LANDING a role in Peter Jackson’s epic Hobbit trilogy, and the fan fervour that comes with it, can be an overwhelming experience for an actor.
For William Kircher, a seasoned star in New Zealand, it’s been a chance to show off his homeland and engage with fans around the world.
Kircher plays Bifur, one of the dwarfs who accompanies Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins on a quest to reclaim a dwarf kingdom from fearsome dragon Smaug.
“It’s been an incredible ride,” Kircher said.
“I’ve had varying degrees of fame in the past — you get a role in a show and you get recognised or are on a magazine cover.
“But you also realise that it doesn’t last forever. Once it’s finished you are out of a job like anyone else. Because of my age and experience, I’ve been able to take a very rational approach to it all.”
Best known in his native New Zealand as veteran cop B.P. in police procedural Shark in the Park, he’s also played a string of cops and criminals in shows such as City Life and Plain Clothes, and was George Cross recipient Stewert Guthrie in the film Out of the Blue.
But it’s Bifur who fans come to see at conventions.
“It’s an immense honour being one of the dwarfs in The Hobbit,” he said.
“Fans make the most exquisite costumes, all the make-up and weaponry. It’s quite fascinating seeing all these versions of yourself.”
He will be in town in April for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo along with actors including Xena star Lucy Lawless, the Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, the man in the Chewbacca suit, Peter Mayhew, and Mini-Me himself, Verne Troyer.
“I’m very much looking forward to coming to Melbourne. It’s one of my favourite places. I’ve got some family there too — typical bloody Kiwi!” Kircher said with a laugh.
The Supanova Pop Culture Expo will be at Melbourne Showgrounds from April 11-13.