Lord of the Rings actors including Elijah Wood have expressed their support for the project of an Italian man who lives as a hobbit and is building his personal “shire” from JRR Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth in Italy.
In a series of video messages posted on Monday on Instagram, the actors who played the hobbits in Peter Jackson’s movie expressed their appreciation for the project by Nicolas Gentile, a 37-year-old Italian pastry chef who dresses and lives as a hobbit and whose goal is to transform 2 hectares (5 acres) of land in the countryside of Bucchianico, near the town of Chieti in Abruzzo, into a hobbit village.
“Ciao, sono Frodo,” said Wood in Italian, in a video posted on Gentile’s Instagram page, My Hobbit Life, with over 100,000 followers. “Help Nicolas build the shire.”
In the short video message Wood, who played Frodo Baggins in the movies, congratulates Gentile on his project, which the actor described as “incredible”.
“I hope this finds you happy, healthy and well,” says Wood. “I went to your Instagram page and it is incredible what you are doing. I love the costumes, the individual set photos that you have done, in front of fires, smoking a pipe. It’s so beautiful. Well done! I can’t wait to watch your progress and I will follow you on Instagram. That is so amazing. If I’m ever in your neck of the woods, in your shire, I would love to visit.’’
In another message, the Scottish actor Billy Boyd says, “I know a friend of Nicolas! It’s me, Pippin Took. Let’s help Nicolas build his own shire, which I think would be a wonderful thing!”
In an interview with the Guardian last week Gentile, a lover of the fantasy genre, recounted his choice to live like a hobbit, explaining that books and films were no longer enough for him to satisfy his passion for the Lord of the Rings saga.
“I was still reading about the lives of other people,” he said. “I decided I wanted to live my hobbit life to the fullest.”
“Some think I am trying to escape from reality,’’ he added. “Far from it. I am living my dream, my adventure. By purchasing that piece of land, I have removed it from a reality that I don’t like and am shaping it the way I want.”
Starting 27 August, alongside a group of friends and Lord of the Rings fans, variously dressed as an elf, a dwarf, a hobbit, a sorcerer and humans, Gentile walked 180 miles, from Chieti to Naples, crossing mountains and rivers, to throw “the One Ring” into the crater of Mount Vesuvius. He said the journey was not just an extravagant walk by Lord of the Rings fans – he wanted to send a message.
“The earth today is threatened by pollution and the climate emergency, which are enemies as fearsome as Sauron. We wanted to show that our land, like Tolkien’s Middle-earth, must be saved and protected.”
In one last message, actor Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee, says he was amazed by Gentile’s undertaking to throw the ring into Vesuvius.
“I know you walked for 300km to throw the ring into Vesuvius,” Astin said. “Into Vesuvius! This is an amazing thing! I don’t know if the Italian mountains are Mordor, but all that effort and work is a wonderful thing!”
Asked what he felt when he saw the messages from the Lord of the Rings actors, Gentile said: “Seeing their humanity, their emotion, for my project filled me with pride and joy. I understood they are very humble, simple people. In short, come to think of it, Wood, Boyd and Astin are real hobbits.”