should be any nudity in Tolkien,” Colbert said. “The hobbits get nude in the book. It’s not in the movie, but in the book.”
Colbert then reads the passage, referencing the character of Tom Bombadil, who was left out of Jackson’s big-screen adaptation, and a scene in which several hobbits “cast off these cold rags” and “run naked on the grass” before “basking in the sun with delight.”
“So I don’t want to hear it from any of the prudes who don’t think they shouldn’t be any nudity in The Lord of the Rings,” Colbert declared.
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