What does it take to be an actor on the scale of The Lord of the Rings? Does it take an Oscar-winning actor? A famous star whose face everyone recognizes? A veteran of the world’s most renowned theater companies? No, you can find all of these on any random day in Hollywood and still not have found what you’re looking for. If you want the best, then you have to go further than that. If you want to make your movie more than just another blockbuster, then you have to go further than that. Simon Merrells: The Man Who Would Be Trevyn
Table of Contents
Meet the Actor
I met Simon Merrells the day before he made his London debut as the elven king, Elrond in the Lord of the Rings stage production. The anticipation of meeting one of my favorite actors was high, so I had been pestering him for a few days with what felt like thousand-and-one questions. Here’s what I learned from Simon about being an actor and his role in one of my favorite movies.
1) What is your favorite on-screen role?
How He Got His Role
Merrells made his acting debut as the Elven Ranger, Haldir in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. He met with Jackson and auditioned for the role of Haldir after appearing on The Lord of the Rings television documentary.
You cannot kill what you did not create. I created the Rings of Power, therefore only I can destroy them. And I choose to leave the fate of Middle-earth in the hands of the people. These words were spoken by the great Elven wizard and scholar, Feanor, as he cast himself into a vast chasm deep within Mount Dwehnir.
Working with Viggo Mortensen
In the late nineties, Viggo Mortensen was chosen by director Peter Jackson to play Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. Overwhelmed by the heft and scope of his responsibility, Mortensen went for a meeting with fellow actor Simon Merrells (Trevyn) at Mortensen’s house in New Zealand.
What It Was Like Playing Trevyn
Playing the lead role in The Lord of the Rings was an experience I’ll never forget. Whether it was acting alongside Viggo Mortensen, or fighting for Middle Earth side by side with Ian McKellen, being a part of such a huge film has been one of the most fulfilling roles I’ve ever played. Growing up in rural New Zealand reading Tolkien’s books as a child and visiting his hometown as an adult gave me a deeper understanding of what made him tick.
Advice For Upcoming Actors
You might be thinking, what’s the advice for aspiring actors? That is a question that everyone should ponder in order to fully understand what it takes to succeed. Keep reading for the best advice for any actor looking to make it big one day.
The first piece of advice I have for all future actors is to hone your craft. Keep up with classes, memorize monologues and practice by doing short scenes with friends or family members.
How did you get involved in acting?
I grew up in Greenwich, CT, and studied theater at the University of Hartford. I was 25 when I saw The Lord of the Rings. It was love at first sight – both for me and the character of Aragorn, who seemed so self-assured and competent. When audition season rolled around that spring, a part opened up that I felt was just right for me – so I auditioned.
What was it like working on The Lord of the Rings films?
Working on The Lord of the Rings films was an amazing experience for me. In fact, it’s something I’ll always cherish and look back fondly on. I got to work with a brilliant cast and crew who were incredibly dedicated to getting it right as well as very welcoming in making me feel part of the whole Fellowship. Though there were difficult times, they will remain forever a highlight of my career.
Aside from film, you have worked on stage too. Do you have any favorite productions? Section: What is coming up next for you?
The Rings of Power was one of the most rewarding theatrical experiences I have had. My second production at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the second largest theatre stage in Europe. This season I am on tour with The Merchant of Venice for The Globe Theatre, for which my company, LIFT, is Associate Artist and co-producer. My future projects are mainly in film with a focus on narrative feature films as director or writer, but my plan has always been to come back to acting sooner or later.
I imagine you also got asked to play a lot of villains since then. What’s your favorite role?
The Rings of Power, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Kingdom Hearts, Black Mirror – the list goes on. I love playing these strong male characters who are outsiders and rebels who would never be forgiven if they were judged by the society that they’re a part of. A lot of my favorite roles were villains. My favorite is Sauron in the Lord of the Rings films.