6-27-04 Latest News

Sean Astin at 'Origins' 2004
Xoanon @ 12:11 pm EST

Astin at 'Origins' 2004

djdeathskiss writes: I just got back from seeing Sean Astin at the Origins Gaming convention in Columbus, Ohio. Forgive any typos or other mistakes; I got up at 4am this morning to make the 4 hour drive from Michigan, and am a 'bit' tired.

Arabesque, Friend of Gandalf, and I got to the convention center at about 9:30 this morning, and Sean was scheduled to speak and do a q & a at 10. I was a little panicked that we wouldn't be able to get in the ballroom, but as it turned out only about 100 people (give or take) were in attendance. He came out right on time, looking very upbeat and happy, despite the fact that he said he didn't get any sleep the night before. He said he'd been so busy with various projects and his family that last night was the first time he'd had to just relax and think, so he took advantage of it. He went on to ask us all our opinions on politics, the media, and voting (someone gave him 'John Kerry in 2004' dogtags, which he was very happy about. . (it was a lot of 'Okay, show of hands...') :) He mentioned his book, which he said would probably be the first of a few he had in mind. I got the feeling that if it had been up to him, he would have talked all day, but as it was, the convention people were keeping him on a tight schedule so he went on to the q & a part of the talk.

The first question was about his loss on 'Celebrity Poker' (he said he knows he's a bad poker player, but he doesn't care). Then I asked him about what his plans were this December since there isn't a new 'LotR' film coming out, and was it going to feel strange not being with the cast. He said, in fact, that there were plans discussed for them all to meet (possibly for New Years) at an 'undisclosed, secret location'. They really were going to make an effort to do it; he said Dom was adamant about them doing it the first year after, or it would be harder to plan in the future. He said it didn't really feel like the end for him, because his book is coming out in October, then the EE dvd in December, so there would still be things to look forward to. I also gave him a TORn badge ('TheOneRing.net is Hobbit forming'); I said I didn't know if it was as cool as the John Kerry tags, but when it was given to him he put it right on and said "Just for a second, forget that this is a TORn button and know that I like this because it's green and im Irish". :)

Some other 'tidbits' from the q & a:

*In response to a question about him being on the MTV Movie Awards, no Elijah hasn't called him yet, but he's sure he will. He said he knew he was in eastern Europe (?) filming a movie and probably hadn't seen it. When a few people told him Elijah was in Prague he got a weird look on his face and said "Ohhhh, creepy!", like how would we know that? :)

* One scene from 'RotK' that he hoped made it into the EE was a scene of him climbing the stars at Cirith Ugol as he's going after Frodo and Gollum. He said it was just a great scene of him psyching himself up, getting stronger and angrier. I hope it's in there too!

*If Sean has his way, there will be a Goonies 2. Although Richard Donner has gone on record saying there won't be one, Sean has spoken to the director about it, offered to direct it, and even has an outline for the script! Donner told him to register his ideas, and the maybe they can talk about it. And when he saw Steven Spielberg at the Oscars this year, after LotR had won their Oscars, he tried talking to him about it, too. He's said Spielberg's response was 'You're making history here; just focus on that!'

Once again, time ran out, and he didn't get to answer everyones questions. They had to set up the room for the autograph session, which proceeded very smoothly. He was gracious enough to sign my 'RotK' poster featuring Sam holding Frodo on Mt. Doom. I mentioned that I worked for an independant bookstore in Michigan, and we had sent in a proposal to his publishers inviting him to do a signing there. He told me he thought working in a bookstore was one of the coolest jobs to have, and his assistant took down some info from me, so Michigan TORn-sibs, keep your fingers crossed!

There is so much more that he talked about, and if I wasn't so tired I would tell you now, but I know there were other TORn-sibs there who, hopefully, can fill in my blanks. All I can add is: what a charming, gracious man! The lack of sleep and getting lost on the way home was totally worth the experience.


EowynDernhelm writes:

Well, I'm back...after an entire weekend full of excitement at Origins. If there are random grammatical errors and typos in this post, blame the lack of sleep after spending two days playing various games and meeting Sean Astin himself.

My brother, hereafter refered to as Bunny Lord, and I originally intended to visit Origins for a Lord of the Rings card tournament, which is our mutual passion [After all, I have to love a game where "Eowyn, Dernhelm" is one of the strongest cards ;)]. Finding out Sean Astin was going to be there was an unexpected surprise that brought us both great joy.

I can't boast that we drove four hours to get to Origins, like djdeathskiss did; we rode on a two-hour journey from my father's house to Columbus. It was a very interesting journey, though, punctuated by my young niece and nephew making random animal noises for most of the way (well, they're only 3 and 5 :P). When we got there, Bunny Lord and I immediately signed up for our tournament and walked into the card gaming area. While we were waiting for the other 62 people to get ready, Bunny Lord and I decided that if it appeared the tournament was going to go past the time Sean Astin started signing autographs, the person who was doing the worst in the tournament would drop out and try to get Sean Astin to sign something for both of us.

...I've never semi-intentionally tried to lose before. ;) On an amusing note, after my first loss, the judge asked "Who's he?" when I said "He won" while directly pointing to my male opponent, confusing all who overheard the conversation. I didn't realize living up to my namesake was so easy. :P After losing all three of my games, I was the one who got to go. On the way, I stopped at the Decipher booth to purchase the last flag of Rohan they had. Ironically, they were giving out promotional oversized Sam cards to people like me who spend their money on geeky things at the Decipher booth, so I decided to get that signed instead of the smaller version of the same card (I'd imagine it would be easier for him to sign that anyway). As I got in line, the man in front of me realized he had absolutely nothing for Mr. Astin to sign, so I took out all of my random Sam cards from the game and let him pick one, gaining his eternal thanks and an offer of money (which I refused...I have numerous Sam cards, so giving one away is not a huge loss). We chatted for the rest of the way up there about random things, and the line moved fairly quickly. Soon, I was talking to the ticket lady and waiting for my turn to talk to Sean Astin, and then, what seemed like a short time later, I was there talking to him! He was kind enough to sign both the oversized Sam card (he said the picture on that card, which happened to be of Sam in Lothlorien, was one of his favorite pictures of Sam) and another Sam card, which happened to have a picture of Sam looking at the Oliphaunt in "The Two Towers"(he said that that scene was hard to film, since he had to stay low to the ground while straining his neck as he had to be looking happily at the Oliphant). When he noticed my dogtag was backwards, he asked me what it said. Flipping it around proudly, I said, "Frodo Lives". Then, he held up his "John Kerry 2004" dogtag, also backwards, then dramatically flipped it over when I asked what it said. I laughed and said it was great, then sadly said goodbye so the next person could talk to him.

It was a great experience; Sean Astin really seems like a nice guy. And there is a happy ending to the story; he stayed on Sunday, so Bunny Lord got to meet him as well!

In conclusion, I'd like to thank my stepmom, who decided to tolerate our insane gaming habits and take us to Origins. I'd also like to apologize to djdeathskiss and Friend of Gandalf, since I didn't get a chance to meet them there as I originally planned. Thank you for reading my long ramble!