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Dallas Barnett
c/ Bohemia Group Australasia
7a Scanlan Street
Auckland, 1021
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The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug Behind the Scenes memories Pt1
Behind the scenes memories from my time on set shooting The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at Wellington, New Zealand's Stone St Studios
Hobbit, Smaug, Peter Jackson, Behind the Scenes, Actor, Bill Ferny Sr, Bree, Middle Earth, Azog, Prancing Pony
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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Behind the Scenes memories – Pt 1

  |   Behind the Scenes   |   4 Comments

Many times, I am asked what it was like working on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, so i thought I would put my memories in writing.


The Casting 


I had originally auditioned for the film back at the beginning of principal photography for Unexpected Journey for the role of Azog, the Pale Orc. Obviously, I did not get cast in that role, and heard nothing further until one day, my agent rang me excitedly and asked if I could be in Wellington the next day. When informed that Peter Jackson wished to cast me in a role that was written to open the film, I rushed to clear my schedule.


With plane tickets in my email, I was on the first flight to Wellington the next morning. When I arrived at Stone Street, I was escorted into a meeting room with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Sir Peter told me that he remembered my audition tape, but I was not exactly what he wanted for the role of Azog. He had other plans for me once he saw some of my other work on Shortland Street and Contract Killers.


“Do you know who Bill Ferny is?” He asked


Bill Ferny - Fellowship of the Rings

Bill Ferny – Fellowship of the Rings

Being a long-time Tolkien fanboy and tabletop gamer, naturally I did.


They then laid out the character of Bill Ferny Sr., the canonical Bill Ferny’s father. He was described to me as a bandit, brigand, mercenary and all around nasty piece of work, and the only living being that Bill Jr. was scared of.


“A real puppy-kicker” said Sir Peter.


Fran Walsh told me “We love your look.. about your missing eye, would you have any issues with it being featured?”


I quickly answered ‘ Of course not, that’s why I’m here, isn’t it?”


The 3 of them chuckled, and Philippa asked “Just one thing, do you mind if we shave your eyebrows?”


I thought for a moment and answered…


“Ms. Boyens, I loved the original Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Sir Peter is one of my favorite directors of all time. If that is what it takes to get me onto this project, I would sign off on a full Back, Sack and Crack waxing!”


I will always remember making Sir Peter, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens laugh.


“Well, I don’t think we will go that far” said Philippa “But it’s nice to know”


Bill Sr. Hobbit Desolation of Smaug

Bill Sr. – Hobbit Desolation of Smaug makeup test.


In my next post, I will go into the wardrobe and makeup process on the set of The Hobbit. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!



  • Avatar

    Christopher Gronlund | Jul 24, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I look forward to this look behind one of my favorite scenes in any movie ever. The beginning of The Desolation of Smaug always makes me want to play Dungeons and Dragons; it’s such a great little scene.

    • Avatar

      Dallas Barnett | Jul 24, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Believe it or not, i spent most of the 70’s and a good part of the 80’s and 90’s with a bag of dice in my hand 😉 Wish I had time to get back into it . Thanks for the comment!

  • Avatar

    Justin | Apr 2, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Hey there 🙂

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what
    theme you’re using? (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme
    slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any
    feedback) – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during
    the coronavirus scare!

    • Avatar

      Dallas Barnett | Apr 3, 2020 at 12:00 am

      Hey justin, I think the theme is called Elision from QCode Interactive .. It’s got a lot of bells and whistles to it. Check it out here http://demo.qodeinteractive.com/elision-help/

      Your site loaded very fast for me. It’s clean, easy to navigate and attractive.

      We are fine here in NZ. Full lockdown for 9 days now, but my wife and I have been Self-Iso for nearly a month in total. Hope you are staying safe and occupied during this as well. Kia Kaha.

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